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Your inner Brussels Olympian

16:05 07/02/2014

The Winter Games will be kicking off in Sochi today. With it, two weeks of imagining Olympic gold – and the accompanying Olympic body – awaits.  

While a golden medal may not be in your immediate future, getting fit like an Olympian during your stay in Brussels is more than within reach. This article will reveal how to stay fit in a country flowing with pomme-frites and chocolate.

Mixing work with fitness pleasure

Given most expats work a 9 to 5, signing up for a Brussels fitness centre allows for quick yet efficient work outs according to your chaotic hours. Fitness centres are popping up all over the city, but choosing which one is best depends on how you plan to use it. For example, Basic Fit proposes 81 basic centres (no live-instructor group classes) in Belgium at €15,95 a month for the whole ‘family’ (those residing at your address) and 24hr services, while Aspria offers fitness with a side of heavy wellness pampering, but for a steep price: €1000 a year (plus initiation fees).

Given the numerous possibilities, take an aerobic step back before committing to a club, and reflect on your workout centre criteria. Price, proximity to work or home, opening hours, facilities and group fitness offers should be weighed. When ready, consult directories like, offering information on 80 fitness clubs throughout Brussels, or more expat-oriented guides at ExpatArrivals and Brusselslife.

Those blessed with hand-eye coordination

For many, running on a treadmill just doesn’t cut it; you want to explore the limits of your Olympic sport potential. Fortunately, Brussels has a variety of facilities, clubs and leagues that suit both the recreational and aspiring athlete.

As with fitness centres, Brussels sport facilities vary in proposed activities, price, location and playing level. While the existing offer is somewhat overwhelming, useful directories exist to help get you on the playing field as soon as possible. On the French-speaking side, ADEPS offers a list 18 Sport Halls varying in activities throughout Brussels. The Flemish community meanwhile has an online interactive map allowing you to search by sport and zip code. Finally, the city of Brussels offers its own list of Sport Halls and Clubs.

Campus Sports: open to the whole Brussels community

Hidden athletic gems of the city, Brussels universities like the ULB and VUB each have rich offers of sport programmes and courses throughout the academic year – and at extremely cheap prices (€90-€150 for the year for unlimited access).

Finally: why pay to be fit…

When you can run outside?
In Brussels for the short term, or who simply don’t feel like paying to keep in shape? Brussels, the second greenest capital in Europe, has 8,000 hectares of green space for you to run in. Need extra motivation to run longer than 5 minutes? Try out BrusselsSightJogging, organised sight-seeing runs throughout the city. Goal-oriented people can sign up for a race – the most popular being the Brussels 20 km the last Sunday of May (sign up in March).

When you can bike the city?
Brussels, with its uphill climbs galore, is the perfect bike-training arena. Whether you invest in a cheap second-hand bike or pay €32 for a year-long Villo bike card, you’ll find biking in Brussels is efficient, pleasant and, most of all, very good exercise.

When the Belgian government can pay in your place?
You read correctly. To encourage health and more sustainable living, the Belgian government offers a tax incentive to bike commuters of €0.21/kilometre, allowing you to earn up to €664.65 extra a year, just for being ecological and fit.

Another Belgian entity willing to dish out money for your active lifestyle is your Belgian complimentary insurance. Depending on the mutuelle, you can get €15-€35 back annually for your sports or fitness membership.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/vicki wolkins

Written by Kelly Hendricks



Just for information the website mentionned in the article seems to point to now.

Aug 23, 2015 12:33