May 02

Fatty McFatterson Joins a Korean Gym

You may have seen my recent Korean Food Porn post, or remember that Santa Barbara Food Fest I had, or heard me talk about the mass quantities of cupcakes I’ve been consuming lately.


In case I haven’t made it clear, let me state it now: I. Love. Cupcakes.


I also enjoy stuffing my face with ice cream, devouring decadent pieces of pie, and eating five packages of butter waffle cookies “just to get them out of the house”. My friends and I recently ordered this giant piece of toast covered in sugar and ice cream and descended upon it like a pack of wild beasts.

Delicious Honey Bread with ice cream in Korea

The thing is, despite all the scientific evidence I’ve made up in my head to suggest otherwise, my body does not just pee out the calories I consume.  I’ve even somehow started telling myself that every time I walk past a bakery and don’t order a cookie it’s as if I’m losing weight.


Well, friends, I’ve been proved wrong. It turns out every little bite of delicious sugar has taken up residence on my abdomen and multiplied like a couple of spring rabbits, providing my waistline with the most enviable of flotation devices. In case of flooding, I’ve got you covered.


So on the day I found I literally couldn’t button a pair of pants that used to be loose on me, I’d had enough. It was time to join a gym.

A few friends recommended a place near my house, so on a rainy afternoon I stepped into my trainers and walked determinedly toward the gym. The sign outside was, uh… motivating? It looked like an ad out of a 1990s meat head body builder magazine.

Body Builder Sign in Korea

Then I walked in and realized that the same muscley man on the sign was the guy who owned the gym. At least he was wearing clothes this time.


He greeted me with warm smile and in broken English attempted to explain the price to me. I nodded and immediately handed over some cash, before I had time to think about it and change my mind. He pointed to some shelves filled with clothing and pulled down a shirt and shorts and motioned for me to go change into them.


I wanted to ask, “Do I have to?” but didn’t know how to say it. I tried pointing to the perfectly acceptable workout attire I was already dressed in (“Look! T-shirt! Spandex pants! Okay!”) but he just kept smiling and motioning toward the locker room. Resigned to my fate, I went ahead and changed. I stepped out sporting an XXL prisoner-orange T-shirt and oversize gym shorts that hung past my knees.

Orange gym t-shirt

Despite the bulk of the shirt, the material managed to cling to every little bulge on my body. I stepped on the treadmill and broke into a jog; when I glanced at my reflection in the mirror all I saw was the pumpkin orange shirt hugging and accentuating every fat roll, bouncing up and down in slow motion as I huffed and puffed and stumbled along the treadmill. I looked like a contestant  from The Biggest Loser.


As I stomped and sweated, the Korean girl on the treadmill next to me strolled along at a leisurely pace. I noticed that she wasn’t wearing the prisoner orange T-shirt uniform or baggy gangster shorts. I slowed to a walk to catch my breath, and out of nowhere Mister Muscles popped up and said, “Fast-uh, fast-uh!” and started pressing the increase speed button.


On what planet is that okay?!? I wanted to point at the Korean girl who was examining her nails as she continued to walk comfortably and say “Her! Fast-uh, fast-uh, make her go fast-uh! And why doesn’t she have to wear this stupid outfit?!”


But I didn’t because by this point I already had a beet red face, my shirt was soaked with sweat,  my hair was frizzing out in all directions, and I looked like some kind of enraged wildebeest; if I tried to speak, only a hoarse bark would probably have surfaced and I didn’t want to be asked to leave the gym on my first day.


So I continued to run, and I will swear to you to this day that the treadmills are all set to a serious incline, making it feel like you’re running uphill.


Eventually I moved on to the weight machines. I sat in the chair to do something that would presumably give me sexy arms. Suddenly, Muscles was next to me again, letting me know I was doing it all wrong. He rearranged my chair, selected a different weight, and repositioned my hands. I felt like I was being prepared for battle.


I leaned back and lifted my arms to finally start doing something. I glanced in the mirror and noticed my belly pooching out through the oversized-shirt-that-somehow-makes-you-look-extra-fat and made a sad attempt at sucking it in.

Belly gif

He must have followed my eyes, because then he stuck his finger out and POKED my belly and started chuckling! He literally stuck his finger into my fleshy stomach and laughed at me.


If being made fun of by a pint sized Korean muscle man doesn’t mortify you, then I don’t know what will. I finished my workout as quickly as possible and bailed. It took a week before I found the courage to return but when I did he greeted me with another friendly smile.

That time, though, I insisted on wearing my own pants and kept a hand guarding my belly at all times.

  • Lauren Cowan

    I feel your pain Kaleena. Except its my teeth rather than my belly that are taking the brunt of my sugar addiction!

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Yes, my teeth are probably not too happy either. Curse all this deliciousness everywhere!

  • We missed you last night at Sherri’s birthday party at the El Encanto! There was a plethora of decadent little chocolate mousses, mini lemon pies, and raspberry tarts for everyone!

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Aaagghhhhhh, don’t tell me these things!!! That sounds amazingggg! Tell Sherri happy birthday for me, and say hello to everyone. Miss you all and all the delicious office parties–all we ever get at work here are rice cakes! ;p

  • Tiela

    hahahaha I never literally laughed out loud at something before I started reading your blog. I heart you, you’re frikken hilarious =)

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Haha well thanks Tiela, I’m glad somebody else appreciates my self deprecating humor of my own ridiculous life. 😉

  • It was brave from you to go back again a second time…. seriously, I would have been traumatized if a korean body builder had pinched my belly and laughed. I didn’t know there was even any culture where this was acceptable to do! hehe

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Haha yes, I was a bit traumatized. But believe me, that kind of thing–and worse–seems to be the norm here in Korea. They also love to tell me I “look tired” all the time. Guess you learn to tune most of it out… but I draw the line at belly poking! 😉