Why Chinese Men & Women are Becoming Addicted to Body-Building

Why Chinese Men & Women are turning to body-building | Vancity Showdown Jiashu Zhou

At Influential Sports we define the term bodybuilding as “body-building” – anyone that wants to build their body is a bodybuilder. The ones, who love bodybuilding, perform progressive resistance exercises; mainly focus on the external image of their bodies. Not only for the outlook that bodybuilding gives, but also the feeling of setting fitness goals and achieving those goals make people getting addicted to Body-Building.

In China, there were not many people used to this type of fitness level. Most people only focused on extreme diet and over-underweight body image. During the past few years, fitness industry is rising very fast in the country. Lots of gyms and fitness clubs opened across China. Coming up with fitness food companies and supplement industries started offering meal prep services and selling bodybuilding products. More and more people post their own workout videos and gym photos on social medias. Public medias start creating reality TV shows of celebrities going on their fitness journeys. The government also advocates the importance of health and fitness nowadays. All these factors bring in lots of Chinese to get into fitness and later on develop an addiction in bodybuilding.

In recent years, Chinese consumers have raised their awareness in health and fitness. People are getting interest in weight training and bodybuilding. Due to this higher demand of Chinese consumers, more and more commercial gyms, fitness & health studios and clubs have opened rapidly these days. People enjoy checking in to different gyms and taking pictures of their body transformations.  If you go on Chinese’ social medias you will see many people start a trend of working out and see it as a main stream of their entertainments. In western culture, fitness and health is more like a lifestyle. While in Chinese culture, at least at this beginning of the stage, is considered as one of the daily entertainments.

This trendy entertainment drives more people to participate in “the game”. The urge of being in part of “game” motivates Chinese customers to join gym memberships, choose whole food from healthy meal prep companies, and purchase supplements, in a way which was never been before. The more surprising group among these Chinese customers is the ladies. Back in the days, having muscles are way less acceptable for Chinese women. When it came to gyms, it was a male dominated place to go.

In the old days, Chinese ladies’ beauty standard was to have a super thin body. Being called as “skinny” or “bony” was a high compliment for the Chinese women. Unlike today, Chinese women are now changing their views of beauty; they want to see their bodies toned. Instead of being “flat”, they now want “hanger shoulders” (widen shoulders), “corset abs” (toned ab-lines), and “peach buttock” (peach shaped glutes) to be their bodybuilding goals. (These are the names and terms Chinese made in direct translation.) With this changing body image standard, Chinese women are now more accepting lean muscle feminine outlook that they can find in bikini competitors. For the past few years, you might start seeing some Chinese bikini amateurs won IFBB pro cards. China has become one of the Olympia Amateur shows organized country as well. Before that, there were more local and national bodybuilding competitions, but now even the big well-known international shows start choosing China as one of the hot spots. This definitely promotes more Chinese to get into professional bodybuilding.

For those who want to take body-building to another level, they would choose the path of competing in bodybuilding. Bodybuilding competition was never really a well-known sport in China. But in recent years, you would see more Chinese athletics stepping on stages. Some of them even got into Arnold’s and Olympia shows. IFBB Pro Fitness Mou Cong was the first Chinese woman to win the Arnold Classic Amateur championship and IFBB Pro Men’s Physique Long Wu was the first Chinese Olympian. They are the best examples of Chinese athletes’ achievements in this sport.  As there are more Chinese bodybuilders’ appearances on stages, it really opens up the horizon of Chinese people to see the possibility of becoming a bodybuilder. 

These successful breakthroughs of Chinese fitness bring more people being interested in bodybuilding. Thanks to the Internet influencers and fitness professionals, people can now know more about the sport through YouTube, WeiBo, and other social medias online. Some of these famous influencers or professional trainers would even get invited to reality TV shows. As the Chinese government starts encouraging national fitness and supports attendance at sports activities, you can see this revolution in China central television networks. TV shows about health and wellness would have Chinese celebrities to participate in fitness competitions, body transformations, and training camp reality shows.

All these exposures of fitness and bodybuilding really help the industry to grow and introduce more to the public. People finally recognize the benefits and the fun in bodybuilding.  This makes Chinese consumers are more willing to invest in their fitness aspects. The whole environmental trend drives this new traffic into bodybuilding during the past few years in China. Going to the gym regularly and building a new standard of body image becomes a society effect to most of the Chinese population. In the near future, you will be seeing more Chinese bodybuilding competitors going on show stages. Bodybuilding is a new sensation to all these fitness enthusiasts. The rocket rising demand in bodybuilding industry indicate this “game” is getting people addicted to it. And it is still at its early stage of development; we can foresee that there will be a massive rise in Chinese bodybuilders soon.

Written by: Eve Chan : Instagram

Photo Provided by Ali Sohrab

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