This morning a question hit me as I wiped the dripping sweat from my eyes as I tackled the elliptical...okay, I admit it, it was tears since I had almost finished reading The Help and brought it to the gym with me to finish while I worked out - what a great book! Regardless of the state of my workout, I questioned what the state of gyms in El Salvador is like. In Guatemala, I found this tiny place called El Shaddai that was around the corner from my house - lots of muscly sweaty men lifting weights (when they weren't ogling the gringas), with not a single cardio machine, and an aerobics instructor who wore Jane Fonda-esque leotards and led us in lots of jumping and bouncing routines despite the fact that exercise science had already progressed well beyond attributing significant benefit to those particular moves. I loved it! And I recommended it to others at the school that I taught at, and soon there was a significant contingent of Americans descending on the gym several afternoons a week. These days, the gym monopoly for Americans there in town appears to be held by a gentleman who has multiple business interests who really likes dealing with Americans. Plus he installed cardio machines. And there was convenient parking. And the aerobics instructor is better (though every machine and weight stack in the place face the aerobics floor, so that the class feels a little like a floor show). 24-Hour Fitness it is not, but definitely a step up from what we were used to!
A quick google search nets only a few results for gyms in El Salvador (notably this one, which has prices well beyond what we pay for our completely equipped and open 24 hour gyms here at home, and a World Gym, which lists an address but gives no further details of what's available. There also appear to be several Curves locations, but that will do P-Daddy no good at all! And there's a dog gym, but again, that's limiting the usefulness of the gym to less than our entire household. Of course the big hotels all list gyms as amenities, but it seems unlikely they'd let me work out there if I'm not a guest.
However, I am not deterred, since it's becoming clear that businesses in El Salvador are not as cyber-savvy as those in the US. There must be more! It's going at the top of my list of things to look for when we visit next: where are the gyms, what do they offer, and how much do they cost? If you have any of these answers, feel free to comment. If not, I'll report back once I know!
Or maybe we'll just open our own...