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4 Fitness Grammar Mistakes

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:

  1. Do you lie down or lay down?
  2. Should you raise up or rise up?
  3. Do you eat healthy or healthfully or healthily?
  4. Do you have a fitness regimen or regiment?
Professor's Trail to Good Grammar

Yes, I really was an English professor. Take a look at our About page and believe!

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

A Healthy Person Eating Healthfully

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

This Regiment is doing their fitness regimen: Push-Ups

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!

Readers: Do you have a grammar pet peeve? Vent here.

Earn good grammar points by subscribing to our YouTube channel. Or our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. You can also find us via the icons in the right sidebar.

Photo Credits: CreativeCommons.orgDVIDSHUB (Regiment)

About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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45 Responses to 4 Fitness Grammar Mistakes

  1. Tamara August 13, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    As soon as I saw the title on this post I knew that I would love it!
    I confess to occasionally breaking your first rule. Especially when I’m out of breath and tired near the end of a class.

    My favourite grammar/language gaffe? “A myriad OF _____.” Quickest way to lose all writing credibility, IMHO.
    Tamara recently posted..3 non-traditional ways to advertise your blogMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit August 13, 2012 at 10:56 am #

      Well, we might just have to lay down….the law! And when we come to Canada to take your class, we promise to only come when you’re not tired!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..5 Phrases to Think and Train Like an OlympianMy Profile

    • Allen August 13, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

      ‘My favourite grammar/language gaffe? “A myriad OF _____.” Quickest way to lose all writing credibility, IMHO.’

      That’s the oldest usage of the word. Check any dictionary. Check your Oxford English Dictionary. “Myriad” used as an adjective (“Myriad ways of writing”) is pretty recent, only about 2 centuries old (it didn’t become common until the late 19th century). On the other hand, myriad as a noun is over five centuries old, and is found in many impeccable literary sources. In Samuel Johnson’s famous Dictionary, no other usage EXCEPT the noun is given.

      Some cites, if you’re interested:

      Milton: O Myriads of immortal Spirits, O Powers Matchless, but with th’ Almighty, and that strife. Was not inglorious, though th’ event was dire T

      Thomas Hardy: They were the mummied heathbells of the past summer, originally tender and purple, now washed colourless by Michaelmas rains, and dried to dead skins by October suns. So low was an individual sound from these that a combination of hundreds only just emerged from silence, and the myriads of the whole declivity reached the woman’s ear but as a shrivelled and intermittent recitative.

      Dickens: The sky was cloudless; the sun shone out bright and warm; the songs of birds, the hum of myriads of summer insects, filled the air. (the Pickwick Papers)

      Bram Stoker: I kept my eyes fixed on the window, but the wolf drew his head back, and a whole myriad of little specks seems to come blowing in through the broken window, and wheeling and circling round like the pillar of dust that travellers describe when there is a simoon in the
      desert.

      H G Wells: A cliff of edifice hung above him, he perceived as he glanced upward, and the opposite facade was grey and dim and broken by great archings, circular perforations, balconies, buttresses, turret projections, myriads of vast windows, and an intricate scheme of architectural relief.

      Jack London: Mingled with the shrimps were myriads of small fish, from a quarter of an inch upward in size.

  2. Chris Donnelly August 13, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    Nice post! I’m a Disaster on this front … i’ve been trying to reign it in a bit.
    Chris Donnelly recently posted..Episode OneMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit August 13, 2012 at 10:58 am #

      We are here to hold your little grammar hand. Repeat after us, “I will not lay down my grammar sword until all errors are conquered!”
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Push-Ups: Right & Wrong WayMy Profile

  3. Katie @momslrb August 13, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    Oh man, that is soo funny! I’ve heard all those said before in numerous group classes. I think the biggest pet peeve when I’m teaching is that NO ONE wants to come to the front.

