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Tokyo Transformation

January 2015

By Adam Kennedy , Tokyo

I have never been one for resolutions, but after a recent move from the life organic in Sydney’s Bondi beach to the fast-paced neon living of Tokyo, something needs to be done, each day I seem to get fatter and older. So 2015 is the year of self-improvement and having some clearly defined goals will help keep me young, fit and even happier. 

First thing I need a gym. Like most people in Tokyo I am time poor, so I need something that fits snugly into my busy life. Luckily a lot of gyms have positioned themselves to tap into this lifestyle. CrossFit with its short and intensive exercises is growing in Japan. Gold’s Gym offers 24 hour training and, even though I wouldn’t be allowed in, Curves, a gym for women based on a system of 30-minute workouts, is also gaining in popularity. My friend set-up the first Tokyo CrossFit concept in 2010: Chikara Crossfit. Since then CrossFit has really taken off in Tokyo and numerous Reebok partnered gyms have opened up across the city. This trend is fueled by Crossfit’s inclusive nature, community spirit and the efficiency of the workouts. Other popular sports club chains in Tokyo are Tipness and Konami. Club 360 is also a unique new concept in health and fitness as it offers a holistic solution to all your fitness and rehabilitation needs.

Once the gym is selected I will need the motivation. I am too late to sign up for the Tokyo Marathon but there are a number of events that could act as my inspiration such as the Murakami Triathlon or the Warrior Dash if it returns to Japan. Some suitable fitness tech would also help. I currently use the MapMyFitness app for my runs around Yoyogi Park and am considering an upgrade to a Fitbit or a Jawbone to see my health in all its gory detail.

I am also keen to try something new with my diet. The right supplement could revolutionize my 2015, in particular I want more energy in the mornings. I used to enjoy an effervescent Berocca boost, but that is not available in Japan. Japan has a long history of natural remedies and supplements, from seaweed to the fridges full of genki (“health”) drinks, so I should be able to find something. My knowledge of this world is limited to Ukon no Chikara, a popular hangover prevention drink, and what I see on TV: collagen products and placenta pills. I have no interest in these, so I begin with a trusty Google search which informs me that copper is the magical ingredient to kick-start my day. Armed with this information I headed to some local drug stores. The brands and products on offer were overwhelming. I was surprised by the variety of supplements and their forms: tea; powder; capsule; juice; pill; packet; gel; liquid, oils etc. The dominant brands were Nature Made, DHC and Dear Natura but I ended up leaving the store a bit confused. I decided to get some recommendations from my friends who are more knowledgeable in this area. They directed me to Natural House in Omotesando. I felt more comfortable here as it is an organic health shop, the supplements were clearly divided into categories e.g. beauty and mental etc., and there were consultants on hand to help guide me in my purchase decision.

2015 welcomes me into my mid-thirties, so it’s probably time I took my skin and grooming seriously. Whenever I travel I pick up some Biotherm product and am a big fan of the Aquapower moisturizer, but I am getting a bit more price sensitive these days. A few beauty brands have recently been targeting men. Shiseido was showcasing its men’s range at a recent snowboarding event and SK-II keeps popping up on my digital platforms. I have also found myself drawn to Kiehl’s because of its cool NYC apothecary vibe and white lab coats. Penhaligon’s also offers some fantastic shaving products I want to try. Chanel Allure has been my go-to fragrance for years, but I am now keen to delve into the artisan perfume world a little. Le Labo and Byredo are two edgy brands that stand out for me in this space.

Plenty to think about, and if I only follow through on a few of these things in 2015 I will be well on my way to creating a new and improved me.

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