+ First of all, Irish people are way more relaxed when it comes to sports and physical fitness, so I automatically feel like I am in better shape. My roommates are perfect examples of this, one of whom rewards himself after his monthly 2k jog with a cigarette and a can of Tuborg.
+ Second, nearly all guys at the gym wear board shorts. At first I thought this was the dumbest thing ever, but then I realized this is very efficient! After your (uncomfortable) lifting/running sesh, you can hop right in the pool or sit in the sauna without having to change in between. In reality however, it is a silly idea, and I feel much more athletic and appropriately dressed when I step foot in the weight room.
+ Third, everything is in kilograms. This helps me because I cannot compare myself to anyone in my past who has ever mentioned how much they lift unless I actually go convert the units.
+ Fourth, the treadmills have a hookup for your iPod and headphones so I can plug in and listen to all my sick workout jams!
+ Fifth, and most importantly, I have developed a buddy system with my friends, who frequently go with me and motivate me to not be lazy, even if it is just using the sauna.
Of course, I still have the body of a 16-year old boy and sometimes get pushed over by strong wind gusts, but it's a start, and it feels good to finally have worked this into my routine. Maybe by the time I get back to the states I'll have gained 5 pounds of pure muscle mass! Until then, I'm going to shower and check myself out in the mirror for a while. And then I might change my facebook default picture to a shot of just my abs. Cheers.