6 Tips to Staying Fit in Madrid
Kylie Brady, GA Writer
April 24, 2017
So, you’ve noticed that those 1-euro cañas and free tapas have finally snuck up on you (thanks, El Tigre). You are absolutely loving Madrid and it’s showing you love handles – I mean love – right back…
The capital of Spain is no stranger to delicious food from jamón bocaditos to churros con chocolate. This city knows how to please almost everyone, from its faithful citizens to the curious traveler. But what about the expat, who is ballin’ on a budget? How do you experience, nourish, and ENJOY Madrid’s cuisine while staying Ibiza-body ready? Here are 6 Ways to Stay Fit & Healthy in Madrid:
1. Buy a Blender (make smoothies)
These bad boys aren’t cheap (maybe 50 euro) but they will change your expat life. You can make smoothies that taste and appear like milkshakes but are also packed with nutrients. It’s a foolproof way to ensure that you ate some type of greens in your day. Start with my recipe below and disfruta…
o 1 frozen banana
o handful of spinach
o Almond milk
o 1 tblspn caocao powder
o 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
o Bonus! Add chia seeds (omega 3) and ground flaxseeds (fiber)
2. Make friends with your local Fruteria
Some funky veggies and fruits chill in the stands of the Fruteria & we look past them like they could never belong in our manos (that’s Spanish for hands, you gringo) let alone our stomachs. Ask, the person behind the counter what the mystery vegetable or fruit is and how they would prepare it. Make friends with this person. I chatted mine up (because I can’t help it) and learned so much about customs and new food just through curious questions. My guy (big shout out to Sergio) would sometimes throw in extra food at the counter for free because that’s Spain for you and because he knew me and my story. Examples of new foods: sharons, white asparagus, melon)
3. Take the Stairs (seriously)
If you are taking the Metro, which you are unless the normal peasantry of public transportation is beneath you, you have noticed the amount of stairs. (Yes, Madrid metro stairs are designed for the mountain climber, but seriously, start taking the stairs). These uphill climbs are essentially a high intensity workout for your glutes, hamstrings, and thighs. The first couple weeks you will pant, sweat and struggle-but the reality is that unless your elderly or injured these stairs shouldn’t actually challenge you enough that you can’t get up them. If you fall into or near the category of not being able to get up them without pausing to-not-die then I truly encourage you to tackle these stairs. I even started to race people who were taking the escalators (unbeknownst to them) and would always win. Ha! CONFIDENCE.
4. Don’t Take the Metro
The above ^ seg-ways perfectly to this post, don’t take the metro! Walk. That’s right, persona Americana, use those bad boys to get you where you’re going. Onward! I used to live on a famous street que se llama Fuencarral. My gym, El Horno, was a 7-minute walk and a 7-minute metro ride. Stating the obvious here, one option was going to allow me to warm up for my workout, breath real air, pass by fantastical flowers in La Latina (spelling error), soak up that much needed vitamin D from the sun and be out in society. The other option would put me in an underground cave without said amenities and force me to either sit or stand on a metro #sedintarylifestyle. When walking adds that extra 5-10 min to your route, it’s worth it because every step (pun intended) towards your health and wellness adds up. And you’re worth it, truly.
5. Stop Eating Free Food
The Tapa, as I’m assuming you know and love, actually derived from small plates being placed on top of drinks to fend off insects from landing in the precious liquid. An empty plate turned into a free snack and the rest is history, literally. My point: that greasy, delicious FREE thing you’re eating wasn’t designed to nourish or sustain you in any way. It’s great, and a wonderful tradition, but eating all of it isn’t doing you any favors in the beach body department. So before you start licking that croquetta plate clean…chill, have a bite and return to the more important task at hand. Drinking.
6. Have a juice al menos (at least) once a week
Pero, seriously. Madrid (and other Spanish cities for that matter) has really hopped on the juice wagon. Places like Juicy Avenue, FitFood and just random pop-up shops offer zumo (juice). Juicing is a really quick and easy way to pack in a big serving of minerals, vitamins and fiber you otherwise wouldn’t be able to eat. For example; one juice can contain, two apples, handful of spinach, 4 celery stalks, one orange, and maybe a chunk of ginger for an antioxidant boost. You definitely could eat all that (if you wanted), but will you? I’m guessing no. A typical juice will run anywhere from 5 to 8 euro. It’s a small monetary investment with a huge health payoff.
My hope is that you to implement these 6 suggestions into your daily Madrid life and poco a poco (little by little) notice, and more importantly, feel, the difference and positive impact they can have on your daily life. ‘Being’ healthy sometimes requires a conscious effort. However, after a few weeks of following/adding these tips into your life they will become second nature. I bet you’ll start to crave your smoothies and juices and ENJOY your mountain climbs up the metro stairs. I wish you energy and strength on your expat/traveling/health lifestyle and, all sarcasm aside, hope these tips truly help. Aprovecha!