Now, you should know that I’m not a huge gym freak nor am I massively big and ripped. But I’ve asked around and experimented with gyms here in Tokyo and Kanagawa, as well as searched for the best protein powder and dieting methods. This is by no means a definite guide, but it should give you plenty of insight to be able to get your training on the right track.
I’ve split this into three sections; gyms, where to buy supplements, and cheap food for maximum gains.
Generally speaking, you have three options. Unless there is a fantastic local gym with the equipment you’re looking for (which is extremely unlikely as when Japanese people think “gym” most think of cardio machines so it attracts hundreds of old people), then your best bets are Gold’s Gym, Joyfit24, or Anytime Fitness.
Gold’s Gym is really good. They always have everything you need, provide protein shakes for after your workout, and have really helpful staff. The downside is that the locations in Tokyo could be a bit of a commute away. There’s several around Shibuya, but apart from that they are fairly spread out, and when combined with the high membership fees, you may want to reconsider. One thing that stood out here at Gold’s was that they had a separate area for deadlifts. Of course, you will be queuing for equipment depending on the time of day you go. Prices range from $US110 – $US200 per month.
In comparison, Joyfit24 and Anytime Fitness both have reasonable prices. They range from $US40 – $US100 per month and have just as many, if not more, locations. The equipment isn’t as good as Gold’s Gym as far as heavy weights go, and they generally have less to offer. That said, if you’re any good you can easily think of a good routine with no handicaps. However, I have had trouble trying to do supersets, and there’s generally that one guy that uses the smith machine to do a hundred sets of low weight chest press. Each location is different though, but so far I’ve gotten pretty lucky with Anytime Fitness and would recommend giving it a go.
Apart from that I’ve also heard recommendations for TipX, Central Fitness (for things like basketball courts and pools), and even the municipal gyms (for low cost). At the end of the day, you have to keep in mind what you want in a gym.
Where to buy supplements:
Never buy your supplements in stores or at Gold’s Gym. They are way overpriced and it’s basically highway robbery. Online all the way!
Now, I’ve heard from friends that they use Amazon, or even Yahoo shopping (huh, really?), to ship their creatine and goodies. But I’ve only ever used one and have had no problems whatsoever. Check out “iherb.com”. The prices are good and the delivery quick. You can find it all there. I generally go for the Optimum Nutrition products as they’re cheaper than what I got them for back in Australia.
Cheap food for maximum gains:
Most people reading this have already got themselves a routine and diet. Chicken and rice. Chicken is pretty cheap everywhere; look for your Seiyu, Tokyu, Coop, or local supermarket and you can get it for as cheap as $US4 a kilogram. One of my local supermarkets even sells Aussie beef for $US12 a kilogram! Rice needs no explanation.
For vegetables, try to avoid your big supermarkets like the ones above. Fruit and veg in Japan are expensive, so nothing bets the local grocery that sells all its products in season. Autumn and winter go for the spinach, which is cheaper than broccoli. Other cheap ones to always look out for include eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Carrots, potatoes, and everything else is pricey. I generally end up cooking ratatouille with chicken and rice. Calculate your macros and adjust – you should get by alright!
That concludes this post. Hope its been helpful! If you have any questions, know any other good gyms, or if I haven’t mentioned something you think is worth talking about, leave it in the comments!