Real English conversations: pumping up in the buff


Hi, Lori here, welcoming you to another episode of Real English Conversations from Better at English dot com. Today’s conversation is continued from our previous episode about chick magnets. In the previous episode I had wanted to talk to Michael about about a gym in Holland that offers its clients an unusual way to exercise. But we got sidetracked talking about dogs and chick magnets. Luckily, this time we are back on track talking about gyms, a topic that brings up some idioms and slang related to fitness, exercise, and human bodies.

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Right then, let’s get on with the conversation!

Conversation Transcript

Lori: Okay, but anyway, the reason I asked you if you go to the gym is I read this kind of funny article on CNN the other day. Apparently there’s a gym in the Netherlands that is planning to introduce training sessions for nudists. So people can go…

Michael: Why am I not… why am I not surprised?

L: Why, why would you be not surprised?

M: Well, that…everything else is legal in Holland, from drugs to prostitution, so why not a bit of naked working out?

L: Yeah, pump up in the buff! Got the drugs, got the hookers, all we need is a naked gym! Yeah, no, but apparently it’s true, they’re going to have Sunday morning sessions, and the reason that they’re going to try this is, umm, that they, they’ve had a lot of demand for them.

M: Oh, really! And…

L: Yeah! Special nudists’ sessions.

M: Okay, so I guess there’s a big nudist community, then, in Holland.

L: Yeah apparently so, at least around this gym. The article didn’t say… or actually, it did say, it was in a place called, uh, I’m not sure if I can pronounce it…Heteren? Heteren? Anyway…

M: Oh, I don’t know…

L: I don’t know where that is, but, they’re also, they’re worried that people will find out about it, and just show up, you know, just to ogle people.

M: Ah, well, yeah!

L: You know, not genuine nudists, so apparently they’re going to have, umm, they’re going to be really strict about who they’ll let in, and anyone who shows up just to gawk will get thrown out.

M: Well, I wonder if, I wonder if that would backfire anyway, ’cause, um, from my experience a lot of people who go to the gym to work out really need to go to the gym to work out, if you, you know…

L: Yeah!

M: Kind of weighty and somewhat rotund, um, so seeing people like that in the buff, jumping around wobbling and jiggling in the breeze…

L: Oh my god, doing deadlifts and squats and things like that…

M: That’s right, I mean, doing things like, what’s that, star jumps with your tackle hanging out, you know, is really…

L: Exactly! Yeah, really out-of-shape people. But I guess it really depends on which gym you go to, because where I grew up in Southern California, a lot of gyms you, you only really saw fit people in the gyms.

M: Full of beautiful people.

L: Yeah, in thongs.

M: Oh, I’m sure. Bright pink thongs.

L: Yeah, and pink leg warmers and stuff like that.

M: Oh man, that must’ve been the 80s then.

pumping it up in the 80s

L: Uh, yeah back, back in the 80s. And even nowadays if you go somewhere it really depends on the gym because some gym, gyms are geared more towards, you know, the kind of trendy clientele who are really into fitness. And then other gyms are more like family gyms where you find all kinds of people going there. So it really depends.


L: But my, one of my biggest concerns about this Dutch gym, you know, for the nudists, would be hygiene. And in the article they do mention that they’ll pay special attention to that, and make sure that people cover the machines and the equipment with towels and, and things like that.

M: I would hope so!

L: But…I don’t know, it just…

M: People’s naked, sweaty behinds sitting on the hydraulic machinery…

L: Yeah! Or just anything.

M: …you know, the things where you have to sit. Yeah, it’s really not…

L: Yeah, I mean, getting on the [stationary] bike, you know, right after someone’s just been on there… I don’t know.

M: Oh my god! Well, I’m never going to a gym in Holland that’s for sure. Not now.

L: Yeah, well, it’s only this one gym. But hey, who knows? If it’s a big success it might spread to other gyms, you know, that’s how capitalism works, I guess.

M: Who knows what be “spreading” to other gyms, if that’s what…if they’re all going in the nude. Oh, goodness!

L: Yeah!

Vocabulary list

Nudists are people who think that it is healthy for people to be naked and who enjoy being naked in mixed social settings. You can read this article for an overview of nudism and nudist philosophy.

working out

To work out (in this context) means to exercise strenuously, usually at a gym and using a combination of weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise.


Informal word for prostitutes

pump up

To pump up (or get pumped) means to exercise your muscles (usually with weights) so that they swell up and look bigger. With strenuous exercise, blood flow to the muscles increases and makes them look bigger and feel harder. To pump up is sometimes used in a more general sense (as Lori does here), meaning “to exercise” (to work out). So “To pump up in the buff” means “to exercise while naked.”

in the buff
Informal expression that means naked (used about people only, not about other objects or animals).

To ogle someone is to look as someone in a way that shows you are sexually interested in them. It’s usually used in a negative sense.

To gawk at someone or something is to stare (usually in a rude or stupid way).

If something backfires, it has the opposite result from the one you intended (and is usually a failure).

A deadlift is an exercise in which you pick up a heavy barbell and lower it again, keeping your arms straight and bending at the knees. See this link.

A squat is an exercise in which you balance a heavy barbell across your shoulders, then bend down into a squatting position and stand up again. It is considered the “king of exercises” by many body builders. See this link.

star jumps

A star jump is a vigorous exercise which involves jumping up into the air and extending one’s arms and legs out in a “star” shape while in midair. You can see a video here.

Slang expression for male genitals

In this context, shape means overall physical condition. If you are in good shape, you are fit and healthy. If you are out of shape, then you are in poor physical condition. The phrases “to be in good/bad shape” and “to be in shape” and “to be out of shape” are all very common.

If you are fit, you are in good physical shape. In Br.E, the word fit is also used to describe someone who is physically very attractive.

geared (more) towards

If something is geared toward(s) something or somebody, it designed to be suitable for a particular purpose or attractive to a particular group of people.

The group of customers who use a particular product or service.

In this context, to be into something means that you are very interested in it. People who are into fitness are interested in working out and staying in shape.

in the nude
Naked (used only about people)

Final words

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