Free English Lessons

Going to the Gym – Listening Lesson

by Oli Redman on 18 September, 2014 , No comments

Is going to the gym a good way to get in shape? Listen to a woman looking around a gym and trying to find out more about it, and learn useful vocabulary to talk about health and fitness in this free English listening lesson.

Man: So, is this your first time using a gym?

Woman: Yeah, pretty much1. I never thought about it before.

Man: So what made you change your mind?

Woman: Well, it’s close to my office, and my work is too busy to do much exercise otherwise…

Man: I see. I’ll show you around2 quickly. This is the free weights3 area. Over here we have our strength-training machines.

Woman: You see, this is why I don’t like gyms. There are so many machines! I never know where to start.

Man: That’s okay. It’s actually quite simple. Every machine has instructions, you see? So it tells you which muscle group it targets4, and explains how to do the exercise safely.

Woman: So what, do people normally use all the machines in a visit?

Man: It depends. If you want to build your muscle strength, then it’s better to focus on one body part each time you come. If you want to develop endurance5, then you should do different types of exercises.

Woman: What about treadmills6, and things like that?

Man: They’re through here. We have bikes, treadmills, rowing7 machines…

Woman: Does it get busy?

Man: Yeah, in the evenings. If you can come in the middle of the day, it’s generally quite quiet.

Woman: Okay, so can I ask your advice? Where should I start?

Man: If I were you, I’d do a variety8 of exercises. So, for example, you can do cardio9 training one day, then strength training the next day, flexibility10 the next day, and so on.

Woman: You mean, I should come every day?

Man: No, not necessarily! You need rest days as well. How often were you thinking of coming?

Woman: I don’t know… Once or twice a week, maybe? Is that enough?

Man: I’d say three times a week is better. If you only come once a week, you won’t really get much benefit from it.

Woman: Alright, I guess I’ll try…

Vocabulary Notes

  1. Pretty much is used to express agreement. It suggests that what you said is not 100% correct, but that it is close enough. Pretty much is very conversational.
  2. I’ll show you around = I’ll give you a tour, so you can see everything.
  3. Free weight training uses weights you can hold in your hands.
  4. Target is similar to concentrate on or focus on.
  5. Endurance = the ability to do something for a long time without getting tired
  6. A treadmill = a running machine
  7. Rowing = pulling a boat through the water using oars (long pieces of wood). A rowing machine lets you practice a similar movement in the gym.
  8. A variety = many different kinds of something
  9. Cardio training means doing exercises which make your heart and lungs stronger, for example running, walking, cycling etc.
  10. Flexibility = the ability to bend

Can you match the problems to the exercise advice?

1.  I get out of breath very easily.a.  You should do some strength training, for example weightlifting.
2.  I can’t touch my toes.b.  You should do some endurance training, so you can play for longer.
3.  When I play basketball, I get tired after twenty minutes.c.  You should do some cardio training, to make your heart and lungs stronger.
4.  I want big muscles.d.  You should do a variety of exercises for every part of your body.
5.  I want to get fit and healthy.e.  You should do some flexibility training, for example yoga.

Can you find words and phrases in the text with these meanings?

  1. Change a decision you made in the past
  2. Something (for example, a book or a sign) which tells you how to use something
  3. Usually
  4. If you want my advice…
  5. Something positive that you get
  1. c
  2. e
  3. b
  4. a
  5. d
  6. to change [your] mind
  7. instructions
  8. generally
  9. if I were you…
  10. a benefit
Oli RedmanGoing to the Gym – Listening Lesson