Staying in Shape Abroad

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Ciao everyone! Before leaving for living abroad, I was terrified about gaining weight while living in Italy and heard all about the abroad 15. At home, I am very active and make it a priority to get to the gym everyday 5-7 days a week. It is definitely a lot easier at home! The gym at FUA is very small and crowded. There’s 4 treadmills and 6 dumbbells, making it very hard to get a full workout in. Not to mention the amazing food you’re surrounded by in Florence, it’s nearly impossible to stay in the same shape I was at home. After spending a month here I’ve learned a little along the way on how to avoid putting on the abroad 15.

First of all, you are walking soo much. I have not taken a taxi or bus anywhere around Florence and rely on my feet and the Google Maps app. Walking to class can take up to 40 minutes depending where you live in Florence and I’ve been averaging anywhere from 17,000 to 30,000 steps a day. This pretty much takes care of cardio for you considering I got 20,000 at the most steps at home. Bringing my Fitbit has been such a great idea because I love seeing how many minutes I’ve been active on a busy day. Me and my friend have also enjoyed going on scenic runs on the days the gym is closed (FUA’s gym is closed all weekend). Some routes that I love are running around the Arno river or up the steps of Pizzale Michelangelo (a rewarding view!).

I didn’t want to buy a gym membership abroad because it is kind of expensive and wanted to put my money towards more trips, but I’m very glad I did. I got a membership at Swan Gym which is a 2 minute walk from my apartment and offers deals for international student. The gym is fully equipped and if fitness is an everyday part of your routine at home and the school gym isn’t doing it for you then it’s perfect!

Taking advantage of the free workout classes offered is also a good way to keep yourself accountable. At the FUA gym, I usually get overwhelmed with how crowded it is and end up leaving after a short time. Attending a class eliminates the ability to go home and having an instructor is a good way to push yourself. On Monday's and Tuesday’s I’ve been attending a typical full-body workout class that incorporates cardio and weights that are an hour long.

There are a lot of unique classes offered when you study abroad no matter what university or country you go to. For example, I take a wine class and a yoga and meditation class. At FUA, they have a lot of health/fitness related educational classes for college credits that are worth looking into if you have some Gen-Eds you need to take abroad. In my yoga class, we spend a good hour actually doing yoga and getting a workout in. In the beginning I would be so sore the days following class because I don’t ever do yoga at home!

Buying groceries during the week and not drinking on weekdays are other ways to cut back. This was what I struggle with the most, lol. The days I have class I am so busy running from one class to the next to my internship and it’s so easy to grab a margerita pizza and gelato on the way. However, if you get this down it’ll end up benefitting your financial situation as well. Packing some snacks in your backpack to keep you occupied has also helped me because my teachers usually give us a break in the middle of class to get food.

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