The Ultimate Guide to Finding a Personal Trainer in Tokyo

The Ultimate Guide to Finding a Personal Trainer in Tokyo

Before you spend money on a personal trainer in Tokyo or elsewhere in Japan, read this entire guide!

Because with so much online information there’s never been a better time to get in shape, but because of all that information it’s hard to know who to trust.

Plus living a healthy lifestyle in Tokyo is challenging for expats because of different foods, a foreign culture, and a difficult new language.

And although you can exercise on your own, it’s unlikely you’ll get the results you’re aiming for without a well thought-out plan.

Exercising at home

Exercising before lunch while working from home

So whether you’re just starting your fitness journey or you’ve been exercising for years, hiring a personal trainer or online coach is the safest and most effective way to accomplish your fitness goals.

And since you are literally putting your health in someone else’s hands, finding the right trainer for you is imperative.

What is a Personal Trainer

A personal trainer is a certified fitness professional responsible for helping clients achieve fitness goals.

Trainers develop personalized exercise programs and recommend dietary and/or lifestyle changes based on clients’ goals, needs, and personal preferences. 

They also teach clients how to safely and effectively perform exercises in order to achieve results without sustaining injuries.

Personal trainer at a local gym

Personal trainer at a commercial gym

What is an online health and fitness coach and what do they do?

An online health and fitness coach is typically a certified personal trainer who helps clients achieve their goals by educating, empowering, and creating accountability for them.

Health and fitness coaches equip clients with essential knowledge, training programs, and nutrition guidelines so that clients understand how and why each part of the program is helping move them towards their goals.

The responsibilities of health and fitness coaches are similar to those of personal trainers, but one notable difference is that coaches help clients achieve their goals while developing competence and long-term independence.

For more information about online health and fitness coaching, have a look here.

How long do you work with them?

The length of time you’ll work with a personal trainer or online health and fitness coach mainly depends on your goals, your budget, and a realistic timeline.

People hire personal trainers for 3 to 6 months but often continue working with them for years, whereas programs with online health and fitness coaches typically have firm start and end dates.

In general, working with a personal trainer or online health and fitness coach is always more effective than training alone.

The main difference is that while personal training is usually an indefinite subscription, online health and fitness coaching is usually a one-time investment.

What kinds of results can you expect?

Depending on your goals, level of commitment, and the quality of your personal trainer or online health and fitness coach, you can expect to see more muscle, less fat, better sleep, lower BMI, greater flexibility, increased energy, and improved posture.

In general, working with a personal trainer or online health and fitness coach is always more effective than training alone.

Where can you work with a personal trainer in Tokyo? 

The easiest place to find a personal trainer in Tokyo is online or at a personal training gym. 

Some bodybuilding gyms (including 24-hour gyms) and fitness clubs also offer personal training services.

Circuit training outdoors near a local shrine

Circuit training near a local shrine

Public gyms occasionally have their own personal trainers but they generally don’t allow personal training to be performed by freelance trainers in their facilities.

Here’s a list of places where personal trainers typically train clients.

  • Commercial gyms (Gold’s Gym, Konami, etc.)
  • Personal training studios (Beyond, Next Gym Tokyo, etc.)
  • Public municipal gyms (Shinjuku Sports Center, Tokyo Metro Gym, etc.)
  • Home gyms (your home)
  • Living rooms (your home)
  • Outdoors (near your home or office)
  • Parks (Yoyogi Park, Arisugawa Park, etc.)
  • At the office (your office)
  • Online (anywhere)

How much do personal trainers cost?

Freelance and private studio personal trainers in Tokyo typically charge between 8,000 to 12,000 JPY per session. 

Most offer discounts for purchasing a pack of sessions at once while others offer monthly subscriptions.

At big-name companies that offer personal training services like RIZAP and Konami, you can expect to pay anywhere from 150,000 to 350,000 JPY for a 2-month program.

Online health and fitness coaches charge anywhere from 15,000 to 100,000 JPY per month depending on meeting frequency and the services they provide.

If you want to know about gym costs in Japan, check this out.

Gyms with English-Speaking Trainers

There are still very few gyms in Tokyo that provide English-language instruction. 

But the following list contains some of the best gyms in Tokyo with English-speaking trainers.

So whether you’re looking to start your fitness journey or switch up your current routine, you can be confident that you’ll be able to achieve your goals without the stress of a language barrier.

If you’re new to Tokyo and can’t speak any Japanese or if you just want fitness instruction in English, here are some English-friendly gyms with personal trainers:

Intensity Matters

Intensity Matters

Intensity Matters, Tokyo’s first outdoor training gym, takes pride in providing a safe and effective outdoor environment that encourages purposeful exercise. 

They focus on functional training to improve primary movement patterns, which translates directly into better physical performance outside of the gym.

Classes usually begin with a dynamic warmup, followed by a high-intensity exercise utilizing your own body weight and some basic equipment. 

With a maximum of eight participants each session, learners always receive enough one-on-one attention from instructors.


