A Gym Rat in Pig’s Clothing

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So perhaps I mislead you in the past. I’m not a completely lazy person. Sure I could barely make it up a volcano in Guatemala, I skipped the Inca Trail and I turned around on a trek in Colca Canyon.

This would make you think I’m a complete sloth.

The truth is I have been a gym rat for the last 19 years. I love step class. I love spinning. I love the adrenalin you feel after a class knowing you’ve worked as hard as you possibly can.

I am a gym rat.

It’s a good trait to have when you also love food so much you save bacon fat to cook other things in it.

And while it’s been such a big part of my life I haven’t stepped in a gym since I stepped off the plane in Cancun. 

Like most others who travel I lost weight the first year. But in Argentina where steak, bread and pasta rule I’m been getting a bit round.

MAKE IT AT HOME: Chimichurri Recipe

You know that inch-thick piece of fat you sometimes get on steak? I have that around my whole body.

gym interior

But I’m also not prepared to give up the delicious Buenos Aires lifestyle so there’s only one solution:

I joined Always Club. It’s close to my apartment and runs Les Mills classes which I had in Canada. There is no reason not to go.

My first fitness class I met Andres, yes another Andres (remember 1 and 2?), he’s young, hot and will convince me to get me out of bed at the early hour of 10am.

It’s a win win situation, with both wins being on my side.

spinning class

Each day I learn something new about the Argentina culture. It amuses and confuses me. The gym is no different, for example:

  • My Body Combat is the same as in Canada but they turn out all the lights and turn on flashing coloured lights.
  • Instructors outrageously flirting with participants seems to be welcomed and expected. One spinning instructor helped a girl stretch who giggled the entire time.
  • One woman wearing converse high tops to a spinning class was not new to the class and turned out to be an instructor for a stretching class.
  • My friend Rease saw a woman wearing a backless top with no bra, I have seen full make-up, jewelry, and in some cases skirts instead of shorts.
  • I have already been to a spinning class. It started 15 minutes late because the instructor arrived late and then needed to kiss all the women and say hi to all the men. No one grumbled or looked at the clock. It’s how it’s done here.

But even as I laugh at all of the cultural differences I should give them credit.

The instructors notice that I am new and introduce themselves.  

Andres may believe that I don’t speak Spanish but always calls out my name when he sees me and gives me high fives.

It’s weird but I like it.

Join the Conversation

  1. Christine says:

    I’m a total gym rat too, but I could never join one in France–they’re super expensive and don’t offer much! It seems like women just put on makeup to go and flit around and stretch…not my style. The Australian gym that I joined is really similar to ones from home, but still super expensive! Best part is the view: I look out to the beach from the cardio room 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I really wish I were a runner, then I could stay fit for free but that is never going to happen.

      1. Matthew Karsten says:

        My new discovery for free workouts while traveling: playgrounds.

        A friend showed me how you can have a complete workout using playground equipment. Plus it’s fun!

        People may think you’re a bit insane (or worse), so it’s advised to go super early in the morning when it’s empty. 🙂

  2. Katherina says:

    I’m much more of an outdoors person… but living in Switzerland, I’m combining this with the gym, too. After all, when its snowy or raining outside… I need to have an alternative!

    However, I’m shocked with the prices in Switzerland too… due to my job, I had to choose between a) going during lunch time (nobody takes that pleasure away from me!) or b) subscribing to the most expensive one because its the only one open until 10pm on weekdays.

    I miss spanish standards in this!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Buenos Aires has a lot of free outdoors gym classes and I was going to go to those but its Fall here and starting to get really cold. This gym is just around the corner so I have no excuse!

  3. Adrienne @Shenventure says:

    Loving your cultural observations! 🙂 I should follow your lead and totally work out more. I really really hope I lose weight during our RTW trip. So far it’s not looking like it though… boo 🙁

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I lost weight in the beginning but there is simply too much steak and red wine so the chub was coming back.

  4. Samantha says:

    Little cultural differences are always the best. It keeps you on your toes and more aware of your surroundings…but in a good way. I find it makes you appreciate the little things more. As for joining a gym in a new country, I understand the difficulty. I have yet to get into a regular workout schedule here in Spain and I have been here for 10 months!!! This post is reigniting my motivation to get back to the gym. Thanks!



    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      So happy to motivate people in more than just eating steak!

  5. new one: A spinning instructor handed out candy after the class. Yep, huge bag of caramelos for our reward.

    1. The Travel Chica says:

      Nobody has given me any candy yet 🙁

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Me either, only kisses which are not as good as candy.

  6. jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World says:

    Sounds like a fun gym. See, it doesn’t all have to be about hard work and sweat 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s the first place I really felt like I needed it, even with all the fried food in Colombia the salsa was working it off.

  7. Christine says:

    I took my first spinning class here in Spain, and the instructor kept calling me out in front of the class…awkward! It’s interesting taking a class in a different language, isn’t it?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s helping my vocabulary a bit as I had no idea what rodillas were but knew he wanted them higher 🙂

  8. I was so expecting a different blog when I read your title! So happy it wasn’t what I thought it was……I know how much you love the gym so this is a good thing. Perhaps you will want to go to Acadia with summer while you’re home.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      When I come home we are definitely hitting the gym.

