Retiring in the best country in the world for me involves finding a place where I can stay fit Samson, not fat Samson. That’s why wherever I go, the first thing I’ll find is a bar to grab a drink, and then a gym.

I like weights, free weights, machines, universals….. I love them all. Now, I know that a lot of people don’t necessarily love weight lifting, and there’s a lot to be said for body weight exercises.  ​

​For me, I like what I like. And this article is about gyms, fitness and protein powder. After my last year in south east Asia, I realized that I was seriously protein deficient. There’s a lot of rice, noodles and carbs in the typical Asian diet. 

Vowing not to suffer that again, I brought a whole suitcase full of BCAA, creatine and protein powder to my South American and Central American tour.

First. You don’t need to. I found several shops that only were about 20% more expensive than the shops in Canada. (Think GNC pricing.) But, if you want a specific brand like Iron Vegan, then bring it. They have a lot of selection, including MusclePharm and other big names, but the really specific high end brands might be missing.

The Colombian diet is really heavy in calories. A typical $5 lunch is cup of rice, beans, a protein, a small salad, a drink, avocado, and a potato chowder. I’d say it’s about 1100 calories. 

Gyms here are broken into 3 categories.

The super expensive high end gym. This is your top of the line gym, like you would see at a Snap Fitness in Canada. World class equipment, classes and super clean. These are 140 000 Colombian Pesos, $70 a month. I was shocked they even exist, because the average Colombian makes $400 a month. Writing for I am not looking for this.

The old school iron prison gym. Want to work out in the 80’s? Iron weights, old machines and Miami sound machine on the sound system. These are my kind of gym! You walk in and it’s all locals. I am the only tourist in site. Bonus I never have to show my membership card, because I really really stick out. $30 a month (60 000 Colombian Pesos)

The FREE park gym. A lot of parks have gyms with concrete blocks, a couple of machines and lots of body weight style areas. This is where I learned the phrase “Hey, old Chinese guy, get out of the way of my view of the hot Colombian guys”. Seriously this is not the type of place you want to work out, unless you’re super confident. Imagine, all these guys are working out shirtless, showing off their six packs, rugged faces and 5 o’clock shadows.  It’s also totally open, and yes girls stop just to get video. I loved working out here, but it’s definitely for everyone.

Gyms are great in Medellin, and if you love fitness definitely check it out.

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)