If like me you have gained a few extra pounds over the winter – Christmas and the various new year festivities will do that to you – you may be thinking of the coming summer months and wanting to get back into shape.
One of the best ways to do this is to sign yourself up at a gym. Fortunately around Nagoya there are plenty of gyms, with a wide range of price plans and facilities that you can enjoy to help burn away some of that winter weight. Here are a few that are particularly convenient and friendly to ex-pats living in the city.
Pretty much wherever you are in the city you will find one of the NESPA (Nagoya-city Education and Sports Association) community gyms, as each ward has one. Due to the fact that they are partially funded by the local councils the quality of the equipment can differ from place to place (the best I have seen is the Naka-ku gym) but they will all have pretty much everything you need. On the downside their opening times (approximately 10:00-21:00) can make them difficult to get to if you work long hours, and they tend to get pretty busy, particularly on weekends. However, their two major selling points are that many of them have indoor pools and they are incredibly cheap, so much so that a year’s membership costs less than a month at other places.
Started in Venice Beach, California, Gold’s Gym is perhaps the world’s best known gym. As such, all of the equipment is particularly top notch, with personal trainers, training support and various classes on top of the huge array of machines and free weights. They are two branches in the city, one in Sakae open until 23:00 and the other in Kanayama that is open 24 hours a day.
Between Takaoka and Shinsakae, Fitness STG 24 is another gym that is open 24 hours (as the name suggests). While it is a uni-sex gym, it caters very much towards the female market, with the posturing beefcakes that you might find in other gyms discouraged. The equipment is particularly unique: a dynamic stretch system called Shodo that focuses on building strength and toning muscles through advanced stretching. As well as the machines there are almost 20 different classes including yoga, Zumba, and circuit training. The higher level tariffs include towels and work out clothes meaning that you can pop in at any time, whether you have your kit bag or not.
The Push Up Brahs (geddit?) are a mostly ex-pat group of guys and girls who meet in Tsuruma Park to work out together in the outdoors. They focus on bodyweight workouts, yoga and calisthenics, with people of all levels – from beginner to ripped – working together to achieve their fitness goals. As it is free to join, there is no concerns about membership, and it’s a great way to make friends in a healthy atmosphere, particularly if, like me, your social life tends to revolve around restaurants and bars. Recently featured on Japanese TV channel NHK, they hold event-style work out gatherings throughout the year. Contact them on Facebook to see when their next event will be held.
For a full extensive list of all of the gyms and sports centers in the area, check out this helpful list at kikuko-nagoya.com
By Mark Guthrie