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Describe an activity you do after school or work

Part 2

This episode's vocabulary


  • Routine (noun) - a usual or fixed way of doing things.
  • Regime (noun) -  particular way of operating or organizing a business, etc.
  • To ramp sth up (phrasal verb) - to increase the speed, power, or cost of something.
  • Consistent (adj.) - always behaving or happening in a similar, especially positive, way.
  • To compliment (verb) - to praise or express admiration for someone.
  • Demanding (adj.) - needing a lot of time, attention, or energy/always behaving or happening in a similar, especially positive, way.
  • Self-discipline (noun) - the ability to make yourself do things you know you should do even when you do not want to.

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Questions and Answers


M: Now, Rory here from Scotland, is gonna talk about an activity he does after school or work. He's going to say what it is, where he does it, who he does it with, and he's going to explain how he feels about it. Rory, give us a shout out. Are you ready?

R: Yes.

M: Off you go.

R: Well, it's not every day, but it's regular enough to be like that. And actually, the whole routine takes up my entire week. So I'll go with that. I have an exercise and nutrition routine or regime, I suppose, that I follow every week. That usually involves going to the gym, and also the swimming pool, because there's a swimming pool next to the gym, where I go. I just go by myself, which is probably for the best, since it's quite a detailed and complicated set of instructions and measurements I have to follow. So that's quite important that I keep my concentration. Like I say, it's a regime in every sense of the word. In more detail every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening, after university or work, I go to the gym and follow the instructions set out by my old personal trainer. There's usually a different set of machines and weights to use every day. And this ramps up over the course of the month. There are two key exceptions to this. In the first week of the four, I have to take some lighter exercises and dial the weight back to under a little more, sorry, back to a little under that which I did before. And then in the fourth week, I go to do the same full-body set for each of the three days at a higher weight ratio than before. After all the workouts, regardless of, well, whichever machines I've used, I go to the gym, and then I walk home. Alongside this, I have a smaller set of less intense workouts that I do at home, and I have a diet that I keep pretty consistent to compliment all of my efforts elsewhere. I imagine that sounds quite demanding. But once you get into it's actually quite nice. And you learn to enjoy the process and the progress that you make. In terms of how I feel about it, obviously, if I could take a magic pill instead of spending all that time working out, then I would, but I've learned to enjoy the self-discipline of it all and the results, of course. It's been well worth the effort so far.

M: What about your friends? Do they do anything like that?

R: I have one friend who comes close, but he's a lot more knowledgeable about this than I am. So I suppose he spends less time on it.

M: Thank you, Rory! That was a lovely answer!

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Discussion


M: So, dear listener, the card, the cue card, as they call it. Describe an activity you do after work or school. So if you go to school, then you go home and then you do something. You work, you go home, you do something. Here, the activity should be quite specific. So Rory talked about his workouts. So he does it pretty much every day after work.

R: I'm cheating a bit because it's like a set of activities rather than one activity itself. But it's happening in the same place, so...

M: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, like going to the gym as an activity, right. So working out as an activity is possible. What activities can our listener talk about, that they do after school or work?

R: Well, I mean, not like, I imagine not everybody is as ridiculous with this as me. Most people, you know, they come home and maybe they play video games, or they'll read a book, or they'll make the dinner. This kind of thing.

M: Yes. So cooking.

R: So you could take more pedestrian activities. I just picked one because I don't... There's not really anything I do after work or university that's the same every day. So I was just sort of like, what am I supposed to talk about here? So I find something close. And I went with that. And I did explain like, this isn't exactly what you were looking for. But it's the closest thing I've got. Which is what you would say in a normal conversation, isn't it? You'd be like, oh, I don't have anything like that. But the closest thing if you really want to know is this thing.

M: Yes. Yeah. So you can talk about like your free time activity. Something you do regularly, not every day, but kind of regularly. Because again, describe an activity you do after work or school. What about the weekend? Yeah? So it should be like during the weekdays then.

R: Yeah.

M: Can I talk about watching Netflix? Is it an activity?

R: Yeah, but I don't really know what you would say about that for two minutes. Like I watch Netflix, there's shows on there.

M: Yeah, describe your favorite show, describe the characters. But again, if you can do it, right. And you can talk about your feelings, how you unwind. Sleeping. Can I talk about sleeping in my dreams as an activity?

R: If you remember your dreams, then yes, but not many people do

M: So something like, okay, cooking, doing sports, playing video games, reading. So, dear listener, now choose an activity, but choose an activity that you can talk about. Because depending on this activity, you need to use specific vocabulary for a high score. For example, Rory talked about his workouts in the gym. And he used very specific words to describe these activities. For example, you said that you have an exercise and nutrition routine?

R: Yes. So exercise is obviously, the actions but nutrition is just the eating that you do to support the actions.

M: Wait, what about all the McDonald's that you eat? Or you ate in Moscow?

R: That was part of it.

M: Oh, really? McDonald's was part of the diet?

R: Yes.

M: Does your trainer know?

R: Yes, she actually encouraged it. So blame her, if you want to blame somebody for my rubbish diet. Or formally rubbish.

M: Really? Are you joking?

R: I have a little better diet now. It's not obvious. It doesn't sound like that from my voice, because I have a cold right now. But I do.

M: Okay, how is McDonald's part of the nutrition routine, and diet, and exercise?

