There’s a special treat in going to the gym while you travel — and it has nothing to do with getting fit

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HFinding myself in the only spot suitable for a class freshman, I attempted to salsa on the back, shaking and shaking Zumba Class. While I had previously considered myself a decent dancer, I quickly realized that my skills were no match for regular students at a downtown Kampala, Uganda gym who could perform twerking moves at a professional level. My underperforming technique became even more apparent when the freestyle segment came into play and I needed to shift my dance to the center of the circle.

That was 2019 and it was just one of the many unique gym experiences I’ve had while traveling abroad. While the clinking of weights and gasping from guests, wet faces and the smell of sweat are the universal hallmarks of almost every workout around the world, I’ve learned over the years that the workout experience can be very different depending on the country you’re in . That’s why I never pack my bags without sneakers in tow.

However, this was not always the case; I used to be one of those people who would roll my eyes at anyone who trained on the go. Surely the calories don’t count when you’re abroad?

But then my own travels picked up speed. Before COVID-19, as a journalist, I had to go to a new place almost every two weeks. This meant that if I didn’t go to the gym during that time, my workouts would halve. How can I expect to build my fitness with a 2 week, 2 week off workout plan? It quickly became clear that the only way to make sport sustainable in my life was to take it to the streets.

And so, lycra and lace-up shoes became essential items on the packing list, and I started booking hotels based on whether they had a decent gym, or at least one nearby.

I quickly found that while squats, deadlifts, or press presses feel equally uncomfortable wherever you train, the environment in which you perform them can be a way of learning about the local environment and what it means to train in this country. From various post-workout drinks (hello, pineapple smoothies) and fitness fashion (I’m not sure I’ll ever pull off the barefoot and bikini-top look of the Thai islands) to new music offerings and local encounters Spending time in a gym abroad is a cultural experience in itself.

In San Francisco, I found out (thanks to jet lag) that 4:30 am is the time to meet the Silicon Valley guys and catch up on the latest tech. The closest gym in Seoul that Google took me to was all about retro bodybuilder memorabilia and gave me an education on the Korean greats. And in Alicante, Spain, I was able to train with a rooftop view of the city that I would never have seen otherwise.

Going to the gym on the go is now a pleasure for me. I don’t see it as a chore, but rather as something to look forward to. I can complete my sweat session and at the same time see what the fitness looks like on site. It has also helped me shed some of my “fitness shyness”. It can be daunting to walk into different establishments without knowing what the situation is and if you will fit in, but in general it has become easier to come across friendly faces over the years, regardless of culture.

Of course, not every session will add value to your trip. If you’re limited to the hotel, amenities might be lacking and air-conditioning moody. The same kind of people you would see posing in front of the mirror in your home gym could do the same in Senegal. And I found out that “80’s Dance Classics” might be the mandatory global gym playlist. But chances are you’ll learn something new, meet someone different, discover a new class, or just rediscover your fitness mojo.

For example, my Viking-style classmates at a New Year’s course in Bali’s Bambu Gym made me set fitness goals again for the year ahead. visit another F45 When I switched from a gym to the one in my hometown, I noticed the progress I had made without realizing it, and walking to a gym in Geneva meant discovering a whole new part of the city.

I understand that going to a new gym can be a little scary, the hassle of finding a gym in an unfamiliar location can mean extra work, and the space your sneakers take up in a suitcase can be annoying. But I no longer see sport as a waste of time from a trip. It’s a form of tourism in itself. And I am firmly convinced that it is worth taking on the worldwide training.

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