Foreigners Reveal How Exercise in America is Completely Different

11. If you visit Belfast, Ireland, you’ll find a mixture of gyms and sports. Reddit user nadhbhs says, “I know a lot of people who go to the… Trista - May 28, 2021

11. If you visit Belfast, Ireland, you’ll find a mixture of gyms and sports.

Reddit user nadhbhs says, “I know a lot of people who go to the gym, but I don’t know many people who find it fun. Personally, I prefer sports and then home exercises to complement those, whether working on muscles to develop them better for the sport or giving a workout to the muscles missed by the sport.” It is beneficial to know how you like to work out. Working out alone in a gym is painfully boring for many people, so they need the social aspect that group sports give. There is no shame in not going to the gym if you are getting your exercise somewhere else.

Belfast is Northern Ireland’s capital (and the largest city) and was the birthplace of the Titanic. The city has a large museum for the Titanic now, which resembles the ship’s hull and is one of the most popular tourist destinations. Belfast has a population of just over 280 thousand people and is generally a safe city. Some say it is best to avoid certain areas, especially after dark; however, it is not generally a concern for tourists. Ireland, in general, is known for its many football/soccer teams, so it makes sense that this is preferred to going to the gym.


10. Playing sports versus going to the gym is a hot debate in other countries.

“Sure, gyms are very popular! But so is running. You see a lot of runners in the streets in the evenings and weekends. For men, it’s also quite common to play some sport as a hobby. Some do it in a more structured way with a “real team,” others just do it casually for fun. For some reason, I don’t find this to be as common for women.” [deleted] Reddit user explains what seems to be a common observation in a lot of European countries. The gyms seem to be more of an afterthought when it comes to exercise.

There are some pros and cons to only using sports as your workouts than going to the gym. If you are doing sports for fun, you may not take it seriously; however, it’s just that – FUN! However, when you go to a gym, your paying for it and, therefore, might take it more seriously and do it more often. It’s hard to say which is better. As long as you break a sweat and get a workout several times a week, you should be good. It’s all about how you feel in the end. 


9. Do other countries crossfit or bodybuild?

“When I was a teenager, bodybuilding was very popular. In the last ten years, Crossfit took over. I prefer bodybuilding to Crossfit. Gyms are usually “sausage parties.” Females barely work out.” [deleted] This Reddit user will see more and more females working out now. It was more male-dominated, especially with bodybuilding, now with CrossFit more popular, more and more females are working out in the gym. Crossfit Games has also made the sport more popular for both men and women.

Bodybuilding is more focused on building muscle and reducing fat. It is appearance-based training and is all about the gains. Crossfit, on the other hand, is all about strength and conditioning. The goal is not to lose fat or gain muscle but to do better than your previous workout. Crossfit is not focused on appearance at all and is like a bonus to your workouts. Being more fit will usually lead to the person being more fit and “appearing” fitter. It is all about how you feel and your performance, which is the most important aspect for many people. 


8. Exercising is all about style, right?

“The UK here. It is fairly popular. Most guys I know who are C2DE are pretty into it. I think US culture suits it a bit more, though – it’s hard to look good in clothes if you are massive. In the US, you all wear baggy/gangster-type clothing. I know people will refute this, but even people who dress in other ways there tend to wear things in much larger sizes, and the sort of stylish dress we have here isn’t as common.” It definitely seems to be a common trend in European countries to wear more fitting, athletic clothing as casual “everyday” clothes.

Reddit User kaiserpuss continues, “Most girls I know are absolutely not into big guys at all, sure they like a six pack and all that but guys who go to the gym 4+ times a week and post photos of 80 chicken breasts to Facebook are not generally seen as attractive apart from by certain…chavier ladies.” It is interesting to think that “dad-bods” in most places are considered the preferred body type for men. Also, often men find women with larger hips to be more attractive because it shows good childbearing. It is just a subconscious thing that can’t be helped – a male instinct. 


7. Tete means brother in this gym…

“Spanish guy here. I’m pretty sure there isn’t that much of lift culture, and if someone said, “Do you even lift, bro” in Spanish, it would be the most absurd thing to say ever. Although, there are some TV shows where they show buffed guys trying to get with skanks (Spanish TV is seriously garbage), and they usually make them look dumb and ignorant as hell, to the point that people use some of their idioms as a joke.” This kind of sounds like the Spanish version of Jersey Shore, except maybe not as much drinking, tanning, and laundry happening.

Reddit user PhreakMarryMe continues explaining, “As an example, the most famous word is “tete,” and it’s how toddlers call their brothers. For some reason, these buffed guys call “tete” their friends, and it just became a joke that, when you want to sound stupid when talking to your friends, you’ll start saying “tete.” It also became a word to refer to these stupid, buffed guys. So guys, if you come to Spain, do not, by any means, use the word tete unless they are sure you are joking. They’ll start thinking you are an idiot.”


6. Do you even lift in England?

“I’m in England, and I’ve literally never heard anybody talk about “lifting” in real life. I know loads of people who go to the gym, but I guess mainly for general exercise/cardio type stuff, not bulking up. Even the most “gym loving” demographic seems more about a muscled but lean, athletic body type than being “ripped” per se.” [deleted] Reddit user says, which seems to be more of a Crossfit mentality. Maybe where they are in England, this is the preferred fitness practice. Cardio exercises should also be done every day regardless, as it is great for your heart health.

The Reddit user continues, “No doubt there is a segment of people heavily into the weights, but I guess they’re a bit more niche. I can’t really compare to the US though since I haven’t lived there. I mean, “do you even lift?” seems like a big and ubiquitous catchphrase but it was a joke, right? From over here, it seems hard to believe the lifting body type is as ubiquitous/’mandatory’ as you’re making out, but what do I know.” In many places, that mentality and practice of lifting are for sure the most popular. 


