The holistic approach

by Marie Teather

Without making excuses, staying fit in Tokyo takes a certain amount of extra effort. Between hectic work schedules and busy family or social lives, those wanting to go to the gym often find that early morning workouts or late night sessions on the treadmill are the only ways to squeeze a gym session in—both of which mean compromising on the rather important needs of eat and sleep. Then of course, simply being at the gym and going through the motions doesn’t guarantee that your time spent there is one hundred percent worthwhile or even that you are exercising properly (who hasn’t seen that person at the gym!). Whereas people are all too often happy to look for advice on business related concerns, for the more personal—and arguably more important—matter of one’s own body, people have, until recently been reluctant to ask for advice on how best to utilize and even feed it.

Back in the eighties, getting fit was all about calorie restrictive diets and intense periods of cardiovascular workouts. Today’s holistic approaches to health were all but unheard of except for those who were beginning to research the area. Jeffrey Libengood was one such man. Arriving in Japan in 1984, he explains that he always knew there was more to training than triceps and biceps and so started to study under various different mentors in the field.

He came to realize that most people, when starting to undertake an excerise regime, sought instant gratification; believing that by simply losing a certain number of kilograms they would again be healthy and happy. What this didn’t address was the need to assess a person’s individual nutrition, muscle structure, sleep patterns, illnesses, injuries, and motivations. “It’s about the complete approach and not what you just do inside of the gym,” Jeff says.

Jeff goes on to explain that, “There should be two main goals for exercise: one is to alienate pain and to stop any forms of dysfunction or distor-tion, the second to make what you do outside of the gym easier, such as looking to improve flexibility, core strength, move¬ment, and agility.” Jeff also explains that he advises his clients to follow the 80 / 20 rule. So, for 80 percent of the time you should follow a regime suited for your optimum health and then twenty percent of the time you can eat and drink as you please. “People are instinctively starting to know that problems can be solved without a bench press and increasing life longevity has become the priority.”

In answer to his clients’ wants of an opportunity to work out daily and not in a gym environment, Jeff has a series of boot camp classes that people can join every morning in Arisagawa Park. The early morning classes started with just two people and within one month had grown to 25 people in four different bootcamps. Still, Jeff emphasizes that his goal is not to get as many customers as he can, but to develop long term relationships with his clients and to answer to their long term fitness needs.

Bankers and Brokers Boot Camp meets at 5:30am, Early Risers 6:30am, and Mom’s Boot Camp 9:30am. Weekender Boot Camp is on Saturdays at 8:30am. Check site for specific days and up-to-date information as the classes are not everyday. You can also subscribe to Jeff’s free monthly newsletter by contacting him directly. For more information call 090-390-6390 or see