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Running in the gym

A few weeks ago I changed to a new gym because I moved to a new apartment. This gym is located in my compound, and it’s a great place for a work-out. In- and outdoor pool, lots of running and other exercise machines, and all quite new. The place opens up at 6:30 AM, so I can do a 10K before going to work, and that’s a big advantage over my former gym that did not open until 9 AM. And there is hardly anybody, because membership is about triple as expensive as other gyms.

The only thing that was a bit annoying is that some of the running machines are set to a maximum of 60 minutes (and one even to a max of 30 minutes). On weekends I sometimes do 90 or 120 minute runs, and it’s annoying if you have to stop halfway and then start again. So I asked one of the staff to change that, but her reaction was that this cannot be changed and that it is standard for this brand of fitness equipment (Life Fitness). Well, I have run in gyms all over the world and have used Life Fitness treadmills on several occasions for runs over 60 minutes. I told her that and then figured out that she actually had no clue. I asked her to look at the settings in the machine, but she had no idea how to do that. But another instructor was better trained and opened the menu (she tried to hide from me how to do that, but it was clear you just had to push ‘pause’ for a few seconds). Problem was that she could not read English, so she was pushing around on the buttons without really knowing what she was doing.

I asked her if I could help her, but she said the gym does not allow clients to change the settings. Fair enough, but in the meantime she had managed to change the settings to miles instead of kilometers, and the language was now Portuguese. It was clear she was lost and had no clue what to do. So when she walked away I changed those things back for her, and looked in the settings myself. I changed the settings to a maximum of 99 minutes, but when I restarted the machine it turned out that the manufacturer settings (that I could not access) overruled this. I talked to the lady again and she would ask the Life Fitness staff the next time they would be visiting.

Then she said that they would not like to put the maximum time at more than 60 minutes, because ‘it is not healthy to run for more than an hour’. Huh? This was a certified fitness instructor telling me that it is unhealthy to run for more than one hour? I wonder what else they teach them in fitness class! I decided not to argue with her, but hope she will risk my health by asking the Life Fitness staff to change the settings to at least 90 minutes for me.

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  1. Hello Marc,
    funny story; I wonder why you don’t run outside in the open air.( wheather?)
    Or do they play “house” mucic in the gym?

    Maybe you can write something about the (best) “running” courses or areas in Shanghaj, I’m planning to stay for a certain period, starting the end of this year; I would like to keep on running , anyway.

  2. Hi Nico,
    I don’t run in the open air for several reasons:
    – the smog: you normally don’t notice it while walking outside, but once you start doing sports it becomes an issue
    – the fact that traffic is too dangerous, and there is no big park around my house
    – it’s 37 degrees in Shanghai in summer, and that’s too hot to run
    I miss running outside, but that’s the downside of living here.

    In the gym they normally play house music, pretty upbeat stuff. But I normally bring my iPod, I prefer to listen to podcasts while running, or to 150-160 bpm music (that fits my running speed)

    If you want to run in Shanghai go to Century Park in Pudong. If you have a car you can go a bit further in Pudong, there are some nice places to run close to the sea. And Sheshan is also a great place, I might write something about that later this week.

  3. Cool video, so treadmills can be multi-functional!

  4. Hi Marc, can you recommend a gym in the Jing’an/Zhongshan Park area. I’m new to Shanghai and starting to feel quite out of shape!


  5. The only gyms I have used so far are on Huaihai Lu and in Xujiahui. So I cannot recommend any in Jing’an or the Zhongshan Park area.