Haz el bien, y no mires a quién. -Spanish Proverb

A gym rat in Europe

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The gym. Perhaps the number one thing those who know me associate me with. I’m sometimes even called a “gym rat,” which isn’t exactly the most charming nickname, but I do prefer it to “bimbo.” It’s true, I love the gym. I’m a fitness instructor, and even the fact that the gym is my workplace hasn’t ruined it for me. When I pictured my semester in Europe, I thought for sure I’d be sweatin’ it at a gym at least a few times a week, and maybe even guest-instructing some Pilates class or something like that (ha.)

Wrong. The gym situation in Europe is astoundingly different than in the US. I personally don’t know of one college student here, local or foreign, who hits up a gym on a regular basis. That’s a big change from the 60-70% of my friends at home that do. There is a mediocre gym at our university that we can get a membership for, but I fear that riding 30 minutes on the bus home soaked in sweat would cause me to get even more stares of disapproval than I’m willing to cope with. There are a handful of gyms near my apartment, but the membership prices are outrageous, and they appear to me to be strictly for serious athletes. I think if I entered one, I would feel completely out of place in a gym for the first time in my life.

So what does a gym rat do without a gym? Well, for the first month or so that I was here, I was so exhausted by the amount of walking, getting lost, and dealing with my life being in a different language that going to a gym was almost out of the question. As I’ve settled into my life here, I’ve incorporated workouts into 3-4 days of my week. I run very regularly–Getxo is a very active-lifestyle-friendly place with plenty of running/cycling paths. I also do some small workouts in my room at home–lots of abs of course, and a little “muscle pump-esque” type stuff, which makes me feel super cool while alone in my room…

The Getxo lighthouse, along the path I take on most of my runs

As I’ve said before, the lifestyle here is simply WAY more active so regular sweat sessions at a gym just become less necessary. Several 20-30 minute walks per day have become a normal part of my lifestyle. In summary, walking everywhere and a few small workouts per week have just allowed me  to “break even” with the amount of dark chocolate, gummy candy and red wine I consume.

I miss hard workouts, and I miss teaching classes even more. I just have to keep reminding myself that my time here is short, and I should embrace the lifestyle here while I can. I will be back to being “Abs Megan” in no time.

As I write to you, I am finishing up the last of my packing for my two-week sabbatical around Europe. I’m kicking it off in Paris, then hitting up Dusseldorf, Cologne, Amsterdam, London, and finishing the break with a ladies’ weekend in Barcelona. Hopefully I don’t forget all the Spanish I’ve learned!

Until next time….Au revoir! Auf Wiederschauen! Tot ziens! Goodbye! Adios!


Author: meggr

American expat in Spain. tech enthusiast. fitness fanatic. eclectic musicophile. wine and coffee aficionado.

One thought on “A gym rat in Europe

  1. Bummer that you won’t get to check out the equipment they use at the facilities in Europe. But I guess the real lesson learned is that the lifestyle in Europe is WAY different and that there are methods to maintain ones’ weight without working out in a facility as fabulous as the Wellness Center! Then again, they don’t have winters like we do 🙂

    Can’t wait till you get back and can be “Abs Megan” again, I know they miss you!

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