Looking for a Korean Gym

Back in April, I spent 3 weeks on the hunt for a gym in my city of Uijeongbu. I visited 3 gyms before I finally gave up. Here’s why.

My friend took me to her gym which is less than a 15 minute walk away from my house. Having a gym nearby means I’m more likely to visit. That it was a small gym seemed promising at first. There weren’t many people gawking at us and folks generally let us be. The staff were super pleasant and helpful, but there were  a few things that made this a no-go for me. For starters, they were blasting K-Pop music so loudly in the cardio room that I’d surely go deaf after 1 week of use. The elliptical machines were old and odd – they were more like old school ski machines. No bueno. Next!

The following day I went to Curves gym. It had a lot going for it in that it was also near my house, but that’s where it ended. While in the building’s lobby I saw several of my elementary school students. Ummm? No. I walked into the gym and was immediately accosted by the clingiest of my 4th graders. That would be a hell nawl!

I love the kiddies, but not when I’m trying to workout… or enjoy my life outside of work. I didn’t really know that this brand of gym offered nothing more than glorified circuit training. I was hoping for a women’s gym with group exercise classes, ellipticals, and weight machines. You change stations every 30 seconds while a team of very cute and slim personal trainers scream at you in Konglish. In the center of the circuit is a table full of products they’re pushing at the moment. No, thanks.

The last gym I went to was close to my job and boasted English signs with swimming, aerobics, and cardio on the building. Yea, you already know that nobody really spoke English up in that piece. Was that the deal breaker? Nope. The deal breakerS were that the only group exercise classes they offered were spinning and the cardio/weight room wasn’t appealing. The small room had 2 walls mostly full of treadmills with 2 old elliptical machines and a few weight machines sprinkled in for good measure. I may get a pool-only membership at a later date, but that’s not high on my priorities at the moment.

I walked away with extreme sticker shock at the prices and a feeling of overwhelming disappointment. Was this the best the area had to offer? What’s the deal with Korean gyms? They love “running machines” aka treadmills and seem to completely ignore the wonderful elliptical. They also have this obsession with using those fat blubbering machines from the 1950s.

Photo Credit: WebMD

I didn’t even know they made those things any more. Did you?

Anyway, I came to the conclusion that I’m not shelling out the amount of money they’re asking ($150-180 per 3 months) on a gym if it doesn’t meet my needs and wants. Instead, I’ve decided to ride my old, rusty bike down the riverside path and stop at the free outdoor exercise stations that are available every kilometer or less along my route.

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I’ll have to revisit the gym idea once the weather gets too hot or cold and being outdoors is unbearable. Until then, I might consider parting with my Won for Hot Yoga or dance classes.

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4 thoughts on “Looking for a Korean Gym

  1. hahahah that flat blubber machine is great. I’ve also decided (in my head…we’ll see how long it takes to become reality) that I want to just take up running because honestly you can do that anywhere and its free! You just need a pair of shoes.

    • That machine does work your abs, though not in the way you may think. I laughed so hard at all the people lining up to use it that I’m sure I burned off a few calories 😉

      I do hope you run in reality. It is certainly the cheapest form of exercise… Until you decide to do races and buy gear and get hooked into the running community like I did. Baby steps, chica!

  2. Hi, I came across your blog randomly-or I guess not so randomly, since I was googling to see if they had a genius bar in Seoul- and I have to say, finding a gym in Seoul, or Korea, is pretty tough. Most gyms have tons of treadmills and thats about it. Finding a nice yoga place might be the best bet on your money. (Also, blasting music seems to be a common thing in most gyms as well. Even my school gym does it.)

    • Hi, Sykim!

      Yea, the Korean gym is not for me. At least not any of the ones I have visited. However, I have found plenty of yoga and dance studios in town so I’m a happy camper 🙂
      BTW, did you ever find the answer to your original search? If not, Frisbee stores in Seoul might be your best bet. I think the ones in Myeongdong and Gangnam are the biggest, but you might want to double check.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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