UGH! Look at us all talking about gym culture, as if we’re pros in this. In the five years that we’ve been in Korea, it’s only been over the past few months that we’ve really started going to the gym regularly, every two days or so, and now we can talk about it more! We had some gym memberships when we lived in Bucheon as well, and we talk about our experiences there as well, but – really – when we had those memberships we went a few times and then gave up because we were lazy. Now we’re not! Oh ho! We’re not gym-rats yet, though, but we’d like to be. Going to the gym makes us feel a lot better than when we don’t go to the gym. Martina was sick this past week and couldn’t go to the gym, and really wasn’t all too happy about it. ANYHOW: the point isn’t about us going to the gym and how much we pat ourselves on the back about it. We’re here to talk about gym culture and stuff, now that we’re totally scrotally pros.

Now, I’m sure there are lots of reasons as to why fitness culture in Korea is different than what we’re used to in North America, and I think one of them is because it’s not really taught here. Do schools have weightlifting class? Every school we went to had it. We learned all about hypertrophy and how long each rep should be, how long you should wait between sets, so on and so forth. I don’t remember seeing that in Korea. Sports in Korea, altogether, aren’t really that big, either. Compare it to the states where football is freaking huge and football coaches get very well paid, in Korea there’s more emphasis placed on academics than athletics. You don’t have any of the NCAA playoffs craze like you do in the States. So, we just think that gym culture and best practices aren’t really taught here. Or are they? Maybe things are taught differently here, and the practices we’ve grown up with aren’t effective here, so there’s a different school of physical education being taught? I don’t know. All we can say is that it’s quite different from what we’re used to, and we don’t see a lot of gym stuff taught in schools here.

We’d really like to hear your experiences, though, and if they’re different, or if you have any stories. Some of our girl friends have said that they hate going to the gym alone, because trainers are constantly harassing them and trying to teach them how to do things right. We’ve heard this from three different friends. Have you found the same? We haven’t been bothered before. We walk into gyms holding hands, skipping, and farting rainbows. Then we start sweating instantly because it’s hotter in the gym than it is outside, and we wilt and cry. DAMMIT KOREAN GYMS USE YOUR AIR CONDITIONERS! We didn’t even tell you about the one time we asked the person sitting at the desk to turn on the AC, and they said no, all the while they had a fan pointed at them. YOU AIN’T EVEN LIFTING BRO! We’re building deltoids and treltoids and sweating and you’re Kakaoing with a personal fan. RUDE!

Also, we talked briefly about public gyms here in the parks. Here’s a realllllly old video that we did of one. Ha! I just noticed the date. We uploaded it exactly 5 years ago, yesterday. WHOOOA so old.


and if you’re looking for more about Health in Korea, we did a few TL;DRs on the topic, including How We Lost a Lot of Weight in Korea, Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle in Korea, and last week’s Health Care in Korea. Yes, we are a bit crazed about the subject lately. We’ve been cooking so much organic/vegan/ultra health stuff lately and really starting to take health seriously, and it seems like we’re talking about it a lot, too.

Yeah! And…you should totally click on this button below. We’re almost at 400,000 subscribers! Amazing! Hopefully you like these videos, and the other random videos we make throughout the week, and feel like subscribing. It’s totally worth it :D

  1. Soo I’m pretty sure Korean gyms/people who work out there qualify as “gym douche bags” according to this helpful video –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evJ1T5t0naY

  2. Hey guys, I like to body build and train gymnastics and things like that, is there much in the way of free weights squat rack bench press etc? Thank you :)

  3. What’s the gym culture like in Japan? Have you guys visit one yet? Will you be doing so on your next trip? :) x x x

  4. Every park I have been to in Miami has those fitness machines in them, including the one near my house. So far, I’ve never seen the machines damaged or stolen. Just sayin’.

  5. So if people don’t go to the gym, how do they stay in shape? I’m white, and if Koreans in Korea are anything like my Asian friends here in the US, their genes naturally keep them thin. My Asian friends who do work out get six packs without much effort at all. Meanwhile, I can watch what I eat and workout 6 days a week and still not have a six pack. Argh… Anyway, your observations and thoughts are appreciated!

  6. Don’t you know?
    Especially this year and also last year, Korea’s supply of electricity has been extremely low.
    In this problem, there’re several reasons.
    But, one of them is this.
    In Korean nuclear power plant, an irregularity was committed. (a.k.a 원전비리)
    So, Now in Korea, Electric power supply is abnormal.
    I think that’s why Korean people don’t turn on the AC recently.

    Anyhow, in a crowded gym, the AC should be turned on. right.

