- Why is there an application process? Any advice on maximizing my chances?
We are looking to create a supportive group that enhances the training experience of everyone involved (including the Chinese athletes). Therefore, when we open the application process we will accept applications until we have formed such a group and notify everyone at the end of the process. Due to the volume of applications and the fact that circumstances can change, we will create a waiting list. Please note the waiting list is purely due to the volume of applications and does not reflect negatively on you. The best thing you can do to maximize your chance is to answer fill out the application truthfully and sincerely. We also ask for your patience, especially if you are on the waiting list, since we have pulled from that list in prior years.
- I attended the camp in prior years, do I still have to apply? Am I guaranteed a spot?
We cannot guarantee spots to past participants or individuals who have hosted/attended any other Ma Strength events, but contact us if you have attended in the past.
- Will I meet my weightlifting idols?
In the past we have been able to coordinate appearances by current or past weightlifting champions. However, such events are fluid and depend on many factors so we cannot guarantee them. If your primary reason for this trip is to meet such lifters and/or take pictures, then we strongly encourage you to NOT apply for this camp.
- I have never been outside of my country. What is Chinese culture like?
Please see these links for snapshots of Chinese culture. It is very important that you internalize this information and be aware of Chinese customs in order to fully enjoy the camp. In a nutshell, Chinese society is hierarchical, collective, and values social stability/harmony, so situations can be fluid in order to preserve these elements. When in doubt, respect authority, go with the flow of things, and ask questions if you are unsure:
- Can I bring my spouse or significant other with me?
We strongly encourage you to bring your significant other AFTER the camp. The training, housing, meals, etc. are structured to meet the needs of camp participants and staff only. If you decide to bring your significant other during the camp, they must make their own accommodations. Additionally, you are expected to participate fully in camp training, meals, and activities as well as interact with fellow campers.
- How do I obtain a visa for this trip?
You will need an invitation and itinerary which we will provide once we have a group. Afterwards you can apply for a visa by:
- Booking with your local travel agent.
- Applying individually via the Chinese embassy or consulate directly. It will take about 5 business days for the process in the US.
You must have a non-expired passport to obtain a visa. Ideally you should have one prior to applying for the camp but if you do not have one, please be prepared to fast-track it so that you can apply for a visa ASAP. If you do not obtain a visa in a timely manner, you will forfeit your place in the camp without refund.
- Do I need a certain lifting ability to attend?
No. Regardless of your ability, you will learn techniques and exercises that you most likely do not employ in your own training. It will help if you have the mobility to perform a stable overhead squat and front squat and already train regularly. Training sessions are about 3hrs long and about 9 sessions per week, so the closer you are to this level of work the easier you will adapt. You will have access to recovery methods to aid your training.
- Do I need to stay the whole 2 weeks? Can I come earlier or stay longer?
No. If you need to shorten your stay, please note that in the application form. Based on your needs, the costs of the camp may change but we will give preference for individuals who can stay the entire trip. If you would like to lengthen your stay, you must do so on your own but note that you cannot train in the training halls once the camp is over. Additionally you cannot arrive earlier than the camp date to train.
- How much money should I bring with me?
The exchange rate between the US dollar and Chinese yuan is $1 = 6.5 yuan and buying power is greater as a result. The estimates for food and outings are based on this exchange rate and to account for the fact that you will spend most of your time training and that athletes eat more than non-athletes. However, this amount may change depending on exchange rates between now and the time of the camp. For up to date information on exchange rates, just perform the following search.
- What happens when I am not training?
For the most part, the emphasis during non-training time should be spent on recovery. So we will eat together and coordinate some group outings to popular tourist attractions based on interest and time.
- What should I bring with me?
You should bring your training gear, enough training clothes to last the trip, some non-lifting clothing for outings, walking shoes, and personal toiletries. It is hot and rainy during the summer in most of China so bring light clothing with you for non-training times and outings.
- Can I bring electronics?
Yes, but read this to make sure whether you need an adapter, converter, or both for your products.
- Can I bring supplements and/or medications?
Be careful when bringing supplements and check any customs laws to make sure they are allowed. Protein powder/bars, vitamins, minerals are fine. If you are taking any medications, please make sure to secure any prescriptions or notes you may need prior to your departure.
- Should I get vaccines before my trip?
Ask your doctor. The CDC has some helpful information that you can use to consult with your doctor prior to your trip as well as information on how to avoid bird flu.