Chinese fitness and lifestyle blogger “Sporty Bitch”, who has been a vegetarian for the past two years, has gained a strong following on the mainland thanks to her sharp, honest insights – a tone, she says, is “just like my personality in real life”.
She was one of the entrepreneurs and key opinion leaders (KOL) discussing China’s booming wellness and vegan industries at this summer’s “Wellness Uncovered” M Talk held at M Glam on the Bund in Shanghai.
We spoke to Sporty Bitch to ask her about her successful blog, which has attracted a large and loyal following, and what she thinks the future holds for the industries.
What motivated you to start blogging about sports and fitness?
I’m not just a fitness blogger, but more [importantly I] bring a [sense of] lifestyle and an attitude to my readers.
I started my own WeChat [social media messaging app] account after I was sick and tired of hearing misleading, unrealistic fitness methods being promoted.
It’s impossible to lose huge amounts of weight in a limited number of days, or slim down as you wish.
I wanted to bring a real, first-person account of the challenges of losing weight, keeping fit and eating well and tell the absolute truth about what I found.
What content do your followers love the most?
Well, my WeChat account is called Sporty Bitch. So the tone is sharp, honest – and just like my personality in real life.
Having worked in the media for 10 years I was already experienced in writing and presentation, and my followers prefer the posts when I am at my most sarcastic and brutal.
They are also bored of just looking at [pictures of people’s] poses, as they look at the faces or other body parts of some fitness influencers.
They want more substance – someone who dares to say what everyone else is thinking – from a woman’s perspective.
You’ve been on WeChat for a while, but how do you publish content on other platforms?
I do use Weibo for general aspects as it’s a simple place to post a variety of photos and updates. Despite many new apps now being popular, WeChat is still my main platform from which to speak to my followers.
Fitness KOLs or bloggers will also use Keep, because it’s a specialised fitness app.
At first, many people joined Keep simply because it was new and they wanted to share their own fitness progress – as well as look at the photos of others.
Now, it is more specifically used by fitness enthusiasts who really want content that goes beyond just exercise instructions, and offers something about gym life and trying to eat and live clean.
How can a brand best leverage such platforms?
For one thing, our fitness community has many particular hashtags relating to fitness these days, which are very cliquey.
They represent a particular type of person that sees people in society in a ‘us and them’ way; we think of ourselves as the smart, intelligent and healthy community, of which outsiders – those who do not go to the gym and keep fit – are not part and do not understand.
The fit ‘look’ is one thing, but something more meaningful – something about the reality of gym life and trying to stay healthy within a busy urban life – are the kinds of topics that really catch the interest of our community.
The fitness industry in China is booming – how do you see it developing?
Exercise is now definitely a fashion, and the ideals of body beauty are changing for a certain sector of society.
Those people not only want to be the usual ‘thin and beautiful’, but they also crave firm abs, a peachy butt and various body parts which have special terms in Chinese – such as the A4 waist, which means that an A4 piece of paper covers your waist width.
More hard core sports such as boxing and triathlon are also growing very strongly [in China]. These aspects also relate to diet, as I see more fitness fanatics switching to a vegetarian diet, or let’s say ‘lifestyle’.
I have been a vegetarian for two years, so I am always keen to advocate this change to my followers, and anyone who will listen!
This article originally appeared on The Luxury Conversation.