5. Poland doesn’t have too many of those macho meatheads.

“In Poland, the guy with so many muscles that he can’t keep his arms at his sides is very much laughed at as being a vain unintelligent meathead. Of course, beer bellies are frowned on too, but there isn’t as much junk/convenience food consumption here, so waistlines are far smaller than their Western counterparts anyway, and therefore there isn’t as much pressure to get back in shape. “says Reddit user Grrrmachine. It is probably one of the best pieces of advice we can take from European lifestyles – eat less junk, and eat more whole foods and vegetables.

They continue, “As far as dating goes, typical wooing (flowers, holding doors open, fancy restaurants) coupled with traditional status symbols (fancy car, steady job, managerial prospects, etc.) are far more seductive than how much you can lift. Sure, people exercise, and gym membership is growing, but people mostly go running or cycling or play sports like volleyball, rather than pumping iron. I work with a few guys who talk about lifting while consuming protein shakes in the office, and they’re generally looked on as being a bit weird. Funnily enough, they’re all single too.”


4. Exercising in Canada compared to the rest of Europe.

Damnyouresickbro says, “I’m from Canada, but all my family is in Europe, and I have spent a good amount of time there. What I can say is that lifting is not very common. You’ll get the random pockets of guys that are into it, but for the most part, a lot aren’t into it. I’ve come up with many theories as to why this is. The first is that they don’t have the same resources as we do here. Supplements and food are much more expensive, so you don’t see many people going on a “bulk” as they don’t have the resources to do so. Also, they rely more on public transportation and walking, which causes them to burn a decent amount of calories throughout the day. In North America, you pretty much drive everywhere in most areas.”

“The second is that there is less competition for women. North America has a disproportionate amount of overweight people. When this comes to the economics of sex, it changes as there are fewer overweight women in Europe. In North America, there are more overweight women. Also, in North America, you have to be in very good shape to get attention from the 8’s and 9’s as being in shape alone will probably make you a seven automatically as a girl. Here, In Europe, that’s not the case. Lastly, I’d say it’s not the desired look. Girls in Europe are thinner, on average, so they don’t need a massive bloated-looking meathead. Being in shape is definitely a plus regardless, but an athletic look is more desired than just a pure mass look. My opinion on this is that girls always want a guy bigger than them. In North America, you have big women, therefore leading to the formation of big men.”


3. What’s it like in the big city of Toronto?

“Toronto, Canada here. In this city, if you’re not part of one of the sub-cultures, you’re pretty much persona non grata. The population of this city is so large, and it’s so spread out that the choices for dating are pretty much infinite, so it makes it really easy to discard/disregard a person for a small flaw because there’s another just around the corner. Owing to its puritanical/British past, it’s also a pretty shallow place. Everybody is in constant competition with everybody else for indicators of success (who has the higher-paying job, who has the nicer toys, who has the nicer house, who has the hotter girlfriend/boyfriend, etc.).”

“So the natural extension of that is physical appearance. If everybody is shallow and will judge you immediately on your clothes and body shape, you pretty much have to lift and have sub-15% body fat to stand a chance. Because everybody else does it, and if you’re not doing it, you’re falling behind. There are the jacked 260 lb power-lifting, steroid-using meatheads, but that’s its own sub-culture. Basically, the 170-190lb, 12% bf lean look is in here (think Greek/Roman statues), so that’s what everybody goes for.” says [deleted] Reddit user. If you are not taking your fitness seriously, how can a partner who values health take you seriously?


2. New Zealand gyms include rugby, squash, and cricket.

“There are gyms in both small towns and bigger cities; obviously, there’s variation in size/quality/facilities, etc. Usually, membership will cost a certain amount per week, as well as a joining fee (generally between $50-$100). At the moment, I pay $14 per week but have also paid $11 per week and $20 per week at two other gyms.” Like other places around the world, it seems there is a variety of prices, but not much difference in the actual gyms themselves. Generally, they all have the same equipment, while some may have additional services and products. 

Reddit user angelofdeaf continues, “All the gyms I’ve been to have free weights. I know of a few shops around that sell supplements, often it’s available to be purchased at the gym itself, and it’s also easy to buy it online. Exercise is pretty common here. Lots of people play sports – rugby (union & league), soccer, netball, tennis, squash, cricket, etc. – and I know plenty of people that go to a gym.” From this observation, it seems like, in New Zealand, there is a good balance of team sports being played along with going to the gym.


1. Exercising in India means going to the akharas.

“Yes, almost all cities have gyms. Even villages have traditional gyms called akharas, but they’re more like wrestling clubs. Gym cost may range from 700 INR (12 USD) to 10,000 INR (180 USD) per month, depending on which part of India you live in and what kind of gym you go to. A lot of smaller gyms mostly have free weights, a treadmill, and an exercycle.” Says Reddit user one_brown_jedi. Between $12-$180 is quite a large difference to pay for your membership – hopefully, they are looking at the pros and cons of each gym.

They continue, “Yes, a protein supplement is widely available and is quite cheap. If you buy in bulk, then it’s cheaper. We don’t have many gym rats; most are people trying to stay in shape. Exercise is not a common thing; most people are way out of shape. Our diet is mostly carbs and no protein.” Again, this shows that no matter where you live and the amount of exercise you get, your health needs to start in the kitchen. Your diet is the most important part of your health journey, and exercise comes second (still very important to have both, though.) If you were facisnated by these global exercising differences, read about how people from around the world described how their US healthcare.