“If I have to choose between homework and going to the gym, I prefer to train”

In a fitness center in Paris on February 3, 2020.

On his TikTok videos, Simon contorts himself to expose his muscles. Arms raised at right angles, elbows bent, in the cliché bodybuilder pose, his biceps bulging, veins bulging. His videos always carry the same hashtag, #15ans. It’s his age. Considering his musculature, we would give him five more. Simon has been practicing bodybuilding for four years.

He started at home “by body weight”without equipment, then in a park of street workout (“street bodybuilding”) – an activity halfway between gymnastics and bodybuilding, which is practiced in particular with outdoor apparatus –, before enrolling in a gym, six months ago. What he wants : “gain mass”.

This expression is heard in the mouths of more and more young people. And for good reason: with 43% of practitioners among 16-25 year olds, bodybuilding is the favorite sport of young French people, according to the UCPA-Crédoc 2022 barometer on sports leisure. This age group represents 40% of subscribers in the rooms of the Fitness Park group. A proportion that reaches 50% at Basic-Fit. And according to Fabien Rouget, business manager of the French branch of the Franco-Dutch group, requests for registration from young people under 18 are more and more numerous.

Tibo InShape and Juju Fitcats as models

Social networks undoubtedly have a role to play in this craze. Victoire and Matthieu, 17 and 18, do not hide their admiration for Tibo InShape and Juju Fitcats, the leading couple of fitness influence with millions of subscribers and views on YouTube.

“I watched Tibo InShape’s videos a lot when I started working out, he is motivating, he has boundless energy”remembers Matthew. “And when you see his physique, it makes you want to! » Victoire, his lover in the city and in the room, may secretly hope that they look like the two influencers: “They met through fitness, they share this passion, it’s inspiring. »

The young woman from Rueil-Malmaison (Hauts-de-Seine) had the idea to start bodybuilding precisely by seeing fitness videos on social networks. In addition to the behemoths with millions of followers, TikTok and Instagram are full of content from confirmed or apprentice bodybuilders who film themselves during their workouts in the gym or show their physical transformation over the months. On TikTok, the hashtags #muscu and #six-pack (“chocolate bars”) have accumulated 2.6 billion and 4.8 billion views respectively. Under these conditions, it is difficult to resist the call of melting.

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