Jung blogs her way to stardom
Fitness trainer seeks to become ‘healthtainer’ through blogging, broadcasting
By Cho Jae-hyon
Jung Areum, a fitness trainer and power blogger, has posted two articles every day on her blog, without skipping a single day, for more than two years.
The blog means a lot for Jung ― it’s not an overstatement to say that it made her what she is today.
“I started my blog on Dec. 25, 2009. Since then I’ve posted two pieces daily without exception,” Jung said in an interview in a gym where she works as a master trainer in southern Seoul.
Jung, also a TV personality and golfer with a Miss Korea title, gets up at around 5 a.m. and spends two or three hours to upload writing and fitness video clips in which she shows viewers how to exercise.
In the clips mostly taken in her room, she showcases a variety of exercises viewers can follow in their houses as if receiving personal training.
“Everybody wants to keep in shape. But they don’t exercise for various reasons. Even if they decided to exercise, they don’t know how. I want to help them with my blog,” she said.
Her blog (http://narstyle.kr/) is one of the most popular blogs on the Naver portal, with the number of daily visitors hovering between 4,000 and 5,000. She says about 3,500 are regulars who visit her blog every day.
One of the two postings she uploads daily is about fitness programs, with the second one alternating between golf and other topics. She also occasionally posts essays which reveal her talent in writing.
'Miss Korea golfer'
Jung started learning golf when she was a first grader at high school on the recommendation of her aunt who was a member of the national golf team.
She entered the Department of Golf at Yongin University in Gyeonggi Province in 2000. However, she did not intend to become a tour player.
“University life was far from satisfactory. After finishing the first year, I needed a turning point. At that time, I weighed as much as 70 kilograms and I could hit the ball as far as my male classmates,” she said. “In the winter vacation before the start of the spring semester in 2001, I decided to diet and shed about 25 kilograms.”
Right after the diet, Jung ― picked by a beauty shop president in Gangnam, southern Seoul _ entered the 2001 Miss Korea beauty pageant. She won second place in the regional Seoul contest and garnered the Miss Elcanto crown in the final competition.
“Since then I became known as a Miss Korea golfer. I know people have some prejudice about Miss Korea that we rely on appearance without professional capability,” she said. “But I have tried my utmost to sharpen my competence and used the title as leverage to develop myself further. I think the title has been helpful for me.”
After she was crowned a Miss Korea, Jung studied English very hard in the belief that she should speak English as she would represent the country in international events. Now she has a good command of English, having no problem watching movies without Korean subtitles.
Jung sets specified targets and put them in practice one by one. “I don’t set grandiose long-term goals. Instead, I set short-term, segmented goals I will accomplish every year. And I’ve fulfilled them almost without exception so far,” she said.
She won a domestic Muscle Mania fitness contest in 2011 and bagged a ticket to compete in an international fitness competition in Los Angeles in the United States last November. Though she didn’t win an award, she gained valuable experience that motivated her to do more exercise.
Challenge goes on
Jung, 171 centimeters tall, looks perfectly in shape. But she set a goal to shed more than 10 kilograms to near 50 kilograms by the end of May. “Following the international fitness contest, I decided to make my body more fit. It’s like carving the muscles in your body. Slimmer but smaller muscles, that’s what I picture.”
She advised those on a diet to find programs that suit them best, look at the positive sides of their appearance, and develop their own charming points. “We don’t have to pursue stereotype standards of beauty. We should have our own standard.”
Jung seeks to become an “icon” for a “sportainer,” a compound word used here of sports and entertainer, helping promote people’s health. It’s a goal that propels her to be diligent and consistent in blogging. To that extent, Jung also appears in health and golf programs on cable channels.
For seven days a week, without a day off, she has updated her blog over the past two years. What made her so persistent? She cited: failures and golf.
“I went through hard times for more than five years in the middle of the 2000s. I fell victim to fraud in my early 20s after winning a Miss Korea title. The five years were blown off,” she recalled.
She said she thought a lot during the most painful period of her life.
“It was so hard ― especially the feeling that I was dumped by the world. During the hardship, the thought that occupied me was that I would make a comeback. And I made it a rule not to drink when I’m depressed,” she said. “I quit drinking for six years afterwards and I drink once or twice a year these days. I know I will become a loser if I waste a day. That’s why I try to live every day fully.”
Jung learns a lot from golf too.
“You know once you start a round of golf, you must go through 18 holes no matter how poorly you play. I do make terrible mistakes, but so what? I know I can hit a birdie on the next hole. That’s the attitude I learned from golf,” she said. “That’s why I recommend young people give it a shot.”