Friday, July 19, 2013

My Japanese Gym, Part II

The shoes, courtesy of ABC Mart.

I've been really enjoying being back at the gym, and working out on a regular basis. It's been merely three weeks since my return, but already I'm hooked- as the gym does that to me, I get slightly addicted (in a good way, of course). Exercising clears up my head, gives me fresh ideas and helps me manage stress, but it also justifies eating cakes and drinking lattes, as I consider this part of my job. No kidding.

I met a personal trainer, which is included in the exorbitant monthly cost, and it went smoothly. I was expecting him to be uncomfortable with a French Canadian girl who speaks a tween-level of Japanese, but he was professional and really funny. He gave me a customized exercise routine according to my goals and areas to improve, and introduced me to those intimidating pieces of equipment usually populated with grunting men. Apparently burning fat is best achieved with weights, in addition to cardio. Nothing in the routine was strange or unusual, except perhaps the part where he asked me to step on a tennis ball for thirty seconds each foot, supposedly for posture. Anyone?

I want to say that my whole Japanese gym experience so far is 'normal', but only to a certain extent. Daytime gym sessions have presented an array of doubtful exercise attire, ranging from ballerina skirts to full-on eighties Olivia Newton-John spandex, lime green hot pants on an elderly man and all-yellow track suit. Some women even come to the gym with a full face of makeup and faux eyelashes, sporting clubbing tops and jean shorts. I'm surprised there's no rules against workout attire, as some would benefit from it.

Yet for the most part, most gym-goers are dressed in plain shorts and good old tee-shirts, which is a relief to see. Aside from a few random stretches involving flapping arms and legs about, I haven't seen anything weird, and some grannies have been chatting me up (mostly about the weather), which I thought was lovely and made me feel happy.

Knowing that I have to meet up with the trainer again next week is motivating me to be consistent with my gym sessions, as he'll be checking up on my progress. I love being able to take a long soak after the gym and the clean, modern sauna, a far cry from the one I had to use in my Korean gym. All in all, I highly recommend joining a gym in Japan, even though they can be rather expensive (some community ones are cheap, but to me, location is the priority, otherwise I don't go). I think health is not something people should skimp on, and it helps staying sane while living abroad. Unless you have wide open spaces nearby to run or have some sports league you can join, which is ideal. I wish I had joined before.

MUST WATCH! If only for the fat-slapping machine and crotch shots.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Re-using photos, yeah. My most sporty look.


Nat AndMatt said...

I've never dared go to the gym ever. I'm not the exercise type and I imagine it full of jocks who will being taking the mick out of me for my pathetic performance. So I just stick to riding my bike up the mountain.

Nina said...

I enjoy exercising when I do it consistently but I'm not too fond of gyms..I rather exercise outside like go hiking or something but sadly you can't that everywhere. But I still think gyms are my last choice, I would prefer the comfort of my home. I probably wouldn't mind gyms if they weren't so pricey. But I am glad you really enjoy your experience, I might consider going to a gym abroad once I have a job :]

KaBi said...

I really live reading your blog! It gives me a sense of nostalgia for my adventures in Japan. Though I hope that one day, when my family ships out there for good, I can have all the wonderful adventures you have! Until then though, I will continue reading your blog so I can live vicariously through you :P

Vivian said...

Nat And Matt: Gyms in Japan are not like back home, a lot less jocks here. I mean there's those athletic types that come fully clad in Spandex, but no one would look at you like they would back home, I like that. Still, riding a bike sounds better, but in Tokyo it's difficult.

Nina: Yes, it's so much money indeed, and I think I personally need the structure of a gym, otherwise I get lazy. I justify the price by using the amazing sauna and bathing area!

KaBi: Thanks for your lovely comment, and I'm glad it brings back nice memories. To be fair, as much as I love my life here, sometimes I wish I was more settled, the adventure part gets exhausting at times, especially after 4 years... it's a weird feeling.

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