A group of people who regularly attend gym classes or work-out. What are they called? Is there a single-word for this particular group?

Apart from my calling them fanatics, mad (BrEng)/crazy (AmEng), body-obsessed, vain or dull.

Seriously, what are they? Devotees? Learners? Practitioners?

I'd also appreciate any equivalent popular/recognized expressions that haven't yet entered any standard dictionary but have been buzzing around for a few years.

In Italian, a gym is called palestra. Italians are very body conscious and tend to look after themselves very well, in fact it is true to say that it's quite difficult to find overweight, unattractive, or unfit men or women who attend these almost daily sessions. The men, in particular, can get carried away and so the expression palestrato has been coined in the Italian language. A palestrato is someone who frequently attends the gym, but is also an exhibitionist, self-obsessed, extremely vain, and very very muscular.

  • 8
    Google returns 137000 results for Workoutaholic. Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 8:26
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    It depends. If it's January, and the workout clothes are new, you could call them resolutioners :^)
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 11:06
  • Are you looking for a word for anyone who does this activity by a defining characteristic (eg someone who acts is called an 'actor') or for a slang or slightly derogatory term that has these extra characteristics? That is, do you want a word for someone who goes to the gym or do you want the English translation of 'Palestrato'?
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 11:46
  • I found a fitness center in Italy named “Gymmy”. I kind of like that as a general adjective, maybe as a noun. Rob is quite a gymmy guy. Feeling gymmy this morning? This place is filled with gymmies, isn’t it?
    – tchrist
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 12:31
  • @Mitch I want a term that describes people who frequently go to the gym. I had searched previously and didn't find any, hence my asking if any colloquial expression or slang term already exists. I added the "palestrato" trivia to illustrate that in Italian the phenomenon of body-fitness, and (fanatical) gym-goers (for want of a better word) has indeed created a new word. I'm not asking for the exact translation of palestrato, because, as far as I know, there isn't one. To sum up, men and women, who regularly go to the gym; is there a word or common expression?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 12:38

22 Answers 22


A term that I have heard, that seems to be widely accepted, and that I would use myself, is simply "gym goer". I don't think you'll find anything better than that, if you want a generic and neutral term. Google has 704,000 hits for it.

(I'm not a native English speaker, but I have been to the gym twice this week and plan on a third time, and I frequent web sites about strength training.)

  • I thought I was making it up myself, but I've checked. It does exist.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 13:04

I'm afraid I can only provide two words: gym rat.

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    Well, to me it's certainly a new expression! Thank you. Is it very common in the UK?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 6:10
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    I've also heard gym bunny, akin to snow bunny. Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 6:18
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    Not sure it's common, but the fact that I've heard of it must mean something. Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 6:27
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    A gym bunny is slightly different, though: it is specifically someone who works out and goes to the gym a lot just in order to look ripped for the clubs. It's a derogatory term implying vanity and shallowness—and it's almost always, in my experience, applied to gay men. Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 8:22
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    (An even more specific term, denoting gay men who are gym bunnies, but pump themselves up to compensate for being otherwise quite effeminate, is Muscle Mary. That one is even more derogative.) Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 9:05

From my humble non native speaker point of view, most of the expressions suggested above (gym-nerd, gym dandy, gym rat, ...) sound pretty negative, if not insulting.

If one used one of these with me, I would probably put him in my black list.

In martial arts, which I practiced for several years, we used normally the equivalent of the term "practitioners" (martial arts are often intended also as ways of life).

If one has to make up expressions, why not to be more positive and ecouraging: not everybody is a "library rat" or a "library nerd" :-)), and some moderate exercise is certainly good for health.

So I'd propose also: "gym enthusiast", "fitness enthusiast", "practitioner" (depending on the context).

EDIT. I have seen you have added also "palestrato". This is suggesting that you are possibly looking for a more negative connotations, and probably in the area of body building.

In this area, I can suggest these:

buff, pumped, ripped

the native speakers maybe can explain the differences. "buff" should be much more positive than the Italian "palestrato", and "ripped" or "sculpted" definitely desirable.

The perfect living caricature of a "palestrato" is this guy (Davide di Porto): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im7mbBxw7aU


In this case the ("romanaccio") word "Appalestrato" is used, which is a lot funny and self-ironic. The "A" suggesting, I guess, a sort of addiction, but also a typical Roman inflexion ("Aho", "Allo?").

(It's actually hard to describe how funny these videos are.)