  9. A Kiwi in Chile says:

    Gyms are not my thing. I do however run around behind a ball for an hour or so once or twice a week. Not so much to try and keep in shape (I’m naturally thin and can eat to my heart’s content) but for the fun of it.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I would love to stay somewhere long enough to play soccer again, although I suspect finding a team would be tough as they aren’t too keen on the female-types getting involved in futbol. Every time I tell someone I have played for 20 years they are shocked.

  10. OK.. I confess just looking at those pictures made me tired.

    It should inspire me to get in shape.. but..

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You just need your own version of Andres to get you motivated!

  11. Lol good for you that you’ve joined the gym, I keep promising myself every single day and still nothing. I’m just awfully lazy 😛

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It was the steak! I was getting too chubby and had to put a stop to it. Not eating steak and pizza was not an option 🙂

  12. A lot of women go to the gym to socialize. (that’s why they put on make-up lol)

    I’m more the doing sports kind of girl but one of my best friends is a gym freak and she always rants about how when she goes to the gym it’s to work out, not to talk to people lol.
    But I guess the talking part can help you stay motivaded to go.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      In Canada I used to go with my best friend, it was nice to talk to her before and after but I don’t like it in the middle when I’m trying to work.

  13. Jeanette says:

    Love it when you share the cultures of other countries – so interesting and funny in some ways! Glad to see you’re not giving up your love of food, just trying to maintain it!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The only thing we don’t have is a blender which really sucks because I want to try out so many of your recipes. It will have to wait for July when I go back to Nova Scotia.

  14. I absolutely hate gyms. I stay fit and slim by: swimming, walking (NOT hiking, I’m totally with you there) and STARVATION!!!What you say about the bacon fat makes me shiver, but, hey, if you enjoy it, why not?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I was walking a lot in other countries and it did really help me but it’s getting cold in Buenos Aires so I’m walking less and less.

  15. I’m in a similar pickle — I was a healthy workout gal before I left for Australia, and I maintained a fitness routine for a few months while traveling around the country. Then I found my inner foodie and it became too hot to run (excuses, excuses). Now that I’m back home, I gotta find that balance again O:-)

    Enjoy your classes and all of the culture experiences that go along with them. And please keep sharing about your yummy eats.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It seems like all I have been doing here is eating, so much more food to be written about!

  16. all I took away from that was, I love me a fried egg in bacon fat! hahaha
    Good for you for getting back to the gym! 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I love veggies cooked in bacon fat – bacon makes everything taste better.

  17. I have a cup of leftover bacon fat in my fridge right now. It’s the only way to cook green beans in the south!! And, yes, I’m on my way to the gym for a yoga class in just a few minutes!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s all about delicious balance!

  18. Justin Hamlin says:

    Thanks for the reminder that I haven’t been to the gym except for twice since we moved to NY.

    Glad you are becoming a local, even more than normal, and enjoying the hell out of it 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      NY is THE place for gyms, you have to go!

  19. Camels & Chocolate says:

    Funny, I’m also a gym rat when home (a result of having played college sports, I think), but on the road, I can’t ever find the energy or motivation to go to a gym, which is realistically when I need it the most, as I’m eating more than usual. Good for you!

  20. Cathy Sweeney says:

    I get it. I love working out at the gym. Been a member of one club or another my whole, long adult life. I’m glad I enjoy it because I love good food.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I started when I was 14, I cannot believe I didn’t break down sooner and go.

  21. So fun to hear about the cultural differences – that would definitely make it worth it in itself to go to the gym. I just joined a German gym and am finding it’s a good way to practice my German as well.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      See you don’t see that fancy language school after all!

  22. Normally I visit the gym quite often as well, but when i’m travelling bad things usually happens with the fat percentage around my body 🙂 Always moving around from place to place doesn’t really help either, should just settle down somewhere for a longer time and join a gym 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well when you eat a lot of fat (steak) you would be foolish not to see it start to appear on your body 🙂

  23. Cornelius Aesop says:

    I joined a gym when I was in Brazil. It was a lifesaver when due to rain my apartment lost water for a few days and worth it if you are going to stay in a place for a month or few months in my case. Plus I met a lot a really nice people who showed me a side of Rio I would of otherwise never knew.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      When I lived in Montreal I had a terrible shower in my apartment and went to the gym just for the shower!

  24. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler says:

    I go to gyms, but I think I might enjoy going to a class that involved turning out the lights and flashing colored lights like I’m at a rave.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The first time it was like I was at a club and wondered what the hell was going on, but after a few times it started to feel normal.

  25. adventureswithben says:

    I like going to places that the locals go to, like the grocery store when I travel. You feel like you’re no longer a traveler. I suppose the gym would be the same feeling.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The grocery store is also one of my favourite places. I have finally found a little fruit and veggie stand that has good prices and they correct my Spanish for food that I am pronouncing incorrectly 🙂

  26. Jeremy Branham says:

    How can you not get motivated to work out in a gym like that? Are the women instructors just as friendly to the men? 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I don’t think there are any female instructors there, at least I haven’t seen any but I go to Andres’ classes almost every day. But considering the culture I don’t think female instructors are that…forward.

