Fixing Fit’s Writing Tips and Style Guide Column: Inaugural Edition, September 29, 2022

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s no one answer for how everyone should work out. There are many great options for everyone! Here on Fixing Fit, our goal isn’t to tell you what to do—we just want to give you some guidelines on how to do what you’re doing even better and how to avoid suffering and injury while you do it.

The same is true of our writing guidelines. These tips can help you bring your fitness writing to its peak performance, should you choose to adopt them. Language is subjective, and one writer’s workout is another writer’s work out. While these are best practices we recommend based on standard industries, the number one rule: consistency is key. If you pick what some might think is a “wrong way,” do it with confidence, and do it the same way, following the same rule you believe, every time in the same article (or throughout all of your published work, barring a publication’s editor’s adapting your work to their style guide).

Consistency? Confidence? Subjective experience without strict right-and-wrong rules? A lot of this should sound familiar—working out your words is a lot like building muscle or progressing in your fitness!

This Edition’s Commonly Confused Words:

workout (n.) / work out (v.)

heel (the back of your foot) / heal (recover from injury)

psoas (more easily pronounced than spelled! Here are the phonemes to make it sound cooler than it feels to try to release it with a lacrosse ball: sō-əs)

lead (as a verb this is pronounced to rhyme with “bleed” only present tense; as a noun, it is a soft and toxic metal) / led (this is the past tense of lead and rhymes with “bled”).

Fun fact about lead/led: “[T]hat messed-up verb is, I’d say, the commonest typo to get into print,” according to Benjamin Dreyer, the copy chief of Random House, in a recent New York Times op-ed.