How I Stay in Shape While Studying Abroad

Guys, I have lost 12 pounds since arriving in Finland! I feel great! I have been dreaming of all the wonderful Montana backpacking trips I will be taking this summer and feel that it is important to get my body in tip top performance shape. When I left Montana, I thought that by this time I would have gained 12 pounds, being on an extended vacation.  Hooray for that not being the case! So, how did do it? I took some time to reflect on some of the changes in my lifestyle and habits I made since I moved to Finland and here’s some tips that I came up with to stay in shape while studying abroad:

Run Your City

I had mentioned in a previous post about Finland that we loved having to walk everywhere. Not having a car has allowed us to really see the city that we live in. I have been taking advantage of the awesome running trails along the river in Seinäjoki. This past month, I have been running everyday, trying to prepare for my first half marathon in Montana this summer. The awesome thing about running is that it is free and you can do it anywhere. I spent the first month in Finland wishing so badly that I could run on a treadmill, because outside was freezing and the trails were covered in ice. After about a month of wishing, I sucked it up and ran on those icy trails anyway. Now, I am running at least two miles everyday.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and Take a Class

We arrived in Finland about two weeks earlier than we needed to. During these two weeks, we didn’t know anybody or our way around town. In Montana, I had been practicing hot yoga a few times a week and was starting to really miss it. I looked up studios that offered hot yoga in my city and reached out to the studio owner to see if the classes were taught in English. They weren’t but I thought yoga to be a pretty universal language and went anyway. I am so glad  that I did. I loved it. However, yoga wasn’t really in my budget for this abroad trip, so I started attending a couple HIIT classes that were offered free to students. These classes allowed me to step out of my comfort zone, meet new people, and feel great about myself.

Eat Like a Local

When I say “eat like a local”, I mean cook at home. Most people don’t spend every meal out at a restaurant. Admittedly, this was hard to resist the first couple weeks abroad. We wanted to try all the restaurants nearby, but it was better for our waistlines and our wallets to shop in the local markets and cook. Also, being on a limited budget has helped us to stop and think about what we are buying. Do I really need this delicious bar of Swedish chocolate? Nope, better not. Shopping like this also makes it so much better when we get to splurge on a pizza or sushi.

Don’t Drink Your Experience Away

Anyone who knows me in Montana can tell you, I love beer. Like a lot. However, Micah and I have not being drinking at all in Finland. It is extremely expensive and we really value our time abroad. On occasion, we have had a drink or two, but it is hardly worth it anymore. The drinking culture here is an insanely busy one. There is club in town that sponsors school parties every week and we are currently in the middle of Wappu Week (Finnish Labor Day), so it has been nothing but parties, beer pong/billards tournaments, and other festivities. My suggestion would be to go out on occasion for drinks with friends and to meet new people at the club, but not every week.

Set Goals and Keep Track of Your Success

I downloaded Under Amour’s Map My Walk and My Fitness Pal apps. I love them. I enjoy checking in to see the progress I have made. It helps me to keep my eye on the prize and set goals for myself. I specifically love the Map My Walk app, because you don’t need data to use it. This is extremely helpful when you don’t have service abroad. Here are the links to download these apps:

Well friends, that is what I have for you. This is what has worked for me and I hope it work for you! I can’t wait to get back to Montana and flaunt my healthy bod.

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