As promised in our introductory post to fitness in Shenyang, here comes an interview with Canadian born Shenyang resident Jennifer Perras, who is Creative Director at Bally Total Fitness here in Shenyang. Jennifer was nice enough to share with us her views on fitness in general and ways of keeping in shape in Shenyang in particular. But read for yourselves…
Julie: Hi Jennifer, could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Jennifer: I am a wife and the proud mother of two young children. My husband and I left Canada in 2007 to begin our expat life in Shanghai. Almost a decade later we are still in China and loving it! I am a health and fitness professional and nutritionist with nearly 18 years experience. I have been very fortunate to share my passion in many cities and countries around the world. As the new Creative Director of Fitness at Bally Total Fitness in Shenyang my mission is to help shape and cultivate the growth of fitness through education and skills development.
Julie: How do you see the status of the fitness world in China in general and in Shenyang in particular?
Jennifer: Over the last decade in China I have seen tremendous growth in the Fitness Industry. When I first arrived back in 2007 Chinese people were not interested in working out. At least not in the same way North Americans or Europeans do. Back then I could barely get anyone to break a sweat! By comparison, the western idealism of how one should exercise and basic lifestyle practices were very different. The good news is that is changing and it is changing fast! The health and fitness industry is booming in China. Big brand names like Nike, Adidas, Lululemon, Under Armour are all coming to town. And along with that many gyms are popping up!
Julie: Where do you see the future of Fitness in China/Shenyang?
Jennifer: The future of fitness in China including Shenyang is NOW! More than ever we are seeing positive trends in anything related to fitness. As growing middle-class consumers flock to purchase active wear, participate in group fitness classes and hire personal trainers, it looks like healthy eating is set to be the next big growth area.
Julie: What kind of offers do you have at Bally’s, what makes you different from other fitness clubs?
Jennifer: We have 4 locations across Shenyang and we offer a multitude of different programs and classes. Including, one-to-one personal training, Small Group Personal Training, Pilates, Yoga, Dance, Power Tone and many more great classes. We host a weekly running club, swimming club, badminton club, basketball club and cycling club. These clubs are open to all members! Come and check out our full-length lap swimming pools.
Julie: Many expats feel that working out outside here is difficult because of pollution etc., – What kind of tips do you have for them?
Jennifer: Pollution is a big concern for many foreigners and locals alike when it comes to outdoor sport and activities. Here are some tips:
- Before engaging in outdoor exercise check the pollution level (app).
- Time your workouts carefully. Avoid outdoor physical activity when an air quality alert has been issued.
- Enjoy outdoor exercise in green spaces and parks and not on the city streets. Do you best to avoid high pollution areas.
- People with asthma, diabetes, heart or lung conditions or lower respiratory disease are at special risk and should take care not to exercise outdoors on heavy pollution days. Always best to check with your doctor.
- But most importantly don’t give up on exercise entirely, instead focus on ways to minimize your exposure to air pollution. Vary your routine with occasional indoor activities especially on high pollution days. Take a fitness class and check out a local gym.
Julie: What is your passion-what excites you most about keeping fit?
Jennifer: My passion truly lies in being a mentor and an educator. I absolutely love what I do and I want to share it with everyone. If I can inspire someone or motivate someone to make a change then I am happy. For me personally, I love the feeling of being fit and the confidence that comes with it.
Julie: How difficult is it leading a fit and healthy life here in China and in Shenyang in particular compared to some Western countries like Canada?
Jennifer: Living a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise is about attitude, habits and personal choices. We all can make a conscious effort to eat more healthily, to make the time for exercise, and to find more balance in our daily lives. No mater which country you live in you can choose to have a good attitude and develop good habits. In my experience, it is not difficult to find balance in Shenyang. The people of Shenyang are very sporty and active and the city development compliments an active lifestyle. You just need to open your door and head outside. There are many areas in the city for biking, walking, running and playing sports. And for those who wish to exercise indoors there are many health clubs available.
Find me at Bally’s!
For me personally, who has known Jennifer for quite some time and has had the pleasure of attending several of her inspiring and motivating classes, it was a rare treat to meet her and “talk shop”. Getting to know her personal take on the fitness industry in China in general and Shenyang in particular was super-interesting and gave me a new boost to do something for my body and work out more regularly.
This opportunity will also come to Landing East’s Yuqinfu tenants next Friday (November 18th), when Bally hosts a super-special VIP event with Jennifer as a trainer that is reserved exclusively to our tenants. Aren’t they lucky?
For those of you not fortunate enough to belong to that elite group, make sure to connect with Jennifer through us for information about classes and training opportunities.
And, as always, don’t forget to share this post with friends and family, follow us on all our social media platforms (WeChat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and our blog) and – keep fit!
Written by Julie Marx