  7. I enjoyed reading it. Great post. It is really inspiring. http://www.fitfix.co.uk/

  8. Oh my goodness! I am currently living in Taiwan and I thought there was something wrong with me always sweating like a freak in the gym. Thanks for doing this one! I am a strange foreigner but not a strange foreigner all alone :). A llot is the same in Taiwan. I go to a Curves and they have the decorational ac, the over helpful trainers (I like them though), in appropriately dressed ladies (somebody was wearing a lilac lace dress yesterday), the looks when I go crazy on the machines. I had 3 days of orientation when i started and its true when u said they don’t have training like in North America. They seemed to teach me stuff I learned as a kid. They taught me how to stretch as if I had never thought to do it in my life.

  9. I never knew gyms where like that there. I hate working out in the heat, I have joint problems in my knee’s and ankles and if it’s to hot (or cold) they swell up and I’m like huuurgh,.,,, errrrrrrgahuuurh T.T Have you guys considered just getting equipment for you’re apartment and working out at home so you don’t get asthma attack?

  10. Hey S&M I would really like to hear what you two have to say or know about the current rift in K-Hip Hop and Rap with the diss battles currently going on. Its really intrigued me and would just love to hear what you two have to say about it. Maybe you know more about it than most of us do. I hope you can also explain what Koreans think about it. Back here in the Sates the Kendrick Lamar thing has gotten pretty intense, some say its ever revived Hip Hop and that history is being made.

  11. I’m surprised that you guise mentioned Singapore in the video :D
    If Singapore weren’t air-conditioned everywhere i bet everyone will keep on complaining about it since Singapore is HOT all year round D:

  12. Sounds Like New york. 900 a year is a steal in manhattan. hard to find anything for less than 80-90 a month…maybe its just NYC maybe its just manhattan….Maybeeee its just me?

  13. What does Korea have to say about black people?
    If I was to go to Korea would people look at me differently?
    Would people ask to touch my afro?
    How will my life change?

  14. What kind of different religions are in Korea? Are some more popular than others? What ones have you seen? Or do most people just go to shrines seen in Korean Dramas/ Japanese anime?

  15. What is happening with SImon D, Dynamic Duo, E-sens and others? What is the general public’s reaction?

  16. I was reading this article about refrigerators pants in South Korea to keep cool..cnn.com random article…but it was talking about South Korea’s power-saving campaign in the beginning including taking drastic measures to turn air conditioners off. Would that be why the gyms are so hot..and the reason why the guy said no?

  17. What about family? The way Koreans view the importance of family as a whole is very refreshing and beautiful, but dramas always seem to portray an orphan, adopted, divorced, single parent, etc. person as ‘lower’ than someone who has a complete family. Is this true or is it just one of those things that is overly dramatized? Bonus Question! (^_^) What do you guys think the Korean opinion is on people who adopt children overseas (both the person who is being adopted and the person who is adopted)?

  18. About the air conditioning…I heard there’s a new law where you cannot have the air condition on lower than 26 degrees Celsius…O.o…something about conserving energy :)

  19. I feel your pain guise, I’m a freshman in highschool and the air conditioner DOESN’T WORK in my weight lifting class T^T

  20. Hey Simon & Martina – You pointed out that you wondered why all those people would just walk very relaxed for an unbelievable amount of time, right? So… I didn’t know before but my brother just told me that the human body is actually made to fast-walk 30km a day or slow-walk 12-15 hours a day. … Now I know why he runs those marathons and I thought this might be an explanation for this as well. – But really; imagine; 30 km every day o.O … naaaaahh… I stick to eating a little less and take a walk from time to time xD

  21. Questionnn~ I notice more and more kpop artists are getting tattoos. I too, l have a number of tattoos and I felt happy to see Koreans stars with their own tattoos. How do Koreans accept tattooing in general?

  22. I grew up overseas, but we would return to Korea every few summers to visit our extended family, Because I played sports (soccer, volleyball, swimteam), I was always being told that girls shouldn’t have muscles. It’s just not considered feminine and pretty in Korea. Oh, well. Good thing I didn’t have body image issues or low self-esteem.

  23. I think it needs to be said when you’re talking about north america in this video, it’s mainly canada. most states in the US have failing education systems, and many have removed classes like PE, art, music, as well as removed sports teams.

  24. I’d like to know about religion in Korea. Since the majority of Koreans are Christian, how do they view other religions? Do they consider atheism a bad thing? In North America, atheism is kind of looked down upon by people, so I’m curious o that’s also true in Korea.


