Written by: Lauren Frederick
Ahoy there, fellow fitness fanatics! Hope you all had a fantastic winter break filled with good food, drink, and company, and are continuing to tough it out through the cold! What? Didn’t think you could indulge while living a healthier lifestyle? Giving yourself some fun time is actually a good way to stick with a fitness routine. Same goes for daily or weekly treats. Want that square of chocolate in the evening? Make sure you get your workout done! Want to pig out on some local okonomiyaki? Complete every workout for the week! Setting goals, as little as some may be, is a great way to track progress and allows you to have a little fun on your road to a healthier lifestyle Remember: fit is not the opposite of fun!
I’m going to get off my soap box for a bit to talk to you about some practical stuff. Due to the freezing weather, I’ve been finding myself expanding my own home gym in Japan. While I’m a firm believer of setting aside a place solely for fitness, I realize this is not always feasible in our smaller-than-average apartments. All you need is a mat, a good workout routine, and the self-control to not check your phone or Facebook while you’re getting your sweat on.
Let’s go over some fitness equipment you can buy in Japan. Note: all of my stuff comes from Amazon Japan and the local home center. What may be available for me may not be available for you. Then again, Amazon will be available to all of us, so no excuses!
This was my go-to home fitness tool back home. While I do not own one here, as I`m returning home in August and can replicate the motions with a dumbbell, I would recommend getting one of these if you’re into quick, total body workouts. I have not seen them at my local home center, but they do have a variety of types and weights on Amazon Japan ranging from about 2,800円 to 12,800円. The key to using a kettle bell is in your hips. You’re not meant to use your arm strength to swing the bell, though those will get some toning, as well. Using your hips to swing the bell in a pendulum motion will ensure you get all of those tough spots like core, glues, and quads. There are tons of kettlebell workouts on the Internet to get you started, though I would highly recommend beginners to ease into these workouts, maybe doing about 10-15 minutes with a rest day in between. That’s how effective this thing can be!
The meat and potatoes of the home gym, dumbbells are a must-have for anyone looking for self-fitness. Naturally, these come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from .5 kg to meathead-worthy weight. If you are a beginner, I would highly recommend starting with no heavier than 1 kg weights. You may not think they’re heavy, but if you choose a workout that is aerobic-heavy with a splash of toning, these suckers will feel like they weigh twice their size! For my non-beginners, I would not go higher than 5K for circuit exercises. Anything higher than that, depending on your strength and endurance, should be used for isolated exercises. Going the leg day/arm day/back day/whatever day route? Weight up to as much as you can! Unless you go for an interchangeable dumbbell set (found on Amazon,) I strongly recommend buying these in person at a home center. You may feel confident lifting those 20 kg dumbbells while looking at them online, but it’s better to play it safe with heavy strength training. Don’t feel like a complete idiot doing a few presses with those dumbbells in the home center. Better safe than sorry, right?
Yes, the most underestimated fitness enhancements on the market. Sure, when we all think of ankle/wrist weights, I’m sure a video of 1980`s Jane Fonda aerobics comes to mind. When used properly, however, these puppies sting. I only found the .5 kg variety at my home center, but the low price caused me to snag them up. I’m used to doing MMA with weighted gloves, so I figured these would help enhance those workouts. Though they’re lighter than what I used back home, these definitely add that extra punch to my high-cardio workouts! They’re also great for running, pilates, and yoga as well, and turn what would be a fully-cardio workout into something with a little bit of toning. Toning means you’re burning more fat!
No workout is complete without a little lagniappe to ensure you have a safe and productive workout environment. I highly recommend getting the following things before jumping into whatever workout you choose: a mat, towel, comfortable workout clothes, and a bottle of water.
The mat is especially critical for those of us working out on tatami. Sweat can damage the tatami,and if not promptly wiped up, can cause mold. I also recommend cracking a window if you’re really sweating it out. The towel is also for sweat purposes. If you wipe it off as you go, you’ll have less sweat spots to hunt for later! Also, it’s nice to have, comfort-wise.
Comfortable clothes are a must! Don’t be the person working out in your leftover Heat Tech—which can be really dangerous, anyway. Setting aside some gym shorts, yoga pants, sports bra, and a breathable workout top will not only make you feel better while working out but also put you in a better mindset to give it your all.
Water is self-explanatory but very important. For some reason, home workouts never feel as intense as gym workouts, even if you’re giving it your all. Trust me, if you’re panting, sweating, and generally feel like dying, you’re gonna be glad that water is within arm’s reach! Side note: if you’re working out with the heater on, which I am guilty of, make sure to crack open a window so you won’t overheat yourself!
That’s it for today! Hope you all have a better idea of how to get your home gym started! Remember, any space can be turned into a gym and give you a great workout! The winter is no excuse to break your fitness routine! Be sure to tune in for some more healthy recipes and butt-kicking workouts! Until next time, keep fighting the good fight!