UFC Gym Japan

UFC Gym in Tokyo provides a wide range of group classes and private options, including functional fitness classes, MMA programs, dynamic performance training, kids MMA programs, and more.

Along with kickboxing, yoga, and hip training (in Japan, “hip” means “booty”), you’ll discover unique exercises here, such as UFC Gym’s unique interval training program, Daily Ultimate Training (DUT).

This facility’s experienced instructors provide complete assistance for your training needs and lessons offered in English will help you feel more at ease while working up a sweat.

Nihon Barbell Club

Nihon Barbell Club

Nihon Barbell Club works with locals at different locations including homes, hotels, outdoors, and at a facility in Roppongi.

Their trainers are bilingual, hands-on, and assist clients at every stage of their fitness journeys.

The gym where they train clients, Orange Gym Rats, is known for providing free protein shakes, permitting members to show their tattoos, and even allowing pets to wait inside while their owners exercise!

Club 360

Club 360

Club 360 is a foreigner owned and operated facility offering group classes, boxing courses, personal training, massage, and physiotherapy.

Their international staff promotes a casual, friendly environment that’s tailored for Tokyo expats.

One of the gym’s major assets is its emphasis on mixing rigorous training while forming deep ties between English-speaking clients and instructors.

Gold’s Gym 

Gold's Gym Harajuku

Gold’s Gym is one of the best bodybuilding gym franchises in Tokyo and is relatively English-friendly.

This gym maintains quality control of their own trainers by training personnel at the Gold’s Gym Academy, which requires personal trainers to study for a minimum of three to four months before they can begin working with members. 

Independent trainers, on the other hand, must be certified by one of several certifying bodies which are recognized in Japan and internationally (more on this later).

Choosing a Personal Trainer

How to choose a personal trainer?

Before you start searching for a personal trainer in Tokyo, considering the following questions:

  • Do you want to lose 50 pounds (23kg), build lean muscle, or achieve a certain body fat percentage?
  • Are you trying to build strength, become more flexible, or hold your first handstand?
  • Do you want to develop healthy eating and exercise habits?
  • Are you feeling stressed and needing to blow off steam?
  • Do you want to run a 5k, your first marathon, or compete in a Spartan Race?
  • Or do you just want to get in shape, feel better, and finally enjoy exercise?

Once you’ve answered the questions above, ask around to see what your friends and colleagues are doing. 

Satisfied clients will always recommend their trainer or coach (check out these testimonials for example) and personal trainers are usually looking for more business.

But if you don’t receive any recommendations, start by searching on Google, attending a free class, or doing a free consultation.

Free classes and consultations are the easiest way to get a good feel for the trainer, learn more about their services, and ask any questions you have.

Questions to ask a Personal Trainer

It’s important that all of your questions are answered upfront and you know exactly what you’re signing up for.

So don’t be afraid to ask anything about the program, the contract, the timeline, or anything else that comes to mind when you first speak with a trainer or coach.

It’s easy for trainers to tell you what they think you want to hear so that you’ll sign up for their services, so make sure you ask all of the following questions before making a commitment.

1. Is this your full-time job?

Correct Answer: Yes!

Almost every personal trainer and online coach is passionate about helping others, but if helping clients isn’t their main focus then it’s likely your goals won’t be either.

There’s nothing wrong with having a side hustle, especially one that’s passion driven, but it’s best that you put your health in the hands of a full-time fitness professional.

A competent trainer should be continually training, learning, and mastering their craft, which requires time, energy, and a serious commitment to the field of health and fitness.

Personal trainer stretching a client

Personal trainer stretching a client

2. Based on my goals, what kind of plan would be best for me and why?

Correct Answer: Based on your specific goals the best plan for you is XYZ, and here is why…

A skilled personal trainer or online coach should be able to explain what you need to do, in what order, and why. 

“Trust me, I’ll have you ready for the beach in no time!” is not a valid answer.

In the same way that you wouldn’t sign up for an academic course without knowing a bit about the curriculum, you should never hire a fitness professional who can’t map out the process or explain the program to you in advance.

3. Is there any guarantee that I’ll see results?

Correct Answer: Yes!

Most personal trainers and online health and fitness coaches lock clients into 3, 6, or even 12 month programs paid upfront with no refunds.

But if you’re about to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a professional who promises results, make sure you’re getting your money’s worth!30-day money-back guarantee

Top fitness professionals should guarantee results and have some sort of refund policy.

At MH Health Coaching we offer a 30-day money-back results guarantee, meaning if you pay for one of our programs and stick to the plan but fail to see measurable results within 30 days, we’ll refund all of your money. Guaranteed.

4. Do you do the same kinds of exercises that you program for clients?

Correct Answer: Yes!

You would never go to a yoga class with an instructor who doesn’t regularly practice yoga…so don’t hire a trainer who doesn’t do the same exercises that s/he programs for clients.

Also, unless you’re an elite athlete, your trainer or coach should be able to do the same exercises being programmed for you.

Trainers don’t have to look like Greek gods or move like pro athletes, but they should look the part and practice what they preach.

5. Can you build a program for me to do on days when we don’t meet?

Correct Answer: Yes!

