Tuesday, April 17, 2018

choices, choices...

I finally made good on my long-ago threat to visit the local gym and see about personal training. The gym is named something like Fitness 2.0, and it's located in the basement of a building that's just across a parking lot from the building I work in. In other words, the gym is less than a hundred meters away, so it's very easy to get to.

When I got to the gym, I was greeted by an amazingly beautiful young woman who asked if I needed assistance. I told her I was there to talk with someone about personal training, so she seated me at an interview table and went off to find someone. The young guy who came out was freakishly tall for a Korean and covered in Chris Hemsworth-style muscles, but he was friendly and solicitous, not to mention surprised I was speaking to him in Korean.

We went over my questions, and the young man (who turned out to be the gym's manager) answered in detail. I asked about the training schedule; he said that was up to me. I got the impression that most people went for a Mon-Wed-Fri or Tue-Thu-Sat regimen; my own preference would be for MWF. I asked about time of day, and he asked me about my work schedule (roughly noon to 9PM). I told him I'd prefer to train in the morning; he said the gym opened at 8AM, which is actually fairly late for most of the local gyms, which normally open around 6AM and close around 11PM or midnight. I asked how long a typical training session was; surprisingly, he said fifty minutes, which seemed kind of short, but which also made me sigh inwardly with relief: I wouldn't have to endure a full hour of torture. (Then again, I know that an intense trainer can make fifty minutes feel like five hours if s/he wants to.) The manager said that I'd be tested on my first day at the gym to determine my baselines; I joked that I'd be below zero on all of them. He laughed the indulgent, self-confident laugh of the extremely fit and muscular. He mentioned that, on the second session, we'd talk diet, and I'd be put on a special dieting program.

Finally, we got around to talking price. The manager walked away to fetch a pricing chart, and it turned out to be about what I expected: personal training isn't cheap, and I live in the Gangnam district, so these would be Gangnam prices. Emphasizing that what I was seeing was at a discount, the manager pointed out the prices for a 10-session block, a 20-session block, and a 30-session block. I focused on the 20-session block because ten sessions would go by in a flash, and thirty sessions would require more commitment than I was willing to give. The price for twenty sessions: W1,320,000. Yikes. That would be only six or seven weeks' training, or about a month and a half. Over the course of a year, I'd be paying through the nose, and I'm not that rich yet—not by a long shot. The manager further noted there'd be a W60,000 discount were I to pay the fee in cash. To sweeten the deal, he also said that, on my off-days, I could visit the gym and use the equipment for free.

I was then taken on a quick tour of the facilities: the gym itself, the lockers lining one wall, and the fully equipped shower area, which had shampoo, towels, and everything else. Everything looked modern and high-tech, but there wasn't much equipment there. I thanked the manager for his time and his detailed explanations; he encouraged me—without being overly pushy—to make a decision soon. With that, I left the gym and walked back to my apartment.

In talking with a coworker today, though, I wrestled with the question of whether all this was worth it, especially at that price. My coworker was of the opinion that I could either go it alone and not dump that much cash, or I could find a better gym at a better price. He was fairly certain that Fitness 2.0 was not the gym for me. I don't know. Do I take this path? Do I try going it alone, a strategy that hasn't worked well for me in the past? I'm still carefully thinking things over, but if you have an opinion, please leave it in the comments. I'll add your voice to the cacophony of voices already in my head.


  1. I would say definitely shop around and see what you can find. Fitness 2.0 has location going for it, but there may be other gyms with better equipment and/or facilities. Out of curiosity, what sort of equipment was Fitness 2.0 missing?

    As for whether it is worth it to have a personal trainer, I can't really speak from experience. But I do know people who have had personal trainers, and they say it helps to have someone pushing you. Personally, I find going to the gym to be incredibly boring, and the times that I have managed to do it have been exercises in sheer willpower. I imagine it would have been easier had I had a personal trainer and a fixed schedule.

  2. I don't know anything about gyms or trainers, other than I intend to join and hire one after I make the move.

    My thinking is that the trainer will just be for the short term (10-20 sessions) while I learn the routines and techniques. I figure I can work out on my own after that.



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