Good morning!

It’s 민지[Minji] from 유행[Yuhaeng], here again to deliver you news about Korean hipsters. Whew… Sorry, my bad. Just out of breath from a run! Of course, I must endure the pain because ‘run for 30 minutes every morning’ is my New Year’s resolution. I actually went on a quick (but intense) run right before sending you this letter. And you know what? I’ve completed a run every single day without fail since the start of this year.


If you want to know how I’ve managed to go on daily runs, here’s my secret: putting money into it!🤑 I made a shared bank account with a group of five friends who share the same goal of exercising, and we each deposited some money. We then promised each other that this deposit would only be returned to those of us who share a photo containing evidence that we really did exercise, every single day for 1 month. If I fail? The money I deposited will be divided among those of us who achieve this goal. (In other words, bye-bye, money )

Ⓒ Unsplash

Why go to such lengths? Well, because it’s fun! If I’m already going to exercise every day, why not inject some fun into it? The COVID-19 era really changed the landscape of exercise worldwide. Rather than for the sake of dieting or a good body, more people have begun to regard exercise as just another facet of daily life. In Korea, this change manifests in the trendy new abbreviation ‘오운완[oh-woon-wan](done with today’s workout).’ The previously niche group of people for whom fulfilling a daily exercise routine is as natural as checking ‘today’s weather’ or worrying over ‘today’s lunch’ has grown considerably.🏋️

Just like how I essentially bet money in order to be able to say ‘오운완’(done with today’s workout) , Korean hipsters have been coming up with a variety of fun and creative ways to enjoy exercise. While we’re on the topic, let me introduce you to a couple methods K-hipsters use to turn exercise into a hobby rather than a chore!

Starting with bodyweight training at home

Did you know Koreans prefer to workout at home? Other than the fact that it’s free, you can start right away (your resolve has no time to waver)! Koreans call exercising at home ‘홈 트레이닝[hom teu-re-i-ning](home training)’ which they then often shorten to ‘홈트[hom-teu].’ To see an example of what this might look like, head over to these 2 popular YouTube channels: 1) ‘땅끄부부(Thankyou BUBU),’ which uploads hom-teu videos even beginners won’t have trouble following along 2) ‘힙으뜸(HIPEUDDEUM),’ the channel run by pilates instructor Shim Euddeum, who has become the topic of conversation following her appearance on the Netflix original <Physical: 100>. Although Thankyou BUBU no longer maintain an active posting schedule, they remain influential enough that they are still often the first channel many beginners find as they foray into the world of home training.

Recently, ‘빅씨스[Bik-ssi-seu](BIGSIS),’ who amassed 590k subscribers at the time this letter was written, has emerged as the latest trendy hom-teu YouTuber. Her channel often introduces bodyweight exercises that are the appropriate level of intensity for beginners to keep up with. And, as many commenters attest to on her videos, the lively BGM and sheer visual beauty of her content ensure exercising will never feel tedious.

But true hipsters don’t stop at bodyweight training! In Korea, you’ll find hipsters enjoying hom-teu by actively making use of today’s digital world. Just browse YouTube or Instagram and you’ll find no shortage of reviews on exercise-related applications like the ‘Nintendo Switch Ring Fit Adventure(hereafter referred to as Ring Fit).’ And because Ring Fit is technically a game, many see themselves easily powering through even the most boring and repetitive exercises.

Exercise alone, exercise together

Regardless of what kind of workout you enjoy, there is one crucial thing all exercise aficionados in the K-hipster community have in common: everyone enjoys exercise that’s done ‘individually yet together.’ Just look to social media – it won’t be difficult to find posts recruiting members to join an exercise crew. As they say, all awkward feelings will quickly wash away along with the sweat generated from exercising. Oh, remember the group of friends I made that exercise pact with? I met these people for the first time through a social networking app called ‘챌린저스(Challengers).’ Returning your deposit and prize money on the condition that you attain your goals, too, is one of the services this app provides. We’re not exactly exercising together in the sense that we meet up in person, but the very fact that I know I’m part of a group exercising with the intention of fulfilling the same fitness goals makes working out twice as fun.

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It can also be a good idea to track your progress on social media with hashtags like #running, #hiking, and #cycling. Rooting for each other is always a surefire way to accumulate a sense of accomplishment and motivation. I actually tried this out today on Instagram, posting a photo proving that I exercised after I completed this morning’s workout. Of course accompanied by the hashtag #오운완(done with today’s workout).

Commemorating your stronger body with a photo 📸

If you encounter a K-hipster who humbly mentions, ‘Yep, I guess I do work out a little!’ you’ll find them mulling over ‘this thing’ ten out of ten times. Why, naturally ‘this thing’ is none other than the body profile shot (hereafter referred to as ‘body profile’). Body profiles visually document how far you’ve come in building a healthy and balanced body. Exercise being a given, body profiles present the ultimate challenge – to build muscles defined enough to be captured on camera. To reach this objective, exercisers must carefully regulate their diet, even to the point of monitoring their fluid intake. A goal not many people outside of health trainers and models pursued, the body profile is now gaining traction among non-professionals.

If you’re curious about this trend, try searching #바프[ba-fu](body profile) on Instagram! You’ll be met with rows of Korean hipsters proudly showing off the results of their dedicated efforts – healthy bodies accomplished through tenacity and willpower. In fact, body profiles have become so popular that these days, you’ll even see celebrities pouring in their own time and money to partake in the trend. Uee is one such celebrity who shared her body profile on Instagram. And get this: it was revealed that by partaking in this challenge, she lost as much as 8% of her body fat(!).

But even this trend is not without its pitfalls. As body profiles continue to gain popularity, it’s important to note that there have been cases in which participants unfortunately suffered, whether through excessive dieting or by experiencing the negative aftereffects of overtraining. Some develop joint problems; others find themselves more prone to binge eating and yo-yo dieting after the conclusion of their hard-won photo shoot. After all, anything in excess is bound to create problems. That’s not to say that we should discount the positive stories. There are also plenty of people who’ve gained faith in themselves and built their self-esteem through their successes. What do you think? Leave us your thoughts about Korea’s body profile fever by clicking the button below!

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🖍️ Today’s 유행[yu-haeng]!

Summarized in three sentences

K-hipsters, they’re really serious about sports, aren’t they? Enjoying sports in many different ways, they photograph their progress using #오운완 always – it’s undeniable that #바프 has become a hot craze. But anything in excess is not okay, so let’s make sure to exercise with a healthy mindset today!

In ‘Honey tip Korea!’ we’ll let you in on some useful tips to know when traveling or living in Korea. These include tidbits on commonly used expressions, cultural contexts, and other information locals naturally reference as they go through their lives. All the sweet information you need to know, delivered directly from local Koreans to you!

Looking for videos geared towards gym novices?

Not long ago, the YouTube algorithm gifted me with a video of model Han Hye Jin’s gym routine. It’s definitely a blessing for those of us who find it hard to navigate all those gym machines, and as a result, have no choice but to be confined to the treadmill. If learning Korea’s top model’s gym routine isn’t a honey tip, I don’t know what is! If you’ve already started exercising at the gym rather than at home, why not follow along with model Han Hye Jin?

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