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.
"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?