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.
- 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…
- 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…