Joyful Honda Gym, Moriya, Japan. To Join? Or Not to Join? That is the question.

Ever since I got back from the United States after my eating binge, I’ve really started to notice that I’m gaining a weight, and not good, sexy, muscle weight either…I’m talking about unflattering fat weight. Of course it’s hard to do a whole lot of damage in just one week, especially if you have a good exercise regimen going. But the truth is, during the whole job change, apartment change and earthquake debacle my workouts have been so sporadic. I would exercise a couple of days and then miss a couple of weeks…really not like me. When I went to spar at my with the karate crew in the U.S. I was severely winded. Post quake I tried doing some running and was awestruck to discover that I could barely run three kilometers without a sharp pain shooting through my lower back (aerobically I think I can handle more, but my back gives out first). I really became worried because I haven’t experienced that since I first came to Japan over three years ago. We also had to do health checks for Interac, and I was floored to find out that I weighted about 114 kg!! My brain snapped! That’s it!! It’s time to get back on the workout horse…NOW!!

At my peak here in Japan I was able to run between 8 and 12 kilometers 2-3 times a week and have no back pain at all. I reached as low as 89.00 kilograms (but 90-92 kg is ideal for me). Looking at the pudge around my mid-section and lower back lets me know that I’ve let myself go. I decided to get rid of the sweets, and start cooking meals in advance (this will prevent that “There’s nothing to eat.” excuse).

Diet is a very important part of the equation, but in my opinion, the exercise is even more important. Someone who is active enough can overcome some, not all, of the flaws in their diet. So exercise for me is key. With a new schedule, that cheap 3675 yen morning plan membership with the small, ACT gym in Tsukuba, is an impossibility. One option is to change to the full-time plan for 7000 yen. But paying 7000 yen for a gym that’s closed every 2nd and 4th Tuesday (I never got why they do that), with extremely limited equipment, where you can only run on the aerobic machines for 30 minutes at a time, no pool…the value just doesn’t match the price.

But there’s hope. I heard that there’s a gym called Joyful Honda here in Moriya that’s supposed to be a short bus-ride from my job. But I don’t want to pay for a bus everyday…that starts to add up. So last Saturday I decided to check out the route to my school to make sure I knew where it was and I decided to walk to this gym. From the station I walked almost 25 minutes exactly to get there (including time to look at my map and stop and ask for directions)…so maybe a 20 minute walk…and with a bike maybe half that time. Totally expecting this place to suck and to be too expensive, I went in. Cha-Ching! It was definitely better than I was expecting it to be…this was a real gym. It was at least five times bigger than ACT and just a more complete facility overall.

Now is Joyful Honda a better gym than say Gold’s? No. Gold’s was created by bodybuilders, so I don’t know too many mainstream gyms that can beat it. But Joyful is a good gym. There is ample equipment plus pool to get myself back into shape. There is a daytime plan for 7400 yen and a full-time plan for 8400. I am really considering the full-time plan because it would be super convenient for. I already have a commuter pass which will allow me to make unlimited trips to Moriya for work (which will be reimbursed every month). Waking up for a Saturday and Sunday morning workout will be wonderful. I haven’t been able to do those kinds of workouts in over three years.

I am about 90% certain that I’ll be signing up on Saturday…no more being lazy, D.


Donald Ash

P.S.-I canceled my membership with ACT on Wednesday April 6th, 2011. I thought the staff there was incredible, so I am going to miss them, but I think this is going to be a good move.

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