The Uniqueness of Israel
How to Avoid “The Freshman 15” – Staying Fit in Israel
It is extremely normal for people to gain a bit of unwanted weight when they leave home for the first time and find themselves solely in charge of their meals. However, many people want to avoid this and at Aardvark we will do our best to help.
First of all when you arrive you will have a few sessions on healthy eating and how to shop for healthy food while on a budget. This will help ensure that you eat in a healthy manner and resist the temptation to spend your gap year living on falafel and chips (however tasty that may sound it really is far from ideal).
Of course an essential element of avoiding The Freshman 15 is exercise and there will be plenty of opportunity for this while on your gap year. First of all on a daily basis you will find yourself quite active, walking from place to place and of course many of the trips you go on involve hikes which while they aren’t too difficult certainly provide you with some exercise. Furthermore, those of you in Tel Aviv will notice that there are stands around the city where you can hire bikes, this is a great way of travelling around and in terms of exercise is preferable to sitting on a bus.
If there is any particular sport that you are used to playing and would like to continue to play on your gap year then be sure to mention it to your Madrichim. They can help you find a local facility and help arrange your schedule to ensure that you have plenty of time to keep playing, whether it’s football, basketball or any other sport.
In general there is nothing to stop you taking yourself out for a bit of exercise, whether it is a run in a local park, a bike ride or even just a brisk walk. Better still, in many parks in Israel you will find that there are basic exercise facilities provided such as stands for doing chin ups, machines for lifting your own body weight and more. These are extremely popular with Israelis and at almost any time you visit a park you are sure to find people there and they are normally perfectly happy to give you a hand if you need it.
Of course you could join a gym and there are plenty in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with enough range in costs and facilities to accommodate the desires of most people. However, this may still be an unwanted expense and it shouldn’t really be necessary.
The best thing to do would be to try and make a plan with some of the other participants on the course and help each other to stick to a healthy eating and exercise regime, not only will this make it easier but it can also be a lot of fun and you’ll have no need to worry about the dreaded Freshman 15.