Working Out During Spring Festival

Hitting the gym and getting a good pump is a major part of my life. As much as I enjoy sex, getting a good workout in on a regular basis probably ties with getting intimate with a [Northeast Asian] woman, or it is at least a close second.

Hongbao on a tree to bring wealth for Chinese New Year during the Spring Festival
Luck with financial gains take precedence over making gainz at the gym during CNY

As you may know, however, many businesses close down for Spring Festival and Chinese New Year. Sadly, this also includes the gym, during what would likely be the most opportune time to hit the gym hard too.

I’ll still be getting my money’s worth, since the days that the gym will be closed for holidays will be tacked on to the end of my membership at no additional cost. That still leaves me with pushups, situps, and unweighted squats in my apartment. Having not invested in a pullup bar, I thought that I would have to wait until after the holiday to get a good back workout in; I was wrong.

Of course, there are likely other ways to hit my lats if I went and read some of the fitness books that I haven’t gotten around to yet, but in my opinion, nothing beats pullups. Luckily for me, there is a park close to my apartment that I came across when going for a jog.

Pullup machine in a park near Chigang in Guangzhou
This pullup machine will have to do during Spring Festival.

This park has quite a bit of odd exercise equipment, as well as playground equipment for kids. There was no standard set of pullup bars as is common in most parks in America, nor were there any monkey bars present on the eve of the Year of the Monkey. What they did have was a type of seated pullup contraption. The angle that the user pulls themselves up at seems to recruit the shoulders into the exercise instead of only targeting the lats, and sitting down seems to reduce the amount of effort required to perform each rep, but it is enough to get a pump and at least prevent complete muscular atrophy.

My workout consisted of quickly alternating between these seated pullups to pushups on the asphalt. I caught the attention of a few local mothers that were out with their kids as well. It wasn’t that kind of attention, but just the natural shock of seeing someone working out in public wearing shorts in the winter weather. Oh yeah, and I’m Black too. To be honest, it seems like Chinese people would never do some of the “street workouts” that have become popular in some circles in the West, not even simple pushups outside. Given how much people spit on the ground and how some parents let their kids poop outside, I cannot exactly blame them.

The park also has a basketball court, complete with a statue of LeBron James. Looks like he’s been sitting in the sun to long, but maybe that vitiligo will that he seems to be developing will even things up a bit. The park has a lot more to explore, and a PLA hospital is nearby if I run into anything too dangerous and need to be patched up.

LeBron James on the bench.
LeBron James on the bench. He’s been out in the sun too long.

I am still looking forward to getting back into the gym as soon as possible, but it is good to know that there are alternatives that are easy to access at any time. Uncovering these small conveniences is making life in China more and more enjoyable, on top of the mood benefits that exercise provides.

I plan on getting out more while I still have time off for the Spring Festival. Hopefully I can find something that will make my side-hustling endeavors more efficient.

This post was originally written on February 7th, 2016.
  • FlorianUlrich

    Very interesting. In Germany, there are “Trimm Dich”/”Workout” routes – basically a running path through the woods that has some workout stations at regular intervals.

    It seemed so natural when I grew up, yet now that everything is done in the gym and more and more business is done from a computer without actually having to GO places, it seems we are moving around less on the outside and thus losing quite a bit of connection to nature too.

    • We have routes similar to those at some parks in America too.

      The loss of connection with nature due to spending so much time indoors and using technology is a great point. Thanks for your comment.