Do you even lift, bra?

Back home, I liked to go to the gym or to yoga classes, but was never very good at consistently doing it because I either a) had so much going on between work/hosting trivia/teaching my ESL class/trying to have a social life or b) just wanted to go for a bike ride with Marty.  Here, at least now during training, I’ve definitely got time to work out.

There are three gyms that I know of to pick from here in my town; I wouldn’t doubt that there are others I don’t know about.  The closest one is a women’s only gym.  I’ve literally never seen it open, and I’ve heard from others in my group that the interior is 100% pink and there is not a ton of equipment.  The next closest is a men’s only gym.  I obviously don’t pay much attention to that one.  The last, and the largest, is a mixed gym.  This is where I and my group members choose to go.

The front has 3 big garage doors that open up. There’s a small desk just inside the door where you pay as you enter ($1,500 Colombian pesos per day, or about $0.48 USD), with a shelving unit of different protein supplements next to it, and a refrigerator containing bags of water ($200 COP/$0.06 USD for 300 mL, or $600 COP/$0.19 USD for 1L).  The wall in this area is bright green and has some signs – one is painted on the wall in orange, indicating the availability of nutritional supplements; one lets you know to pay upon entry; the last is a religious plaque that says something about Jehovah watching over the space.  Beyond that space the walls are white on top and orange on bottom to coordinate with the orange weights and the orange ceramic tiled floors, which of course have some chips in them because weights + ceramics don’t really mix.  Opposite the entry wall are open windows that allow for some air flow, and fans lining the room help circulate the thick coastal air as well.  There are machines and benches all around the perimeter of the small space, and in the center are where the weights (all literal iron), balance balls, various apparatuses to use on the machines, blocks, and even a few TRX straps are kept.

For those interested in cardio, the options are slim.  There are two spinning-style stationery bikes; I’ve never managed to increase the resistance on these so generally avoid them.  There are two ellipticals; these are not powered, but they function as things on which to move your body.  There are also four recumbent bikes that I just never even put my body on, so I cannot report on their effectiveness.  While you can’t get very far with cardio, you can do pretty much anything you want to with weights, and the weights are even labeled with pounds so no math is required.

Colombian men are serious about their weight-lifting (at least the ones we see at the gym).  They spend quite a bit of time there, do some heavy lifting, and inspect themselves closely in the many mirrors.  With the inspiring posters around the room of body builders and banners advertising nutritional supplements, they’ve got a lot to live up to.

As far as I know, there’s no slang here like “swole” or “do you even lift, bra?” but I did learn the following terms, with their literal translations provided:

  • Voy a tirar hierro – I’m going to throw iron
  • Voy a darle duro – I’m going to give it hard
  • Voy a hincharme para que las camisas me queden justas este fin de semana – I’m going to swell myself so that my shirts fit me just right this weekend
  • Ese tipo come hierro – That type (of guy) eats iron

About the author

Mountain View

A little about me!

Hey! I'm Brianna Hope, a born & bred midwesterner embarking on an adventure as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia. I am clumsy, I spill a lot, and I share most of my interests with 6 year-olds.

Follow me on Snapchat: alabrianna


The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the Colombian Government.


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