Winter Outdoors Training In Seoul

Winter Outdoors Training In Seoul

Winter Outdoors Training In Seoul

I’m standing here by the river looking at the bar above. I’m trying, no really trying not to focus on how cold it is. As I slowly take off my gloves, I jump up and grab hold of the bar tight. Arrrg it’s cold – really cold, that’s the only thought on my mind as I perform the first chin up.

Just a few weeks ago I was in the sunny Philippines, oh how I remember it well. Just the thought of performing one chin up would have me break out sweating and by the time I had walked the 15 minutes to the gym, my heatgear t-shirt was already starting to get covered in sweat. The workout was another story. Once finished, I looked more like I’d just been for a fully clothed swim in the ocean, than visiting a gym.

Winter outdoors training in Seoul, South Korea is a different story. Even though it’s located just a few hours by a cheap Air Asia flight from the Philippines, the temperature couldn’t be more different. In Seoul, I don’t need the weather to tell me it’s the middle of winter; I’ve just lost the feeling in my nose and hands. That’s good enough indication for me.

It’s funny because my light weight t-shirts felt more than enough clothing in the hot environments of Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines. Now in Seoul they don’t feel in any way near enough, which is crazy because I’m pretty much wearing all of them! That’s right I’m nearly wearing every piece of workout clothing I own.

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Seoul winter ninja training outfit

For the base layer, I have my merino wool t-shirt & short sleeve heatgear t-shirt. On top of that I have my long-sleeved Under Armour t-shirt, which I should add, I haven’t needed in the past 6 months. If that wasn’t enough, I have my travel raincoat, the UA rain jacket. I finished off the look with a merino wool neckie pulled up to my nose, meaning I look something like a ninja.

For the bottoms, I’m wearing the double layer Karrimor 2in1 xlite shorts with a pair of coldgear leggings underneath. I brought the UA leggings a few years ago for a hike and, to be honest, have been thinking of getting rid, because they have just sat in my bag for the last 6 months of SE Asia travel. As I smash out the second pull up, I strongly remind myself that I’m glad that I didn’t.

I couldn’t even contemplate trying to run or workout in these conditions just wearing shorts with exposed legs. I’m sure it’s not impossible, but you’re going to have to be pretty hardcore to do it.

Even as I finish the second chin up, I have to let go of the bar. Once I hit the ground, the cheapo Asian market gloves purchased for a few dollars are back on again. You know the ones that have a wool nylon mix and can be picked up cheap anywhere around the world. They are providing some warmth at least, but they make gripping the bar sloppy and hard work.

Winter Outdoors Training In Seoul

Outdoor gym by the river

At this point in time I am beyond caring about how hard the chin ups are, or even how good my form is, all I want is get some warmth in my body. The cold makes it hard to focus on anything else besides the cold. Anyway, I push through – having just walked here to the river to train, I don’t care if it starts snowing, this workout will get finished.

One of my fundamentals for a simple travel lifestyle was to develop at fitness routine that could be performed while travelling anywhere in the world. Of course, a gym in a perfect environment no matter the weather, but sometimes a gym may not be available or simply too far away. The great thing is Seoul, like any big city, has plenty of great places to run, plus many outdoor parks that can be used for training along by the river.

Having been for a few outdoor runs already since arriving here, I have come across many of these outdoor gyms. Besides the selection of low impact machines designed to get the elderly active, there can be found chin up & dip bars – two of my favourites for a good solid body weight workout.

Winter Outdoors Training In Seoul

This was just one of the many points you can workout at by the river

Today is my lucky day, though. I have recently moved to the Room in Korea Guesthouse and while exploring this new part of the city, I am surprised. Not only does it have a good selection of bodyweight bars nearby, but there’s a bench press with 40KG weight welded on the barbell. This should be fun!

Right now, I finish the chin ups and jump onto the bench. To be honest I don’t care what the weight is, really I don’t. The only thing to think about is to keep going until I can’t lift the bar anymore. This is exactly what I do until the burn starts to hit my chest. When winter outdoors training in Seoul the burn feels really good, why? Because it’s warm!

Only once the circuit is finally completed do I start to feel semi normal again. To say I broke into a massive sweat during this workout would be a total lie, but my body does feel worked. It’s a funny feeling when pushing pretty hard in the cold, but hardly feeling a drop of sweat. A couple of weeks ago in the Philippines I would have smashed a least a litre of water, if not more by now.

Winter Outdoor Training In Seoul

A not very comfortable inclined sit-up bench

The workout in Seoul was a very cold experience and yes my mind was trying and talk me out of it for nearly every second of the walk there. But having said that, winter outdoors training in Seoul can be somewhat fun once you generate some body heat.

Of course, many days are colder than others. The fact that ice was on the ground, even though the sun was semi out, suggests this was a colder one and even though this type training was a challenge for someone who love’s the heat, challenges are good and fun.

Winter Outdoors Training In Seoul Location: Hajung-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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Winter Outdoors Training In Seoul

Winter Outdoors Training In Seoul

Winter Outdoors Training In Seoul images created by ToolsofTravel

Barry Sproston

Barry is a traveller and expat who spends most of his time between Asia and Australia. He has spent 12 months training at a Gung Fu school learning Wing Chun. Explored the island of Taiwan by scooter more than once. Been tricked into eating raw horse meat sushi in Japan. Even tried to overcome the fear of heights by bungee jumping in Thailand. One day he plans to open a guesthouse.


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