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    ‘Gym rat’ can be derogatory, but it is often neutral or even admiratory. It is mostly used in a derogatory manner by people who would also make it clear that they are using ‘fitness enthusiast’ in a derogatory manner; i.e., people who look down on the concept of going to the gym in the first place. Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 9:08
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    Gym rat was the first thing that popped into my mind, and, insofar as I know, it's not generally considered derogatory (although just about anything can be uttered in a contemptuous or insulting way). Still, if you don't like gym rat, "fitness buffs" got a lot of Google hits, and they seemed complimentary.
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 11:04
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    As an Italian (and with nerdy shape ) I would point that 'palestrato' has not necessarily a negative connotation. Commented Sep 1, 2013 at 6:44

Muscle Head & Fitness Freak may apply too.

  • I have heard "fitness freak" used a lot.
    – Stephan B
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 6:31
  • Muscle head definitely applies. Meaty lifter types.
    – Preston
    Commented Jan 8, 2014 at 14:13

Gym probably derives from gymnasium. Maybe gymnast is technically correct, but wrong based on accepted usage.

Part of the difficulty is that Gym is not one thing. There are lifters, walkers, joggers, runners, yogis all in one place with different objectives, slimmers, bodybuilders and so on. There are professionals, amateurs, athletes, and bored housewives.

I have heard people saying 'gymming' to mean that they are going to the gym, as in 'I am gymming from 6 to 8'. Maybe it is time to coin 'gymmers'?

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    ‘Gymmers’ sounds more like a type of clothes to me, like ‘jammies’ and ‘sneakers’ mixed into one. Perhaps a new gymming outfit to be patented? Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 10:32
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    Perhaps it is time to coin a new expression, but I'm interested in hearing about those that already exist as I no longer live in the UK and I'm afraid of losing touch! :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 10:43
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    I gave this a +1, because we really do apply a label based on what activities they pursue at the gym. I knew a guy that went to the gym daily to swim, so he was a swimmer. The guys who go to to lift weights are called weight-lifters, or as a current trend "jacked"...
    – AthomSfere
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 15:04
  • @AthomSfere your comment makes a lot of sense, and I admit I like BinaryNights contribution, the ing verbal form, gymming.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 21:55
  • The other problem with the word "gymmer", at least in the United States, is that when spoken aloud, it sounds a lot like the first name of Jimmer Fredette, a fairly popular major-league basketball player. The word would likely end up meaning that a person is skilled at long-distance shots in basketball, not that they go to the gym. Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 22:14

In my younger days such a person was usually referred to as a fitty or a fit-boy. I can't run down a reference for this, though; the nearest I have found is here:-

1 dial chiefly Eng : suitable and becoming : appropriate

2 dial chiefly Eng (a) : being in good order : trim (b) : handsome, striking

(meaning 2a).

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    The website doesn't allow me to read the link, but it does sound typically British.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 10:40
  • A boy can be fit just by playing football (or other sports) all day...
    – Nemo
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 16:05

He is a gym-nerd. Still not exactly one word, but might work in your case.

  • -1. -1. -1. -1.
    – Noah
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 7:45
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    Are you -1’ing yourself?! Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 9:14
  • Despite this being someone (male or female) who tends to be over-zealous. I've not heard of it, and it exists so, +1 from me.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 10:37
  • @JanusBahsJacquet No, someone else did it, which made me super excited and pressed on the down arrow key several times, but it didn't work.
    – Noah
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 11:07

It doesn't pertain specifically to going to the gym as distinct from, say, running or jogging a lot, but my first thought is keep-fit fanatic.

(I don't think I've heard any of the other terms suggested, but then, I did my best to avoid the gym at school and have done so ever since!)

  • I know that expression well enough and I've used it in the past myself, but it's not exclusive to people who go to the gym. I believe, you can be a keep-fit fanatic in the privacy of your home. They include people who buy their own body-building equipment; stationary bikes, treadmills etc. and train at home.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 13:01

As an active gym enthusiast, I will share with you the two terms we use.

  1. She is such a great cyclist! But, she only does spin class, she doesn't ride outdoors. Her boyfriend is a competitive body builder. She has been teaching him how to incorporate more cardiovascular workouts.

  2. Even though she cannot train outside because of her injuries, she is an excellent athlete.

We use specifics and we say: Athlete. Maybe because of the endorphins, we're feeling positive? Seriously, the definition of athlete is a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.

We also say, Gym Rat. But only to tease a friend, it can feel rude. A lot of present and former competitors use the gym. Reducing a person's accomplishments down really trivializes their life's work. It's similar to a blonde joking with another blonde, but brunettes, please don't tell blonde jokes.

A triathlete at the gym is not a gym rat. A retiree at her first yoga class is a newbie.

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    I would argue that a triathlete at the gym can be a gym rat – provided that it's not an occasional visit to the gym, but part of a regular routine.
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 14:18

How about fitness-chondriac? I like Gymnaholic too. Those are titles for people that are crazy addicted to workout facilities and don't do any outdoor exercise at all. But a person who does both and not obsessively, I would call just plain healthy. That would mean the rest of their lives follow suit with nutrition and avoiding bad habits as well, however.

