Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Good Grammar Makes a Difference Even in an Exercise Class
You’re in the group fitness room having a great workout. Suddenly, you are shocked out of your reverie and exercise vibe by a loud, jarring, no-way-to-hide-it Grammar Gaffe. Yes, your instructor (or maybe you?) just committed a workout world grammar No-No, oh-no-you-didn’t. We can’t speak for you, but we can speak with well-constructed cues and sentences. And we think you deserve high level fitness instruction in every regard. Therefore, we hereby share our Top 4 Most Common and Easiest to Clean Up Fitness Grammar Boo Boos.
But first, some Quick Quiz Questions:
- Do you lie down or lay down?
- Should you raise up or rise up?
- Do you eat healthy or healthfully or healthily?
- Do you have a fitness regimen or regiment?
Kymberly: Whether you like it or not, good grammar makes a difference. For fitness pros, having good grammar increases credibility, confidence, and communication. For exercise participants, hearing perfect grammar goes unnoticed. As it should, because then you can concentrate on the class, workout, routine, cues, choreography, good form — all the things you came for.
Bad grammar cued on a microphone from a stage and amplified to a fitness class or gym is like a huge speed bump on the road to fitness. When bad grammar happens, you hit the speed bump and notice the uncomfortable ride. No longer are you focusing on the road (class content). Instead, your attention goes to the bump. So let’s muscle through this people and go for body and mind working together.
Grammar Gaffe One
In the present tense, the biggest misuse is with the verbs to lie and to lay. Let’s go Grammar Lite to get the Lay/Lie dilemma sorted out.
If NO noun (person, place, thing, idea, or concept) comes after the verb (action word), you are in LIE Land. (Liar; liar, workout pants on fire!)
“Please lie down.”
“Lie over here (<—- no noun alert) where there is room to lay your mat (<—- noun alert) on the floor.”
If a noun is the word to come right after the verb, then use LAY.
“Lay your mats on the floor.”
“Lay your head on your mat.”
Grammar Gaffe Two
Could we make this easier? The confusion and solution are super similar to the Lie/Lay situation. Again, we are talking about present tense of verbs: to rise and to raise.
If a noun follows the verb, use RAISE.
“Raise your legs in the air as if you really care about good grammar everywhere.”
“Raise your hand if you are having an amazing workout experience in this class with excellent grammar cueing!”
No noun after the verb? Then hallelujah and RISE up.
“Rise and take a breath.”
(If Dan of the Les Mills CX Worx DVD series shouts out “Lay Down” one more time, I am going to put him on perma-mute. He seemed cute; I was willing to overlook the tattoos even. Bump, bump, bump, ouch, ouch, ouch. I just can’t take it anymore!)
Grammar Gaffe Three
Alexandra: When I hear or read, “I want to eat healthy,” I am always waiting for the rest of the sentence. My brain is waiting for the noun. “Healthy” what? Vegetables? Grains? Cakes, cookies, candies, pies and ice cream?
You can say “I want to hang out with healthy people,” or “I want to eat healthful foods,” or even “I eat healthfully.” See how two of the three take a noun? (I’d mess with you and talk about direct objects and the accusative case, but even I’d lose interest. (Too many years spent learning languages, yet my kids can’t seem to hear me in any language if chores are involved).
While we’re at it, “healthily” is an adverb, but even I know that no-one actually uses this word unless college exams are on the horizon!
Grammar Gaffe Four
Do you have a fitness regimen or a fitness regiment? The first is a plan you follow on a consistent basis. The second is a whole bunch of military people, usually formed of several battalions. While your exercise regimen may sometimes feel like it’s a battle, you probably don’t have command of a regiment. Although, if they’re good-looking, that might be quite motivating! And if you tell me you “do a fitness regiment,” I’ll wonder if you’re a bit of an, um, er,
slag active sexual partner!
Why should you care? Because the people or companies you might wish to work with care; your students care; and your high school English teachers care! We care too, as we want all our colleagues to sound as smart and professional as possible!
Someday we may even tackle the difference between “workout” and “work out.” Today is not that day!