i thought "athlete" generally referred to those who perform in track and field style events, so sprinters, high jumpers etc.
that's why athletic usually refers to the type of body that most track and field performers have
and i'm sure that's probably not the Oxford English Dictionary definition, but when given a choice between "athletic" and "muscular", you'd have to be obtuse not to understand what was meant by athletic
perhaps some examples of people on a sort of sliding scale from skinny to all out jacked up so for the benefit of those of you getting your knickers in a twist.
Peter Crouch (skinny)
David Beckham (toned athletic sort of guy)
Any big second row forward (muscly but also just generally big lads with a bit of fat on them)
Brock Lesnar (20 stone of jacked up lean beef)
the general recognisable trend would be that they're generally slim and muscularly defined without being too muscular
The thing I think of when I hear "athletic body" is the body of an athlete.
a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill.
Origin: 1520–30; < L āthlēta < Gk āthlētes, equiv. to āthlē- (var. s. of āthleîn to contend for a prize, deriv. of âthlos a contest) + -tēs suffix of agency.
Wow stop being awkward people, it's obvious what he means. In other words toned vs hench body builder physique.