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Workout Fanservice

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"Woah, look over here
We got a cute little ol' runner to the right
Blue shorts, no shirt
Whoo! Your looking good, darling
That's right, stay in shape"
K.T. Oslin, "Younger Men"
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An athletic character working out or practicing a sport is an excellent opportunity for Fanservice. It gives ample opportunity to watch sweaty bodies in constant motion, labored breathing, 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 persuade his girlfriend to join him. They don't have to be muscular, either (though they often are)—they just have to be working out. Often they're shirtless, or if the character is female, she's only wearing a sports bra. Even if they aren't shirtless, they're usually wearing very minimal or form-fitting clothing.

Female characters aren't excluded from this either, but it's slightly more common for the character in question to be male. When this trope is used for female characters, expect the women in the gym to be lean, toned, and fairly buffed and muscular, but not overly bulky, and doing exercises such as flexibility training (i.e., Yoga and Pilates), cardio training (i.e., treadmills), and calisthenics (i.e., sit-ups, push-ups, squats, and jumping jacks), in addition to strength training with weights. In addition, when the characters are female, expect their grunts to sound less like they're working out and more like they're having orgasms.

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When they decide to work out, it can easily be justified as their way of training for a fight. They'll need to get their bodies into shape so they get a better handle on the physicality of a fight. It also allows them to wield melee weapons more easily, or it can be his way of honing his superhuman abilities or dealing with stress... but let's face it, we're only really interested in the idea of a bare chested, hot, sweaty, muscly guy or strong, toned, curvy girl sculpting their abs, arms, or legs, or improving his or her game in front of us.

The hottie in question has to perform anything from push-ups and sit-ups, to pull-ups and weight-lifting. Anything from a Shirtless Scene (for men) or a Sports Bra Scene (for women) to being completely nude is certainly optional. When a villain does it, it can overlap with Kingpin in His Gym. Compare Macho Camp, Training Montage, and Hot Men at Work. Workout videos are often Poor Man's Porn for this very reason.