  27. Vitaly Tennant says:

    BRB, going to the gym. Great post Ayngelina. I regularly go to the gym myself, as seeing others working out motivates me. Always nice to load up new tunes and head on out to the gym.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I had forgotten how much I missed it. Somehow I have to figure out how to travel and still find a gym.

  28. Usually I’m a runner, but I decided to join a spinning class while I was on a long trip. Everything seemed normal except the instructor miraculously kept bumping into me in town. Found out later that only those willing to “hook up” ever join that gym in that small town. Too weird for me. I went back to running. Glad that you’re still motivated to go.

  29. I enjoyed this. It reminded me of a time I took a tai chi class in Germany. The cultural differences make for moments that make you smile and remember the experience.

  30. Hahaha, Body Combat sounds WAY better there. One of the biggest thing I’m concerned with on this trip is how I’m gonna stay fit…I even bought a jump rope! I’ll probably just run alongside the car when I get restless. 😉

  31. Sounds like fun! I suppose it’s just one of those cultural things that you have to get used to. I imagine it doesn’t cause a problem because you aren’t in a country obsessed with working all hours of the day.

    I think that I’ll definitely join a gym in Australia. Even though I love running outside I have a hard time keeping myself in a routine with the changing weather and I have even started using the city pollution as an excuse (it actually does make my tiny bit of asthma act up) but I’m not sure if that’s the real problem or I’m just out of shape! Probably both.

    Enjoy your spinning class!

  32. I know what you mean- my taco cravings are a wreck on my diet… but I can’t stop! I try to go to the gym 5 times a week, because I like to eat and I feel better afterwards. (but it’s really because I like to eat!)

  33. I swear to you, when I lived in Florence I was on a treadmill next to a guy walking and smoking on a treadmill. It happened daily!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Okay you win that is crazy!

  34. Dave and Deb says:

    That is very cool to join a gym abroad. We had the offer to spend 2 months at a friends apartment in Paris this year. While something else came up and we couldn’t go, I was actually thinking that if we did, we would join a gym to keep in shape since we wouldn’t be doing any treks or climbs. I wonder what the French would do differently. The Argentinians make working out an event.

  35. Bluegreen Kirk says:

    The gym I havent been to a gym in years actually! I workout but I prefer doing circuit training at home. Saving bacon grease to cook in is the best flavor you can give food!

  36. I love going to the gym here in the mornings. It’s waay cheaper than it would be back home and without any silly year-long contracts, and the flirty hot men are a plus although sometimes I feel a bit uncomfortable because it isn’t extremely common for women in town to join fitness gyms. But hey, maybe it will soon become a trend.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      More reasons for me to come to Spain….

  37. I’m envious of your situation. You’re doing something I’ve only dreamed of doing. You made me chuckle over the instructors openly flirting with customers. I’ve experienced it first hand and can vouch for it.

    Annoying at times but even worse when they don’t do it! 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know, I have becomed so accustomed to cat calling I am going to feel so unattractive in Canada.

  38. Going to gym can be really tiresome. My friends used to go to the gym but they only lasted for a week. They said that they get tired easily and so they stopped it. In my opinion, if you really want to keep your shape then you must be determined enough to achieve this goal. Thanks for sharing this one!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It is hard to get there even though its just around the block but once I am there I am glad I went.

  39. Kirsten Alana says:

    LOVE this!!!!!!!!!

  40. You flirt. 😉 Hehe. I love it.

    I’m doing all I can to tone up and lose weight before I leave in November because I’m a *big* taster of everything I come aross. Think I’ll have to hunt down a few gyms wherever I end up.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      If I wasn’t so lazy about hiking I am sure that would keep me in shape but I just cannot bring myself to do it.

  41. DTravelsRound says:

    So fascinating! I love the difference between gyms we have come to know and workouts/classes we have taken and the worksouts/classes at the gym you are working out at now. Very cool and what differences!!

  42. Pingback: My First Medical Exam in Argentina | The Travel Chica
  43. Globetrottergirls says:

    Hey that’s great! Congratulations! I haven’t been to a gym either in ages and it drives me nuts – I am also a gym rat, prefer it over everything else, but without stability, you can’t hit the gym. Hoping the 7 weeks in Canada helps me there!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh I am definitely joining a gym in Canada as well.

  44. Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_ says:

    That’a girl! I’m a gym rat too. And I also have trouble with long, uphill hikes. I could hike all day long on generally flat ground with some hills.. fine. But those constant uphill battles to canyons and volcanoes, I’m kinda a slow poke.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’m a lazy poke, I can’t enjoy the scenery because I am always wondering how long it will take to get to the top.

      On the treadmill I always have to be distracted as well, if there is no television I’m constantly looking at the clock.

  45. See, now? I wish I’d seen this post before Vancouver: I would have dragged you to the gym with me!

  46. Do you know any good gyms with classes pref spin near chacarita or northern palermo area??

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I actually think my gym moved, at least they had plans to move from Central Palermo to more Northern. Check in with them and they may be close t you.

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