    I get it to a degree but I won’t bite. I swear! :)
    Katie @momslrb recently posted..I Don’t Know What’s Happening..My Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit August 13, 2012 at 10:59 am #

      Why wouldn’t they want the front? It’s the best spot. Maybe your sweat flings!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Make Brain WavesMy Profile

  4. bex August 13, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    workout vs. work out and jumping rope vs jump roping are my faves ;)
    bex recently posted..I LOVE TO TORTURE MY KIDS + I HATE RUNNING Banjees Wrist Wallet Giveaway!My Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit August 13, 2012 at 11:14 am #

      Hahaha. Hadn’t thought of the jump roping one. That’s hysterical. But in a frightening “It’s probably true” kind of way! The mental visual of jump roping is fairly entertaining.
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..4 Stages to Healthier HabitsMy Profile

  5. Ericka @ The Sweet Life August 13, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Super fun post and so something I’ve never thought about. now that you mention it, it’ll be on my brain!
    Ericka @ The Sweet Life recently posted..National Zoo: We Went to the Zoo!My Profile

  6. Alison August 13, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    how about lose and loose (obviously only in the written form, not spoken)

    • AlexandraFunFit August 13, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      Yes, I want to loose that weight. Um, that doesn’t sound attractive. Will you be unzipping to do that? Gah!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..One-Legged WorkoutMy Profile

  7. Cat @ Breakfast to Bed August 13, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Let’s make out. Really. I love this post so much it hurts.
    Cat @ Breakfast to Bed recently posted..Dungeons and Dragons’ Groupies Are EasyMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit August 13, 2012 at 11:20 am #

      Just for you, I added a bit about “doing a regiment.” Really, it was just an excuse to use the word “slag.”
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Seuss WorkoutMy Profile

  8. Molly Ritterbeck August 13, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Love it – this made me chuckle and facepalm myself!!
    Molly Ritterbeck recently posted..The Weekly Chase #6My Profile

  9. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf August 13, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    OMG I love this post so much. It’s so true!! When my instructor has bad grammar, I do a double take!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Memories Captured: 3 years oldMy Profile

  10. Elle August 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Love this SO MUCH!
    Elle recently posted..Running on Uneven Surfaces and a Special SmoothieMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit August 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

      Thanks Elle. Now is the time to reveal that my sister once had a TV segment where she was the grammar goddess. She’d answer questions from viewers. Accept, except anyone?
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Seuss WorkoutMy Profile

  11. Sara August 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    As stated above, loose weight vs lose weight is my biggest pet peeve!
    Sara recently posted..August Workout Music PlaylistMy Profile

  12. christieo August 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    Haha! THANK YOU! Mostly because I’m guilty of doing most of those and I’m a grammar freak! Especially the “healthy” vs. “healthfully” one.

    You gals are funner than any gals I know! (That’s a word, right??)
    christieo recently posted..The Monday Manifesto: How to Relax Part Duh (Deux).My Profile

    • Fun and Fit August 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      Is funner a word? Or is the word you are looking for “most funsterish?” We’ll take any up this alley. Aaaaah, freak out, le freak c’est chic!
      Fun and Fit recently posted..4 Fitness Grammar MistakesMy Profile

  13. Annette@ FitnessPerks August 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    LOVE this! I sometimes do catch myself say “lay down on the bench” when really it should be lie down on the bench –because the noun is just not said. Is that right?! ;)

    I laugh at myself though, when I make mistakes….it makes it even funnier. And then they can forget about the hurt they’re going through! HAH.
    Annette@ FitnessPerks recently posted..My Fitness Instructor JourneyMy Profile

  14. Kristen August 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    What about “healthy eating” vs. “healthful eating”? After reading your post I looked into it because well, look at the title of my last post. :/ What I found is that while “healthful eating” is technically correct, “healthy eating” is generally accepted as correct because it is so widely used. I considered updating my post but then wondered which would be the more popular search term in Google. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

    Workout vs Work out – I’d love to know the answer to this one…
    Kristen recently posted..Monday Morning Inspiration: Healthy Eating TipsMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit August 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      Great question. For SEO, leave it as “healthy,” which is also considered correct. If you were discussing a person, you’d need “healthy.” (She is a healthy person) If you were discussing food, either is fine as long as there’s a noun after it. Your title has a subtle difference: Healthy Eating Tips means you are giving tips to help people become healthier. Healthful Eating Tips means you’d be sharing info about the actual food and ways to improve eating. Hope that makes sense. Bottom line – leave your title alone.
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..5 Phrases to Think and Train Like an OlympianMy Profile

