Yeon Woo Jhi

Yeon Woo Jhi is a South Korean bodybuilder and IFBB physique pro. Yeon was born in 1984 in Seoul. She began competing in 2010 and has made quite the impression. She won her first competition the Korea YMCA. Her other wins include the Muscle Beach International Classic (2011) and the Arnold Classic Europe Physique (2013). The year 2013 was her true athletic break out competition. She presented a powerful and symmetrical physique that made fans and judges take notice. It is clear that she is going to be a force in the physique category. The excellent part of Yeon coming to a level of prominence in the bodybuilding sports is that it highlights the international nature of competition. It also opens the door for South Koreans who want to compete internationally under the IFBB. Thanks to the internet and the copious amount of videos of her, she has gained mainstream exposure. Yeon has appeared on various South Korean television programs. The TV viewing audiences and internet users became intrigued by the woman with a model face and massive muscles.It has in a way broken a small barrier on the public’s attitude in regards to women and muscle in Korea. img_13631323109589 Yeon  is actually the first Asian bodybuilder to compete in the IFBB. This is a positive development, because it can inspire others to get involved from Asia. Yeon has been working out for ten years to build her body. Her reason for working out was to deal with depression and a panic disorder. Before she stated on The Star King  show, that “she was very skinny and had little stamina.” Yeon said that reactions to her body differ. Foreigners may consider her body attractive, but are shocked that someone like her exists. There could be some prejudice related to certain perceptions. Asian women are viewed as either weak or submissive in the Western mind, but this does not represent reality. Yeon has in her own way challenged some racist stereotypes. There are also some Koreans who believe she is excessive, but have a more traditional view of women in general. The studio audience seemed positive mostly. When Yeon started out she was only 48 kg . Now she is a much bigger 65 kg standing at 5’7. Yeon’s  offseason weight is 71 kg (157 pounds). Yeon was able to overcome her anxiety disorders through working out. She enjoys her new found strength. Yeon said on her appearance on Star King that it used to be difficult to carry groceries.  Not anymore she proclaimed to the audience. Her muscles are not just for show. Ten years of training she has gained immense strength and loves to demonstrate it. 1093866_325162950952985_142239438_o

1074099_325162917619655_302045305_o1077063_325162870952993_206377309_o Yeon has like other strength sport athletes appeared on Herbiceps.com , which features athletes doing posing videos and strength feats. Yeon has arm wrestled and beaten many men in their video challenges. Her latest TV appearance she took one of the hosts and lifted them up. When he attempted to do the same he ended up falling down. Yeon continues to appear on stage. Her recent competitions were the IFBB Vancouver Pro show (2015) and the Women’s Physique International (2016). She came in 4th in 2015 and 11th in her recent competition. These are minor setbacks, because it is clear that she will be competing for quite a while. Yeon also joined APS Nutrition. This is a positive development getting sponsorship from a company. APS made a great decision making her a representative.

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Yeon made a statement during the APS announcement through a translator. She said “I try myself to live without regrets.”  She explained further that ” from my perspective, to not have regrets is to become one of the most beautiful and memorable bodybuilders ever.”Yeon  also said ” as a woman, I want to live as happily as a passionate and lovely person.” Yeon basically means that just because she is a strong woman, it does not make her less feminine. The great part of her rise is that it gives the physique division credibility. Many observers claimed it was too similar to figure or was a way to abolish the hardcore bodybuilding division. The difference can be demonstrated in Yeon’s physique.

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13596131_121e853a4fdc821d20d018  At first Yeon competed in the bodybuilding category. She appeared to be more like a lightweight bodybuilder. Her transition marked a change in her body which represents the model physique should follow. It still is a more muscular physique, but not sleek with some development of fitness competitors. Both the upper and lower body she presents are balanced. The body she presented in her bodybuilding category her upper body was more pronounced. The physique she has shown from 2013 onward gives fans an idea of what physique competitors will look like. This category is still evolving, so athletes have to be experimental in their physique development. The physique category as Yeon has shown works well for women in the mid-range of muscular development. They are too big for the fitness or figure  category, but not large enough for the top female bodybuilders. Yeon improved upon her legs allowing for a more balanced upper body. This balance she struck is what earned her a pro-card. It is a major shock that she did not at least place in the top five in her latest contests. Judging has always been inconsistent in the IFBB.

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This normally frustrates competitors, but Yeon just enjoys the fun of competing. Although the IFBB does not promote women or value their participation as much, fans appreciate exceptional athletes such as these. This support can be seen across social media. Yeon Woo Jhi’s facebook page has a total 29,223 likes and 25,648 people talking about it on the world’s most popular social media site. Video clips of her competitions have become viral in Korea and around the internet. For being involved in the sport only six years, she has come a long way. She is a great member to the IFBB family. Yeon has a bright future ahead of her as a professional competitor. Certainly as the years go on she will be a formidable physique competitor.

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Yeon Woo Jhi

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