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. 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

  3. 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’.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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:

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 >_>

  10. It should be hard since there are lots of animal by-products used in Korean cooking. So you might think you are getting something vegan or vegetarian but your not. Like kimchi is actually NOT vegan OR vegetarian. There is usually shrimp put into the brine, or some other fish like squid, or fish sauce. Although there aren’t meat flavored ramens, there tends to be fish flavoring in them, which boggles my mind since there will be soy protein in the packet. Ask A LOT of question and I would learn the words for dairy, milk, pig, cow, chicken, and some various words for fish.

    Dairy is another really big thing too. Just looking at the back of food packets at my local Korean food mart, milk powder is added to a bunch of stuff. Like for example, those super yummy jjajangmyeon noodles aren’t vegan. The black bean sauce often contains chicken stock and I think the Korean paste uses caramel in it for sweetener and color.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Actually, you are lucky enough to have the air-con at all, at least you have the possibility that it will be used. I live in Hungary and during this summer the temperature went up to 42 degrees (it is usually around 36) and still no public schools or universities have air-con. It is not because of electricity-conscientiousness, but we don’t have the money to buy the air-con to begin with. ^.^” Kind of difficult to concentrate when your blood is literally boiling…

  14. But I’m honestly confused about something…if the air con is at 26 (which doesn’t actually cool anything down) VS being at 21 (which does cool something down) isn’t it a waste of energy to just use the air con to blow around warm air? Also, does it make an actual energy difference to put an air con at 21 vs 26? I thought once something is on, it can only use a maximum amount of electricity per how the machine was made and how long it is on? But I don’t know for sure! Also, how does the bus/taxi effect the electricity use in Korea? I don’t understand why my bus/taxi is so hot when they are running on personal fuel; they aren’t plugged into the power grid so why make us sweat when we’re packed like sardines during rush hour? OH OH and, why am I still paying full price for my building maintenance bill if they aren’t using the A/C??? Confused! I NEED BILL NYE SCIENCE GUY!!!

  15. 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’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.

  16. 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 :?

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

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

    • 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.

  19. I have to say that I’m guilty of being one of those people who just sit around for a while before actually beginning my work out….
    o_o lol

  20. Record a video of you guys making a simple meal please :D

  21. aw I’m proud of you guise!!! ^_^ as for the beefheads, I always joke with my dad that they can’t scratch their own back. hehe. so when I go to the gym at my school I sometimes feel awkward cos everyone in the weight room is a guy! but I just blow them off and do my own thing. I also like to do insanity, it’s something to do at home if you don’t want to go to a gym. :)

  22. What has been seen cannot be unseen xD

  23. It’s not just a difference in education in the US and Canada either though. I live in Canada too (a different province than SM) and never learned anything like that at all. We just spent all class playing dodgeball everyday and trying to avoid getting hit in the face by rowdy boys -.-

  24. I was taught how to use the gym in high school (I’m from Canada), but I have a strong dislike for gyms. I don’t enjoy being in sweaty, stinky rooms and using machines after someone left sweat marks on them. Also, I don’t feel like I’m achieving anything with those machines and weights. I think I’d have better results by lifting heavy grocery bags, running after the bus, or doing pole dancing. Pole dancing got me to feel the burn. Gym machines don’t.

  25. About the pools in gyms and stuff: are there no pools in any gyms, or is it just really rare to have pools in gyms? Do gyms with pools cost more? Are there public outdoor pools that you can go to or private swim clubs or anything? I am a rather avid swimmer and if I ever go to Korea I will need a place to swim. Thanks!

  26. My school PE classes in Washington State didn’t really include weight lifting. There were specific weight training classes, but no one was required to take them.
    I didn’t get any training in gym techniques or exposure to gym culture until I joined a gym. Thankfully, the employees there are awesome at helping people who aren’t pros.
    Also, my current gym has a wide range of people using it. Lots of seniors, too. That’s a nice bonus.

