Swedes are fit.
According to experts, they exercise more than any other country in Europe….doing so in a ridiculously cold climate with significantly less sunlight. They love exercise and every Swede I know is either a) good looking or b) super happy. Usually both.
According to the Swedish Sports Confederation (Riksidrottsförbundet), 45% of Swedes between 7 and 70 years old exercise more than twice a week. When I was around 5, we got a VCR so that my mom and I could do the Jane Fonda workout. Once was enough for my mom. That was her extent of exercise for the decade and it might explain why this particular momma prefers IKEA cinnamon rolls to bandy or ice hockey. (If anyone knows the difference, feel free to explain).
The days are getting shorter, my hibernating induced need for carbs has begun and I’ve noticed I am getting a little softer just above the jeans.
Last weekend, it was a rainy Sunday morning and I hadn’t yet consumed my allotted gallon of coffee and perhaps my eyes were deceiving me but the smaller child whom we refer to as ‘meatball’ seemed to be waddling not unlike the 1980’s Chicago Bears defensive lineman ‘Refrigerator’ Perry. I came to the conclusion that something had to be done. Since there was a torrential downpour my only requirement was that ‘said’ activity must take place inside. Somehow, I found a Sunday morning INDOOR family fitness class in Limpertsberg called ‘Friskis&Svettis.’
I loaded the three boys into German Sharon, (the minivan whom I also refer to as ‘the vagina on wheels’), and we set off to meet Swedish Nina.
I think Nina might be less Swede- more stunning, graceful gazelle who happens to teach exercise. She is definitely lacking a layer of fat above her trousers and it should be noted: she has fierce rhythm.
Before she started playing some fantastic tunes, (everything from Justin Timberlake to hip hop), she explained that it didn’t matter what we all did, as long as we were moving. The goal was to MOVE. I couldn’t handle NOT moving the music was so good.
It didn’t matter that I didn’t look like an elegant animal from the Sahara because we danced and laughed for the next hour. (Well, most of us did. The meatball doesn’t like to overexert himself and most enjoys watching from a distance but his cinnamon-roll-eating-mom knew he was pleased).
Family classes target children from 2 to around 6 years and the idea is for parents and children to have fun, enjoy the music and exercise together. We did exactly that and are for sure going back.
When I got home, I looked on their website and found there are tons of classes all over Luxembourg throughout the week for adults as well as some for kids! In the summer, like any good Swede, they move all classes outside. I also noticed that Nina teaches an adult class called Power Hour. On the website it says Power Hour is a sporty group session with varied exercises and a lot of work with medicine balls practicing ‘endurance, strength and explosiveness.’ This sort of ‘explosiveness’ can only explain why Nina is lacking a muffin top.
After intensive internet research, I also found out that Friskis is the biggest exercise organisation in Sweden and has been in Lux for 15 years! How am I only just now hearing about this?!
I’ve have four solid refined-carb packing winters under my shrinking belt. There has been little endurance, strength or explosiveness.
Not only can I practice ‘explosiveness,’ but they also offer classes on basic or medium levels. I can strengthen my core, try out different styles of dance, yoga, barbell, do interval training, outdoor training, fitness boxing so I will never be bored. Also they have classes in Kirchberg, Limpertsberg, Mühlenbach, Mamer and Merl so location is not an issue.
With all these classes offered, if you are like me- you might be thinking this is going to cost you. Not so. At 110 euros for 12 months for a kid aged 2- 12, the price is rather fantastic. An adult membership runs at 195 for 12 months but you can also just pay per class or per month. If you have family coming for an extensive time, they can also simply buy a monthly card.
Winter is coming. The family no longer needs to hibernate. Friskis&Svettis is there for us. All of us. Even the meatball.