Working with a trainer for 2 hours each week leaves you with 166 hours to yourself.

So unless you want to rely on a trainer or coach for the rest of your life, you should approach hiring one as an opportunity to not only achieve your fitness goals but also to learn everything you can about exercise and nutrition.

It’s imperative that your trainer can build you a plan for when you’re on your own.

What not to do when finding a Personal Trainer

Shirtless guy on social media

Shirtless guy on social media

1. DO NOT ignore education, experience, and track record because the trainer looks good naked (or almost naked).

People look good with their shirt off for all sorts of reasons including great genetics, healthy habits, and even filters and Photoshop. 

So don’t be misled by influencers who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk with their clients.

Any trainer you consider should have some proper education (more on this later), some professional experience, and real testimonials from real people, not just stock before and after photos.

2. DO NOT pretend to be someone you’re not.

Working with a personal trainer or online health and fitness coach is all about you, so be honest with yourself and your trainer.

Consider the following questions before you speak with a trainer:

  • Are you looking for someone to teach you the fundamentals, like how to plank, squat, deadlift, and bench press, or are you interested in eating a little better and creating accountability for yourself?
  • Do you want someone to cheer you on or call you out on your BS?
  • Are you a total beginner who needs all the help you can get or do you just want a few sessions up front and maybe a few down the road to ensure that you’re on the right track?
  • Are you highly coachable or do you hate critical feedback?
  • Do you know you need accountability or do you just want a blueprint?

3. DO NOT have blind faith in what your trainer says.

The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your questions, so ask as many of them as you need to ensure that you understand everything upfront

A quality trainer should be able to answer all of your questions clearly—using language you understand—and upfront—before you give them your money.

Remember that your personal trainer works for you, so don’t let them sell you on something that doesn’t clearly align with your goals and personal values.

And if the trainer can’t answer your questions, look elsewhere.

4. DO NOT assume that complicated exercises are better than simple ones.

Exercising outdoors with a trainer

Personal trainer and a client exercising outdoors

Just because an exercise makes you feel exhausted doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you or your goals.

Complicated exercises can be excellent, but so can extremely simple ones.

So make sure you always understand why you’re doing what you’re doing and that it’s in alignment with your goals.

Considerations before and after you Start Training

Finding the right personal trainer or online health and fitness coach can be a bit of a challenge, so don’t be surprised if the first person you hire isn’t an ideal match for you.

Here are some questions to ask yourself once you’ve begun working with a trainer:

  • Is my trainer encouraging and assisting me in ways that I find helpful or does my trainer seem to poke fun at me for the way I eat and/or exercise?
  • Does my trainer make modifications for me based on my needs and preferences or does my trainer just make me do what s/he wants?
  • Is my trainer fully focused on me whenever we’re working together or is my trainer often distracted by devices and other people?
  • Does my trainer genuinely care about whether or not I succeed or does my trainer watch the clock and just run through the motions?

Remember that you are paying for your trainer’s skill and attention, so it’s completely fair to expect that they take your time and effort seriously.

What qualifications to look for

Not every certified personal trainer is a quality personal trainer, but you should only hire a personal trainer in Tokyo who is certified by at least one reputable organization.

And since there are dozens of different certifying bodies and it’s impossible to determine which is best, here are a few that you should look for when hiring your personal trainer: 

  • ACE – The American Council on Exercise
  • ACSM – American College of Sports Medicine
  • AFAA – Athletics and Fitness Association of America
  • JSPO – Japan Sport Association 
  • ISSA – International Sports Sciences Association
  • NASM – National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • NCSF – National Council on Strength & Fitness
  • NESTA – National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association
  • NFPT – National Federation of Professional Trainers
  • NSCA – National Strength and Conditioning Association

Achieving any fitness goal requires appropriate training and nutrition, especially if your goal is weight loss or building muscle, so it’s also a huge help if the trainer or coach you’re considering is a certified nutritionist or nutrition coach. 

If you want to know how to eat healthily in Tokyo, have a look at this.

These are some nutrition-related qualifications to look for when choosing a personal trainer:

A trainer’s experience, reputation, and testimonials are invaluable, but education cannot be overlooked when you’re putting your health into someone else’s hands.

What to do if your personal trainer is not a good match

You can always change your mind if you choose a trainer who doesn’t align with you.

It doesn’t matter if the trainer is well educated or even highly recommended; if the two of you do not see eye to eye on issues you consider important, then find a different trainer.

There should be no guilt, shame, or hard feelings about it.

The key is to be honest with yourself and your trainer.


Finding a personal trainer in Tokyo or online health and fitness coach can be intimidating if it’s your first time, but rest assured that you have nothing to fear.

Ask your friends, explore your options, then perform your due diligence before making a final decision.

Fitness is a lifelong journey so what you’re really looking for is a friendly, knowledgeable, and experienced guide to help you along your way.

Finding the right personal trainer may be the best investment you ever make in yourself.

Are you looking for a personal trainer in Tokyo or are you considering an online health and fitness coach? Comment below!

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