Truth: I’m lazy. Or at least, I’ve been lazy since moving here when it comes to working out. When people ask me what I “do” to stay in shape, I talk about what I “did” when I was back home because I’m a big fat liar. The truth is, my workouts have been sporadic at best, and I’m starting to see the effects. I’ve lost weight and am getting softer and weaker by the day. So when GaijinPot co-founder Peter Wilson invited me to a personal training session at CrossFit in Daikanyama, I was all over it, mostly out of fear of turning into a gelatinous udon noodle by Christmas.
I’ve read mixed reviews about CrossFit in the media, and honestly don’t get it. There are write-ups and posts about it being “cult-like” because the premise is community-building through fitness. I’ve also seen claims that this community-building isn’t really necessary because CrossFit trainees have no fitness “goals.” By this logic, yoga, pilates, and spin are all cults too. How about this for a goal: I don’t want my ass dragging across the floor of Shinjuku Station. Seriously though—since when do you have to have a fitness goal to want to work out? The logic is lame. I have nothing to back this up, but I’d hazard to guess that most people who work out, do it to look and feel good. Goals schmoals.
My two cents on CrossFit:
It mixes strength, interval, and intensity training to burn fat and increase muscle mass. The Daikanyama gym offers group classes (which is the core of the CrossFit program) as well as open gym time. If you prefer free weights over machines, or wince when you see people casually flipping a magazine while slooooowly riding a stationary bike… you’ll like this place.
I like weights, but from what I’ve heard, being a female and doing weights at the gym is not something you see very often in Japan. Even at my old gym in SF, there were few of us by the racks. That CrossFit community vibe comes in very handy, because the lady trainers at Daikanyama are super cool (and all bi-lingual) and by the looks of them, they know what they’re doing. The others working out were normal-looking too, so you don’t have to worry about sticking out among a clump of muscle heads.
Peter and I worked out together with his trainer, AJ. I casually expressed concern for my well being, having not done much of anything in six months. “Don’t worry,” Peter said, “he’s gentle.” NO HE IS NOT, PETER. That was a lie.
That said, I wasn’t there to mess around, and I pretty much got what I asked for. A tough mix of upper body weights (bar work and kettle bells) and tortuous sprints on a stationary cycle called an Airdyne.
By the end of the hour I was a shaky mess, but Peter kept going. He’s doing a four-times-a-week, 12-week intensive program for no other reason than he wants to. For him, that’s reason enough.
Another truth: if you want results, CrossFit can get you there. The Daikanyama staff is super cool, the facilities are designed for real training. You can get the schedules and deets here to find out for yourself.
ROOB Ⅱ B1F 24-1 Sarugaku-cho Shibuya-ku Tokyo Japan 150-0033
About 3 minutes walk from Tokyu Toyoko Line · Daikanyama Station.