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Why Gyms in Japan don’t actually suck.

 

I wrote previously about Gold’s Gym in Japan, I wrote about the rules and restrictions along with some of the good points that I had experienced.

Since then I have read many articles and forum posts criticising strange rules and regulations that Gyms in Japan impose and how foreigners struggle with them. I have also had the chance to extend my experience of Gyms here. This article is in defence of that criticism and also some points out some things that, in my opinion, Gyms in other parts of the world would benefit from implementing.

Clean

  • Indoor only shoe policy results in the environment being cleaner for everybody this way, how can that be a bad thing? The cleanliness of a Japanese Gym is phenomenal.
  • The staff clean, reset and calibrate the equipment constantly.
  • The close the Gym one day a month (while frustrating) it’s done in order to fully clean the entire venue.

The Staff

  • The trainers and staff are professional and attentive.
  • When they turn up for their shift, they casually walk the gym and greet the customers, it’s just a nice touch.
  • If you need a spot while you bench your body weight + some they are happy to oblige, not only that I have seen them rush to the rescue of overly ambitious lifters.
  • Again, the staff will also walk around the floor and clean the equipment, reset and keep the free weights organised if needed.

The Customers

  • Yes, it’s true you do see some very funny exercises that look like they are training for a new kamasutra position being performed by the odd Japanese patron, but the average local gym goer knows what they are doing.
  • No one is on their phone sitting on the equipment pretending to be ‘resting’ between sets
  • Even the serious Japanese lifter will usually either be in ‘focused’ mode, or more often than not have with smile on their face. The only grim reaper alpha douche bag’s I have encountered in my experience so far I’m sad to say are not locals.
  • Customers nearly always always clean and re-rack / return equipment correctly after use
  • Politeness when waiting for equipment or when moving around the gym. Always a polite nod and patient.
  • Honest, just yesterday I had to remove my sports watch while deadlifting, towards the end of my session I realised it was missing. While it would have been very easy for someone to ‘lift’ it (pun?), of course it was waiting at the front desk after someone had turned it in. Petty crime just isn’t a thing here.

Lastly, the major gripe you read about: No Tattoo Policy

Yes, it’s clear a Gaijin (white person) isn’t going to be a member of Yakuza, but exactly how are they meant to impose the restriction for Japanese people and NOT for Gaijin? Separate rules based on one’s race is clearly not a behaviour we want to encourage, no matter how innocuous the subject may seem.

So there you have it, a few reasons why I think the Gym’s in Japan are great. Of course I’m not saying it’s perfect, but these are things I miss when I’m not here and visiting Gym’s elsewhere that just don’t have the top notch experience that Japan is able to serve up through it’s community first attitude, excellent cleanliness and focus on excellence in customer service.

About The Fit Japan Guy

After moving to Japan I found there is so much more to the health and fitness scene than I could ever have realised, but sadly much of it is not apparent to foreigners. It is my goal to help people discover the health and fitness lifestyle opportunities that Japan has to offer.