Blockbuster film sparks fitness craze across China
Published: Feb 21, 2024 06:46 PM
A screenshot of the film <em>Yolo</em>

A screenshot of the film Yolo

The passionate and inspiring boxing story in the blockbuster movie Yolo has ignited fresh fervor for sports and fitness among the vast audience as a growing number of people have kicked off their journey of fat trimming and body sculpting.  

As the comedy grossed over 3 billion yuan ($4.17 million) by Tuesday according to data from China's movie ticketing platform Dengta, actress Jia Ling's commitment to shedding 50 kilograms for portraying a boxer and the intense physical training scenes in the film not only provided viewers with an audiovisual feast but also deeply resonate with the public's aspirations for fitness.

During the Spring Festival holidays in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, the number of members exercising at the gym increased by 17 percent compared to the same period in 2021 and 2022. The average daily attendance to the gym during the Spring Festival (from February 1 to 17) has skyrocketed by 60 percent, according to the data from Lefit, a Hangzhou-based fitness start-up gym operator.

In terms of age demographics, individuals aged 21 to 30 accounted for 45.3 percent of those exercising during the Spring Festival. Interestingly, the age group with the largest increase in participation was 41 to 50 years old, Lefit reported. 

The film Yolo did spark a craze for fitness among the public and a larger number of people have inquired about courses to achieve a slimmer figure after the Spring Festival compared to the same period last year, Huo Tianyou, an instructor with the Guoao Xindongli Martial Arts and Boxing Club, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

"The majority of people interested in the courses are middle-aged. Possibly, they've been inspired by the actress' effort or they have placed a renewed emphasis on their physical health," Huo said. 

Since Yolo premiered on February 10, searches related to "boxing" have surged by 388.4 percent compared to the same period last year. The group purchase sales of boxing classes in Tianjin, Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing have increased by 292.59 percent, 164.3 percent, 149.86 percent, and 89.71 percent respectively, compared to the same period last year, according to the statistics by Meituan, China's online retail platform.

Keywords such as "adult boxing," "boxing experience class," "boxing monthly pass," and "female boxing" have all seen search volumes increase by over ten times compared to the same period last year, according to Meituan. 

Sun Xiaolei, a fitness instructor at a gym in Beijing, told the Global Times that in addition to the traditional celebrations around the dining table during the Spring Festival holidays, more residents are celebrating the New Year through fitness activities.

"My sessions have been fully booked since the gym reopened after the holiday. Comparing to fitness training, more people are interested in boxing and martial arts thanks to the hit film," Sun said

"I would remind people of not blindly following the craze. Weight loss and shaping cannot be accomplished in one day. For the average person, sudden high-intensity training is not recommended. We need to trim it one gram at a time," Sun noted. 

After watching the film, Zhang Xiaochuan, a 40-year-old Beijing resident, told the Global Times that the story of the actress is quite motivational and inspired him to get into better shape. 

"It doesn't matter how much weight you can shed. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude is more important," Zhang said.