Man’s Fitness Corner: the old school gym in downtown Amman for the working class

Published September 8th, 2016 - 15:32 GMT

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Amman, Jordan — The sound of barbells hitting the ground, grunts, old school American hip hop, the latest in Egyptian pop hits and the call to prayer (for which the music stops) emanate from Man’s Fitness Corner. Located across from the Al Husseini mosque in the heart of downtown Amman, this all male gym is different from its West Amman counterparts in a variety of ways. “People come from Jordan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Germany, Norway, Bangladesh the Philippines, Pakistan; it’s international cause it’s in downtown, and most of these people like old school bodybuilding,” Umeer, the gym’s manager, told Al Bawaba, whose author of this article is also a member.

Going to the gym can be an expensive ordeal in Amman, frequently ranked as the most expensive city in the Middle East, or close to it. Gyms in West Amman frequently charge close to $100 USD  or more for memberships. Man’s Fitness Corner offers an alternative for those seeking an affordable and traditional weightlifting experience, without the frills. Take a look inside Amman’s gym for the local and foreign working class.

Adam Lucente

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Man’s Fitness Corner’s clientele come from all over, particularly the Middle East and Asia. Even Umeer, a Jordanian citizen, spent most of his life in Aleppo, Syria, coming to Jordan after the war broke out. “We still have a house there, but there have been a lot of battles around it,” he said, speaking from his desk at the gym.
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Image 1 of 9:  1 / 9Man’s Fitness Corner’s clientele come from all over, particularly the Middle East and Asia. Even Umeer, a Jordanian citizen, spent most of his life in Aleppo, Syria, coming to Jordan after the war broke out. “We still have a house there, but there have been a lot of battles around it,” he said, speaking from his desk at the gym.

(Source: Facebook/Man's Fitness Corner)

Enlarge
Man’s Fitness Center’s philosophy is to focus on free weights, not fancy machines. “Anything free weights is better,” said Umeer. “It’s old school Schwarzenegger.”
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Image 2 of 9:  2 / 9Man’s Fitness Center’s philosophy is to focus on free weights, not fancy machines. “Anything free weights is better,” said Umeer. “It’s old school Schwarzenegger.”

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

Enlarge
The gym’s location downtown allows it to provide cheaper prices. “The reason we’re cheaper is because our members have lower salaries. It’s a working class neighborhood,” Umeer told Al Bawaba. He can relate to this. “My salary is enough to live and eat. I have it better than others. Most Jordanian youth struggle.”
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Image 3 of 9:  3 / 9The gym’s location downtown allows it to provide cheaper prices. “The reason we’re cheaper is because our members have lower salaries. It’s a working class neighborhood,” Umeer told Al Bawaba. He can relate to this. “My salary is enough to live and eat. I have it better than others. Most Jordanian youth struggle.”

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

Enlarge
Because there are so many foreign workers, refugees, and students at the gym, many don’t stay long. In a sadder tale, some members of Jordan’s Sudanese refugee community attended Man’s Fitness Corner, but stopped going after the December 2015 deportation of much their community.
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Image 4 of 9:  4 / 9Because there are so many foreign workers, refugees, and students at the gym, many don’t stay long. In a sadder tale, some members of Jordan’s Sudanese refugee community attended Man’s Fitness Corner, but stopped going after the December 2015 deportation of much their community.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

Enlarge
I'll be back! Master bodybuilder and former governor of the US state of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is a role model for Man’s Fitness Corner, and his picture is plastered throughout the gym.
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Image 5 of 9:  5 / 9I'll be back! Master bodybuilder and former governor of the US state of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is a role model for Man’s Fitness Corner, and his picture is plastered throughout the gym.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

Enlarge
Protein supplements too are a part of Man’s Fitness Corner’s philosophy.
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Image 6 of 9:  6 / 9Protein supplements too are a part of Man’s Fitness Corner’s philosophy.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

Enlarge
There’s much more bodybuilding material in English, but Man’s Fitness Corner provides some Arabic-language tips on their Facebook page and on flyers in the gym.
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Image 7 of 9:  7 / 9There’s much more bodybuilding material in English, but Man’s Fitness Corner provides some Arabic-language tips on their Facebook page and on flyers in the gym.

