Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Have Your Fondue and Be Fit Too

Guest post by Noah of Noprobo.com.

Many years ago I resolved to live a fit life. Exercise, sweat wicking t-shirts, brightly colored drinks… all that good stuff. So I felt fortunate moving to Switzerland; it's one of the healthiest countries in the world.

Then came the shock.

-Gym memberships: 95 CHF per month.
-Exercise equipment: Underpowered, overpriced.
-Energy gels: 3.20 CHF each, compared to $0.90 back home.

These are the meat and potatoes of amateur athletes! Yet they weren’t just a bit more expensive here; they were prohibitively expensive. All of a sudden, Switzerland felt like a giant beer gut.

So I asked a friend – against all accounts I made Swiss friends quickly – how Switzerland is so healthy. "Is it because of exercise?"

"That, and the food."

"Fondue?" I teased.

But the more I thought about it the more it made sense. “Bad” food is the exception, not the norm. Many Swiss live healthy lifestyles by default. Trying to shoehorn my idea of fitness into theirs was where I went wrong. I wasn't doing as the Romans do.

With that in mind, here's how to get/stay in shape, the Swiss way:

  • Eat well: Junk food isn't a staple of the traditional Swiss diet. Trips to the farmers market and home-cooked meals are.
  • Forget the gym: Choose an activity you see Swiss people doing. Biking, tennis, soccer, skiing. There are great deals on used equipment at pawn shops, Local.ch and Ricardo.ch.
  • Forget exercise equipment: Pieces of machinery like recumbent bikes and treadmills are too big and noisy to be compatible with this country.
  • Order abroad: If you really need fitness foods, buy from abroad and swallow the associated fees. It's cheaper.
  • Get outside: There's an excellent selection of trails and activities set across an awe-inspiring landscape. Take advantage of it!
  • Use those Sundays: I used to wonder where everyone was on Sundays. They're skiing, they're hiking, they're biking.

There you have it: how to be fit in the land of cheese and chocolate. Have anything to add? How do you stay in shape in Switzerland?

Noah Arobo lost over 50 lbs despite his love of raclette and rösti. Read more at Noprobo.com.


Unknown said...

I have another teory, valid for me, I come from Barcelona.
I found that food is so expesive that I tend to buy less of everything!

Anonymous said...

Hi, author of the article here.

I agree Julia, the higher food prices discourage over-consumption. That's the upside of paying 4 CHF for a soft drink! :)

Chantal said...

I've also noticed "junk" food costs a lot more here. Soda is very expensive. If Americans had to pay $12 and then carry home a 6-pack of Coke, they either wouldn't buy it, or they'd drink it but have buff arms.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I'm traveling to Milan and Switzerland soon and after reading a few posts about how fit everyone is in Switzerland (and how fat and disgusting we Americans are) I'm now worried I'll stand out like a sore (fat) thumb! :(

I am not a sweatpant wearing type, very neat and well-dressed, however I'm not slim and now I'm a bit worried. Should I be? Thank you!

Sarah Saad said...

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شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة
شركة نقل عفش بالجبيل
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