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If you want to be successful, exercise is key. A fitness routine not only keeps you healthy, it also helps you focus and boosts your mood. But for busy executives with jam-packed schedules, it’s a habit that can be hard to form and maintain.

Personal trainers are a popular way to make regular exercise part of a busy schedule, and to make the most of limited time. To find out what options are available in Tokyo, The ACCJ Journal spoke with local gyms, trainers, and the creator of a new platform that brings workouts to you.

Extensive facilities are available at Club 360.

Nathan Schmid, managing director and co-founder of Club 360, a multidisciplinary health and fitness practice in Moto-Azabu, said that personal trainers are used by many people as motivation to get to the gym. “But, increasingly, we see that what clients want is to be confident that they are spending their valuable time in the gym in a way that will most efficiently bring the results they desire,” he said. “Correct movement and exercise selection are imperative to ensure you are working towards your goals in a safe and effective manner.”

Mitsuru “Mike” Yamaguchi, managing director of B-FIT, a personal training gym chain with locations in Nishi-Shinjuku, Azabu-Juban, and Naka-Meguro, spoke about the benefits of a custom, one-on-one approach.

“Working with a professional trainer totally changes the game. There’s a corrective aspect to the training. Having a trainer continually stand over you, adjusting your posture and refining your exercise form and method, is a huge, almost incomprehensible advantage,” he explained. “Having a personal trainer enables people to get maximum benefit from optimized sessions. Providing tailored, development-centric guidance—pinpointing training elements that clients should be more self-aware of, while helping them effectively execute the training exercises—makes all the difference in the world.”

Personal training session at Club360.

B-FIT specialist targets muscle and joint pain with massages.

The benefits of using a personal trainer are not limited to fitness improvement. “Our trainers are always getting amazing feedback from clients that makes our jobs very rewarding. Most commonly, we hear how people not only changed their body shape, but also were relieved of pain, have more energy, and are enjoying life more,” said Schmid.

Many of us spend most of the day sitting at a desk, using computers, tablets, and smartphones, and performing other general work tasks that have an impact on posture. As a result, muscle and joint pain is a big problem.

Yamaguchi, a posture and form specialist, expanded on this, citing issues he has seen related to desk jobs. “I sometimes observe people with posture problems, particularly what is known as forward head posture. Apart from lots of people having desk and computer jobs, which cause them to hunch over at work, this can be seen on the train or when people are walking. Forward head posture is going to become a medical issue of epic proportions.”

To combat this threat to health and productivity, B-FIT offers advice to all customers on how to avoid or correct forward head posture. Ensuring proper posture is a key first step before embarking on any sort of exercise journey, according to Yamaguchi. Avoiding pain and further muscle or joint damage is imperative, as injury from exercise is only going to add more aggravation to a busy schedule, as well as work-related aches and pains.

“Anybody who spends a lot of time on a smartphone or tablet may want to start thinking about doing some corrective training with us before the forward head posture converts to serious—and sometimes chronic—pain. It’s crucial to keep your chin in and your chest out, your head and eyes appropriately positioned, and to use your core to support your head and place less strain on your neck,” he explained. “We train people how to do that and steer them away from bad habits, for which smartphones and tablets are largely to blame.”

Understanding the importance of fitness and preventative measures is one thing. Finding time to take action is another. Even when motivation is there, it can be hard for professionals to get to the gym. Busy work schedules, personal lives, and family take priority. Often little time remains. Personal trainers can represent a set engagement that must be attended, therefore making it easier to fit into a schedule. Just as you would arrange and attend a meeting at work, personal training sessions can become a regular—even imperative—part of life.

In the same way that meeting length varies, customized training sessions are also flexible. As Yamaguchi explained, “The efficiency and effectiveness of trainer-guided sessions enable executives to have slightly shorter training sessions when necessary.”

There’s also a discipline element. While people will need self-discipline to train, having scheduled sessions at a set time, on a set day, provides added incentive to go. “Much like with business, there is benefit in showing up to a meeting, rolling up your sleeves, and putting in the work,” he added. “We push our clients to get good results for themselves. Their personalized interaction with our trainers leaves them feeling invigorated, energized, and ready to go back to their office or home and do some more work.”

A common obstacle to visiting the gym is the time it takes to get there and back. To make additions to your daily routine stick, they must fit efficiently into your work schedule. Finding a gym within a reasonable distance of the office or home can be challenging. But having a personal trainer do the traveling can make fitness more accessible to busy professionals.

This is where Zehitomo comes in. This online platform connects specialists with those seeking services—personal training among them. The ACCJ Journal spoke with co-founder and CEO Jordan Fisher to find out how Zehitomo works.

“Customers can make highly customized requests, and service professionals can follow through with highly tailored solutions. We directly introduce you to the most skilled trainers who are a fit for your needs, and you can negotiate the perfect customized solution,” he explained. “We have a large network of trainers who will travel to you directly. They can come to your home gym, your office, or any other location.”

Zehitomo’s directory helps you quickly find nearby trainers.

Zehitomo offers more than 500 categories of services. For those seeking fitness options, this includes running, yoga, and other specific forms of exercise. In an instant, you can be connected with a trainer who is able to meet at a time and place that works best for you. This makes it much easier to book sessions around existing work and family commitments, making the workout feel like a choice, not a chore.

“Our platform captures the custom elements of both sides in our matching algorithm, showing the best results for customer’s needs,” Fisher added. “At the same time, we provide the most cost-effective way for trainers to find new clients and grow their business.”

One-on-one professional training session at B-FIT.

A mix of onsite and offsite training may be the best path for making fitness a regular part of work life. Needs vary from person to person, but knowing the options opens up possi­bilities we often feel aren’t there.

Personal trainers bring broad knowledge of health and fitness and apply it in highly focused ways to meet the specific needs of each client.

“A big part of a personal trainer’s job is to find a way to help clients achieve their goals while, at the same time, working around and improving any injuries or other factors that may hold them back,” said Schmid. “After a thorough assessment of posture, movement and general fitness, Club 360 trainers design programs based on the assessment findings in relation to the client’s goals.”

As Yamaguchi pointed out, B-FIT’s courses focus on align­ment and posture training, and their personal trainers ensure that exercise movements are being performed in the right way to avoid muscle strain and injury. “We offer programs that are adaptable and are designed based on our assessment of each person’s needs. We develop a training program for them to meet achievable goals.”

Curing posture-related aches and pain might make desk work easier and therefore encourage productivity, or alleviate negative feelings towards going to the office. And that’s some­thing that can be said for fitness routines in general. The trick is turning need into motivation and motivation into action. Taking an approach that fits more into the workplace mode—scheduling workout meetings with an expert—might just change your health.

Megan Casson is a staff writer at Custom Media for The ACCJ Journal.
Forward head posture is going to become a medical issue of epic proportions.