Fit and trim

24-hour un­manned gyms meet needs of busy Shang­hai of­fice work­ers

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE - By Du Qiong­fang

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­search re­leased by the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, Shang­hai res­i­dents’ av­er­age spare time per day is only about 2.14 hours.

The in­ten­sity and over­time of their work does not al­low of­fice em­ploy­ees much free time to get fit.

But the in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar 24hour un­manned gym­na­si­ums are meet­ing their needs.

Com­pared with tra­di­tional gyms, 24-hour un­manned gyms oc­cupy smaller ar­eas but are fully stocked with var­i­ous ath­letic equip­ment.

Their mem­ber­ship fees are not nec­es­sar­ily less ex­pen­sive than tra­di­tional gyms, but the flex­i­ble ac­cess makes them pop­u­lar among met­ro­pol­i­tan gym-go­ers who live a fast-paced ur­ban life.

By scan­ning their mem­ber­ship cards, mem­bers can en­ter a 24-hour un­manned gym­na­si­ums on Tian­shan Road in Changn­ing district with­out any com­pli­cated reg­is­tra­tion process. The card-ac­ti­vated door and turn­stile gate as­sure that only registered mem­bers can get in.

Ac­cord­ing to Zhang Lei, a staff mem­ber of the gym, the Tian­shan branch alone has over 3,000 mem­bers.

Oc­cu­py­ing an area of 790 square me­ters, the self-help gym pro­vides all kinds of sports equip­ment, from aer­o­bics such as tread­mills and sta­tion­ary bi­cy­cles, to anaer­o­bic equip­ment. The gym also has a strength-train­ing area with an ar­ray of dumb­bells.

“Gen­er­ally speak­ing, I am sat­is­fied with the fa­cil­ity and ser­vice pro­vided by the 24-hour un­manned gym. Of course, if the gym can have a swim­ming pool too, then it would be per­fect,” said Mao Jian, a mem­ber of the 24-hour gym.

Flex­i­ble hours

Liv­ing near the gym and at­tracted by its 24/7 ser­vice, Mao im­me­di­ately ap­plied for mem­ber­ship. “Usu­ally, tra­di­tional gyms open at 9 am and close at 10 pm. So it is im­pos­si­ble for me to use a tra­di­tional gym,” Mao said.

Ac­cord­ing to Zhang, peak hours of the 24-hour gym are from 7 pm to 10 pm on week­days. But there are fewer gym-go­ers on week­ends.

“Usu­ally, the fa­cil­i­ties are in full use Mon­day night through Thurs­day night. But dur­ing off-peak hours such as work­day morn­ings or week­end evenings, there are some­times fewer than 10 peo­ple us­ing the fa­cil­i­ties,” Mao said.

An­other gym user sur­named Ma liv­ing near the gym hap­pened to see the fa­cil­ity one day as he walked by.

“I chose this gym mainly be­cause of its 24-hour ser­vice. My work­ing hours are un­fixed. It is in­con­ve­nient for me to play sports af­ter work in the evening. So I usu­ally use the gym around 6 am on week­days. And then I can al­lo­cate my time freely,” Ma said.

“My friend rec­om­mended this gym to me,” said an­other gym-goer sur­named Lü, who usu­ally ex­er­cises on week­end morn­ings.

“It is at­trac­tive to me be­cause of its flex­i­ble hours. Since my work is busy, I can­not get up early in the morn­ing. But a 24-hour gym has no time limit, which is more suit­able for me.”

In re­cent years, many tra­di­tional gyms have at­tracted greater num­bers of or­di­nary peo­ple with their low mem­ber­ship prices and ag­gres­sive and high-pro­file sales tac­tics. But many Chi­nese per­sonal train­ers also work as sales­per­sons to up-sell ad­di­tional classes for a com­mis­sion, which can be an­noy­ing for gym users.

Less ex­pen­sive

Com­pared with tra­di­tional gyms, the mem­ber­ship fees of some 24-hour gyms are no less ex­pen­sive.

Take the 24-hour gym lo­cated at Tian­shan Road for ex­am­ple: its oneyear mem­ber­ship price is 2,588 yuan ($383), two years cost 2,988 yuan, and three years 3,588 yuan, roughly the same as tra­di­tional gyms.

It also pro­vides short-term mem­ber­ship from one to six months with mem­ber­ship fees rang­ing from 500 yuan to 2,000 yuan.

How­ever, since only two to three staff mem­bers are at the gym to man­age daily op­er­a­tions, gym-go­ers are ex­empted from the con­stant dis­tur­bance of ag­gres­sive mar­ket­ing tac­tics em­ployed by Chi­nese train­ers and sales­men.

“Apart from the 24-hour ser­vice, an­other as­pect of the un­manned gym that is at­trac­tive to me is that there are no per­sonal train­ers who force you to buy their classes. I can do sports my­self with­out be­ing dis­turbed,” said Mao.

Open around the clock, there is usu­ally staff on duty early in the morn­ing or late at night.

“There is an ac­cess con­trol sys­tem at the en­trance, so even if there is no gym staff on duty at night, I don’t feel un­safe,” Mao ex­plained.

Re­gard­ing ac­ci­dents, in­juries and even deaths that have oc­curred in some tra­di­tional gyms in re­cent years, Ma added that or­di­nary gym-go­ers should have ba­sic knowl­edge about their phys­i­cal con­di­tions be­fore they at­tempt any heavy lift­ing or stren­u­ous ex­er­cises.

“Sud­den death cases hap­pen due to their own car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases or ex­ces­sive ex­er­cis­ing. I think most peo­ple won’t suf­fer from such ex­treme cases,” Ma said.

Pho­tos: VCG and Du Qiong­fang/GT

From top: Work­ing out; Scene from a 24-hour un­manned gym in Shang­hai

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.