Being dubbed as the “Asian Arnold”, Chul Soon is a Korean bodybuilder who’s famous for his incredible physique; featuring “chiseled” 8-pack abs and an “old-school”, classic physique look.
Since he first started competing in 2009, Chul has become a sensation in his homeland and beyond; winning numerous bodybuilding contests throughout the U.S. and Korea, as well as appearing in commercials and TV shows.
However, Chul’s life wasn’t always glamorous and successful. As a youngster, he was often disrespected for his undernourished looks. Ironically, this is what made him turn to the weight room, and begin his journey towards success.
This is Chul’s story:
Full Name: Chul Soon Hwang Weight Height Age Date of Birth 215 - 225lbs (93.0 - 102.1kg) 5'10" (177.5cm) 39 September 1, 1983 Nationality Profession Era Korean Bodybuilder, Celebrity Personal Trainer, Fitness Model 2010 Weight 215 - 225lbs (93.0 - 102.1kg) Height 5'10" (177.5cm) Age 39 Date of Birth September 1, 1983 Nationality Korean Profession Bodybuilder, Celebrity Personal Trainer, Fitness Model Era 2010
- 2016 Musclemania Universe at Fitness Universe, Professional Medium, 1st place – Overall Champion
- 2015 Musclemania Universe at Fitness Universe, Professional Medium, 1st place – Overall Champion
- 2015 Musclemania World at Fitness America Weekend, Professional Medium, 2nd place
- 2014 Musclemania Universe at Fitness Universe, Professional Medium, 1st place
- 2013 Musclemania World at Fitness America Weekend, Professional Medium, 2nd place
- 2012 Musclemania World at Fitness America Weekend, Professional Heavyweight, 1st place – Overall Champion
- 2011 Musclemania World at Fitness America Weekend, Professional Heavyweight, 4th place
- 2010 Musclemania World at Fitness America Weekend, Lightweight, World Champion (Pro Card)
- 2010 Model Universe at Fitness Universe, 3rd place
- Musclemania Universe at Fitness Universe, Lightweight, 4th place
- 2010 Musclemania Universe Korea, Sports Model, 1st place
- 2009 Fitness Korea, Sports Model, 3rd place
- 2009 Musclemania World at Fitness America Weekend, Lightweight, 2nd place
Motivation for Starting the Fitness Journey
Chul’s training life and desire for lifting weights started “emerging” when he was 20. His reason for beginning this journey was simple – he wanted to gain respect from people around him, and transform his “scrawny” body into something admirable.
When talking about why he started getting into fitness Chul said; “When I turned 20 I had a very thin body and weighed only 57kg (125lb). I was treated with disrespect. People looked down at me in situations like if I was returning goods to a store, or helping someone or speaking to strangers.”
When he first started training, Chul would do 3000 crunches a day, almost on a daily basis. His training sessions would sometimes last more than two or three hours. However, he later realized that this type of training wasn’t the most efficient for building muscle; instead, he started following a structured workout program, and began focusing on his diet.
After he changed his approach, Chul began noticing tremendous progress on his physique. Three years later, he could no longer recognize himself – his physique was massive, proportionate, and “shredded”.
Career in Fitness
With several years of weightlifting experience under his belt, Chul started working as a personal trainer in one of the gyms in Seoul, South Korea. Later, in 2009, he took his career in fitness one step further by starting to compete in bodybuilding shows.
In his debut contest, the 2009 Musclemania World Championships, Chul finished in an impressive 2nd place (light-weight category).
From that point on, he started competing on a regular basis, bringing more size and better conditioning each year – by the end of 2010, he’d sculpted such an impressive physique that he won the 2010 Musclemania World at Fitness America Weekend contest; earning his Pro Card along with the title.
Since then, Chul has shown no signs of slowing down – he’s become a celebrity fitness trainer, and has appeared in numerous Korean and American commercials, TV shows, and magazines.
“Now that I am much bigger, people treat me with more respect. They call me the ‘Asian Sensation’, ‘Asian Pride’ and the ‘Asian Arnold’.”
Chul had to spend years in the gym, using trial and error as his guide, to build his “classic, old-school” looking physique.
He mainly focused on compound movements that work multiple muscle groups, such as bench press, squat, pull-ups, and deadlifts. Chul believes that just these four exercises can be enough to build an impressive physique that resembles those of Golden Era.
However, he still adds some isolation movements to his workouts; they help him shape the muscle, and even out any strength or size imbalances he might have. Some of these movements include cable flys, rear delt dumbbell flys, and wide-grip lat pulldowns.
Chul follows a strict diet based on high protein, moderate carbs, and moderate fat intake. Most of his carbs are consumed in the morning and after a workout, whilst his protein and fats are taken throughout the day, especially in the evening before bed.
Some of the more common foods and drinks he consumes are bananas, chicken, brown rice, whey protein shakes, and avocados.
Chul eats a meal every three hours, each meal weighing around half a pound.
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Idols and Influences
Looking at his physique, it’s easy to see that some of Chul’s main idols in bodybuilding are Arnold Schwarzenegger and the other Golden Era greats.
The v-taper, huge arms and shoulders, thick calves and legs, and chiseled abs are the staple of Chul’s hard work in the gym, and representation of his goals in fitness.
With his performances on the stage, Chul hopes to show that bodybuilding isn’t always about just getting as big as possible, but also, looking symmetrical.
However, this doesn’t mean that he underestimates the hard work of today’s contemporary bodybuilders, but for him, the ultimate physique is the “classic” one.
What we can learn from Chul Soon
Chul Soon began his bodybuilding journey as a “skinny kid” who was disrespected by people around him – however, with a lot of time and sacrifice, he’s proven his “haters” wrong, and has become a bodybuilder “to the stars”.
If someone ever underestimates your potential, or says something negative, just remember Chul’s story, and how he used every negativity that was thrown at him as a “fuel” to accomplish his ambitions. By following his example, you can overcome any obstacle, and become successful in life.