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Going To The Gym ESL Lesson

Comedy: Has Anyone Been To The Gym Recently?

Student Level


Video Length: 4:47

Updated on: 05/09/2024

Lesson Time: 1–2 hrs.

1 Credit

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Going To The Gym ESL Lesson Description

*Please note that the video contains one instance of profanity. Viewer discretion is advised.


This ESL lesson on going to the gym provides activities, PDF worksheets, and digital materials designed for intermediate - upper intermediate B1-B2 students. In this lesson, students will:

  • Engage in detailed discussions about fitness activities
  • Learn phrasal verbs and phrases related to fitness activities
  • Watch a comedy stand-up performance about going to the gym
  • Use imperative verbs/phrases to express etiquette rules of fitness activities
  • Learn and use a variety of idioms related to expressing annoyances


In the first part of this ESL lesson on going to the gym, students compare 5 different categories of fitness activities, such as team sports, cardio, strength training, mind-body practices, and martial arts. They compare the benefits of doing these types of physical exercises.

Then, they engage in a discussion about fitness activities they prefer doing, how consistently they do the exercises, and any goals they’d like to reach in each one.

In the second part, students do a matching activity on some verbs and phrasal verbs related to fitness. These include "to stretch out", "to sprint", and "to hone in on". Finally, in the third part, students imagine that a man named Sebastian is jogging on a treadmill at the gym. A guy near Sebastian is behaving in an unusual way. Students discuss ideas about what the other guy could be doing that is distracting or bothering Sebastian.


During the viewing activity, students watch a stand-up comedy performance by a comedian named Sebastian Maniscalco. In the stand-up performance, Sebastian details a recent experience he had while running on a treadmill at a gym. He describes a man who picks a treadmill next to him and displays some unusual and bothersome behaviors.

In the activities, students list the events of Sebastian’s story in order, as well as answer some questions based on his story. There is also a part for students to compare the predictions they made in the third preview part of the lesson.


In the viewing follow-up, students engage in discussions and reflections related to Sebastian’s stand-up show.

They continue on to an activity focused on a list of unspoken rules of running on the treadmill. They imagine Sebastian wrote these rules. In the activity, students complete the rules using some imperative verbs and phrases such as: “Don’t…” , “Refrain from…” , “Make sure to…” among a few others. In the third exercise, students discuss some questions about the use of the imperative voice along with these verbs and phrases.


In the activation phase, students get two options. In the first option, students apply some of the imperative phrases and verbs in practice. They write their own fitness etiquette rules for an activity or hobby of their choice. Students then play a basic guessing game. They should describe the fitness etiquette rules they wrote to a classmate or their teacher, and then students must guess which activity they chose.

In the second option, students learn and practice some idioms for expressing annoyances. Some of these idioms include:

  • I can’t stand it when…
  • It drives me insane when…
  • It rubs me the wrong way when…
  • It ticks me off when…

Students complete Sebastian’s list of etiquette rules for running on the treadmill at the gym using these phrases. They then engage in conversations with a classmate or their teacher. They use these idioms, along with the imperative verbs and phrases they learned earlier, to talk about a fitness activity or hobby they do.


Creativity: The activation phase allows students to apply their learning creatively by writing their own fitness etiquette rules and using idioms to express annoyances.

Speaking Practice: Students discuss a variety of topics about their fitness preferences, goals, and experiences. The lesson gives them plenty of opportunities for speaking practice and fluency development.

Entertaining Content: With engaging activities, relatable content, and humor from the stand-up comedy performance, students are likely to find the lesson enjoyable and memorable.

Video Description

Sebastian Maniscalco shares a story about his most recent visit to the gym. He runs on the treadmill, and the guy next to him totally screws him up. Sebastian finds it hard to focus on his jog while a grown is facing him doing side-skips on the treadmill!

Lesson Activities


Fitness Activities, Annoyances, Stand-up Comedy


Event Sequencing, Short Answers, Prediction Check


Verbs/Phrasal Verbs, Imperative Verbs/Phrases, Idioms


Imperative Voice


Unspoken Fitness Etiquette Rules, Idioms, Quiz & Review, Lesson Reflection

Lesson Topics

Fitness, Gym, Exercise, Comedy

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