The rea­sons why women hit the gyms

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By LI XUEQING in Shang­hai

lixueqing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Keep­ing fit is the ‘in’ thing now as the fit­ness in­dus­try is ev­i­dently boom­ing in Shang­hai. There are about 2 mil­lion peo­ple who are at­tend­ing gym ses­sions at nearly 1,000 fa­cil­i­ties around the city. A re­cent re­port by Labour Daily re­vealed that these fig­ures have been grow­ing ex­po­nen­tially over the past few years.

The de­mands on Shang­hai’s fit­ness mar­ket are also rapidly evolv­ing as the per­ceived stan­dards of beauty for women change. Ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try ex­perts, many women now are fo­cus­ing on build­ing flat and firm abs as well as ton­ing their arms and legs.

Luo Wei, the man­ager of Ele­phant Fit­ness Club in Shang­hai, said that women don’t just want to be slim these days.

“Women no longer con­sider be­ing skinny beau­ti­ful. They want to ex­er­cise and get toned and healthy. It’s not just about los­ing weight any­more,” said Luo, whose fit­ness cen­ter has seen a 70 per­cent surge in fe­male cus­tomers in the past three years. Eighty per­cent of its mem­bers now are women.

Luo added that many women also hit the gyms for a sense of ac­com­plish­ment.

“If a stu­dent can only com­plete 20 sets of ex­er­cises when she first started but can now do 22 af­ter train­ing, she will be en­cour­aged by the im­prove­ment,” said Luo.

For peo­ple like Zhou Xian­jun, a 22-year-old col­lege stu­dent, the gym en­vi­ron­ment pro­vides a source of mo­ti­va­tion.

“See­ing other peo­ple look­ing awe­some mo­ti­vates me. Be­sides, I’ve al­ready paid for the mem­ber­ship, so I should make use of it,” she said.

Sun Shang­long, a pri­vate trainer, said that women re­quire more of a push from their train­ers as com­pared to men when it comes to stick­ing to a train­ing plan. Sun, who runs a fit­ness stu­dio, noted that only 20 to 30 per­cent of his fe­male cus­tomers keep up their train­ing for one year or longer.

“Also, some sin­gle women ex­er­cise to make them­selves more at­trac­tive so that they can find a boyfriend,” added Sun.

A man­ager at fit­ness chain Tera Well­ness Club re­vealed that yoga and spin­ning classes are some of the most pop­u­lar pro­grams among women to­day. The man­ager noted that many women ex­er­cise be­cause they don’t want to ad­here to a con­stric­tive diet to stay in shape. He also added that those re­turn­ing from other coun­tries, where there is a stronger fit­ness cul­ture, have con­trib­uted to the cur­rent fit­ness craze.

Wang Qi­fan con­trib­uted to the story.

Women these days don't just want to stay slim — they're look­ing to get toned.

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