R: Well, we were talking about bulking and everything. And so because McDonald's is quite calorie-dense, then that was quite a good idea. But since now that's no longer required. Obviously, I don't eat McDonald's all the time.

M: Because he doesn't have any McDonald's up there in Scotland.

R: We do. We have McDonald's. There's one up the road from my house. But I'm not going there. Because first of all, I'm not eating rubbish anymore. And second of all, it's a long way to walk and I can't be bothered.

M: Right. So I order McDonald's to get delivered to my home. Because I can't be bothered to go there. And Rory stopped eating McDonald's. Interesting. McDonald's, please sponsor our podcast. Give us your money. Rory, we'll start eating McDonald's. So, then you go, like, go to the gym, and swimming pool. Regime. It's a regime.

R: Yes. So like a regime, it's not like a program, which is seen as part of your life. Regime is like overarching. It pervades everything. So we usually talk about like a government, especially an over... What's the word?

M: Authoritarian.

R: Over authoritarian one, overly authoritarian one being a regime, but you can also have a regime for working out which is also pervading your life quite a lot.

M: Interesting, because in Russian, we have a very similar word regime. Regime.

R: Regime. It means the same thing?

M: Yeah, yeah. Also, we can say, military regime.

R: Yeah, it's the same idea.

M: Then you go, in more detail every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after university or work, I go to the gym. Yeah? So you can say the days or every weekday after work I do this. I follow the instructions laid out by my personal trainer. That's a nice one. The instructions laid out by somebody.

R: Yeah. So if something is laid out by someone, it just means that they show you step by step how things are going to work.

M: Then Rory used a very specific vocabulary about being in the gym. So you said like machines, we call them different machines. You know, these thingies.

R: Very specific word.

M: Yeah, they're not like things or like, well, they, we call them machines, machines. And also you say weights.

R: Weights. So the weights are the things that you lift.

M: You lift. Oh, yeah, you lift weights. You also said ramps.

R: Oh, it's a phrasal verb, I think. Ramps up.

M: Oh, ramps up, ramps up. Okay. Okay. Yeah.

R: Which just means to say that it increases, although I should point out because it's phrasal verb you shouldn't really use this in your IELTS essay to describe any graphs or something like that.

M: Yeah, true, true. So you can say the weights are used every day ramp up.

R: Yeah. So, oh, no, the weights, the weights I use everyday ramp up.

M: Yes, the weights ramp up. So I kind of increase the weight of the weights, Jesus.

R: Why is that so hard?

M: You see a very specific. Well, but it's kind of like you increase the weight of the weights. Come on. How isn't this hard? The weight of the weights.

R: That's not hard. It's separated by like what, a preposition and an article. You could say that just fine. It's not like I had.

M: Yeah, yeah, true, true. So you lift weights in the gym.

R: Try to.

M: You use different machines or a set of machines. I go to the swimming pool or I go swimming. And after all the workouts, I go to the swimming pool, for example, yeah. Then you can say, like, less intense workouts or more intense workouts. Have a diet. Yeah? So follow a nutrition routine, have a diet.

R: To have a diet.

M: I really enjoyed when you said about a magic pill.

R: Yes, if I could take a magic pill instead of doing this. Oh, what is that? It's if.

M: And it's the second conditional.

R: Is it the second conditional? If I could I would.

M: It is a second conditional. Yeah, if I could, yeah. Because Rory cannot take a magic pill and make the gym disappear. No, he's imagining. If I could take a magic pill instead of spending all this time working out. A phrasal verb, to work out, to do exercise, I would do it. So really, like if you could avoid going to the gym you would? So you don't enjoy the process much?

R: Well, I like the process because there's a process and you follow it and it works. But if I didn't have to do it, and if I could spend my time doing something more, I don't know, economically productive, then I would.

M: Yeah, it does take a lot of time. And you do it like three times a day. Wow.

R: No, three times a week.

M: Three times, sorry. Three times a day.... Three times a week. So for example, one workout in the gym, and then the swimming pool. How much does it take?

R: It's not actually that bad. It's like two hours. But when you think about it, you have to move between and rest and things like that. So it's not like it's constant.

M: Yes, so you can say that I've learned to enjoy the self-discipline. So yep, self-discipline. Following all the instructions laid out by a personal trainer. Okay. And you can say it's been well worth the effort. It's well worth the effort.

R: Yeah, so that just means that it's been worthwhile, or it's been a good idea to do the thing as intensely as it has been done. So like you could say, it's well worth whatever, well worth the money, well worth the effort, well worth the time. But that just means it's worthwhile.

M: Yeah. You told us about something productive, about something healthy, but also about something active. Do you think like most people do something like that after school or work, or they just prefer to do nothing? Or just Netflix, video games, just you know, social media?

R: Yeah, but you could still talk about it using some of the structure involved and just say, well, you, like start off with well, it's almost every day, or, well, this is as close as I can get to, and then like in more detail to explain more about it. And then alongside this, something that you might do at the same time, for example, and then to explain about your feelings in terms of how you feel about it. So there's still stuff here that you could use, even if you don't do the same thing.

M: Yeah, when you choose an activity, make sure that you actually can describe it. Don't choose an activity that you have no idea what to say about and you don't know the lexis.

R: But hopefully we've given you an idea of what to say.

M: Thank you so much! And we'll see you in the next episode!

R: Yes, we're gonna keep talking about activities. Bye!

M: Bye!

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