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Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • In the early 2010s, Lucozade did a series of YouTube videos aimed at the British audience called "Sweat Session", featuring well-known sportspeople working out in the gym. The videos themselves were not examples of this. However, the street poster adverts promoting the videos, featuring the very attractive track-and-field athlete Jessica Ennis, definitely were.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bonus images in Attack on Titan have a tendency to show Mikasa working out in a sports bra, revealing both her generous cleavage and ripped abs.
  • There are quite a few scenes in Black Clover of Asta working out shirtless. The twelfth opening "Everlasting Shine" noticeably begins with him doing push-ups shirtless.
  • 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.
  • Sports series by design heavily feature these. Eyeshield 21 is especially shameless about them, particularly with Shin.
  • Food Wars! provides a fair bit of it, in spite of being a cooking manga.
    • The heavily-muscled Gin Doujima stretching in the bath.
    • Senzaemon Nakiri doing pull-ups with ease, displaying his sculpted physique.
    • Ryou Kurokiba, shirtless and doing one-handed push-ups.
    • Azami Nakiri, practicing iaido in a gi just open enough to show the sweat trickling down his chiseled abs.
  • As part of its premise, How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? does this every chapter/episode (except for some questionable angles), with the female characters explaining the exercise of the day while wearing comparatively less clothing (specially in the review segments) and being more sweaty...but the exercises are, in fact, very accurate in real life.
  • Chapter 21 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid begins with The Ojou Lady of War Victoria Dahlgrün working out in a sports bra and short shorts ensemble. This is in contrast to other characters, who do their exercising in more modest outfits.
  • Episode 3 of The Magnificent Kotobuki opens with Leona doing sit-ups in just a sports bra and panties; Zara is also there, not working out, but wearing lingerie for no apparent reason. This is also one of the few times the show uses hand-drawn animation.
  • Captain Mizuki from One-Punch Man is a former track-and-field champion turned hero, and her entire gimmick is themed around athletics. This includes her costume, which seems designed to show off her incredibly toned muscles as she fights.
  • Prison School has this on often with Meiko Shiraki.
  • Kogami receives this in the third episode of Psycho-Pass where we get to see his well-trained body and abs as well as the sweat layering all over him.
  • SHWD:
    • The very first page is a scene of Sawada doing push-ups in a sports bra, with lots of focus given to her sweaty, muscular arms. Episode 2 features a similar scene, this time focusing on her doing lat pull downs, conveniently showcasing her toned abs.
    • The side-story "Sports Day Edition" features Koga and Sawada competing against each other in various physical activities like tennis and judo, culminating in an intense MMA match with lots of focus given to both of their ripped bodies.
  • Episode 28 of Soul Eater has a brief scene of Dr. Stein training shirtless, and we get many loving close-up shots of his sweaty, muscular body. Fangirls were delighted.
  • This is the primary fanservice found in Tokyo Ghoul, with both Kaneki and Amon getting scenes involving little clothing and a lot of sweat.
  • This trope is one of the main selling points of Training with Hinako.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • The Star Wars fic "Voyeurs'' starts out as this, then turns into Waterfall Shower. Luke comes in from his morning run in sweaty pants and a sleeveless shirt, then takes a shower in a waterfall.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, after the Fuchsia Gym, Iris decides that their group needs to train to become stronger and sharper. While Misty is mildly annoyed by the harsh training regime, she does find a fringe benefit in watching Ash working out.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: After detecting that her powers as Supergirl are making her an Amazonian Beauty, Asuka Langley Sohryu starts to use the gym at NERV headquarters to "justify" the muscles on her frame, and Shinji decides to accompany her. As a result, many scenes involve Shinji or Asuka working out and taking a peek at the other pilot.
