Category Archives: Working Out

Volava (Spanish Peloton) – big thumbs up!

I’m loving my new Volava bike! I never had or used a Peloton bike back in the US (they launched almost 7 years after I moved to Spain), but I thought this might be interesting to US expats here.

Before having kids I was obsessed with spinning classes; I couldn’t get enough. Then once my first kid was born I couldn’t get enough sleep…

I’m an avid runner and have always maintained that with my kids being born, and it’s also the easiest and less time-consuming exercise to do. However, I’ve still always missed the spinning classes but never returned just because of the time commitment.

We just purchased the Volava bike (a copy of Peloton). I’m obsessed! I’ve already done quite a few of the live classes, and there’s a huge library of recorded classes to choose from. For me the most important aspect is the instructor, and so far they’re all great. Great music, great exercise, and hardly any technical issues (just a little complication with the heart rate monitor). There are classes in English too, although to be honest I prefer listening in the instructor’s native language and haven’t tried out the English ones yet.

Photo courtesy of my 4 year old exercise buddy

Although I do still miss the actual live classes in person where you can look around you and see everyone else struggling (I mean having fun) as much as you, it’s awesome and convenient to be able to do it from home and still have a fun workout. Definitely recommend it if you’re into this – and this is coming from someone who’s an avid exerciser but a hater of gym machines like treadmills, ellipticals, etc.

Getting called out during a live class
My exercise buddy pretending he has a mini Volava

A few thoughts about working out and gyms in Spain

A while back I shared my experience with different gyms here in Spain (See: Finding a great gym…deserves a piece of cake.), but I talked more about the actual gym than peculiarities vs. gyms and working out back in the US. I’m a pretty avid exerciser (both in gyms and out), so I like to think I’ve seen some interesting things. Granted I’ve been away from the US for almost a decade and sometimes I don’t notice differences anymore, but… I’d venture to guess that some of this is unique to Spain.

  • Saying hello and goodbye in the locker room. As with elevator etiquette, it’s quite normal here to say hello and goodbye when entering and leaving the locker room, despite people being in the middle of various stages of hygiene and/or undressing. Since in the US, silence is the golden rule, I was a bit confused the first time someone said hello to me as I was getting ready to get in the shower after a workout. Was she talking to me? However, nowadays I expect a stranger to greet me in the locker room. And I do the same.
  • Inappropriate English lyrics. I’m all for music during group exercise classes that’s energetic and motivates you to work out. And if you can sing along even better. A few times in spinning classes though my mouth was wide open – not because I was singing at the top of my lungs because I was the only one who really knew the words – but because I couldn’t believe the lyrics I was listening to. Just wrong and totally inappropriate. All I was thinking was that no one else in the class seemed to be bothered by it (or understanding maybe), so I just kept on working out and waited for it to pass. In hindsight it was pretty funny, once I got over my initial – am I really hearing what I think I’m hearing- shock.

parental advisory

  • Running with a baby stroller. The first time I went out for a run, pushing my baby along in his stroller, I was convinced that I had forgotten my shirt or pants. Why? Everyone looked at my like I had three heads. Something had to be off. As it turns out, it just isn’t that common to see a mother getting a good workout at the same time she’s with her baby. For me it was great; I got to spend time with the little guy and get an even-more challenging workout. I know back home this is definitely more common and the sales of specialized exercise baby strollers (like the BOB) are through the roof. But…apparently that’s not the case here. Being the only one definitely didn’t stop me, and in a few occasions I even got some local cheering on from passersby. Maybe I’ll start a trend in my residential baby-friendly neighborhood…

Running baby stroller

  • Gym clothes be gone. After a good workout at the gym I like to stay as far away from my workout clothes as possible until I put them in the washing machine. Much to my surprise, one day I forgot my clothes in the locker room, only to go back later and find out that my spinning shorts and sports bra (not the top) had been stolen. I really don’t know who would want to steal my dirty gym clothes, but best of luck to them.

These are just a few thoughts from my experiences. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience if you’re reading this from over here in Spain, or maybe there are other peculiarities about the workout world back home that I’ve forgotten.

Just like maybe I could start a trend with stroller running, maybe if you’re in another country you could start a trend by starting to say hello and goodbye to people in locker rooms. Or you could just get that startled expression that I’ve seen in Boston after being away so long away and saying hi to people in the elevator…