H/B/F 2017: my gym away from my gym

I mentioned in this post that I joined a gym as soon as we got here. I knew I’d have two weeks (really only about 7 or 8 days) to workout while Andrew was working.

On our way into town, we passed this place and I figured because of its proximity to our hotel, it would be the winner. I’d done some recon before we left and seen another gym close by, but now that I’ve walked the town, I’m glad I came across this one!

It didn’t even occur to me until I was walking into my first group exercise class that the language barrier might be problematic. While just about everyone here speaks English, their primary language is Dutch, and so the classes are led in Dutch. Again, this wouldn’t be an issue if I simply wanted to run on the treadmill and lift weights.

Thankfully, I made friends quickly and others around me made sure I knew how many reps or for how long we were supppsed to do something.  I’m even planning to meet up with one of the girls I met in boot camp for lunch next week!
Today, I chose to give a spinning class a try. While I teach cycle at home, I’ve noticed true ‘spinning’ classes tend to be a bit more intense. I tend to do one ‘thing’ (sprints, climb, or run) for the duration of a song, while in spinning the songs tend to be longer (more techno than what’s on the radio) and you might incorporate more endurance or intensity for longer segments of the song. Anyway. All that to say, don’t mind my hot and sweaty face!

The gym is actually quite extensive; there is a pool, childcare, a cafe (of course), a weight room with machines, a crossfit room (below) and various studios for yoga, biking, etc.

I went three times this week and plan to go at least that many times next week, which would make my 30 euro ‘membership fee’ be less than that many drop-in visits to my Y at home. Totally worth it.

I’m having a blast working out each morning! I love to work out, I feel better when I do, and it sure helps with all the ‘vacation eating’ going on. It’s also a neat way to ‘assimilate’ to your new home while abroad.

H/B/F 2017: flying solo

Andrew started working Monday, so I’ve been on my own during the day. Our morning routine starts with breakfast:

Our hotel puts out a fantastic spread of breads, ‘American’ breakfast items (scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage), as well as the normal European items (cold meats and cheeses, tomato, yogurt and granola).  There is a self-serve coffee machine where the simple press of a button will give you regular coffee, espresso, cappuccino and more.

After andrew left Monday morning, I headed out on a quick walk.

Amsterdam is known for the incredible number of people who bike, and Haarlem is no different.  They even have ‘parking garages’ for bikes here (multi-story) and special locks for the bikes that are more efficient (no chains involved).  I rented a bike yesterday and biked to the beach–more on that later.

While on my walk, I joined a gym!  I’d done some online research prior to my trip and on our way to our hotel, Andrew and I passed this place so I knew it was close.  Kenamju was able to give me a reasonable price for two weeks, waived all the fees and even took me on a tour that morning!  The have tons of fitness classes, and I already made a friend (shocking, I know). So far, I’ve been to a bootcamp class and a TRX class and I’ve used the treadmill. I’m looking forward to trying cycle tomorrow morning!  It actually didn’t even occur to me that I wouldn’t be able to understand what the instructor would be saying until I walked into my first class…  Thankfully, it’s not hard to follow along and I’m familiar with all the moves.

I decided to do a longish run on Monday in preparation for my upcoming half-marathon on Sunday.  I intended to do 7-8 miles, but got a little lost (again, shocking, I know) and ended up doing 10.5.  I took it at an easy pace and kept stopping during the last few miles to try to figure out where I was, so my pace was a bit off.  Plus, my GPS took a full five minutes to get going–it’s not used to looking for me across the pond!

I’ve also had to run some errands so far!  My days have been suprisingly busy (is anyone really surprised by this?!) for someone in a foreign country with no responsibilities who isn’t really sightseeing much.  I’ve picked up some items we forgot, like a comb and a more bill-friendly wallet for Andrew.  I even picked up towels for the gym and may grab some sweat bands today while I’m out, too.  HEMA is like a mini-Target, with their own branded items, and there are lots of other shopping options and a grocery store very close to where we are staying.

Perhaps the BEST part of my solo-ness are the lunches I get to have!  It’s super fun to figure out where I want to go, and Holland seems to really be embracing fresh, local food.  There’s lots of variety and without many ‘regional specialties,’ it’s easier for me to eat lighter and healthier than when we’re in France.  So far, I’ve had salads, an energy-topped yogurt and a mackerel salad sandwich (think tuna but way better).  Beer is also big here, so I’ve been enjoying the local Jopen and Texels brews, as well as the immense selection of Belgian beers.

And on that note, I’m off to lunch!