  • My Huntsman Academia frequently features this in the side story, particularly with Izuku and Yang, the two bruisers of their respective teams. Yang in particular gets a kick out of admiring him as his spotter, giving her eyefuls of his sweat-drenched clothes that cling to his hard-earned muscles.
  • In the first installment of Skyhold Academy Yearbook, Evvy goes to the school gym to find Cullen, and Bull (the boys' gym teacher) advises her that he's in the weight room. He also offers to lock the door, which she finds a bit confusing until she walks in and discovers her boyfriend lifting weights, shirtless. She manages to record a little bit on her phone to show Dorian, as they enjoy Eating the Eye Candy together.

    Film 
  • In The Avengers (2012), 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 in Anchorman by inviting Veronica into his office when he's "sculpting [his] 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".
  • Straight ladies and gay guys must have loved seeing Bruce Wayne working out in both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises.
  • The detention scenes in the 1976 and 2013 adaptations of Carrie seem to exist mainly to feature a gaggle of high school girls wearing tiny gym shorts doing stretches and squats, all while Betty Buckley (in 1976) or Judy Greer (in 2013) serves as their Drill Sergeant Nasty in similarly tiny shorts.
  • Carry On Cruising had Flo and Gladys trying to impress a gym teacher on their cruise after watching him exercise in the ship's gym.
  • In Die Hard 2, Colonel Stuart (played by William Sadler) is introduced doing some martial arts, which he later uses to fight the hero. What makes it this trope is that he's completely naked for no reason, though the audience only sees him from the back.
  • Final Destination 2: Kat gets a brief scene where she's on the treadmill, talking to her mother on a headset and wearing spandex sweat pants and a tank top and opposed to her usual pantsuit.
  • 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.
  • In Gigli, we get Jennifer Lopez doing yoga with only a pair of shorts and a sports bra while carrying a conversation with Ben Affleck. For J-Lo fans, it's probably one of the few good things about this Box Office Bomb.
  • Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II: In gym class Monica wears a somewhat tight spandex outfit, although she's not the focus of the scene.
  • Holidays: In Valentine's Day Maxine and the other girls have an extended sequence in their swim suits as they train, with all of them being attractive young women.
  • In Killer Diller (2004), Vernon's out-of-shape dad likes to watch workout videos of sweaty, muscular women.
  • The 1987 Slasher Film Killer Workout is set in a health club and features multiple aerobics classes that have been choreographed like lap dances, and features closeups on the butts and breasts of the fit young women in skintight aerobic outfits.
  • In The Kissing Booth 2 a girl shows Elle a video of Marco working-out, including close-ups of his muscled chest. She begins talking at-length about his attractiveness, not realizing she's broadcasting this to the entire school.
  • Will Smith's character Neville starts out his day in I Am Legend with a big shirtless workout. So does his dog.
  • Pitch Perfect: Aubrey gets a brief scene doing stretches in yoga pants.
  • Played for Laughs in one of the Police Academy films. Callahan is working out in the gym, causing the men to be Distracted by the Sexy, including one guy who is supposed to be spotting for his friend, leaving the friend to be trapped under the weights he's lifting.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: First shot we see of Sarah Connor, she's doing chin-ups off an overturned bed.
    • To be sure, this is less about fan service and more about showing how Connor has become The Determinator.
  • The classroom version of the anti-drug Afterschool Special episode "Stoned" has Mike pushing iron shirtless.
  • Tough Guys: Archie visits a gym primarily frequented by women in spandex doing a lot of stretching. Archie finds himself staring at the crotch of one woman doing leg stretching exercises.
  • Weird Science opens with Gary and Wyatt ogling the girls gymnastics practice in the gym, with plenty of close-ups on leotard clad butts as the girls straddle the pommel horse, etc.

