Lets get Physical…


So lets talk about the Gym Culture here in Korea. Believe it or not I have spent a lot of time in gyms, I have been going to gyms on and off since I was in my teens. So lets just say I am no stranger to gym culture. Gyms in Korea are different. There is a lot of the same stuff like free weights and weight machines and treadmills. All that stuff is pretty standard.

I am going to highlight some of the wacky stuff. First thing I noticed was the wall of shaker machines. Remember watching the old videos from the 50’s of the agitating machines? Those are in style here and they are always in use. I have yet to get the courage to let the belt machine shake my ample midsection but I will before I leave for home. They also have other types of shake machines that are like boogie boards and wooden dowel massage drum thing that is pretty funky. I have used the latter two with great success.

The culture is a lot different. Nobody “spots” here… that is where you have someone stand behind you to lift the heavy weights off your chest or shoulder if you can’t lift any more. I started to dart over to help a guy that was being trapped under some weights and I got a look like I was an alien invader that was coming to rob him of his cell phone. Also, the locker rooms are really kinda “interesting”. My gym has a big square bench in the middle of a square of lockers. I have never used this bench because even if there is one person in there the HUGE square bench is full. I am not sure how it works but the shorts, cell phone and shower caddy of one Korean man is equal to or greater than the space of that locker room. The other strange thing is the locker room does not have a bathroom in it. For the first 2 months i thought i was loosing my mind until i finally just asked and the lady told  me to do out into the lottemart and use theirs. I don’t shower at the gym, not because I have a phobia but because after my workout I have a 20 minute brisk walk back home. It is the standard no stall/no curtain affair but they do have those bathroom slippers there for all to use. Not sure how much funk community slippers will save you from compared to the floor but whatever.

Last thing that you really have to get used to is the use of a hairdryer for parts other than hair. First time I walked in and saw a dude blow drying his naughty bits I thought “look at this odd fellow”. When I noticed I was the only person NOT doing that I realized they were all thinking… “look at the silly foreigner, he doesn’t even blow dry his private area”. Oh well, at least the gym has friendly enough staff and a hot water machine with free green tea bags if you want. And after all, isn’t that what it is all about? I think a president ran on the platform of “a hot tea dispenser and belt agitating machine in every house”.


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