Thursday, September 11, 2014

Gym Experiences in China Part 1

I'm back in America, and one of the things that I missed about being in the States is my local gym. I've been back at it for about two weeks now, and I'm getting much of my strength and muscle mass back. For the time being, I am on a four-day split, but I hope to get back to a five-day split by the end of next month if my schedule allows it.

Of the three cities that I went to in China, Guangzhou probably has the best gym culture. I visited three different gyms in the Panyu District of Guangzhou, and they all had decent rates and equipment. Unfortunately, the names were all in Chinese or Chinglish, and I didn't note the addresses (I just memorized landmarks in the areas to walk there).

The first gym was about five minutes away from the hotel that I was staying at (assuming lulls in traffic which would allow me to cross the street). It was on the fifth floor of a shopping complex that included a grocery store, so one could effectively pick up their post-workout meals right after lifting. This facility was easily the best of the three, and had redundant weight machines, dumbbells up to 70 kg (that's a bit over 150 pounds), loads of treadmills and other cardio machines, heavy bags, and a boxing ring. This gym really appealed to me because I wanted to get into boxing overseas. Unfortunately, I seemed to be the only person into boxing when I was there, so that didn't become a reality. This gym was the most expensive to purchase a weekly membership at, but had I stayed for a year, I could have gotten in on a special which would have made it the cheapest.

The other two gyms that I visited were in the Panyu Friendship Square shopping center. Both of these gyms were smaller, but had an atmosphere that would appeal to people that are in the gym to do some serious lifting. Dumbbells went up to 100 kg (about 220 pounds; nobody touched these), and the machines, while old, were efficient. one of these gyms was about twice as expensive as the other, and all that they had on the cheaper gym was more treadmills and a single heavy bag. I opted for the cheaper gym at 200 RMB per week (yes, I know, your boy probably got cheated on that one).

This gym did not have air conditioning, so it was almost like working out in a sauna. The humid Guangzhou air made me sweat bullets after the first set. The atmosphere was almost like a dungeon as well due to the dim lights. Some people like dim lights at the gym, but I am used to having a brighter lighting scheme. This doesn't really bother me either way, as long as I can see what I'm doing, but it was a change.

Next time I will talk about some of the characters that I encountered and interacted with at the gym. Stay tuned!

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