T Nation

Lifting / Eating in Spain


I will be spending the upcoming study abroad semester in Madrid, Spain and am interested about information if anyone has been there in regards to bodybuilding. I will be there for five months starting early February and am trying to know what to expect so I can plan ahead. I am planning my lifting schedule so I can deserve to take a week rest when I get there in order to recover from jet lag, let my body rest, and look for gyms.

Here are some questions I have but please add all the additional info you got:

  1. How are the gyms in the city and what should I expect (price, atmosphere)? I don't expect a hardcore gym but at least one with all the equipment I need. And what is the best way to finding the ideal gym?

  2. I know the food will be more expensive due to the strength of the dollar but what can I expect from the supermarkets there? Will I be able to find similar products to what is here or is there a dramatic difference?

  3. I will be living with a homestay and I am very open to buying additional food and store it in their fridge if they are nice about it so I won't have to only eat out. Anyone have experience with this type of setup?

  4. I will probably be walking around alot more than here and suspect I will need to prepare on-the-go meals more often. I will bring a few shaker bottles with me everywhere in case but any thoughts on this and how to deal with it?

Any help is much appreciated! I'm very excited to live in Madrid but am trying as much as I can to mitigate its effects from a weightlifting perspective so I can keep progressing.


1- 40 euros per month, softcore people mainly speaking in the machines. The 17-years-old-gym-punk is more common than in the U.S. If you go for a small gym the equipment probably will be rusty and the weights too small so I recommend you to go to any big worlwide brand, like Virgin, Fitness company or any other.
2- We have chicken, tuna and milk, but oats are not common. We eat proper cereals for breakfast. Stay away of things that look like pig ears, they are pig ears.
3- You'll realize how expensive it is to eat out, so I guess they'll have no prob on sharing the fridge. Otherwise I hope you have a nice credit card.
4- Tupperware??


Great, so in other words it will be a worse crowd than the US and the equipment will suck. And, I couldn't find those gyms on google so could anyone recommend some gyms that have free weights or is a basic setup too much to ask for in Spanish gyms? I have no problem with commercial gyms if they have the equipment but I guess it's too unrealistic to find a dungeon type of gym with real lifters eh? If it makes any difference, I will be studying at ICADE. Thanks for the thoughts so far! Keep em comin.


Is your uni at Alberto Aguilera street?
In which part of Madrid are you gonna live?
Dumbells till 25 kg are available everywhere, if you are looking for something bigger either you go to a commercial gym or you try to find a lifter dungeon. No ideas for this kind of dungeons in Madrid though.


A poster by the name of Cheeta has a blog in the powerful women section of the site called Thelma's Quest For Louise & Muscle. I believe she was lifting in madrid, spain for a quarter or two. Might want to ask her about it.


I don't know where exactly I'll live and I won't talk to my family until I get there. Stupid rules. But the school is between the Arguelles and San Bernardo metro stations and s on the Calle de Alberto Aguilera. Is it hard to find a gym with up to 100 lb dumbbells and a modest amount of free weights?

Thanks for the tip about talking to Cheeta, I'll look into that.


quick word of advice: they use the metric system over there, so I suggest learning the [pound < - > kilogram] conversion formulas if you plan on keeping track of your progress.


You have a big gym in Alberto Aguilera almost in the corner with San Bernardo it is about two minutes walk (Urban Fitness), I've never been there but I've seen it from the car. And I think there is one in ICADE so maybe you can work out there (probably free if you study there) till you find one you like.
Good luck


That sounds promising actually. But I have seen some websites of gyms in Madrid and they are big but that is because of their aerobics rooms and cardio room and a small area full of machines for weights. Urban Fitness I found on Google maps but they don't have a website.

You think it's a similar setup or do you think it actually has some weights? ICADE does have one and I saw a picture of it but it is pretty much a hotel-like gym so I really don't want to resort to that. Thanks for the help so far.


I know of a dungeon-style gym with hardcore lifters in Madrid.

It happens to be right next to where I used to live. It's pretty small, but they have all the basic stuff. (All the basic bodybuilding stuff, that is. Don't expect Olympic lifting platforms or hardcore powerlifting gear.) Every time I went there I stumbled across this group of 3-4 hardcore bodybuilders. Really massive guys, as big as any guys I've seen in gyms in the US. And, from what I could gather in the short 2 weeks I went there, it seemed that some of these guys were national level champions. Their competition pictures were all over the walls.

It's on the corner of Abtao and Valdearribas streets, diagonally across from the ATM machine. Pacifico Metro (Subway) station. If you're in the Arguelles area it shouldn't take you more than half an hour to get there by subway. If you're really keen on finding a hardcore gym, I think it is worth it.

PM if you want more info.


bump for anyone who hasn't seen this thread yet . . . one week till I leave