    Can you tell us a how how to survive a kpop concert? Are there any tips to get the tickets before they’re all sold out? How do you find the perfect seat for yourself? I heard some people stand up for the whole concert and they might block your view. Is it cheaper to pre-order official items or at the venue? Is there a way special way to wave the light sticks for up beat or slower songs? Are we allowed to bring cameras? Do we have to watch out for sasaeng fans? I heard they’re really aggressive with fans. Thanks Martina and Simon!~

  26. Thank you for this video!
    Is it easy to eat organic food in Korea? Are there any equivalent to Whole foods for example?

  27. We have those exercise thingys in Estonia too~
    I imagined that they would be destroyed in a few months but i guess they are strong as f*** or maintained regularly >_>

  28. Here in the UK, gyms are relatively cheap, depending on whether you go for a chain company or not. The nearest gym to me has a student deal which costs £15 ($24 ish) per month including up to 3 forms of class (judo, dance, badminton, whatever)
    Classes at gyms vary in price without membership. My old Judo club cost me £2.50 per session (I did 3 per week, though they had 5…the other two were for the members of national squad.) But the one I want to start going to since I moved (I moved 200 miles away for university) is £5 per session and only has two per week.

    Though I’m not part of a gym, I should probably be. I have a shoulder injury (permanent strain, left of spine between shoulder blades) and need to get it back in shape to start Judo again…

    …Actually…to be honest, I probably need to get my whole self back into shape, lest I collapse within the first warm up lap. D:

  29. Hmm interesting theory about workout culture, but I am not sure if your “we learn early” mentality is correct. In school in New Jersey, we never learned weight lifting. We had a “class” but no one sat with us and taught us the concept of reps, sets, etc. It was just a free for all and a class girls did to slack off and talk while sitting on machines.

    I think maybe the big difference is probably that weight lifting is much more popularized in the US- for everyone. Guys want to be bulky (I work at a “health” food restaurant, and I get Mom asking often which foods will bulk up their boys) and lifting weights is kind-of pushed on guys. And weight training is kind-of big for women too. It is becoming pretty popular to tone up and not just doing cardio 24/7.

    But there DEFINITELY something different about health-exercise culture between countries. When going to national park I never really like hiking with Asian foreigners. Generally, I have found that they don’t follow some basic rules of hiking etiquette, like moving to one side for the other hiker, stopping for people, etc. They just barrel down the center of the path. And it isn’t just me who have noticed it, as other friends and family members have complained about it.

  30. Regarding the a/c, its usually a lot less intense than in other countries, and this year especially so cause of the horrific state of electric production. The gov’t issued an a/c limit of 26 degrees or something for all buildings like department stores and banks. The electricity reserve crisis is an annual event here, though this year was especially serious.
    But I can’t agree that the buses and whatnot are too hot. All the buses I ride are always air conditioned, and if you feel that the subway “section” you’re in is too hot, you can text message a service number, and they’ll usually respond and crank up the a/c ASAP.
    Maybe I’m just used to it, but whenever I visit the States, I always feel cold, cause the a/c is seemingly always set to freezing, everywhere. Even in Texas.

    Not to say that Korea’s summers are bearable. You can feel your flesh melt, and the humidity is stifling.

  31. How hot IS hot???? Because I’m from Australia and I KNOW it gets hotter than what I have seen classified as hot in Korea is actually colder than some of the temperatures we get here in WINTER. So could I please get some statistics????

    • humidity plays a HUGE factor in how the heat feels. is the heat in australia normally a dry one? if so then it might actually be comparable to the temperatures of korea since they have a high humidity. however, it could just be that people who complain about the heat are from places that have cooler temperatures.

      • It depends on what kind of weather we’re having. But the real killers are the hot AND humid days. At Karate training you can sweat yourself a puddle then slip in it in the course of 30 minutes!!!

  32. So, I’ve been like super super super super curious about this..

    Do K-POP idols employ dietitians to take care of their diets and stuff or do they just ask around and find of about a diet plan?
    If they do, do ALL of them do it? Or just a few?

    I’m asking because it’s like been my ultimate dream to be a dietitian but ALOOOOt of people are discouraging me saying that it doesn’t pay well and there are no job options.

    so like yea.. please please pleaaaase answer this. I’m begging you :D

    • pretty sure their companies set that stuff up for them, they don’t do go out and do anything like that themselves.
      also pretty sure companies make all their idols have diets.
      and anyway, dietitians are needed because tons of regular people go to them too if they struggle with weight problems or whatever.

    I know you guys now live in GURO.

