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I’m a magazine founder & editor, a private food & shopping guide and watercolour artist who wants to share everything I know about the best-kept secrets in Tuscany with you.


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Italian Gyms – Working out Italian Style!

With a lot of emphasis on STYLE!

Or maybe I should say Vanity!

Not quite this bad..... But Almost!

After my visit to the gym this morning, I couldn’t help but want to share my observations and amusement with you all!

The gym that I go to is incredibly beautiful and does not lack for anything.  Here you can lift weights, do step classes, yoga, spin, pilates, boxing, acqua gym, swim laps in one of the three pools, relax in the sauna and of course afterwards go to the in-house beautician and hairdresser or buy a new flash outfit to work out in at the boutique.  There is even a kinder/child care center where you can leave the kids while you’re working out and also a cafe and restaurant which is a very social place where you can sit and watch the classes taking place or perve on everyone as they work out.  Not that I partake in the last activity of course!

This morning I had to have a little giggle at a few of my fellow gym members, and most of them were men.  Here as in many gyms world wide, there are the guys who only believe in working out their upper bodies.   They think they look big and impressive but in reality are so disproportioned, they look like human frogs.

Only in Italy do the men wear skimpier and tighter gym outfits than the women!  There was a guy in the gym this morning wearing these tight little lycra shorts paired with a tiny tank top that of course showed his midriff as he hung from the chin-up bar. He, all the while was casting his eyes around the gym to see who was looking at him.  His girlfriend was wearing her long hair out and had so much make-up on for a morning work-out, who knows what time she woke up to start the application, only to sweat and have it run down her face, making her look very unattractive.  Not that I think she knew what it meant to sweat.  Her role at the gym was to admire and assist her boyfriend by removing the weights one by one from his lap while he did tricep dips.  She was also very busy looking around to see who was mutually admiring her body!  I wish I could have taken a few photos this morning as I’m afraid my words don’t do these people justice.

Then there was the guy, who between sets would check himself out in the mirror while playing air-guitar!  What the ……?  He also was one of those guys that lifts weights that are way too heavy for their abilities so with his friend spotting him, only managed to do 3-4 reps before grunting and exclaiming that luckily he didn’t lay an egg. “Non ho fatto l’uovo”. I don’t know about you, but I assumed this meant that even though he was pushing so hard his intestines felt like they were going to burst out of every orifice, lucky for us, he retained his internal organs and also all fluids for that matter too.

Only in Italy do the men dominate the mirrors as they admire their physiques and ensure their hairstyles are still in place.  Only in Italy do the men make it so obvious when they are checking you out, even though you are with your significant other!

Then I headed to the pool to do some laps where the water is much too warm for a serious lap pool.  The Italians believe that if the water is too cold though, we will all get the flu!  Everyone has to wear their bath robe or accappatoio so that they can rug up between getting out of the pool and jumping under the shower.

In the change rooms I must come face to face with the beautiful Italian women in all their naked glory, strutting around like it’s a naked gym catwalk.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, including the 60 year old nonna is wearing a g-string (I’m serious!) and I must admit that even though I have never considered myself a prude, I don’t understand why one must walk around naked in front of everyone.  (maybe I am a prude after all?)  The women arrive with not gym bags but carry on trolleys, full of their underwear, make-up, bath robes, towels etc.  It’s amazing they manage to fit everything into the narrow lockers.

I was lucky to find a spare hairdryer today as, being a Saturday, the gym was very busy and with all of those women having to blow-dry their locks before stepping outside, their was quite a crowd gathering at the mirrors.  I even noticed a girl of about 13 years old blow drying her hair with the expertise of Schwarzkopf – “She’s learnt her grooming ritual early”. I thought!

Here in Italy, everyone showers at the gym after their workout which of course I understand when you work out before heading to work, but here it is unheard of to leave the gym in your sweaty attire.  Heaven forbid you catch a chill once you step outside.

Perhaps the most classic example of an Italian at the gym was the man in front of us as we were leaving.  Already in his mouth before he had even walked outside was his cigarette – just what you feel like after a workout – yes?

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FOOD OBSESSED, FASHION LOVER, BUSY MAMMA, MAGAZINE CREATOR & WATERCOLOUR ARTISt.

Ciao, I'm Lisa B,
I’m a magazine founder & editor, a private food & shopping guide and watercolour artist who wants to share everything I know about the best-kept secrets in Tuscany with you.

I created This Tuscan Life blog, magazine and experiences to share everything I love about Florence & Tuscany, one of the most popular and visited regions in Italy.   Add a splash of watercolour & you've got a creative mamma of two who wants to show you the true & authentic side of Tuscany.

Learn more

These delicious soft square pillows of ravioli filled with mashed potato, cheese, garlic and parsley are more commonly known in Tuscany as Tortelli Mugellani, the famous Tortello from Mugello! If you haven’t tried these yet, then add them to your list of ‘must-taste’ when you next travel to this region known as the ‘Green Valley of Tuscany’. 

Barberino di Mugello is a small town found an easy thirty minute drive along the A1 from Florence or 45 minutes from Bologna. For those of you that know me well, you’ll understand one of the things that I find special about visiting Barberino…….. Did someone say Designer Outlet?

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A creative, food & fashion loving mamma of two boys with a passion for all things Italian. 

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