Staying Healthy in Madrid

It’s important to take care of yourself, especially when you are over 6,000 km away from your family and main support network. Something that has helped and is also a good stress reliever is staying active. I joined a gym here in Madrid when I was training for the half-marathon last Spring and I believe it’s helped me as far as health and focus. Also, today I am stronger and at least ten pounds lighter than last year. I believe this is due to the change in foods I eat and some working out.

At the gym I frequent, I see all ages, but it’s in a university area so there are many people around my age. It costs 99 euros for three months, so it’s not too bad. Normally I mix weight training and cardio each visit. I’ve been using something called HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) for part of my treadmill runs. Last week I made it to the gym three times and I ran around Retiro this morning.

I’m normally pretty shy while I’m in the gym. I don’t talk to other people and just keep my headphones in. I’ve noticed if I don’t bring my music there is no way I can get a good run in.

I listen to a crazy range of music, but here are ten songs that keep myself going on the treadmill.

Something Bigger, Something Better  – Amanda Blank

Hold On – Rusko

Sexy Results – MSTRKRFT

Hustler – Simian Mobile Disco

Momma’s Place – Roisin Murphy

Play Hard – David Guetta

On the Run – The Qemists

Crush on You – NERO

Molly – Cedric Gervais

Beam Me Up – CAZZETTE

 

What do you do to stay healthy? Do you have any songs that keep you moving?

The World’s Getting Colder and I’m Getting Older

Brrrrr! It’s finally jacket weather in Madrid. Autumn is my favorite season, but eventually it gets cold enough where you don’t want to crawl out of bed, doesn’t it?

I know I haven’t written much in a while and it’s really bothering me. It’s not like I’m overworked. I’m teaching 6 private classes a week and I have fewer hours in the school this year (read: less money). You won’t hear me complain too much, because I have an amazing schedule. I’m only working in the school mornings and one afternoon Monday – Thursday. Yes, this means I have a three-day weekend every week!

Maybe all of this free time is making me a little restless about my career situation because I’ve been trying to figure out what I can do to attach myself somewhere permanently. Aside from regular positions I think about starting a business every day. I have a couple of ideas, but just can’t decide what I should do or where to really begin.

Last weekend I blew out some birthday candles which also probably led me to question my position here. At 27 I’m a bit older than the majority of people in the same teaching program. It’s good for now, but if I am going to stick around for a while I need to find something more concrete. Unfortunately, it’s a bit difficult for me to get a job in my degree field (Political Science) in Spain right now. I don’t know if I should be looking into getting a Masters here or in the U.S. Both options would take a lot of preparation before I could even apply.

On a more upbeat note, my birthday weekend fell on the puente and I visited Ávila for the first time. It’s only about an hours drive from Madrid so it’s a good choice for a day trip. The city is small, but beautiful and largely surrounded by walls. I read that work began on the walls in the 11th century. You can walk along a portion of the walls. The city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Avila

Views from outside the walls

Avila

Views from outside the walls

Walls of Avila

Walls of Avila

Walls of Avila

Avila

We ate lunch a little outside of the city in a small town called Mingorría. There was so much food that afterwards I felt like I was waddling around Ávila. I think the chuletón is basically a big prime rib and the tostón was a cochinillo (roasted baby pig MMMM). If you look closely at the photo you can see my meal came with tail and foot!

chuletón and tostón

chuletón and tostón

There were signs for “Yemas de Ávila” everywhere. Yemas, egg yolks in Spanish, seem to be made with, you guessed it, egg yolks and a lot of sugar.  They are not my favorite, but they aren’t bad. I can only eat maybe one or two at a time.

Did you ever visit Ávila? What would you recommend doing there?