Created By: Serocco on July 17, 2012 Last Edited By: Serocco on July 25, 2012
Troped

Workout Fanservice

Hot, muscular men working out.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
An athletic character working out is an excellent opportunity of Fanservice. It gives ample opportunity of sweaty bodies in constant motion, of labored breathing, of muscle flexing...

This is a very common way to introduce stealth fanservice in works where it would otherwise be jarring to the audience, and it is especially popular in action movies or Shōnen anime, where it makes it easier for the guy to convince his girlfriend to join him. They don't have to be muscular, either (though they often are) - they just have to be working out. Nor do they have to be shirtless, but they certainly don't have to not be either. Female characters aren't excluded from this either, but it's more common for the character in question to be male.

When they decide to work out, it can easily be justified as their way of training for a fight. They'll need their bodies into shape so they gets a better handle on the physicality of a fight. It also allows them to wield melee weapons easier, or it can be their way of honing his superhuman abilities... but lets face it, we're only really interested in the idea of a hot, sweaty, muscly guy or girl sculpting their abs in front of us.

The guy/girl in question has to perform anything from push-ups and sit-ups, to pull-ups and weight-lifting. Being complete in the nude is certainly optional. Compare Macho Camp and Training Montage.
  • Will Smith's character Neville starts out his day in I Am Legend with a big shirtless workout. So does his dog.
  • Aerobicise was an early 1980s workout show on TV; it was also Poor Man's Porn. Lots of interesting angles on two to four hot chicks "demonstrating" workout techniques in a White Void Room.
  • Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach had a very brief scene in the anime where he made a couple of push-ups without a shirt. This was during the Soul Society arc, when he was training to get Bankai.
  • Soundscape has Aloysius Thonnergan sculpting his abs in a gym. A bunch of girls took notice rather quickly. One even straddled him while taking pictures of his abs.
  • CSI: NY came very close to it in 'My Name Is Mac Taylor', when Mac was doing his lap swim workout at the gym.
  • James Vega does plenty of pull-ups in Mass Effect 3.
  • Supernatural: In "The Third Man," Sam starts his day with some push-ups, some sit-ups, and some pull-ups, keeping himself in shape for hunting demons, monsters, and spirits. Though the focus is mainly on his back, upper chest, and biceps during the workout, we get some lingering shots of his abs above his low-cut jeans (yes, he worked out in the jeans) post workout.
  • In The Avengers, Captain America is introduced with a loving shot of his body and ass while he was working out his frustrations on a series of punching bags.
  • Ron Burgundy tries to invoke this on Anchorman by inviting Veronica into his office when he's "sculpting my guns". It doesn't work because his body betrays the fact that he doesn't work out that much, and because he keeps referring to his arms as "guns".
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes has the incredibly beefy number "Ain't Anyone Here For Love?", which has Jane Russell wandering through a team's workout room.
  • The video for Olivia Newton-John's song "Physical" started out and ended with multiple handsome, muscular men working out, including several Fanservice shots.
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • July 17, 2012
    Papermachevolcano
    Is this only when he's training for a fight or just whenever he's working out?
  • July 17, 2012
    Serocco
    Either works out.

    If he's just working out, it only counts if he admits that he wants to attract some attention, or if he says that it's a hobby.
  • July 17, 2012
    Papermachevolcano
    It needs a new title, this one isn't very specific.
  • July 17, 2012
    Serocco
    What would you propose?
  • July 17, 2012
    captainpat
    could this be expanded to female characters as well?
  • July 17, 2012
    Serocco
    Only if they're muscular as well.
  • July 18, 2012
    NightNymph
    ^^^^^Serocco, why those particular restrictions? What if the character generally has to be in shape due to his job/way of life? The example I am thinking of is Sam Winchester in an episode of Supernatural, but his workout session was not for any particular reason except to keep in shape for being a hunter - and because being soulless at the time, he was likely a bit arrogant about his looks and about his strength as a hunter. He did impress the call girl he was with, but he didn't seem to be all that interested in doing so (he dismissed her out of hand). (see here for the example - workout starts at about 57 seconds).
  • July 19, 2012
    captainpat
    Yea some of this feels unnecessarily restrictive. IMO, the point is workout scenes make good fanservice fodder because it's good reason to show off the character little clothes and use Male Gaze or Female Gaze to highlight their body. Whether or not they're muscular (though male characters often are) is irrelevant and the reason behind it is also unnecessary.
  • July 19, 2012
    Serocco
    Sll right, I'll tone down the restrictions.
  • July 19, 2012
    NightNymph
    Thanks Serocco. I like the additions, too. I can expand my example if need be since it should fit now - episode title for example. Just let me know.
  • July 19, 2012
    Serocco
    Go ahead.
  • July 20, 2012
    NightNymph
    Supernatural: In "The Third Man," Sam starts his day with some push-ups, some sit-ups, and some pull-ups, keeping himself in shape for hunting demons, monsters, and spirits. Though the focus is mainly on his back, upper chest, and biceps during the workout, we get some lingering shots of his abs above his low-cut jeans (yes, he worked out in the jeans) post workout.
  • July 20, 2012
    Serocco
    Is that the anime or the live action TV show?
  • July 20, 2012
    MorganWick
    There's at least one Madonna music video that makes use of this.
  • July 20, 2012
    NightNymph
    ^^ The live action TV show - in season 6. (You can see the above clip for the eye candy).
  • July 20, 2012
    kjnoren
    What about calling this Fanservice Workout? It tells that this is a fanservice trope, and what type of activity is implied.

