I suspect the concept is slow to take off in China mainly because of cost. Basically, you have be rich here to afford Powerhouse.
This podcast (Quicktime ipod compatible, 12MB; Google streaming flash video) originates from Beijing, China where I visited Powerhouse Gym. We've been in China since Saturday night local time, almost 3 full days, and I had not been to the gym since Thursday in the states, 5 days. So, on our free day in Beijing, I made it a point to go to Powerhouse.
Troy, general manager of Gold's Gym in Ann Arbor had hinted to me that Gold's had a Chinese location, possibly in Beijing. Unfortunately, the only reference I could find for Gold's in China was about one going bankrupt in Shanghai. So, Powerhouse it was.
The video is short. I wanted to interview a manager, but the general manager was not available until afternoon. Frankly, I think videotaping the gym just blew the staff's mind. Things are different here. So, I wound up with just a short introductory piece where I give a brief show of the landscape and discuss where I think a place like Powerhouse fits into China. There are 9 locations, all in large cities. Tianjin, where we are headed, has three. Nine may sound like a lot, but Southeast Michigan has over 30 by itself. China has over 1300 times the population of Southeast Michigan.
I suspect the concept is slow to take off in China mainly because of cost. Basically, you have be rich here to afford Powerhouse. For less than the cost of a day pass at Powerhouse, I can take 6 people to dinner at a decent neighborhood restaurant. Further, I think the whole concept of the fitness lifestyle is foreign to people here. There's not a weight problem, and there's not a muscle aesthetic.
- Follow my travels in China here.