Not long ago, “going to the gym” was not very common among working Chinese — traditional gyms, which tended to be overcrowded and lacking in modern, functional equipment, were pretty much the only option for exercising in China. In recent years, however, “getting fit” has suddenly become popular, and many boutique fitness centers seem to have mushroomed in China overnight. There are many options now, including spin class, HIIT, yoga, boxing, and dancing. Today, many of us are motivated and encouraged by one another to embrace this new fitness craze.

What’s even more interesting is that “getting fit” is no longer just a topic, but rather an entire lifestyle. You can pick up on the change by gauging the conversations people have after coming back to work on Monday: instead of asking What did you do over the weekend?, people are asking Did you go to the gym? If you don’t do any kind of exercise, you might feel a little bit left out.

How popular has the fitness trend become in China? Apparently, it’s become popular enough to attract Michelle Obama’s spin instructor to come to China to teach.

Durell E Brown, known as “Edward” to members of the Gucycle spin club in Beijing and Shanghai, shared his experiences teaching America’s former First Lady, as well as his observations of China’s emerging fitness trends.

Previous episodes of the Wǒ Men podcast can be found here, and you can find Wǒ Men on iTunes here.

Have thoughts or feedback to share? Want to join the discussion? Write to Yajun and Jingjing at womenpodcast@outlook.com.

Soundcloud embed (if you’re in China, turn your VPN on):