    Some notes for the description:

    An athletic character working out is an excellent opportunity of Fanservice. It gives ample opportunity of sweaty bodies in constant motion, of laboured breathing, of satisfaction...

    This is a very common way to introduce stealth fanservice in works where it would otherwise be jarring to the audience, and it is especially popular in action movies, where it makes it easier for the guy to convince his girlfriend to join him.

    Example:

    Film:
    • In The Avengers, Captain America is introduced with a loving shot of his body and ass while he was working out his frustrations on a series of punching bags.
  • July 21, 2012
    Serocco
    That can work.

    I re-worked the description an the title. How is it ti you?
  • July 21, 2012
    Nekojin
    I'd reverse that, and call it Workout Fanservice personally.
  • July 21, 2012
    captainpat
    It description also needs to be clear that this also includes female characters.
  • July 21, 2012
    Serocco
    Done. What do you think?
  • July 22, 2012
    Arivne
    Music Videos
    • The video for Olivia Newton-John's song "Physical" started out and ended with multiple handsome, muscular men working out, including several Fanservice shots.

    Watch it here.
  • July 22, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Why limit it to males? We see people working out, and if it's clearly presented as something hot, then it counts.
  • July 22, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    • Will Smith's character Neville starts out his day in I Am Legend with a big shirtless workout. So does his dog.
  • July 22, 2012
    Rognik
    ^Sadly, the middle included much Fan Disservice. Otherwise, it definitely fits.

    I'm pretty sure there are other music videos that exploit this trope, though none immediately spring to mind.
  • July 22, 2012
    chicagomel
    Does it count if the workout is swimming? CSINY came very close to it in 'My Name Is Mac Taylor', when Mac was doing his lap swim workout at the gym.

    Also, anyone know anything about the workout scene in Rocky? I haven't seen the film, but the "Eye Of The Tiger" scene is fairly well known.
  • July 23, 2012
    kjnoren
    Swimming definitely counts. IIRC, in Rocky he wore sensible baggy clothes, and most shots were from far away.
  • July 23, 2012
    JonnyB
    Compare Macho Camp.
  • July 23, 2012
    kjnoren
    Re the classic Rocky training scene (which definitely is worth watching on Youtube), there is nothing of fanservice that I can detect in it - only close-up shots are of his face and he wears baggy clothes most of the time.

    But we need to include a reference to Training Montage here.
  • July 23, 2012
    captainpat
    Simply saying "there was a scene were a character works out" isn't enough context to prove that an example belongs. There needs to be emphasize on the fanservice part.
  • July 23, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Aerobicise was an early 1980s workout show on TV; it was also Poor Mans Porn. Lots of interesting angles on two to four hot chicks "demonstrating" workout techniques in a White Void Room.
  • July 25, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Ron Burgundy tries to invoke this on Anchorman by inviting Veronica into his office when he's "sculpting my guns". It doesn't work because his body betrays the fact that he doesn't work out that much, and because he keeps referring to his arms as "guns".

    A potential page quote:

    Ron Burgundy: The only way to bag a classy lady is to give her two tickets to the gun show and see if she likes the goods.
  • July 25, 2012
    Duncan
    Gentlemen Prefer Blondes has the incredibly beefy number "Ain't Anyone Here For Love?", which has Jane Russell wandering through a team's workout room. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq-3DSuF2OE

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ilxpcwe0mx4nb80rsd19rvmy