Yoked, jacked, shredded, swole: there are a hundred different ways to describe a muscle-bound person. But which are you?
If you’ve been sitting at home agonising over the perfect word to describe your physique on your dating profile (jacked vs ripped, what’s the difference!?), we’ll do our best to shed a little light on the subject and guide you through the dense forest that is gym lingo.
A caveat, before we begin: language is subjective! One person’s idea of a swole body type may look positively shredded to somebody else, and a third person may well turn up their nose and declare the physique in question as nothing more than skinny-fat.
So—be aware that pretty much whatever you say, you’re likely to find people who disagree with you (unless, of course, you’re so monumentally yoked that nobody dares).
Now, let’s dive in.
What does swole mean?
To be swole is to be beefy as hell; swollen, if you will. You may find yourself feeling swole after a particularly punishing workout, followed by a large, protein-rich meal.
We’re talking cannonball muscles, a broad chest and a neck like a bull. Be warned: if you get swole, you’ll have a nightmare finding jeans that fit. They just never have the necessary give in the thighs. It’s a struggle.
See: Brad Pitt in Troy
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Are you shredded?
When it comes to shredded vs swole, everybody has their own preference, and there’s not necessarily any best option.
The main pre-requisite for being shredded is having a low body fat percentage. We’re talking sub-10%. Beyond that, you need a good amount of muscle to provide definition.
If you want to be labelled as shredded, you need to look as though you’ve just been sent through a vacuum-packing machine on a conveyor belt.
We’re talking abs for days.
See: erm… Brad Pitt in Fight Club
What does yoked mean?
If you’re getting yoked, you’re getting strong. You don’t have mega definition, and you probably don’t have abs, but you can deadlift like there’s no tomorrow.
Your traps and shoulders will be well developed, and your neck will be the diameter of the average person’s thigh. Nobody will be asking you if you lift—they can tell just from looking that you’re serious about the gym. When you’re yoked bodybuilding comes naturally.
What is a meathead?
If you’re a meathead, you’re the kind of gym-nut who loves nothing more than lifting heavy weights and guzzling protein to maximise your size.
Body fat isn’t a concern—it’s all about getting big. With bulging biceps and an X-shaped physique, you’ll know if you’re a meathead, because your friends will call you it affectionately.
And you’ll secretly love it, of course.
What is a gym rat?
A gym rat is someone who spends all their free time in the gym. You’ll see them as soon as you go in, swaggering between machines, loving every second, hungry for their next fix of iron.
They’re always there, morning, noon and night, and they’re impossible to miss.
The giveaway is the backwards-facing baseball cap.
What is a gorilla?
First used by Snooki in the TV show Jersey Shore, ‘gorilla’ describes a certain type of body, typically one which has been sculpted by focusing entirely on the upper body and ignoring legs.
Also Read: How to build muscle
A gorilla will only train show muscles, ignoring ones that don’t look impressive to their friends.
Don’t be a gorilla, my friends!
What is a bro-lifter?
Another name you probably don’t want to hear, a bro-lifter is someone who lifts for aesthetics alone and focuses solely on arms, abs and chest.
For a bro-lifter, it’s all about getting those biceps as inhumanly massive as possible. Morning: curls. Afternoon: curls. Evening: curls. Before bed? Guess what: curls.
What is a beef-cake?
More common in the 1950s, the term beef-cake refers to anybody who is muscular with a healthy amount of body fat alongside it.
If you’re a meathead, you’re probably also a beef-cake. Beef-cake, however, is more of a term of endearment than meathead. Y
ou could, in theory, get into an argument with somebody in the street and yell something like ‘get out of my face you meathead’. You could not, however, get into an argument in the street and yell ‘get out of my face you beefcake’. It’s just too damn flattering.
What does skinny-fat mean?
Skinny-fat people have a low enough muscle mass that it makes the very small amount of fat they do have on them look disproportionately large.
This may manifest itself as very thin arms, a flat chest, a narrow back, and yet some fat retained around the stomach.
Also Read: Should you bulk or cut?
Skinny-fat isn’t something any self-respecting gym-goer ever wants to hear referring to their own physique!
What does buff mean?
Meh, what doesn’t buff mean? If you’re buff it looks as though you have, at some point in your life, lifted something, but that’s about it.
It’s a term of endearment, but not a particularly strong one. Being called buff is pleasant enough, but not in the same realm that being called shredded, jacked or ripped is.
If you’re starting out your gym journey with a skinny-fat body type, you’ll pass through a buff stage as you journey merrily towards yoke-ville.
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