    I went to the Gym “Leehan Fitness” which is opposite D-Cube in Sindorim! (above Home Plus….i feel like it might be your local) Maybe you should check it out.
    As you guys said its mostly older people…..and people generally sit on the machines for a while.
    But it was never too hot for me in there….if anything it was a good temperature and there were a few GIANT fans in there to fan you if you got too hot (i was in Korea i the middle of summer….)
    So yeah I never found that.
    Also there were a bajillion towels that belong to the gym that people took onto the machines with them
    I am a sweaty beast so i took like 4…..or 7
    Maybe you should check it out there?
    I dont recall it being too expensive also they had a great deal of equipment and some great trainers.

    ANYWAY i can’t believe you guys didn’t mention the gym uniforms in korea?
    Have the gyms you’ve been to not had the clothes they give to people?
    I never used them myself but EVERY SINGLE korean in my gym used the clothes the gyms gave.
    I found that really interesting.

    Also the gym had an amazing communal shower……complete with hair dryers….so ya know….the old korean men could blowdry their (HMMMHMMMMMPUBESHMMMHMMM) post workout…..yeah….yeah that happens

    anyway I’ve seen in a few videos you guise are at Dcube and around that general Sindorim area so maybe check it out….
    aaaaand if you do read this and want to know more i’ll be stalking you guise out at Federation Square in MELBOURNE WHEN YOURE HERE! WOOO CANT WAIT!

  34. In my experience, here in the U.S., teaching about gym etiquette and how to use weights, etc, only existed for male athletes in certain sports in high school. As a girl who only took the generic P.E. classes, we didn’t get any of that training. Now I’m an actual regular at my local gym. I pay $15 bucks a month (and cannot FATHOM paying $900 a year). Also, don’t mock the walkers. I set my speed between 2 and 3 and then set the incline to a 12-13. In half an hour I’ve slowly climbed a freakin’ mountain without injuring my bad ankle or knee. In two months I’ve dropped 15 pounds without ever once being accused of hogging the treadmill. I use my android phone to watch Kdramas while I walk. It’s all subtitled, so I can keep the sound off.

    Love you guys and your videos! Keep vlogging!

    • i do the same thing on the treadmill (i go on incline 15!) and it is a crazy workout! it may seem like nothing but it definitely gets that heart rate going.

      • I’ve got my incline up to a 14 and have lost a total of 20 pounds now. It’s such a good workout, and actually do-able for those of us who are not athletes or able to handle jogging/running or other high impact exercise. I made the mistake of taking a “free boot camp class” last Saturday and seriously injured myself, tearing some muscles in my thighs. Today, I was finally able to walk again, so I went back to the safe and secure, steady weight loss on the treadmill again. Won’t make the same mistake twice.

        • congrats on the weight loss!

          i agree that walking on a high incline is a great workout. like you said, it really helps since i have a weak ankle and have difficulty doing high impact exercises.

          sorry to hear about your injury :( hope it heals quickly!

  35. I’ve never been taught any real gym etiquette in school in the US but that could be because I’m a girl and was handed self-defense instead :?

  36. What you said about gyms in Korea makes a lot of sense about why Korean guys beef up a lot when they come to Australia. They come to gyms here and see huge guys working out, all these “body pump” classes, protein is really easy to buy, other Korean guys are doing it. I can see how that difference in gyms contributes to that and why they only started once they came to Australia.

  37. When you first met Kim Jong Kook on Running Man were you guys surprised that his body was toned? :D

  38. I’m not sure if someone’s asked it yet but I’m guessing that means they don’t have gym classes either?

    • They have gym class in school! Everyone has a matching gym uniform and at my all girls high school they learned all types of sports but most ppl were not that into it. Watching them play baseball was the FUNNIEST thing. Lots of screaming and ducking when the ball was slowly underhand pitched. BUT pick up soccer is very common amongst high school boys. They looooove soccer!

      • I went to a girls high school and we never got to play baseball TT_TT Though I’m sure many of the girls would have acted the same way. And at the actual gyms? Do they have studios to do classes? I know we’ve got stuff like aerobic step classes and zumba classes etc.

  39. Gyms sound crazy in Canada/ North America. Gyms are practically non-existent like that in Australia… There might be like basketball court/swimming pool facilities next to the gyms, but they’re not usually all in one. Wow.

  40. Thank you so much for posting on this topic! I am visiting Korea for a few weeks and I wanted to know – can visitors get day passes or week passes to gyms? Also, how would I go about finding a gym if I am not Korean and don’t read / speak Korean? Do I simply need to ask a local? Thanks in advance for your help! You guys are saving my life before my visit to Korea – I’ve been daily watching your tutorials!! :D

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