Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Inside a Korean Gym...

One of the many things I wanted to do whilst living in Korea was to get in shape and become more healthy. From what I’ve seen so far, I can say that its a lot easier to be healthy here, compared to the UK anyway. The food is pretty damn good, and I’m probably having about 10 of my 5 fruit and vegetables a day, so I’m well exceeding the recommended. However, I also need to do the dreaded EXERCISE...so therefore I have joined a gym! Gyms are literally everywhere in Korea, and when I say everywhere...I mean, EVERYWHERE!! There is one in the block next to my apartment, and also about 5 across the road. The closest one to me is in the same building as my school, so I thought this would be my best bet. Any further away, and I’d more than likely give it up after the first week. Its sad but really quite true - I’m not going to lie.

So off I went, up to the 6th floor just to enquire. The staff were all super friendly and it was really quite cheap at only 60,000 won (about £30) so I ended up joining there and then. There wasn't any joining fees or surprise costs, and the process (even though the language barrier was tricky) was actually quite easy in the end. This is for an entire month, and an added bonus is that you pay month by month aswell. Which means (unlike the UK) I don’t have to sign up for a 6 month or even a year contract, so if I stop going (quite possible) then there’s no real loss. But of course, I will attempt to go at least 3 times a week. Fingers crossed I stick to that. 

My new best friend...The Treadmill!

The gym itself is pretty big and the best feature, I think, is that it over looks the closest Mountain; Mount Morak. This means that as I am running on the treadmill it literally feels like I'm... as Kate Bush - Queen of the nighty once sang... ‘Running up that Hill’! Lovely! There are some other added features that you will not find in the UK too, which I think are genius. One of which is that you are supplied with a permanent locker, therefore there is no excuse to ‘’forget’’ your trainers as they’re already there. 

The view from my gym!

Another plus (and probably the second best one) is that they also supply you with t-shirts, shorts and towels, at no extra cost. There is nothing worse than having to wash your gym clothes 3 times a week or more depending on how often you go, and this cuts that right out. So when you enter the gym, you simply grab a T-shirt and a towel, and at the end of your workout, you just pop it in their washing basket! Simples! Of course this isn’t mandatory though, and you can also wear your own stuff if you prefer, but it does save a lot of money on gym clothes, and a hell of a lot of time on washing. Also it makes you feel like you’re part of a little community...as everyone basically looks the same - or is that just me?! Awks!

The machines are pretty good and most of them are in English, which makes it a lot easier to figure out. However, the bike for example, is totally in Korean so I have no idea what settings or level I’m actually using which is a bit of a pain. The only machine that they don’t have and I don’t think many Gyms in Korea have, is The Rowing Machine. I think some of the more expensive gyms have them but certainly not mine. This is slightly annoying as I do love a good row, but what’s lost in rowing machines, is totally made up for in other strange equipment, like this one for example...

 Yes, that’s a horse riding machine! WIN!

A sort of back massager that vibrates vigorously!

I also have a Sauna in my gym, which is great for those times after your workout when you just want to chill out in the heat. Alternatively in the summer...you could just go outside. As I mentioned early, the people at the gym are all really nice and really helpful. The second they see me struggling, they come right over and help me out which is just lovely. Every machine also has its own personal TV with around 50 different channels, of which 2 are in English. Swings and Roundabouts I suppose. The only problem is that on most of the machines, I can’t find anywhere to put my water bottle or phone, so its pretty much a balancing act.

Like most places in Korea you have to take your shoes off to enter the establishment. You then walk all of 5 meters to the changing rooms, where you pop on your trainers. God forbid anyone would wear there gym shoes outside - you’d probably be arrested. They also have MASSIVE Shoe Horns everywhere here, which I think is just fabulous. Opening times are 6am - Midnight most days, and they have everything else you’d expect to find such as showers, hair dryers, water fountains and mirrors EVERYWHERE. So, the verdict is...it’s a lovely little gym with a great view, and I think its the start of a beautiful friendship. Watch this space...

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