Get swole

Chinese women are joining gyms, drinking protein powder and buying Lululemon in droves

Women take part in a morning aerobics class in Shanghai. (REUTERS/Aly Song)

A Western-style fitness craze is sweeping across China, spurring millions of Chinese women to don Lululemon and Nike workout gear and spend some $5 billion on gym memberships this year. The new breed of gym rats are referred to as “crazy gym devils,” and are increasingly focused on building muscular legs and sculpting six-pack abs in a departure from traditional Chinese ideas of beauty, according to the Wall Street Journal. Fitness companies have seen sales of merchandise in the Chinese market soar: Adidas sales grew 18 percent this year to $2 billion, while Nike revenue was up 30 percent in its most recent quarter. The companies have opened women-only stores, hosted women’s race events, and are even marketing protein powder and supplements specifically to Chinese women.

“It used to be muscle tone is not what you wanted,” said Erick Haskell, managing director for greater China at Under Armour. “There’s a changing conversation of what it means to be a female athlete in China.”

Read the full story in the Wall Street Journal.

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