It's day two of my new gym membership and I'm already loving it. Koreans crack me up especially when it comes to exercise.
First off you have to take off your shoes to go into the locker room. It's a locker room!!! And on top of that there's no bathroom in it. It's a room with lockers and an open communal shower. The bathrooms are located down the hall...so once you change, walk out of the locker room and put your shoes on, you have to walk up a flight of stairs to the gym. I am the only non-Korean in this gym. oh and did I mention everyone in the gym except myself pays to "rent" gym clothes. They're long black shorts with a big black tshirt. So not am I the only blonde, I'm the only one not rocking some washed out black gym gear. I wear my spandex and wife beaters thank you.
Once you get into the gym it's hard not to laugh. There are a few guys lifting but mostly it's people walking (and when I say walking I mean strolling) on the treadmills, people hoola hooping, jump roping, and just doing other bizarre things you don't usually see in a gym. As I have mentioned before Koreans aren't huge on physical activity except hiking, which is weird because they're pretty obsessed with being skinny. Skinny in Korea is a weird concept. You NEVER see anyone obese like in America, yet if you're not 90 lbs people think they're over weight. Most people don't exercise, eat donuts, rice and noodles all day and expect to be models, yet won't work out. There are also "nutrition" shops allllll over that sell diet drinks and they appear to be quite popular. Two of my Korean co-workers are on one of the plans.
People also don't go to the gym because all of the playgrounds around Seoul offer up exercise stations. They are often times frequented by ajuma. They consist of a machine that swings your legs (butt workout) and the best one, you stand on a disc, hold your top half still and rotate your hips from left to right. It's super fun but I'm sure does absolutely nothing for you. And my gym has one!!!! Other funny equpiment: one of those 1980s belt looking things you put around your back or butt and let shake. And the machine where you lay down and then hang upside down. I'm not sure what that does for you either. But my favorite, and I'm totally obsessed with it, is the shaky nuts fun machine. I have no idea what purpose it serves but it's totally fun. You stand on a plank that goes left to right like a mini-seesaw. It goes for 5 minutes and it shakes every ounce of fat on your body. I'm almost uncomfortable feeling my butt and thighs jiggle on it but kind of in a good way :)
Today I was a little tired at work with a headache and wasn't super pumped about working out. Susan had told me that when it's cold out she likes to go in the sauna before her workout to warm up and stretch. So I figured I'd give it a try. It's a co-ed dry sauna. There are wooden blocks for pillows and you just lay on the hard floor. I walked in and within 3 minutes I was out cold. I've never been a napper and now I know why! I need a wooden pillow and 100 degree floor! I know where I'm living this winter.
So the gym has been an experience. I definitely get looks the entire time I'm in there because there are no Westerners in Bongcheon. Nah it's just cause I look good ;) ha right I'll keep telling myself that.
Tomorrow is Pepero Day in Korea. Pepero are like the Japanese Poky sticks (long cookie stick dipped in chocolate). Back a few years ago some schools girls started a tradition of giving each other Pepero on 11/11 and they would say "I hope you stay skinny like the # 1" Which doesn't make sense because these are cookies....Pepero insists they didn't invent this holiday. And Hallmark didn't invent Valentine's Day. Right.
Apparently all of the kids bring in a ton of this stuff and we eat it all day. Sweet. Then I'm meeting some of the ladies for for a wine buffet. Unlimited wine, champagne, beer and food. Woohoo.