How to use English idioms – Back into shape

Back into shape…

Getting ‘back into shape’ typically refers to returning to one’s former state of health. To get back into shape would involve exercise. When you hear this idiom spoken, the speaker will likely be referring to exercise. This expression however, is not limited to exercise or returning to one’s former state of health.


Referring to education a student whose grades have suffered and need improvement, could say ‘I need to get my grades back into shape’. Or perhaps, a teacher might say of her students: ‘I’ve allowed my students to fall behind in their courses. It’s my goal to get themback into shape this semester’.


A coach of a sports team might notice that his team has been performing badly in the last few games. He may say, referring to his team, ‘My team has not been performing well these last few games. I’m going to whip them back into shape!’


When using this to refer to yourself and your fitness or health goals, you could say ‘This has been a horrible year for my health. It’s time for me to get back into shape!’. Around new years many people set goals for themselves. Often the goals they set are related to fitness and health. Referring to your ‘new years’ goals, you could say ‘My new years goal for 2016 is getting back into shape


You could also use ‘back into shape’ to refer to objects instead of people. A homeowner might look at the bad state of his home and say ‘My home has seen a lot of wear. It’s going to take a lot of work to get it back into shape’.
A mechanic might look at a customers car and tell him ‘Your vehicle is in rough shape. Give me a couple of days with it. I’ll get it back into shape for you’.