During Saturday’s spicy dinner, one of the guy’s at the table shared a story about an interesting survey presentation that he recently attended. It was a major international sporting equipment brand that had commissioned Deloitte to do the survey, which aimed to find out detailed information about Chinese people’s gym habits.
(For starters I just must point out that I think it was a shame that the company hired Deloitte for this. I could have done this for much less money, probably in much less time, simply by looking back at my years of gymming in China).
Anyway, the presentation had included the following main points:
• Chinese people definitely want to be healthier. A lot of them want to lose weight. However, they don’t like sweating, and are therefore not willing to sweat in order to lose weight.
• Neither are they willing to work hard for that extra junk to come off. Rather, when they are buying an expensive membership at the gym, they expect the gym to “solve the problem” for them.
Do I need to mention that the survey left the sporting equipment brand with bigger question marks that what they had when they went into all of this?
However, I don’t think this survey gave a completely fair picture of what the sport/fitness life is like over here. Thing is, that if you’re real serious, and turn to a serious place, you’ll meet a lot of Chinese that know more about sport/fitness than yourself.
I decided to do just that after my summer break. I was sick of my badly air-conditioned gym. Sick of running next to girls wrapped in plastic foil. Sick of blow-drying my hair next to women blow-drying their feet and bums. And sick of the general lack of motivation that this place left me with.
So, I joined a yoga club. And not just any yoga club –but the finest yoga club. An expensive place. Professionally run. With rules. Proper schedules. No mobile phones in class. No latecomers. With clean, nice smelling changing rooms. And hair-dryers that are strictly used for blowing your hair.
And let me tell you something –at this place it’s me who’s all amateur! My fellow yogis (a nickname I now call all the guys and galls that are better than me at yoga, and trust me, that’s about 99,9% of the club members) are complete pros. Not only can they stretch their bodies into positions that I didn't know existed (much less thought I would ever try for myself!), but they are so d*m quick and persistent. I’m having a hard time keeping up during my classes, and I’ve always seen myself as quite fit.
So, bottom line is: health and fitness still has a long way to go in China. But here’s definitely both a need and a demand. And if my fellow plastic-wrapped treadmill friends start training as hard as the yogis –this city’s going to be full of fitness freaks.