(Source: Facebook/Man's Fitness Corner)

Enlarge
While Man’s Fitness Corner is loyal to its old school mentality, they do combine old and new. Their squat rack has a pulley system, allowing users to do pull downs and other exercises impossible on a traditional squat rack.
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Image 8 of 9:  8 / 9While Man’s Fitness Corner is loyal to its old school mentality, they do combine old and new. Their squat rack has a pulley system, allowing users to do pull downs and other exercises impossible on a traditional squat rack.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

Enlarge
“I love all the guys here of all nationalities. There are no showoffs; we’re all like brothers,” said Umeer. With a steady stream of members, cheap prices and a central location, Man’s Fitness Corner may continue to be the choice of gym for bodybuilders on a budget in Amman for years to come.
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Image 9 of 9:  9 / 9“I love all the guys here of all nationalities. There are no showoffs; we’re all like brothers,” said Umeer. With a steady stream of members, cheap prices and a central location, Man’s Fitness Corner may continue to be the choice of gym for bodybuilders on a budget in Amman for years to come.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

Enlarge

1

Man’s Fitness Corner’s clientele come from all over, particularly the Middle East and Asia. Even Umeer, a Jordanian citizen, spent most of his life in Aleppo, Syria, coming to Jordan after the war broke out. “We still have a house there, but there have been a lot of battles around it,” he said, speaking from his desk at the gym.

Image 1 of 9Man’s Fitness Corner’s clientele come from all over, particularly the Middle East and Asia. Even Umeer, a Jordanian citizen, spent most of his life in Aleppo, Syria, coming to Jordan after the war broke out. “We still have a house there, but there have been a lot of battles around it,” he said, speaking from his desk at the gym.

(Source: Facebook/Man's Fitness Corner)

2

Man’s Fitness Center’s philosophy is to focus on free weights, not fancy machines. “Anything free weights is better,” said Umeer. “It’s old school Schwarzenegger.”

Image 2 of 9Man’s Fitness Center’s philosophy is to focus on free weights, not fancy machines. “Anything free weights is better,” said Umeer. “It’s old school Schwarzenegger.”

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

3

The gym’s location downtown allows it to provide cheaper prices. “The reason we’re cheaper is because our members have lower salaries. It’s a working class neighborhood,” Umeer told Al Bawaba. He can relate to this. “My salary is enough to live and eat. I have it better than others. Most Jordanian youth struggle.”

Image 3 of 9The gym’s location downtown allows it to provide cheaper prices. “The reason we’re cheaper is because our members have lower salaries. It’s a working class neighborhood,” Umeer told Al Bawaba. He can relate to this. “My salary is enough to live and eat. I have it better than others. Most Jordanian youth struggle.”

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

4

Because there are so many foreign workers, refugees, and students at the gym, many don’t stay long. In a sadder tale, some members of Jordan’s Sudanese refugee community attended Man’s Fitness Corner, but stopped going after the December 2015 deportation of much their community.

Image 4 of 9Because there are so many foreign workers, refugees, and students at the gym, many don’t stay long. In a sadder tale, some members of Jordan’s Sudanese refugee community attended Man’s Fitness Corner, but stopped going after the December 2015 deportation of much their community.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

5

I'll be back! Master bodybuilder and former governor of the US state of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is a role model for Man’s Fitness Corner, and his picture is plastered throughout the gym.

Image 5 of 9I'll be back! Master bodybuilder and former governor of the US state of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is a role model for Man’s Fitness Corner, and his picture is plastered throughout the gym.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

6

Protein supplements too are a part of Man’s Fitness Corner’s philosophy.

Image 6 of 9Protein supplements too are a part of Man’s Fitness Corner’s philosophy.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

7

There’s much more bodybuilding material in English, but Man’s Fitness Corner provides some Arabic-language tips on their Facebook page and on flyers in the gym.

Image 7 of 9There’s much more bodybuilding material in English, but Man’s Fitness Corner provides some Arabic-language tips on their Facebook page and on flyers in the gym.

(Source: Facebook/Man's Fitness Corner)

8

While Man’s Fitness Corner is loyal to its old school mentality, they do combine old and new. Their squat rack has a pulley system, allowing users to do pull downs and other exercises impossible on a traditional squat rack.

Image 8 of 9While Man’s Fitness Corner is loyal to its old school mentality, they do combine old and new. Their squat rack has a pulley system, allowing users to do pull downs and other exercises impossible on a traditional squat rack.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

9

“I love all the guys here of all nationalities. There are no showoffs; we’re all like brothers,” said Umeer. With a steady stream of members, cheap prices and a central location, Man’s Fitness Corner may continue to be the choice of gym for bodybuilders on a budget in Amman for years to come.

Image 9 of 9“I love all the guys here of all nationalities. There are no showoffs; we’re all like brothers,” said Umeer. With a steady stream of members, cheap prices and a central location, Man’s Fitness Corner may continue to be the choice of gym for bodybuilders on a budget in Amman for years to come.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

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