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No Gym... No Problem

Staying Fit While Abroad

rooftop sweat sesh

I used to work at a gym back in my hometown; therefore, I had a free membership and access to a gym whenever I wanted. Even at Texas Tech there was an amazing gym I could workout at whenever I wanted to. I took these for granted and didn't realize how dependent I had become on  a gym. I'm not talking about the treadmill or elliptical; no, I would use the weights, the barbells, leg press, squat racks, etc. I loved my gym time, in fact I didn't realize just how much until I started my study abroad experience.

Disclaimer, there are gyms in Seville; unfortunately when it came down to it, I decided I wold rather use my money to travel on the weekends or enjoy some coffee with friends. At first, I was mad because I thought that because I couldn't lift heavy weights, I would lose all my muscle and get fat. Newsflash: this isn't true and I was being a drama queen. 

So... what am I currently doing? I decided to step outside my comfort zone in regards to working out. Because I'm near a beautiful plaza and several parks, I decided to give running another go. No I don't love it; it's miserable and I'm a terrible runner. However, because the scenery is quite lovely on my runs, I'm hoping this will inspire me to continue and increase my endurance. 

And on days where I don't want to run? I'll do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to spike my heart rate and get a good sweat in. There are many variations of HIIT; this could involve 45 seconds of one intense move (jump squats, alternating lunge jumps, the dreaded burpee, etc) and 15 seconds of rest. You then repeat this for a certain number of sets. Its quick, hard, and will leave you exhausted.

Something else I'm doing is a lot of body weight workouts. A note on this however, is that because the weight may be lighter on some exercises, I've had to increase my reps to feel the same burn I would normally get. at the gym. Surprisingly though, several of the body weight movements I've been doing are in fact harder and require more mind to muscle connection than simply curling weight. When I do bicep curls, I'm isolating that one muscle. When I do body weight movements (dips, push ups, shoulder taps, etc) several of my muscles are working together to do the movement. I'm going to be honest, over the past month I have noticed my arms have gotten smaller. I don't know if it's because I'm not doing specific isolation movements like I was doing in the united States, or I'm just losing weight because I don't necessarily love the food here. Perhaps it's a combination of both. 

An important tool I've been using is YouTube. oh my goodness, YouTube is amazing and has helped me on so many occasions! There's always new moves or workouts for every single muscle to try if I'm lacking creativity one day. YouTube will be your new best friend when it comes to at home workouts and I strongly suggest exploring all it has to offer.

On the note of creativity, I've had to become creative in what I can use. For instance, those clothes lines in my picture above are rooted in cement and super strong. So I can do hanging exercises and work on my pull ups. I've also been able to find a chair to do some dips on; you just have to start thinking outside of the box.

The one piece of "equipment" I brought was a little set of resistance bands. I use for butt and leg isolation. Let me tell you, if you use them for long enough, you WILL feel the burn. I got mine off Amazon and it was the best $6 I've spent. 

And that, my fabulous friends, is how I intend to stay fit for the next three months - super functional, super cheap, and super effective. Give it a try next time y'all don't have access to a gym :)

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No Gym... No Problem
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