Today Derik and I stepped into a Korean gym for the first time since February 2012. We’ve basically been avoiding the gym for the past (almost) two years and with good reason. No one wants to pay a zillion dollars ($80-$100 a month) for a gym membership to a worn down, no a/c, dirty gym. For that price I’m expecting full blown celebrity status gym where fresh, cool water is served on silver platters. Am I wrong?
I used to go regularly to the gym back when I was living in Portland, so adapting to a new workout schedule was tough. I’ve done Insanity multiple times, Jillian Michaels, yoga, and a few thirty day challenges. You can read more about my no-gym fitness routine here.
Anyway. We have an upcoming epic two month trip (Hawaii and Thailand) in January and February, and both D and I agreed we’d like to be on top of our game physically when we go. Sure at-home workouts do wonders, but I’d like to get more toned and there’s only one thing that helps that: weights.
My husband was quite the fitness buff in college, and I was actually pretty excited when he suggested to me that he’d like to start going to the gym again. Naturally he wanted a gym buddy. I was lucky enough to weasel my way in to his first choice of gym companions
I didn’t give him a choice . Personal trainer anyone?
Every ‘first day’ at a new gym can be a little nerve wracking. Some of the questions that go through my mind are: What should I expect? Will everyone be watching me? What kind of equipment do they have? Do they have water fountains? Ok, now let’s bring this to a whole new level. Try working out at a gym that’s in another country , and every single sign on the wall, machines, locker rooms, etc are all in a foreign language.
After finally communicating with the receptionist that we would only like to pay for a one day pass ($4), we headed off in search of the gym in a 4 story ‘fitness’ building. We found it on the third floor. We walked in the door and BAM an instant heat wave rocked over our bodies like it was the hip thing to do. No. It’s. not. Especially in August when it’s already 90++++ degrees outside. There were absolutely zero fans running, no AC, only a small door on the opposite side open for ventilation. I’m telling you, I hadn’t even stepped foot on that treadmill and I was sweating like a pig. I look around and so was everyone else.
I jumped on the treadmill and started my 20 minute run. I was shocked to look down on the display to see I was running at a 12!! Enter beast mode. Wait…not quite. I had forgotten that with the change of hemispheres during our move abroad
really anywhere outside the US I am now forced to deal with the metric system NOT the US system of measurement. My ’12’ speed on the treadmill was actually in kph not mph making it only 7.4mph. Bummer. Way to bring me down Korea. If that wasn’t enough, my personal TV( that was pretty much older than time) was stuck on a channel where an older lady was giving birth in her home. For some reason Korean channels blur out lit cigarettes and knife wounds, but they didn’t take the time to make this show ‘child friendly.’ If that’s not disturbing, I don’t know what is.
By the time twenty minutes were up, even my legs were sweating. Sexy. It was great news to find out that towels (not even paper ones) were provided, and you have to bring your own. Mental note written down for next time. In the few minutes I spent looking around for towels, I also noticed something else. There were an uncanny amount of Koreans wearing gray shirts. Oh wait. And the same pink or blue (gender respective) shorts. Actually it was everyone but Derik and myself. Whoops. Since when do people wear uniforms at the gym? After further inspection of the locker rooms later I found out these sexi unis only come in two sizes: XL and XXL. As if you don’t already feel gorgeous enough while you work out, why not donn a freaking pillowcase?
Derik and I have decided we will hold out as long as possible (basically until some old ajumma cusses is out) before conforming. After all, we are foreigners, we already stick out like a sore thumb. It makes sense that much more why everyone was staring at us. I’m happy wearing the ol’ Nike shorts and dark graphic tshirt thank you. I’m sure my husband agrees.
Have you had any crazy gym experiences?
Now I’d like you to meet a very special lady-Nicole. I stumbled upon her blog a few months ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. She started blogging in while getting her PhD (holy heck) as a way to get away from it all, as well as an to encouragement to herself to go out, adventure, and explore (which she has done so successfully and is now in South Africa living it up). She wrote a post about what inspired her to start blogging not long ago, you should definitely read it!
I’m also quite proud of her, because she volunteered to be a guinea pig in my new design venture The Suitcase Designs. Her gorgeous blog was one of the first ones I designed outside my own!
Please go check her out and tell her I sent you. :)