Learn the Lingo: Health and Fitness Slang

By Mike Howard

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Finding myself on the wrong side of 30, it’s tough to keep up with the vernacular of today’s young health and fitness enthusiasts. From legitimate health or medical conditions to trendy lexicon and pejorative slang, here is a partial list of terms you may have read, overheard or use yourself.

Dietary Philosophies

Retox: Popularized by celebrity’s biggest health nut, Madonna, this plan is a salmon-heavy nutrition plan combined with a cardio-intensive gym regime. The aim is to take years off her looks.

Nutritionism: An ideology that maintains that the value of food is in its nutrients and not in the food itself. See here for more

Low Carb Taliban: Insulin is to blame for weight gain – end of story. Any carb you eat whether a pop tart or an apple will make you fat. Eat only meat and veggies to be healthy and you are a bad person if you eat grains.

Vegan Taliban: Meat is to blame for every health problem. Oh and dairy too. The China Study is the only thing you’ll ever have to read to be informed of diet.

Flexitarian: Mostly vegetarian who occasionally eats fish and poultry (a flexible vegetarian).


Orthorexia: An unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. The word comes from Greek orthos (correct) plus orexis (appetite). In their search for dietary purity, orthorexics may become so restrictive about what they eat (for example, avoiding fatty foods, those containing preservatives, those with salt or sugar) that eventually they become as dangerously thin as an anorexic.

Brideorexia: When a bride-to-be goes out of her way to look thin for her wedding.

Athletica Nervosa: (Body Dysmorphia) A mental disorder where an individual is excessively concerned and preoccupied with an imagined or minor defect in their appearance. The preoccupation causes them significant psychological distress.

Gym and Exercise-related

Gym Rat: A guy who spends every spare moment in the gym. See also: Gym head, meat head, gymbot or my personal favorite, Gym Me Buff It

Gym Kryptonite: Easy-on-the-eyes female that distracts men from getting anything done in the gym. See also; gym rat, gym monkey,

Gym Widow: Someone who’s significant other has gone on a health kick and spends all of their time at the gym.

Yogatude: Holier-than-thou attitude seen in serious yoga students who are more flexible and vaguely spiritual than everyone else. Includes a disdain for meat, leather, and inexpensive sweat pants or yoga mats.

Cardio Bunny: Females who perform at least an hour on the treadmill, elliptical, bike, stairclimber or rower (or any combination thereof) and then call it a day.

Pies: 45lbs. plates. See also: “big wheels”or “papa bears”

Jacked: Well-defined or muscular. See also: Yoked, Swole, Ripped, Chiseled, shredded, cut, gunny.

Toned: A word that should never be used unless you are talking about blood vessels. Still, it is often used by lay public and misinformed trainers worldwide to denote muscular definition. (okay, there’s some personal opinion on that one!)

Vitamin S: Anabolic steroids. See also: Juice, gym candy.

What other lingo have you heard or use yourself? Do you see any of the above on a regular basis? Are you one of the above?

Source: Some definitions obtained from Urban Dictionary.


  1. Rita

    heh these are all great words! I personally like words like fitspiration ( i think that comes from thinspiration) A cardio bunny at my gym also refers to herself as a locavore (a person who eats locally):) I think that’s pretty cute.

  2. sabrina clements

    Wow Fantastic! I love this article… Thanks for sharing.

  3. mike Sorensen

    Jealousbitch: person who gets mad at the huge guys blaring thier music and admiring the monster theyve turned themselves into.

  4. VickiG

    Absolutely James I agree

  5. james vick

    “I spending 4 hours at gym before. Am I a gym rat?”

    ofcourse not, but remember to maintain the diet to be able to provide calories for workout

  6. jacksmonty

    what do you mean about “orange” people?

  7. ryans121

    Is that scary? I never know about such a disease before.

  8. marthanws

    Vegan Taliban? LOL. That phrase struck me as well. Anyway, excellent write-up.

    “I spending 4 hours at gym before. Am I a gym rat?”

    Probably not, because I know some of my friends who spend as much as 6 hours at the local gym. 🙂

  9. daniel1983

    I spending 4 hours at gym before. Am I a gym rat?

  10. Cath

    So what is “the wrong side of 30?” I’m over 30 but I don’t consider that to be the ‘wrong” side

  11. Yogesh Pawar

    flat stomach thts wat i like the most. you should take effort and excersize but proper diet is all about being healthyyyyy……..

  12. Mike Howard

    I fogot about “pregorexia”.. thanks, Spectra!

  13. Mike Howard

    Yes! Tanorexic, that’s great!

  14. Mike Howard

    Haha! That’s great. The shoes and everything! Spinning had a cult-like following in the first gym I worked for.

  15. Cari from Ditch Diets Live Light

    Had to laugh reading this. Over at my ditch diets live light site, I received an e.mail the other day from a young girl wanting some weight loss advice. It was written texting…..well being on the wrong side of 40, let me tell you, it was like reading a riddle.

  16. Crazy Legs

    Flab rehab – going in for “treatment” either to the gym or, more commonly, under the knife; as in “I’m going in for a little flab rehab.”

  17. AngelaE9654

    LOL, we have TONS of those “orange” people here…but it’s usually because of the fake tanners, although we have plenty of the ‘tan bed addicts’ here too. 😀

  18. gymgirl01

    I call these people “Resolutionaries”

  19. Trainerpack

    this is a super silly article!

  20. Sam

    Showboat- the annoying meat head that blares the music, screams as he lifts his weights and pauses every 30 seconds to love himself in the mirror.

  21. Jody - Fit at 51

    Loved this! My husband might consider himself a gym widower although my time away gives him time to play his Xbox online gaming with his buddies!

    Retox.. I think money may have something to so with looks although I have heard she does work out hard.

    I could be a gym rat.. I love the weight workouts. I have to force myself to stop & leave!


    Newbie: Me, being old, this may just be a my term. The people that show up at the gym for their new year’s resolutions & then disappear 1-2 months later.

  22. Spectra

    Good list! I think sometimes my poor husband feels like a gym widower because I spend so much time working out, lol.

    I’d add “pregorexia” to your “orexia” list…women who, despite being pregnant, try to stay as skinny as humanly possible so that they can get their prebaby body back ASAP.

  23. Jonathan Aluzas

    I love this, it’s brilliant! Also the classic:

    Tanorexic – The orange person who spends too much time under the ultraviolet light bulbs.

  24. FJ

    Good article. Haha, Vegan Taliban!



    A name incurred upon those that usually ask me retarded questions that they very well know the answer to… ESPECIALLY when it’s not fitness related.

  25. dreadloccowgirl


    People who wear full outdoor cycling gear in a spin class.