  • Gymaholic (without the "n") a word for people addicted to going to the gym, does exist, thank you!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 5:24

Most words in most languages are derivatives of other existing words. That being said, we can start with... JOCK

Definition of JOCK from Merriam-Webster Dictionary

1: athletic supporter

2: athlete; especially : a school or college athlete

3: pilot; especially : a fighter pilot

4: a person devoted to a single pursuit or interest (computer jocks)

Now the second definition is a good root for the new word, as gyms are associated strongly with both schools and athletes. Further, the fourth definition only goes to strengthen the choice for the root, as it also applies in the context of the definition for the question posted. So let's take that root and increase it's specificity to isolate the location, and we end up with...


Even if it does sound like a Klingon word, LOL

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    I would prefer that people didn't make-up words or create portmanteau words just so they can write an answer. :) I don't think "Gymjocks" will catch on, as the term jock sounds pretty obscure. Maybe it's only used in the US?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 4:58
  • @Mari-Lou A. Words are created every day... Take 'conversate' as an example (which IMO should have never been) to replace 'conversation'. Sometimes a new word needs to be created to obtain the explicit definition desired. All these replies were at one time, or are, 'made-up' words. As a matter of fact, you will not find many of the other words given as answers as being in a dictionary as well. 'Gymjocks' is just as valid an answer as 'gym rat', 'gym goer', 'gym-nerd', 'gym dandy',or 'keep-fit fanatic'... all made up words. I'm only getting knocked because of bias to the sound of the word.
    – Epiphany
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 7:15
  • Yes, words are created every day, and some take off and others do not. Gym rat and keep-fit-fanatic are in the dictionary; gym junkie/goer/nerd/enthusiast/aholic and megarexia, muscle head, and fitness freak all seem to be expressions which have been around for some time. I'm not interested and I didn't ask for users to think of any new alternative expressions. I was curious if a single-word existed, and in any slang terms which have been established. If you can find any references for GymJock, I'd be too happy to give you an up-vote. Fairer than that, I don't know what is.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 13:43
  • "Jock" is actually quite similar to "palestrato", in that a jock is usually someone seen as very self-confident and may use said confidence to be a playboy, or a top, and so on. urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Jock
    – Nemo
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 16:07

It's called megarexia

This word is informal, rather playful and tends to be used less in a derogative sense.

A rather less elegant variant is bigorexia

There is no harm in calling them gym-bugs non-pejoratively is there? In fact googling *gymbug*produced a number of fitness centres with that name. And fitness bug is a commnonly used phrase.


How about "gym attendee" and "gym buff?"

  • @Mari-LouA "gym buff" is better than the accepted "goer", as "goer" does not convey the obsession palestrato/a do. Also "buff" can mean physically fit, so it is kind of an accidental—though stillborn—pun in a way.
    – 1252748
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 14:09
  • @thomas this answer was posted almost eight months after I had asked this question. If it had been posted at the end of August 2013 I might very well have accepted this answer. Please upvote Elian's great suggestion in the meantime, if you haven't already done so.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 16:10
  • @Mari-LouA - Very late comment but just read the question. These suggestions are ridiculous to a native American speaker - absolutely. Attendee is used for an event. You don't attend the grocery store you go to it. Buff is even MORE wrong. A gym buff would be a person who studies and is a lover of gyms. A gym buff would tell me their favorite gym architecture and layout (I don't think these people exist but if there where gym buffs this is what they would do). Holy cow! Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 17:31

This is not a joke, but how about a: Trainee.

train·ee [trey-nee]


  1. a person being trained, especially in a vocation; apprentice.
  2. an enlisted person undergoing military training.
  • This is a correct answer, also used by many fitness authors. However, there is the problem that not everyone who goes to gym train (in order to reach a long term goal) - some go merely for exercise (for recreational or other purposes).
    – Superbest
    Commented May 17, 2014 at 9:03

Gym-junkie if they go way too often e.g. every day, too many hours.

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    Do you have any references to back up your question?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 1, 2013 at 12:51
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    I've checked using Google, and I only saw one reference to Gymbonite and that was a blogger profile, and one, Urban Dictionary, for Gym nazi (two words) Gym-Junkie seems quite established, but -1 for the seemingly "made-up" expressions, unless you can provide some back-up.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 1, 2013 at 13:02
  • @Mari-LouA : updated the answer. Those are words I have heard and used, the reference for them is if they can be used and understood and taken on by others with little or no explanation. Reference Nazi! I just made up the reference Nazi, but does it need a reference as well? :) Ps: thank you for explaining why down voted.
    – jimjim
    Commented Sep 1, 2013 at 13:22
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    retracted down-vote and one up-vote.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 1, 2013 at 13:29
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    I have seen this word used on a Twitter profile. The user looked Asian, but from San Francisco, so possibly a native speaker.
    – Pam
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 0:38

In the English language, when a noun does an activity, in usual cases it is shown by, attaching a verb, in this case a "to-be" verb. Similarly, A group of people who regularly attend gym classes or work-out, are called; "Gym Goers". Gym (Gymming) - The Act and Go (Goer) The verb.