  15. Debbie August 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    I love this post. Lay and lie have always been my grammar trouble zones. I’d know I was incorrect, but then I’d double think myself into utter confusion. Thanks for explaining why I’ve been using them wrong all these years. Seriously.
    Debbie recently posted..Finding Vegan Eats: Las Vegas to San DiegoMy Profile

  16. Allen August 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    “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?”

    Ah, you’ve fallen victim of the grammatical hoax invented out of thin air by Alfred Ayres in the late 19th century, contradicting several centuries of good usage in the English language. Ayres is great! He wrote gobs of absolute grammatical nonsense, including things like “anyone else” is incorrect, and the correct phrase should be “anyone’s else”. He claimed “donate” is not a word, and “ice cream” is really bad English, unless you’re eating a cream made of ice.

    The Oxford English Dictionary lists that particular meaning of “healthy” as a quasi-adverb. It’s non-controversial except among a few persnickity writers who follow in Ayres’ traditions.

  17. Cootsababe August 13, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    THANK YOU!!!! I loved this
    Cootsababe recently posted..Fun Summertime Fitness Activities & Their Calorie CountsMy Profile

  18. Jody - Fit at 54 August 13, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    I am horrible with this stuff – I just accept that it is me & if they can’t see that I know what I am doing from my pic then – well, not really but I am what I am… I am better with the physical stuff than words & I am sure I have made lots of mistakes here! :-) Great post!
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted..One of My Crazy Workouts – I Break the Rules!My Profile

  19. madeleine Vite August 14, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    I love this post. Thanks for explaining why I’ve been using them wrong all these years.

  20. Mariella Lombardi August 14, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    Hi girls,

    I love everything about grammar. Thank you for clarifying all that but I have to point out that grammar and language is somewhat fluid. Some word usage may be correct now and incorrect in one or two decades. In my opinion, it’s better to try our best to speak and write correctly but not become to obsessed with the whole thing.
    Mariella Lombardi recently posted..How to Incorporate More Sources of Omega 3 into Your Diet EverydayMy Profile

  21. Sara August 16, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    LOVE this post! I love anything grammar-related so this is just awesome. Thanks for sharing!!
    Sara recently posted..One [Frustrated] Beautiful BloggerMy Profile

  22. cherylann August 16, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    you actually found the time/effort to write this? I guess I have never heard the mistakes as I don’t “do” the class stuff. But if it’s a good instructor I wouldn’t care if they were grunting at me….who cares!?

  23. misszippy August 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I loved this! Coming from a writing background, I’m a bit of a stickler. But I also know I make mistakes (like fragments, which I love and refuse to stop using). Perhaps it’s a good thing I don’t have to teach any group classes!

    My pet peeves (which pertain to writing more than speaking): dangling participles, and its vs. it’s.
    misszippy recently posted..Iron Girl go timeMy Profile

  24. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table August 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    As a total grammar geek, I adore this post. And I’ll be printing it to post in my gym’s locker room. Thank you. :)
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..Lemon Cardamom GranolaMy Profile

  25. Calla Gold August 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Thank you for clearing up the grammar gaffes! Now, I better go lay down before my workout regiment starts and I have to raise up to the challenge. Oh, and I can’t forget to eat healthy. Thanks for setting us all straight! Calla Gold

  26. Dr Prem October 16, 2012 at 2:50 am #

    I love this article. Thanks for reviewing the grammer mistakes
    Dr Prem recently posted..-My Profile

  27. Allie March 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    Leave “eat healthy” as is. Really, it’s an idiomatic expression on par with “eating [a] healthy [diet].” To say “eat healthily” or “eat healthfully” just doesn’t sound right, and it sounds more like you’re describing the manner in which they are eating (e.g., chewing thoroughly) rather than what they’re eating. “Eat healthy” FTW!

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