    Literature 

    Live Action TV 
  • The 100 Season 3 premiere has Lincoln and Bellamy, the show's two main Mr. Fanservice characters, take part in a shirtless sparring match.
  • Arrow:
    • Oliver had one almost Once an Episode during the first half of the first season, though that amount has gone down a bit as the show has continued. The Fanservice factor is acknowledged In-Universe, as Felicity pretty openly lusts after Oliver during his shirtless workout sessions.
    • And he isn't the only source of that. Diggle, Sarah, and Slade have all provided at least one scene of Workout Fanservice.
    • Lampshaded in "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak". We see the customary training sequences of Roy learning escrima from Oliver, Thea learning kendo from Malcolm, and Laurel getting boxing lessons from Ted Grant ...immediately followed by Felicity struggling to do situps in front of her TV (not that anyone minds).
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) engaged in this in gender-neutral style, with shots of both Lee working out Shirtless and Kara doing so shirtless other than a sports bra.
  • Hal from Being Human likes to do his press-ups right on time. And shirtlessly.
  • Angel does a lot of shirtless working out in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Begun with the notorious shirtless Tai Chi scene in "Revelations", which was acknowledged as a deliberate example of this trope by Word of God.
  • Charlie's Angels: In this scene from the "Angels in Springtime" episode, Kris goes undercover as an aerobics instructor.
  • CSI: NY came very close to it in "My Name Is Mac Taylor," when Mac was doing his lap swim workout at the gym. (They came quite close in "Corporate Warriors," too, when Mac was brandishing various weapons including a katana while wearing a tight black t-shirt.)
    • Then there was the pole dancing class in "Vigilante."
  • Discussed on Emergency!. In "On Camera", Channel 8 news reporter Paula Hughes has her heart set on getting a lot of footage of Station 51's weightlifting in her "People Who Make the News" segment:
    Paula: Maybe we could get some pictures of you lifting weights later.
    Roy: Sure. Why not? We got a good physical fitness program here at the station.
    Johnny: Yeah.
    Paula: Yeah, I know. You have to take regular tests.
    * ER's Dr. Catherine Banning was introduced to us via her morning workout routine. Despite her attractiveness, this seems to be more to establish her as a kickass character rather than a sexy one.
  • Les Filles d'à côté dealt with the lives of two sets of neighbours and the gym/health club they visited. Lots of scenes are set in the gym and the health club, and offer the "girls next door" and their male neighbours, walking paradigms of 1990's French chic, to show off toned bodies in workout clothing or swimming costumes. the same applies to the troop of extras in the gym. Of course, Everyone Looks Sexier If French: there are no fat, ill-toned or unappealing bodies in the gym. Well, there is one, but Georgette is there for Rule of Funny and to act as an Abhorrent Admirer to central male lead Marc.
  • In-Universe example in Harry and Paul: The recurring character Pik is a gym instructor. The one time we see him doing any instructing, he's helping an attractive woman through a stretching routine, and enjoying it rather more than he should.
  • Duncan's sweaty, extremely sexy kata in one Highlander episode.
  • iZombie: One episode has Major and Rita in the gym, with her Shaking the Rump in spandex while doing exercises and him showing his muscles as he lifts weights. The scene ends with a Sexy Discretion Shot.
  • The Miami Vice episode "Heart of Darkness" opens on the set of a porno, with a sweaty girl working out to music while she waits for the air conditioner repairman to arrive.
  • Murder, She Wrote: Pamela Leeds gets a scene on the exercise bike wearing a tight tank top (the outline of her bra can be seen through the back of it a couple times) and spandex pants.
  • On New Amsterdam (2008), it's established that John likes to swim at the YMCA when it's closed (he has a key, having been one of the original members). Since he's alone he can swim the old-fashioned way—i.e., naked.
  • Power Rangers Time Force: Jen is played by a model and wears a sports bra while practicing martial arts, complete withe some close-ups.
  • Sons of Anarchy: One of the first scenes in the series 7 premiere shows Juice doing pushups in the nude. The scene itself has no bearing to the plot and mainly exists to show off Juice's toned, muscular body.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "The Price", Dr. Crusher and Counselor Troi chat during a workout that involves lots of bending over and stretching in space leotards.
  • 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.
  • The X-Files: Especially in the early seasons, Agent Fox Mulder was seen jogging, running in the stadium, or swimming a lot. His red speedo is legendary among his Estrogen Brigade fans.
  • Some TV shows supposedly based around fitness have been accused of being just excuses to deliver this:
    • There was an Australian TV series called Aerobics Oz Style, which was supposedly for the audience to exercise along to. However, the performers' skimpy dress, and some of the choreography and camera direction, raised much suspicion that it was more for the audience to... "exercise" to.
    • There was a similar series in the '80s called ":20 Minute Workout". It aired very early (around 5 a.m) and featured very hot models performing basic calisthenics to a musical background.
    • Aerobicise was an early 1980s workout show on TV. Lots of interesting angles on two to four hot women "demonstrating" workout techniques in a White Void Room.
    • The 1980s French show Gym Tonic always ended with the two (female) hosts taking a shower, with nothing to hide their bodies while they showered. That sequence was briefly removed for two weeks, viewers uproar (mostly males) ensued, and it was quickly put back in.
  • This ''Nine News Now'' segment on good-looking men has guys working out with their shirts off.
  • NCIS: During combat training in "The Bone Yard", McGee gets Distracted by the Sexy when he sees Kate doing warm-up exercises and comments on how flexible she is to Tony. Unfortunately to him, she overhears, which earns him a Groin Attack during their sparring match.

    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.
  • The music video for Eric Prydz's remix of "Call on Me" depicts a man in an otherwise all-female aerobics class, clearly enjoying the rather suggestive thrusting and grinding of the exercise routine.
  • The video for Tanya Tucker's "Hangin' In" features multiple muscular men pushing iron by the beach wearing just square cut swimming trunks.
  • "Get a Grip" by Semisonic had a video mostly consisting of people — mainly women — working out at the gym. Complete with rather suggestive closeups. Fittingly, it's a song about A Date with Rosie Palms.
  • Scandroid's cover of "Shout" by Tears for Fears. Extremely '80s, extremely fanservice-y.

    Pinball 
  • Future Spa shows a bevy of flawlessly sculpted men and women as they work out and hone their perfect bodies.

    Tabletop Games 
  • An in-universe version in a cut portion of GURPS IOU. Classes for the Department of Zen Aerobics consist of sitting in Lotus Position, watching aerobics on television. Despite the lack of any practical use for the classes, they are quite popular. (Unfortunately, the department was trimmed from the final version.)

