I knew this was going to happen. I am horrible at blogging. I haven’t updated thing since I first arrived in Rome, and quite a bit has happened since then! While it will be too difficult to go back and update you on everything that has happened (which would make for a novel, and I know you don’t want to read that!), I’ll reflect on my most current Italian cultural experience… the gym!
In August, my roommate went to take a tour of the gym around the corner from us. It was beautiful. It had a huge swimming pool, tons of new weight machines, high tech treadmills (more on that later), four different rooms for various classes (one just for striding and another just for spinning), and a bar. Yeah, that’s right. After your workout, you can get freshened up in the locker room, and head down the escalator for a relaxing alcoholic beverage! Sounds pretty amazing, right? Then we learned the price to be a part of this magical place. For a six month membership, it was going to cost me 5 TIMES as much as I paid back in the states for the very same thing. (Okay, without all the fancy bells and whistles. And we had only one aerobics room. GASP.) I decided then that I would become an avid runner (we have several beautiful parks nearby) and do my yoga DVDs all the time.
Fast forward, it’s now October. While I’ve been running through those beautiful parks, it’s only been about 1-2 times a week, and have only inserted the yoga discs into my laptop twice. I wish I was more motivated, but I’m not. Pajamas, tea, and a kindle always seem to win. (Or more recently, Netflix!) After two months in Rome, the pizza, gelato, and pasta has begun to take it’s toll. Which is a really frustrating thing, as I have not come across a single overweight Italian in all of my people watching excursions. Seriously, how do they do it? Do they exercise all the time, have super fast metabolisms, or are Italians just lucky to have some pretty fantastic genes? So finally, I decided to bite the bullet, bust out the credit card (Just think of all the points I’ll get for future travel endeavors!), and sign up. Now that I’ve paid hundreds of Euros, an arm, a leg, and my first born child, I am an official member.
Today was my first day, and I just did a little exploring to get to know what they have and where everything is located. First, I hit up the treadmill. Tapping a huge touchscreen, I was greeted with several options. I could watch TV, listen to music, go on Facebook, or do a virtual run through San Francisco. Yes, one minute you’re running down a busy sidewalk, then you’re running along the beach! You can even run on the bridge! After a short run, I began to explore the various weight machines. Several of them looked familiar, so I chose a few upper body machines to get me started. Since they don’t use pounds (or miles), I need to study some conversions at home. For now, I was just testing things out. After checking out the four work out rooms, I decided to head up another escalator to check out where the locker rooms and bathrooms were. The gym was fairly empty. Not a lot of people were working out, as it was a Sunday and it seems like most Italians stay home. The locker room, however, was anything but empty. Nude Italian women were everywhere, and clothing, towels, and gym bags were strewn all over. At home, women change in the locker room, sure. However, 99% of them are quick and modest about it. I suddenly felt very uncomfortable and American. Women were hanging around talking, even hugging and kissing each other on the cheeks, all while being completely nude. Good for them for being so comfortable about their bodies, but I’m just glad I live a few minutes walk away and don’t have to worry about using it! Another observation was that I never saw anyone leave the gym all gross and sweaty in their gym clothes. They came out nicely dressed and accessorized with dry hair.
So after making this (expensive) decision to join the gym, I need to commit to it. It has everything I could ever want in a gym. It’s a very short walking distance away, and has a ton of great equipment and classes (So excited for yoga and pilates!). It’ll be great in the wintertime when it’s too rainy to run. And in addition to helping me balance out all the carbs I’ll be consuming this year, it will also be a great cultural experience. However, the Italians are just going to have to put up with me walking the streets in my yoga pants. Now, let the motivation commence!