At the recent M Talk, hosted at M Glam on the Bund, the theme Wellness Uncovered saw entrepreneur and KOL speakers discuss the booming wellness and vegan industries in China.
One of the speakers was ‘Sporty Bitch’, the fitness and lifestyle blogger who has grown a loyal, avid readership of her brutally honest and highly informative perspectives on everything to do with getting fit and living well.
We took a moment to speak with Sporty Bitch about her success and where she sees the industries heading.
What first motivated you to begin blogging about sports and fitness, and how did it evolve?
I’m not just a fitness blogger, but more bring a lifestyle and an attitude to my readers. I started my own WeChat account after I was sick and tired of hearing mis-leading, 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.
Of the various types of your content, what do your followers love the most?
Well, my WeChat account is called SportyBitch. 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 well 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 poses, as they look at the faces or other body parts of some fitness influencers. They want more substance and someone who dares to say what everyone else is thinking – from a woman’s perspective.
You’ve been on WeChat for a while – 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 specialized 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 only exercise instructions, but 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 clique-y, i.e. they represent a particular type of person that sees people in society in a ‘us and them’ way; we think of ourselves are 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 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? How can a brand remain visible in such a growing, competitive industry?
Exercise is now definitely a fashion, and the ideals of body beauty are changing for a certain sector of society. Those people don’t only want to be the usual ‘thin and beautiful’, but they 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 hardcore sports such as boxing and triathlon are also growing very strongly. These aspects also relate to diet, as I see more such fitness fanatics switching to a vegetarian diet, or let’s say ‘lifestyle’. I myself have been a vegetarian for two years, so I am always keen to advocate this change to my followers, and anyone who will listen!