It has now been a little over a month that I have been in Lyon and I’m beginning to find myself falling into a routine. Personally, I find it essential to build a routine that I can follow and tweak; otherwise, I worry that I will fall into the pitfalls of procrastination and laziness. To begin, every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I take the bus to the station in the city center of Lyon. Everything from the trees to the billboards have become increasingly familiar, as I habitually gaze outside the bus on my routine commutes. Once I arrive at the station, I ride the tram to my university where I attend classes, get some work done at the library, and dine at the cafeteria with friends. On Thursdays and Fridays I do not have any courses, which allows for a lot of time and flexibility to do whatever needs to be done that week, or to take advantage and travel elsewhere.
Recently, I got a gym membership, with the goal of getting into a healthy and effective routine. I have always struggled following a consistent routine and finding the motivation to work on myself, when the alternative of binge-watching TV was so easy to turn to. Being in France has been a much needed break from life at home, providing a new fresh start where I can give myself structure and instill new habits that can follow me back home. Since I don’t have class everyday, the gym has helped me to create some consistency. I like to go to the gym about 4 or 5x a week. Whether it is after a long day of classes or to begin my days when I do not have class, it is always something that I can rely on to give me some time to myself. Although intimidating at first, I am finding that with each time I workout, I am growing my knowledge, becoming more confident in my abilities, and I am expanding my strengths. It is so refreshing to have some time in which I can work on myself, both physically and mentally. While exhausting, it is also very mentally rewarding.
The gym is equipped with high-tech equipment that shows what body part is being worked on, provides a demonstration of the correct use of the equipment, and even has a function where you follow along a path on the screen that ensures efficient and correct use of the machine. Not knowing the correct way to use machines was always a major reason I had previously not worked out much, so having equipment that is easy to use and learn from is really important and a big help. Something that is different from American gyms are the units of measurement used. The standard for most countries around the world is the metric system, whereas the U.S. uses the imperial system. Consequently, I often find myself converting my accomplishments (such as how much distance I cover in a 30 minute period) into what I am more familiar with (from km to miles). Nonetheless, this is something that I am sure I will become more accustomed to with time, such as with military time which at first was confusing but now is second nature to me. An added bonus are the saunas that allow me to clear my mind and relax after working out. I really enjoy taking this time to reflect on how grateful I am to have this experience and to just unclog my mind from any ongoing stresses or worries. I have never really been a consistent gym-goer, but I can honestly say that it has been playing a positive role in my daily life.
Working out has not only allowed me to work on my physical and mental well-being, but it has also pushed me to want to live a healthier lifestyle. Unsure of how to really go about working out, I have watched many videos on Youtube to really learn more about what’s important. This has resulted in my strive for a healthier lifestyle in terms of diet too. It can be hard to maintain a balanced diet, especially while abroad. The selection of foods vary a bit from the U.S., especially when it comes to more international products like those used in Puerto Rican dishes. This can make it harder to plan out a grocery list as products I am used to using are not available. Still, on average my groceries tend to cost less than what they normally do at home, which definitely helps. Little by little, I am trying to implement changes in my attitudes towards foods, being more conscious about what I buy and how I eat throughout the day.
It’s crazy to look back to my first week and how scary and new everything was. That is not to say that I am not experiencing new things or not having situations that can put me outside of my comfort zone, but that I am becoming more used to life in Lyon and I am excited to take the next step in building a routine and striving for a healthier lifestyle!