All you need to know about Iberian America

The Open-Air Gyms of the Vatos in Latin America

Published November 12, 2021 in Health & Safety , Mexico - 2 Comments

Back when I lived by Pedregal de Santo Domingo, there’d be a park that I would visit often.

I like to visit parks.

Mostly to relax alone with some fresh air.

Maybe people watch a tiny bit.

But be myself ideally out in the open to contemplate on things.

Let the mind wonder.

With the occasional visit involving a date too before trying to bring her back home.

All around, I like parks.

Who doesn’t?

Anyhow, near Pedregal de Santo Domingo, there wasn’t too many parks within walking distance that were close by from where I lived.

Unless you went a little bit further south.

However, there was one park a little bit to the east in an area called Ajusco.

I would often walk by the area anyhow to get groceries from the closest Soriana (about an hour walk round trip).

Along the walk, there was this park called “Parque Paseo Aztecas.”

Now, to be fair, I don’t have any photos of this park but I did take some photos of the area in front of it in this article on buying TRT in Mexico here.

The park itself wasn’t really that important in the grand scheme of things.

It’s definitely not well known among any foreigners whatsoever.

I’m probably one of the few foreigners who has nice memories of the park since it’s not located in any area that foreigners ever visit.

Though, for me, it was nice.

There were a few specific benches near the end of the park right in front of the Soriana that I would often sit down at.

Sometimes thinking to myself about the future.

“What am I really doing in Mexico?”

“What do I want to achieve in the next 5 years?”

“Would Alejandra be better to invite over Friday night to suck my dick or should I invite Karla?”

All equally important questions!

Either way, the walk over to those specific benches involved passing by some “open air gyms.”

Or so I call them anyway.

What do I mean?

The Open Air Gym of the Aztecas

Along the walk to the benches, you would see a certain space that was basically a playground for children.

It had the usual – swing sets, slides, monkey bars, etc.

However, there were no kids in the area.

Instead, you had reggaeton blasting and young adults working out.

To be fair – not reggaeon viejo.

More like some new shit like this stuff here.

So it wasn’t like they were that tough...

Regardless, it was a space only for young adults despite it being designed for kids.

Young men (only men) working out.

Their workouts would usually involve pull ups, push ups, etc.

Any heavy lifting?


They’d have some barbells on the site for working out.

If I had to guess, the barbells couldn’t have weighed more than 100 pounds at most.

It wasn’t like these dudes were deadlifting 500 but they were using this playground for working out how they could.

And, being honest, I’ve seen the same elsewhere in Mexico City.

Close to Insurgentes Sur

About a year later almost, I’m leaving my apartment by Copilco area of Mexico City.

Though I didn’t know it yet, I was about to have a night of food poisoning as I wrote here.

I was feeling low on energy and just “weird” in general.

So I took a walk to a nearby park that is somewhere in between Copilco Metro station and the Walmart in a small shopping mall.

Keep walking past that Walmart and you’ll be at Insurgentes Avenue.

I’m sure like one person who reads this will locate what I’m talking about…

Anyway, there happens to be a nice park in the area that I enjoyed spending time in also.

For the same reasons as the park in Ajusco.

And, as I said, there was one afternoon where I’m feeling potentially sick.

As I’m sitting down, you have folks working out in this park.

You actually had a lot of folks working out here!

For one, you had some cardio group that always worked out on the concrete.

Right next to the concrete, you also had another playground area that you could tell was meant for kids.

This group had barbells a bit heavier looking than what the group had by Ajusco.

Their choice of music?

Normally rock with some touch of American hip hop and reggaeton.

Similarly, they would use the barbells and use some of the playground equipment for pushups and pullups.

Among whatever other activities that anyone did.

All around, it’s something that’s cool to see but different for someone like me.

Playgrounds as an Open-Air Gym in Latin America

Sometimes I become conscious that my experience in the US is not representative of everyone’s experience back home.

I’m from a small town in Iowa.

As I always say…

Not all of Latin America is the same.

And, especially given the size of the US, not all of the US is the same.

Having said that, I’ve never seen anyone ever use a playground for children as a way to workout in the US.

I have seen some people use parks for jogging and other very basic working out.

But never have I seen a group of young men who look physically fit using a children’s playground to workout.

Basically taking over the playground.

Which is how it works out.

I’ve never seen families use these playgrounds when they are taken over by the young adults looking for a workout.

Honestly, I can’t complain.

I always imagined that these folks doing this simply don’t have the cash for a real gym.

Because there are obvious limitations to using a playground for a gym.

You aren’t ever going to be deadlifting insane weights or some shit.

Equipment is a little bit basic.

And, whenever I see someone improving themselves, it deserves good recognition.

Someone – fit or fat – working out to better themselves?

Sounds great to me.

Even on limited funds, at least they are doing something.

Either way, there’s nothing else to say on the matter.

It’s simply to point out a very basic difference between where I grew up and what I see down here in Latin America.

Though, as I just said, not all of Latin America is the same.

I’m sure this happens in other cities of Latin America but I’ve only seen this happen in Mexico City.

However, to be fair, I haven’t taken the time to notice this happening until over a year ago.

Either way, it’s a small aspect to life down here that might be new for you depending on what your roots are.

It’s a little bit unique for me and I find it cool.

People using what they can to improve themselves?


Anyway, if you got any comments, drop them below in the comment section.

Follow my Twitter here.

And enjoy this video from Rocky here to motivate you to working out.

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,



Dazza - November 12, 2021 Reply

I saw this in Lima – the young fellas doing chin ups, pull ups, press ups, dips etc in and around the park – there were actual bars for them to do these exercises though so they had no need to accost the kiddies swings and whatnot – where I am from and the same as you – a lot of young fellas want to look like Arnold and the Rock and be ‘big’ and heavy lifting gym culture and steroids are a big part of the male youth culture – like in The States with American Football – we have rugby (both codes…) where you need to be big and strong to play it. Latin America doesn’t have those kind of sports (apart from rugby in Argentina…).

The town I am from was a rugby and wrestling mecca and was the ground point zero of what is now Brazilian Ju Jitsu (called catch-can wrestling) and bodybuilding was developed there as early as the 1930’s which was probably long before any other part of the UK. I think with young guys in that part of the world – they want to look toned and fit rather than be ‘big’ which would be ridiculous for a lot of them at the height that they are. You can pull that off if you are approaching six foot and more.

Dazza - November 12, 2021 Reply

Also, the sporting heroes they look up to are boxers and footballers – so I imagine the kind of physiques these chaps have are the ones the local youth want to emulate – toned and fit rather than massive and strong. Now I am a lot older, makes a lot more sense!

Leave a Reply: