I’m Different, Yeah I’m Different

I love to workout. I love to sweat, to push myself, to spend an hour everyday just unwinding, letting go. At home, I worried about my lifestyle adjustment. How would such an important part of my daily routine fit into a Spanish mold? Not to mention, the Spaniards love their pan and papas; I want to come home with boundless stories and experiences, not an extra ten pounds.

A week later, a brand-new, modern gym opened two doors down from Peppi’s apartment. “Family Fitness” had just been remodeled and was fully equipped with dozens of treadmills, weights, and Spanish men. Opening day, I bought a membership. I was in the door before José and his father, the owners, finished peeling the painter’s tape from the freshly-coated walls.

I’m still convinced this has been the best money I’ve spent in Sevilla.

Talk about culture shock. In general, Spanish women don’t exercise (and somehow manage to maintain supermodel legs). The activity is reserved for men, a true testament to the stereotypical “machismo” culture here. When the clock strikes eight, the Spaniards swarm the gym. Their hair is neatly combed and gelled. They wear perfect workout outfits, complete with bright running shoes and matching short shorts. Gym time is social time – ripped Spaniards gather in semicircles, laugh, check themselves out in the mirror, and hit each other’s butts with sweaty towels in between sets.

I am an alien, but I love every second of it. My difference makes me thrive. Off to spin class!

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