If gym goer isn't enough, e.g. because you want to stress that the person is very focused on the gym, often lifter can convey the meaning. Sure, as Kinjal Dixit says a gym goer doesn't necessarily lift, but a lifter usually needs a gym of sorts.

For the "pro" kind, bodybuilder may be in order.

Then there are the options which don't focus on the means used by the person, in your case the gym, but rather on how the person is/shows.

  • If you want to stress the end result i.e. the muscular type, with a positive or negative connotation depending on what one thinks of muscles, you could say hunk.
  • If you want to stress the social/sexual/psychological aspect, then see the answer on jock.

How about callin g him "a gym dandy"?

  • I am asking for a group of people, not a man or woman "gym goer".
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 10:32
  • -1 I would prefer that people didn't make-up words or create portmanteau words just so they can write an answer. I thought this word existed. Instead it appears to be reserved for real gymnasts, as in those who do gymnastics; or names of girl teams (surprisingly!) or a type of children's see-saw. I didn't see any references to people who go to the gym.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 5:10

How about: gymnies - not yet a proper word but covers many perceptions

  • It sounds rather derogatory and please no more negativity about people who frequent gyms. Its like calling a gynaecologist 'gynie' - not very nice :)
    – user49727
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 21:22
  • @user49727 It sounds just fine to me, not at all derogatory. There’s even a workout gym by the name of Gymmy, so it’s not entirely new. I grant you that the gymny spelling is a bit odd at first but quite understandable. All in all this seems a nice word for it.
    – tchrist
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 23:01
  • I checked on Google and it appears to be a popular name for gymns, not for people. It also seems to be used as a diminutive for pyjamas. The one perception I'm interested in, people who attend gym classes, there appears to be no evidence of. So -1 from me, I'm afraid.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 5:03

This seems to be perfect timing to ask such a question. Recently a gym, Planet Fitness, has attempted to coin the term "lunk" to describe people who go the gym excessively, and are disgustingly muscular, have a "bro" mentality, or have massive egos. Another thing that may help you understand, is that everyone who "grunts" while they exercise, matches the description of "lunk", everything else I said, is just what stereotypically describes the personality of someone who grunts while exercising. They are airing commercials on some major television networks (I've seen commercials on FX, CNN, Comedy Central, and more). Rather than feebly attempt to describe the exact meaning and connotation they're trying to convey, I'll just leave a link to their commercials that use/describe this word.





If you are looking for a single word or shorter phrase that captures exactly the concept in your title, someone who goes to a gym frequently, with no other connotation, then no, there is no single word that captures that concept.

Certainly there are many words or phrases that do include as the primary meaning 'goes to a gym frequently', but they all add a little bit extra, all to the extent one can easily say "That person goes to the gym frequently but they are not an X' (fill in all the examples so far). For example,

That person goes to the gym frequently, 5 times a week for cardio to help with their diabetes, but they're not a gym rat.

And there are many non-pejorative words for people who into fitness or sports where the gym is not a primary preoccupation. But there is nothing that captures exactly that idea.

In the end, to say that someone goes to a gym or fitness center regularly or frequently, you should say that

they go to the gym frequently

That says everything you want and no more.

If you wanted some additional nuance, like they are a fitness fanatic, then please specify. Is it to augment their sports training? Is it for general health? Is it for the social aspect? Also, what connotations? Is it pejorative? Is it laudatory? Do you want a neologism or advertising slogan?

There are many concepts in our heads that don't necessarily have a single word to label them. That's why most languages allow multiple words to get closer to the nuance desired.

  • I suspected as much and if none existed, I also asked for a common or popular expression for that group of people or as many of the suggested answers imply, an individual or devotee. There seem to be quite a few, gym-goer is a neutral one, and gym rat another. Obviously, there is some need for such a word. Albeit the more derogatory terms seem to outnumber the positive ones, which for me, is quite interesting.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 21:47


git: nounBRIT.informal -- 1. an unpleasant or contemptible person.

  • Not sure if that should be one word. I almost read it as "fidget". :^)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 19:32
  • again why is a gym-goer unpleasant or contemptible?
    – user49727
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 21:23
  • Fitbit and Git fit exist but not fitgit.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 5:39

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