Episode 59

Clean Newbie
3 weeks ago
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The gym run by Manager Nakayama was about a 10-minute walk from my house in the shopping district.

The monthly fee was 10,000 yen, more expensive than other gyms nearby, but there was a good reason for it.

It was because Manager Nakayama himself moved around the gym, offering free coaching.

While regular gyms earned their operating income through personal training, Manager Nakayama’s method almost resembled voluntary service, though he seemed unconcerned about it.

He laughed it off, saying, “I made enough money when I was younger and now I want to devote my time to training the next generation.”

For that reason, it was a place I could trust.

Ding-dong! Ding-dong!

“Oh! Welcome! Kim! Your muscles are looking great today!”

Upon entering the gym, Manager Nakayama at the front desk greeted me with a smile.

I returned the compliment on Manager Nakayama’s muscles, then introduced Koto Kazuya, who stood nervously at the door.

“This is Koto Kazuya. He wants to exercise with me, so I brought him along. Could we have a free trial for about three days?”

Manager Nakayama approached with sparkling eyes.

“Of course! It’s Kim’s request!”

He then felt Koto’s body up and down and asked with an intrigued expression.

“Did you do any sports when you were younger? Your muscle balance seems quite good.”

“Yes? Oh, yes. I was a track and field athlete for about a year in middle school.”

“I see. That’s why your hamstrings are well developed; you have a good base.”

Manager Nakayama stood up with a satisfied expression and gestured to me.

“Then go to the changing room and change your clothes. Let’s start with a basic physical fitness test.”

“Okay.”

I led Koto, who looked around the fitness club with curiosity, toward the changing room in the corner.


After changing into the gym-provided workout clothes and coming outside, Manager Nakayama waited at the door.

“Let’s start with some light jogging.”

He led us to the treadmills, saying so.

Manager Nakayama placed Koto on the treadmill and said,

“In our gym, we customize the training menu according to each individual’s fitness level. So, first, we need to know Koto’s limits.”

After saying this, Manager Nakayama suddenly set the speed to 12 km/h.

“So run until you feel like you’re about to drop dead.”

“What? Did I hear that right?”

But the treadmill’s countdown began mercilessly.

3, 2, 1

Beep!

The belt started moving slowly, and Koto, caught off guard, began walking.

However, since the target speed was 12 km/h, the belt’s speed increased rapidly.

Koto had to start running immediately, without any time to warm up.

“What, what, what, what is this?!”

“If you talk while running, you might bite your tongue, so just run!”

At Manager Nakayama’s stern command, Koto, looking aggrieved, began to run silently.

From our early morning jogs together, I knew that Koto Kazuya generally had quite good stamina.

Proving that his position as the leader of a biker gang wasn’t for nothing, he initially looked panicked but soon found a steady pace.

After running at a speed faster than a walk but slower than a sprint for a while, Koto, apparently reaching his limit after 8 minutes, turned red in the face and shouted,

“How do I stop this?!”

“Press the emergency button in front.”

Bang!

As soon as he hit the emergency button and the treadmill came to an abrupt halt, Koto quickly stepped off.

He then lay on the gym floor, gasping for breath.

“I-I thought I was going to die.”

Manager Nakayama chuckled and said,

“Boys will exaggerate.”

When Manager Nakayama told Koto to go and drink some water, he rose like a zombie and shuffled toward the water dispenser.

Once he was at a distance, I asked Manager Nakayama,

“How is he? Do you think he’s teachable?”

Manager Nakayama nodded with a contented expression,

“His basic foundation isn’t bad, particularly the development of his lower body muscles. What did he use to do?”

“He had originally been in a biker gang but quit to learn exercise from me.”

“…If taught properly, he might not be as good as you, but he could become quite capable.”

It seemed he had really impressed the manager.

Well, pleasing the manager and ensuring Koto continued to come to the gym were completely separate matters.

It was only the end of one cardio session.

“The treadmill is just the weakest of the ‘Four Heavenly Kings’… heh, let’s move on to the next step.”


After drinking enough water and resting enough to regain his strength, Manager Nakayama took Koto, who had recovered, to the free weight zone.

Generally, it wasn’t recommended for beginners to do free weights.

Exercising with incorrect posture or lifting too much weight could easily lead to injury.

But today, since it was for basic physical fitness testing, we started with Koto Kazuya’s three major lifts under our supervision.

“First off, Koto, do you know what the three major lifts are?”

“Three major lifts? What’s that? I was the leader of the ‘Big Three’.”

His response made it clear he didn’t know, so I explained, holding up three fingers,

“They’re commonly called the ‘Big Three’: squat, bench press, and deadlift.”

Of course, being good at these three exercises didn’t necessarily mean you were great at all exercises, but they were excellent for assessing basic strength.

“Let’s start with the squat.”

As Manager Nakayama and I led Koto to the free weight zone, the macho guys around us who recognized us began to subtly make way.

A local gym was like a wild jungle; when someone with a much better physique appeared, people tended to feel intimidated and quickly make room.

It was literally a world where the survival of the fittest rules!

First, I went to the squat rack and added two 10kg plates to the empty bar.

That made it 40kg.

This weight was enough for a warm-up for someone who had never done the three major lifts before.

Koto, who knew nothing but followed us anyway, stepped into the squat rack.

Under the guidance of Manager Nakayama, he lifted the barbell onto his shoulders with proper posture.

“Heup!”

He inhaled sharply, squatting down and standing up about three times.

“40kg seems too light for him.”

Manager Nakayama nodded and signaled to me.

I promptly increased the weight.

It was now the average weight for a regular person, 60kg.

“This is easy!”

But Koto easily managed it, eventually squatting up to 100kg.

“Hmm. This is getting interesting.”

Manager Nakayama muttered and then moved on to the next exercise, the bench press, to measure the 1RM (one-rep max).


Ultimately, Koto Kazuya’s recorded scores were a squat of 100, a barbell press of 80, and a deadlift of 120.

Honestly, I hadn’t expected an average person without proper training to be able to lift such heavy weights.

After completing all the basic physical fitness measurements, Koto Kazuya asked with spirited energy,

“Osshaaaa! Brother! How did I do?!”

Then Manager Nakayama, seemingly pleased, clapped and said,

“You passed. You can start coming to our gym tomorrow.”

While exercising, Koto Kazuya resembled an untamed wild horse.

Probably, with proper training from a good master, he could achieve a much better physique than he has now.

Just like when I first met Manager Nakayama.

Now that Koto had gained the manager’s favor, it seemed unnecessary for me to intervene.

So, I was about to sneak away to focus on my original reason for coming to the gym, which was to work out.

“Ah, Kim Yu-seong.”

I ran into Fuma-senpai, who had just arrived at the gym, coming out of the changing room in his training clothes.

“Hello.”

As I greeted him and bowed, Koto, standing next to Manager Nakayama, came over with gleaming eyes and asked me a tactless question.

“She’s very pretty! Is she yours, brother?”

Wiggling his pinky finger as he spoke, Fuma-senpai, who was standing nearby and had overheard, blushed and objected.

“What?! Kim Yu-seong and I are not in that kind of relationship!”

“Eh~ They say a strong denial is a strong affirmation. It seems right to me, doesn’t it?”

Then Fuma-senpai, looking astonished, pointed at Koto.

“Kim Yu-seong! What the heck?! Who is this rude guy?”

It felt as if two people who should never have met just did, and I automatically started to feel a headache coming.

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