Working it Out Abroad


Britney said it best: “You want a hot body?…You better work, b*tch”.  I had gained about 30 stubborn pounds in Toronto over the course of my 3 years since leaving Vancouver.  I had a trainer, I would diet, but nothing seemed to work.  I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that I’m getting into those twilight years of my twenties where rather than losing weight I’m just working out to avoid the inevitable gain my body so desperately wants to waddle into.

Enter Eco-Gym (formerly Bill’s?).  This small gym in Hwamyeong-dong, Busan has just what I need to keep my cardio and weight-lifting up, and not much more.  There are several treadmills, a handful of stationary bikes, a lat-pulldown, a leg press, some other weight machines I don’t tend to use, a couple of squat racks (that the locals use for deadlifts, curls, and un-weighted squats, which makes me want to scream).  There’s a plethora of free weights which I love, as Mark Sparks (my conditioning specialist at Cardio-Go in Toronto) ensured that my last few sessions focused on workouts I could do with limited equipment.  My only complaint (well, more confusion) is that most of the weights are in kilograms rather than pounds.  I’m pretty good at converting the weight in my head, but they still feel way heavier than back at home.

The gym itself was really cost effective: 100,000 KRW for 3 months of use.  This also includes use of their workout clothes, however I have yet to take advantage of that offer.  Most of my workouts usually involve a walking on the treadmill as a warm up for a couple of minutes then HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).  I follow that up with abs and weights for the next 30-40 minutes focusing on different combinations (depending on the day, of course) of arms, shoulders, chest, abs, legs, and of course – the booty.  So far I’ve made it to the gym 4-5 times a week since joining 3 weeks ago and am feeling pretty good about it!  I’ve also stopped eating rice throughout the week, which should definitely help.  

If you’re in the Yangsan – Deokcheon area this is a great deal.  Some of my Korean friends/ colleagues are even considering joining so that we can all go together, which is pretty sweet!  They offer Personal Training as well (I found that out the hard way when one of the “English-speaking” Members – ie. someone who knows how to say Hello and talk about the weather a bit) told me I could use that area no problem and then I found out that I had been interrupting a personal training session – whoops.

On my walk home I pass this magnificent organic grocery store and bakery.  I don’t dare step in – the bagel and cream cheese just looks far too good, as well as a Love Motel with a slogan telling me to live out my dreams. 

Update: I’ve switched gyms and have actually dropped a big pile of weight!  My diet has changed massively as well.  For breakfast, I mix Cellucor protein powder (120 calories and 25g of protein!) with water in a shaker bottle (all available at iHerb – click here for 10% off your first order!).  I have a 99 calorie granola bar as a snack, go through 3 – 4 L of water every day, have a turkey sub for lunch loaded with veggies and only the tiniest bit of mayo or mustard, and for dinner I usually make some combination of a protein (one of chicken, ground beef, eggs, bacon, or cheese), squash, peppers, and salad.  On the weekends I allow myself to go out with friends and enjoy a nice meal.  Once you shift your perspective from short term restriction to a long-term habit of fueling your body, making healthy choices is a lot easier!

One Comment Add yours

  1. llegs says:

    You always look great, hope you continue to enjoy your fitness journey abroad! Between this place and your hiking expeditions feeling your best should be *ahem* no sweat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *