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Fitness subscriptions & general tips

Living in a tiny house on wheels is a great experience and in most ways not very different than living in an apartment, except that you won’t need to move much. the diner table, kitchen, lounge, toilet and the car is literally half a meter apart from each other. So Fitness is an important activity living the vanlife, but taking a fitness subscription is quite useless seeing you will most likely not be on the same spot for a year.

The short answer to this problem

Day cards & Free tryouts, almost every gym has these.

Fitness Day cards

With this option you can fitness for 1 day, and they cost around 5 to 12 euro. This option is most often used by gyms instead of Free tryouts, especially in touristic cities and small gyms.

Free tryouts

Sometimes you are lucky and you’ll find a gym that offers a free tryout. Believe it or not but you’ll mainly find this option in big gyms. When applying for a tryout you will be asked to fill in a small form on where you agree to respect the rules of the gym. After that you are free to fit for free!

How to find these gyms

On Google Maps simply search ‘Fitness‘ and look around your area. If little or no result try find out which word the country you’re staying in uses for ‘fitness’. In the Netherlands for example its called ‘Sportschool‘, in Germany its called ‘Fitnessraum‘, in Spain ‘Gimnasio‘ and in France ‘Gym‘.

First contact and locker check

After you’ve found a gym near, check the website if they have free tryout or day cards. Call the gym to confirm this, and ask if their lockers have inbuilt locks. A lot of gyms don’t have inbuilt locks, so you have to bring your own little padlock.

Gym Entrance small talk

Often before you can enter the gym an employee will have a little chat with you, they’ll put their best foot forward to make you subscribe to the gym, especially if you’re taking a free tryout. So rule number one of vanlife fitness is you don’t talk about vanlife. There is a possibility that you’re not talking to an employee but the employer, which will most likely deny you the entrance in the gym cause you’re not a potential subscription.
So what do you say when the employee asks you where you are from? You just tell them you live in [your registered address] but that you are planning to stay in town for a while. In this way you’re not lying and you can keep it short.

Saving towels

Living in a van makes it that you don’t have a lot of towels to use, the gym does not help with this. 1 gym session costs you 2 towels, one for the workout and one for the shower. But you can try to fitness without a towel, in some gyms it is not obligated, in this case you clean the machines with the paper towels provided by the gym itself. If it is obligated to have a towel, keep it as clean as possible by keeping it on your person, and of coarse you clean the machines with the paper towels. This way you can use 1 towel for 3 fitness sessions.

After working out

You did it! You had your workout! Now its time for the best part: the shower!
Give the shower everything you’ve got: shave, shampoo, scrub etc. As you know the vanlife does not come with a daily  comfy shower, so trust me in this: regular fitness showers feel like a luxurious spa!

Fitness & Vanlife

As you’ve probably read in this article visiting gyms while living in a van is not really more complicated as usual, it just requires a little bit more preparation before you can visit one, especially finding a gym is the biggest time consumer in this case. But as you get more known with Google Maps and gym websites, this will get easier and easier.
Enjoy the constant change of gyms as it never gets boring to visit a different fitness center every week. If you’re lucky you’ll may enjoy some luxurious facilities at some like a sauna or pool! In any case fitness is a great way to stay fit and hygienic in a van.