13 Made-Up Words You Might Hear at the Gym

Featured Article, Fitness
on May 2, 2013

Last month, famous foodie Mark Bittman (a.k.a. “The Minimalist”) premiered a new monthly New York Times column called “The Flexitarian.” Once a made-up mash-up of “flexible” and “vegetarian”—used to describe the practice of eating meatless a few days a week—“flexitarian,” he notes, is now shorthand for the type of healthy diet experts almost universally recommend. And to seal its place in the health vernacular, flexitarian was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2012.

But it’s hardly the only mashed-up word (or “portmanteau,” to be precise) you’re likely to hear when you’re sweating on the treadmill or browsing the aisles at Whole Foods. Here are a few more:

Dreadmill: Slang term for treadmill often used by runners or non-exercisers to express how boring they find the indoor device.

Stoup: A cross between soup and stew, popularized by queen of made-up words, Rachael Ray.

Yogatude: A derogatory term for that look of disdain you get from the super-serious dude on the next mat when you giggle in class or express your desire for a cheeseburger.

Manscaping: Male grooming rituals, particularly hair removal; immortalized in Morgan Spurlock’s 2012 documentary Mansome.

Choga: Yoga that’s done when sitting in a chair.

Exerscuse: A handy term to describe the excuses you make for not exercising, i.e. “I forgot my headphones,” or “My pinkie toe hurts.”

Tofurkey: A turkey substitute made from tofu or seitan, popular with vegetarians and vegans at Thanksgiving—but no one else.

Glamping: A “glamorous camping” excursion for the likes of J. Lo, with more creature comforts like bungalow tents, hot showers and fancy gadgets.

Locavore: A person who eats food primarily from local sources (and won’t let you forget it); eating locally is also sometimes referred to as the “100-mile diet.”

Exergaming: A type of video game that gets you up off your duff, i.e. Dance Dance Revolution or Wii Fit.

Zennis: A hybrid of yoga and tennis, which typically involves 20 minutes of yoga and breathing exercises designed for tennis players, definitely not invented by John McEnroe.

Chocoholic: A mash-up of “chocolate” and “alcoholic” that dates back to the ‘60s, according to Merriam-Webster. (Though it no longer has quite the stigma, since we now know chocolate can be good for you.)

Piloxing: A workout that combines Pilates and boxing, founded (like, let’s face it, most trendy workouts) in Hollywood.

Nutraceutical: A combination of the words “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical” used to describe both vitamin supplements as well as foods fortified with added vitamins. Though it’s official-sounding, the U.S. government does not regulate use of the word, so anyone can market their products as such.