Carbs at the gym? 8 new rules

written by Tiana Kai
pasta at the gym in florence italy

I love the word for gym in Italian, it’s palestra. Not sure why I like it, but it just seems to fit. Coming from Miami, where there are an overabundance of gyms, I was hoping to find a great one here. Most are small with old machines and no Pilates, but then I was saved by a virgin.

There’s a Virgin Atlantic gym by my old place just NW of downtown Florence. It’s a monster house. There are 2 in Florence, 26 in Italy, 162 in Europe, 4 in Australia and 100 in South Africa! With a membership, you have access to 266 sports clubs. Not sure I would go to the gym while on vacation, but I once bumped into a South African who was working out in Florence while on vacation, weird.

It’s about €99 a month, but they have ‘special’ prices to get you in the door. You can choose from daily, monthly or annual rates. There are so many great classes going on all day and lots of cardio machines, so no need to ever wait—Pilates, spinning, gravity, pool ‘jazzercise’, cardio, yoga, dance, swimming, stretching, etc.


8 new gym rules

  1. it’s OK to eat carbs—they serve lots of carbs at the caffè bar!
  2. wear a cap for all water activities—I guess if everyone looks silly, then it’s fine
  3. sign up for gravity and spinning classes ahead of time—it’s embarrassing to be kicked out
  4. get used to hearing Pilates instructors say the english word for every exercises in a thick accent—’rolling like a ball’ sounds like ‘rawleen liiiik abawwl’, so get a good view to see what they’re actually doing
  5. rinse your body in the side shower before entering the pool area—I didn’t think the shower was mandatory and wondered why everyone was staring at me
  6. bring a towel—I was used to my old gyms having towels
  7. get a doctor’s note claiming you can workout—they didn’t let me workout after the 3rd day without one
  8. don’t wear spandex to the gym—wear nice clothes to the gym, change in the locker, shower and leave in nice clothes—I don’t follow this rule, I’m from Miami, the land of all-day spandex

I’m off to look for another gym since I recently moved, maybe just a yoga/Pilates studio. I’ll post what I find and what I end up with… I may just keep going to Virgin.

Do you ever workout on vacation? Some people like to see the sites while on a run or on a bike, but I usually sleep in.

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Frances September 11, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Its weird. I always work out on vacation- mostly bc I like working out, especially in exotic locations, like going for a run on the rocky beaches of Costa Rica, for example… It’s usually outdoors though, not in a gym.

Tiana Kai September 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Frances, I agree! My favorite ‘workout’ is a long walk after dinner. I would feel weird being in a gym while there are things to see and do! To each their own, I guess.

Emily McGee September 11, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Haha, I love that Miami is the land of all day spandex! Also, sorry to hear you got kicked out of classes. Who knew there were so many differences in a foreign gym?

Tiana Kai September 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Emily, I’m either in dresses or spandex, lately more spandex all day! Easier to run around and get things done in. It took a few days to get used to how things are done at that gym. Now I know! Are there any gyms by you in Nairobi, how do they rate?

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