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Im Jeong Yun Looks Back On His "Physical 100" Experience

The bodybuilder and model talks about the Netflix survival show that instantly turned him into a fitness celebrity

Netflix's "Physical 100" participant Im Jeong Yun at the ASICS Women Retreat in Khao Yai, Thailand
Netflix's "Physical 100" participant Im Jeong Yun at the ASICS Women Retreat in Khao Yai, Thailand | Photo by Grace Libero-Cruz

It's been months since Physical 100 was released, and yet its participants can still feel the ripples from the waves of attention they received in the 9-episode Netflix survival show and reality competition. Case in point: One of the contestants, Im Jeong Yun (bodybuilder, model, and Adapted Physical Education graduate at the Korea National Sports University), was invited as a special guest at an ASICS Women Retreat we attended in Khao Yai, Thailand, where many fitness enthusiast fans of the show quickly recognized and welcomed him with so much warmth. 

With his looks and physique, it's not surprising he's popular with female followers, a post-Physical 100 effect he talked about on his fellow contestant Shim Eu Ddeum's YouTube channel. He said, “Most of my followers on Instagram are men. After Physical 100, more women started to follow me. They also sent me a lot of DMs. But there were a lot of people that asked for marriage.”

Im Jeong Yun may not have won the competition, as he and his teammates were eliminated after the Moving Sand challenge. But, he did make a good impression when he won against champion arm wrestler and "strongest man in Korea" Ha Je Yong at the Death Match challenge.

Regardless, Im Jeong Yun's fanbase would likely increase further with his latest feat. Last August 28, he was named Mister Global Korea 2023 at the Mister International Korea 2023 national competition. Prior to that, he also participated in the 2023 Amateur Classic Seoul - Mr. Sports Model Amateur Grand Prix

As a way of putting his newfound popularity and influence to good use, Im Jeong Yun traveled to Thailand to lead a dance workout (he made it so easy to dance to Jungkook's "Seven," thanks to his simplified steps) and a strength core session. Despite language barriers at Japanese sportswear and footwear brand ASICS' regional event, he and the retreat attendees connected with the language of fitness. With every lunge and stretch, he inspired many women to stay fit and keep moving. 

A quick chat with Netflix's Physical 100 participant Im Jeong Yun during the ASICS Women Retreat:  

What did you find most challenging in the show?

"The hardest thing was that everyone had a strong desire to win, and I controlled my mind so that I wouldn't give up endlessly."

What quest were you surprised to have survived?

"Of course, it's the second 1:1 ball-taking mission. I never thought I'd win when I missed the ball."

What exactly did it feel like to be surrounded by and be against that many athletes or sports fans in the show?

"It was literally overwhelming. It was really burdensome because everyone around me was so amazing. But I didn't give up."

What was your most important takeaway from the show?

"The most important thing was not to let myself be disappointed in me."

Did you make certain adjustments in your workout routine after the show, after having tested your capabilities in a unique field or platform like that?

"Even after finishing a big event, my exercise purpose itself was to build a fitness competition or fitness model body, so I didn't change my exercise routine."

So, what is your workout routine these days?

"I usually workout for an hour of strength training and an hour of treadmill every day. And during the competition season, I workout for about two and a half hours and three hours of treadmill exercise every day."

ASICS' 2022 State of Mind Index uncovered a gender exercise gap with women exercising significantly less than men. What are your thoughts on that discovery, and what can you advise women about working out?

"Women and men are genetically different. That's why men are easily interested in exercise or physical activity. Therefore, it will be important for women to find an exercise that is fun for individuals without forcing them to exercise. The most important thing about exercise is interest."

Lead photos by Grace Libero-Cruz and from Mister International Korea via @imjeongfit