Travelling is no excuse not to keep up with your workout schedule, in this article I explain the procedure for using Golds Gym as a tourist or short term traveller to Japan.
While the bodybuilding culture isn’t particularly strong in Japan and consequently many gyms and fitness centers are pretty disappointing when it comes to the free weights they offer. They tend to cater more specifically to ‘cardio’ / core type work so finding a gym that can cater for the serious lifter can be a challenge. Please don’t get me started about the pathetic ‘fitness centers’ found advertised for the hotels across Japan.
If you want to get a serious workout session in while in Japan your first answer is with Golds. As you would expect with the brand name, Golds gym in Japan cater for the serious lifters.
While pretty close to what you would expect from a standard gym anywhere in the world there are of course some customs specific to Japan that can get you by surprise, so below is intended to help you get to the gym and enjoy a good workout with as little hassle as possible.
What you need
- Shoes! A 2nd set of clean indoor only gym shoes – Outdoor shoes are never to be worn indoors. It’s ingrained in the culture but if you don’t have a spare set of shoes they may have some you can rent from them for a small fee, but if you are a larger size like me you might struggle to find a pair that fit so really don’t rely on this.
- Your Passport! – Yeah, so they need a copy of your passport before they can let you workout. Don’t forget it, they won’t let you access the Gym without it.
- Money – ¥3,100 (Around $30 USD) for 5 hour session. ¥180,00 (Around $180 USD) for a month long membership. Visa credit card is accepted.
- Your own towels – Bring your own towels for shower and use on the equipment. Both can be rented for a small fee.
Observe The Rules
- No Exposed Tattoos, they must be covered. Be prepared to be denied access or asked to cover up if you fail to observe the rules.
- No supersets. Well you can but only one set of equipment to be “occupied” at all times. This includes barbells in the free weights area.
- Re-rack your Gear to the right space when you are done. No, I shouldn’t need to tell you this but some of the gyms I have been too around the world you would think a tribe of dyslexic monkeys had been working out. In Japan it’s expected.
- Wipe Down Your Equipment after use. Towels are provided on small hooks against nearly all the machines. Again, I shouldn’t need to tell you this and again in Japan it’s expected
- No talking on the phone, not even briefly
- Oh, and avoid the reserved pink women’s only area if you don’t identify as a woman. Duh.
What’s Good About Golds in Japan?
- Super clean / organised
- Respectful gym goers resulting in no loud grunting, phone blabbing, alpha chest beating and with equipment always re-racked correctly
- Protein bar for fresh protein shake post workout
- Tanning Machines
- Super attentive staff from the front counter to the workout area. In the workout area there is always one or two gym trainers overseeing the gym members activities like body guards. They wear earpieces to communicate with other staff, I’m not kidding.
- Onsen hot bath (be sure to observe the rules and wash yourself before using!)
What’s Bad About Golds in Japan?
- Not reading this blog and turning up without your passport and having to return to hotel to get it. Why the hell do they need to copy my passport for a workout!
- Sometimes a lack of English speaking staff or English translation text for products services
- Rather expensive fees
- Not being able to show your biceps because you have to cover your tattoos with a long sleeve t-shirt.
- My calves, skinny as heck (Oh, wait that’s not Golds Gym fault!)
I hope this post has been helpful to you finding your way around the Golds Gym’s in Japan!
Protein Shake Time! Ganbatte!