    • Really off-topic and irrelevant, but yay for finding another Washingtonian Nasty!
      I actually had gym classes in middle school where we focused on weight lifting and how to do it correctly. I learned about reps, rotating between machines, resting days, etc. Didn’t have that in high school though. But my high school did also have weight training classes in replacement of just taking normal PE class. Students were only required to take 1.5 years of PE, and not many people took weight lifting, so I’m pretty sure about 90% of my high school population never learned how to properly lift weights.

  27. The U.S. doesn’t have a national curriculum, so schools can vary WILDLY not just from state to state, but from town to town. I went to two high schools. In one we had a pool and learned proper swimming and diving forms. When I moved to a new town I went to a new school that didn’t have a pool, but it did have this giant movable wall down the center of the gym that they used to teach us how to rappel (like for rock climbing). I always remember going to a pool party at a classmates house and everyone was amazed by what they thought were my amazing professional looking diving skills. As far as they were concerned I was a step away from the Olympics. Not even close, but since that was something they were never taught, it looked really impressive to them. My point is that schools usually design their P.E. curriculum around the resources that they have. Big giant movable wall? Perfect for learning rock climbing technique. Deep swimming pool? Perfect for learning diving technique. They use what they have.

  28. i’ve never heard about schools teaching you gym ethics. Thats crazy! I wouldn’t know the first thing about gym ethics, I don’t even know what a set is!

  29. simon, i’m glad u noticed that almost every indoor area in singapore has air conditioning. simply because its freaking hot out here! thank you.

  30. I know when I went to the gym if you weren’t drenched in sweat or sweating at all you weren’t getting any real exercise. That’s what most people thought.

  31. Fuck yeah. Pole dancing got quite famous in my city/country. The classes are quite expensive but everyone I know that goes to one says those classes do miracles.

    Have you seen Jenyne Butterfly performing? Sickest thing ever, she is awesome.

  32. I can’t really comment about gyms here in the UK because I’ve never been to one! Yey! But there are some outdoor gym equipment at the local park now and I went on it the other day and the walking thing felt really weird. It felt like I was walking on air xD There was another one where your legs swing like a pendulum which was fun.

  33. We had weightlifting classes at my high school (US), but they were electives so I never took one. Mostly it was guys who really didn’t need any more weightlifting practice…
    My personal theory about people who leave the weights on after they’re done is that they want the next person to be impressed at how much weight they could lift. :P

  34. Cute man warrior Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen doll in the background! I want them and Jon’s and Arya’s and just all of them.

  35. Online is the best to get Protein in Korea. bodybuilding.com or some other sites are great and do international shipping.

  36. Wow I live in California too and my high school had nothing like that. We had required PE classes of course, but it was not that intense. It would depend on the teacher how many miles you would run that year (some would make you run one mile a week or some would only make you run like 5 miles in the whole year). I think it depends on the district. I live in a very Asian area where sports that require intense training (like American football) aren’t all that popular compared to academics. So I guess that was reflected on the intensity of the PE classes. Although, my high school did offer a weight training class (where you worked on weights everyday…) but it wasn’t that popular.

    • I feel like American’s have a very weird view on academics and sports. My school was a highly ranked public school (usually ranked in the top 50-100 schools in the US) So even though academics where top priority, most students were super competitive in sports because they knew being good would mean possible scholarships. That said, we had NO spirit for teams, or football, and I only heard guys argue about who was the better golfer (not better QB, or whatever)

    • My PE classes in Cali were the same, depended A LOT on the teacher you had. We only did maybe 3 weeks in the weight room during winter though, so it wasn’t a lot of time to learn, the rest of the time it was badminton. The longest sessions of sports were defiantly tennis and volleyball, but almost no one tried, which is upsetting.

  37. What is buying things secondhand like in Korea? Do people have rummage/garage/yard sales? Are there many thrift shops or maybe a chain like Goodwill?

  38. I guess everyday for me here, in Malaysia, is like a day at a gym in Korea.. Except less exercising.. xD the average temperature here is like 28°C to 32°C, sometimes a little lower or higher.. But mostly higher. Why have I not lose any weight in this hot country yet.. I’m like sweating everyday and almost every time unless I’m in my room. >___>

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