    Video Games 
  • This is how we're introduced to Berri in Conker's Bad Fur Day, doing aerobics at home with headphones on while Conker tries to call her on the phone.
  • Final Fantasy
    • Final Fantasy VII Remake: The gym at Wall Market has several buff men doing all sorts of workouts in tight clothing. One of the minigames there also has Tifa doing pull-ups at the gym against said gym members, and to get the level 59 keycard at the Shinra building she has to shuffle around and hangs off several light fixtures. The camera angles don't get too gratuitous but the Fanservice is definitely there.
    • For Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix posted a tweet of Estinien doing one-handed pushups while wearing only a Modesty Towel as part of their "Stay Home and Play" campaign.
  • Mass Effect 3
    • James Vega does plenty of pull-ups. This is even lampshaded and considered to be in-universe fanservice - he works out near where gay shuttle pilot Steve Cortez maintains his shuttle and the ship's arsenal, and says "Heh, you know you love the show, Esteban!"
    • There's also Jacob Taylor and his crunches...as Kasumi is fond of pointing out. "Mmm, crrrunches. Lots of crrrunches."
  • In StarTropics, the female guards of SheCola could be seen working out with weights, doing pushups, and complaining about their intensive training routines. Granted it was all 8-bit graphics.
  • Stardew Valley lets you walk in on Alex like this. He apologizes for not wearing a shirt, but nobody was complaining.
  • In Tales of Berseria, Velvet walks in on Rokurou practicing sword swings with no clothes on his upper body in certain skits. Three times.

    Webcomics 
  • Used a few times in El Goonish Shive; notably, in Goonmanji 2 we had Sarah openly ogling a shirtless Noah and Elliot during a pickup game of basketball, and in canon she had a spike of jealousy after meeting a sweaty post-jogging Nanase at the door.
  • Ménage à 3: Resident Ms. Fanservice supreme DiDi is occasionally seen pursuing her fairly intensive regime of exercise. It's not that the comic requires much excuse to show her lightly dressed and sweaty, but the effect on other characters and passers-by provides some comedy.
  • Khaos Komix: Invoked when Alex arranges for his crush to walk in on him doing pull-ups with his shirt off. It's enough to kick off a make-out session, although it takes a lot more work before they settle into a Relationship Upgrade.
  • The webtoon Sexercise could be considered a comic based entirely on a cheeky spin on this trope- the premise is a gym where members exercise by having sex with each other. It also features several traditional examples of Workout Fanservice, such as Hyuna ogling Miso as he's lifting weights and Yoona's introduction featuring her using the treadmill with a prominent shot of her toned abs and thighs.

    Web Videos 
  • Ozzy Man Reviews: "Women's Exercises" is a video of sexy women doing various sport activities or working out. There's dancing, doing "spreadies", swinging things or playing tennis (hitting a ball is not required). Described as "Me critical analysis of women's exercises. Fascinating, compelling viewing."

    Other 
  • Many exercise videos by female celebrities are accused of being this, to the point that people who actually want to exercise complain that the fanservice gets in the way of being able to see the exercises properly. At their height in the '80s and '90s, many people regarded them as more or less Poor Man's Porn, with a large Periphery Demographic of young men who wanted to see Jane Fonda in a skintight leotard or Suzanne Somers in a sports bra.
  • Even though Kathy Smith is an actual fitness trainer, her late 1980s and early 1990s workout videos became fanservice for the same reasons as the above, owing to her voluptuous figure clad in a tight leotard.
  • And Jillian Michaels is Kathy Smith's modern-day counterpart.
  • Shape Up For Sensational Sex shows models and porn stars doing pseudo-erotic exercises that are designed to get the viewer in shape so that he or she can have mind-blowing sex. Each exercise in the video is designed for a particular sexual position.
  • Many videos of professional and amateur bodybuilders training shirtless are uploaded on YouTube on a daily basis. Although some seem to only have the intention to show how the muscles work, others are a more blatant fanservice.
  • This video shows adult film star Samantha Strong jogging.

    Real Life 
  • Many major beach cities have "muscle beaches" and one of their main attractions are muscle boys lifting weights in speedos.

 
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Day At The Gym

Jill Day watches sweaty bodybuilders James Lawrie and Johnny Issacs lift weights in speedos.

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