Gyms in Busan
There are gyms in Busan and in other large cities in South Korea. There are nice big ones like Club Chicago (in Busan) which is like Bally’s in my opinion, and there are smaller gyms. Some apartment buidlings have tiny gyms in them.
Inside the Gym in Korea
The interesting thing about the gyms in Korea is that people wear uniforms (shirts and a t-shirt). Everyone looks like they are in a PE class. In some gyms, you must pay extra for the uniforms. In other gyms the uniforms are free. You don’t take them home; you wear them at the gym, and put them in a laundry shoot when you are finished exercising.
How Much are Gym Memberships in Busan?
Membership fees vary, depending on the size of the gym and its offerings. Club Chicago was about $100 per month, and the price was lowered by about $10 per month for a three month membership, if I remember correctly. Club Chicago is on one level of the Milligore Shopping Center in Seomyeon, Busan. That’s pronounced So-Me-On. It’s on the 5th floor, I believe. It’s been a while since I’ve been to the gym.
Features in Upscale Busan Gyms
I used go everyday to the gym in Seomyeon. The gym has a whirlpool in the women’s locker room, and a dry steam room. It was a heavenly place. There were flatscreen TVs with remotes on each treadmill, and a huge movie theater screen for watching TV. The gym was just a tad bit far for me, because I had to take the subway to get there. It wasn’t too bad, but I could walk to work for free, and I loss my motivation to get on a subway after work to go to the gym. It was too far to walk.
Small Gyms in Busan
I looked into another smaller gym. The gym was basically a small room with some treadmills and elliptical machines. There was a lockeroom for ladies and men, and free towels. Since I can’t read Korean, I can only identify a gym if there is a picture on the building. My former co-teacher told me that there was a gym that was near the school, but I couldn’t find it. I asked people on the street, and make motions for exercise, and made my “where is it?” motion, but they couldn’t direct me. They probably thought that I was crazy. I used my dictionary on my cell phone, but they couldn’t direct me. If the location is beyond right and left, that’s it.
How I Found the Second Gym Near Busan Station
So, I found a little tourist office in my neighborhood. I didn’t know that it was there. I just passed by it one day, and saw that the sign was in English. It was a tourism office for foreigners. That’s me! I got a bunch of brochures, and I asked about a gym. I was directed to a building with Korean signs near Busan Station. I knew the building because there was a Starbucks on the first floor. If that Starbucks had not been there, I probably would not have been able to find the correct building among the dozens of high-rises.
How Much Is the Gym? Overcoming the Korean Language Barrier
The girl at the front desk struggled, but she was able to understand “how much?” She had a chart with the prices right on the counter, so she was able to point and said one month… three month… etc. I am not usually so lucky. It was around $68 for a month, I think.
I spoke slowly, using as few words as possible, because I didn’t want her to shut down on me, saying that she did not understand. I said see.. gym? and made a motion that indicted looking around. She said yes and took me to the locker room. There was no whirlpool and the dressing area was small, not massive like at Club Chicago.
Are There Exercise Classes in Busan?
The manager was able to talk to me a little better. Uniforms were included. There were yoga classes, and I think a martial arts class, but they were expensive. The price rose depending on how many classes that you took. Club Chicago has spin classes, step classes, yoga, and Korean pop dance classes. Of course, the instructions (faster, slower, right, left) are in Korean.
Equipment in Korean Gyms
The gyms in Korea have equipment like the U.S., treadmills, elliptical machines. There are also weight machines like the ones in the U.S. and there are free weights. I could follow any training schedule and usually find the equipment that I need at Club Chicago. The gym had those huge exercise balls and the small weighted ones. There were also jump ropes. Most of the trainers couldn’t speak English, but there was one who was really nice, and helped me when he saw that I was doing an exercise incorrectly.
I Miss Club Chicago
I really liked Club Chicago, although it was expensive. I had to pay extra for the uniform, and I decided to pay extra for my own locker. I could keep my things in the locker as long as I had a membership. You don’t have to use or rent a uniform. It just saves you from doing laundry.
How to Get a Gym Membership
Getting a gym membership is a matter of giving your cell phone number and your name. A Korean friend explained the prices to me at Club Chicago, because at the time there was no one there who could speak English at the front desk. There are a lot of foreigners who go to the Club, so Club Chicago usually does have someone on staff who can speak a little English.
Here’s a video that I made about going to a spa and I went to my gym, too.