FlexHIIT Tokyo wants you to unlock your strengths – The Japan Times

Posted: March 7, 2020 at 3:43 pm


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Name (nationality): Diana Tsuruda (American) and Mitch Kondo (Japanese) Occupations: Diana: dancer, yoga and bodywork instructor; Mitch: fitness coach; bit.ly/FlexHIITTokyo Likes: Diana: dance, eco-friendly living, learning new things; Mitch: training, surfing

1. What first got you interested in fitness as a profession? DT: I started dancing and doing cheer in junior high school and continued on through high school and college. I was actually cheer captain, and I enjoyed leading practices and organizing groups. I continued this passion in teaching dance and running several dance teams throughout my life. I always loved the warmup, stretching, technique and conditioning exercises in dance class, and I enjoy doing repetitive movements and perfecting them. Naturally, I gravitated toward teaching yoga and fitness. When I was younger, I was not good at sports and thought I was unathletic, but I realized that I could still strengthen my body doing other fitness activities. When I took a break from any sort of workout, I felt a loss of energy and also wasnt as happy. Teaching fitness is a great way to always workout and be conscious of my health because I have to practice what I preach. MK: I always liked training and fitness when I was younger, but I started getting more interested in it when I was in my mid-20s. My wife pushed me in the direction of turning it into a profession.

2. How did you meet? DT: Im friends with Mitchs wife, who is a professional belly dancer one of the best in Tokyo in my opinion. He was looking for a partner to do group training and approached me because he knew I taught yoga.

3. What inspired you both to start FlexHIIT Tokyo? DT: We both wanted to bring our strengths to FlexHIIT, and the name reflects what we are both good at teaching. I lead the Performance Flexibility (Flex) training, and Mitch leads the High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I usually focus on flexibility and maximizing mobility for dance and yoga, and Mitch does more personal training and progressive overload weight training. Because of our collaboration, I started more weight training and Mitch started stretching more. I noticed how HIIT training also benefitted my body, and he also has increased his flexibility. So through our own experience and based on feedback from our students, we feel being flexible and strong is a great combination as a workout for anyone!

4. Whats the most rewarding part about coaching? MK: Seeing people enjoy the programs I put together for the class. Feeling and seeing the change in their body from exercise and good nutrition. DT: Ive had many injuries, from a herniated disc in my neck to bone spurs in my feet, torn knee and ankle ligaments dancers put themselves through a lot. I was also hit in a motorcycle accident. After that, my body and balance was not the same, even though I didnt have any broken bones. Ive always believed that we have the power to heal ourselves, so I delved into studying anatomy and function, yoga and Pilates, and I found ways to heal myself. I say this because I strongly believe that if I can fix my body, anyone can if they have the right tools. I find it gratifying to help a student connect with their body to have a stronger center, to be more flexible and to fix some technique where they can perform better as a dancer, yogi or athlete.

5. Why is it important to work on both strength and flexibility? DT: We need flexiblity to maintain mobility and prevent injuries. Its no secret as we age, we lose flexibility and muscle mass we know the old adage, if you dont lose it, you lose it. However, if you incorporate stretching and some form of weightlifting in your life, you can prevent this loss. People do not need to become a contortionist, or a bodybuilder, but the average person can definitely maximize their stretch and build more muscle. After a one-hour class, or even 10 minutes of stretching, people can feel the difference in better alignment and reduced stiffness. In modern society, most people are working at desks more than stretching and lifting weights. So even training once a week helps.

6. Is there a muscle group or exercise that even people who work out often tend to neglect? MK: The posterior chain like your glutes, hamstrings, upper back and calves get neglected often. Theyre the ones you want to be training the most. DT: I find that most people do not know how to specifically engage their deep abdominal muscles until they are shown. Also, there is an art in how to use breath to support movement and exercises. In dance, yoga and Pilates exercises, we train very detailed movements in strengthening the core. These approaches overlap in physical therapy and also athletes are often referred to do dance, yoga, or Pilates to improve their performance.

Mitch Kondo

7. Are there any certain measurements you maintain for your job, or do you have your own personal goals? DT: People should be committed when they come to class. Since our classes are taken voluntarily, all the people who come to FlexHIIT are definitely gung-ho about working out as best as they can for the hour. We have 20 minutes of intense HIIT training and 30 minutes of flexibility training and assisted stretching. Usually people are wiped out, in a good way, at the end of a session. The dedication of each participant makes the group session fun and motivating because everyone is suffering together. ( I say suffering in jest). It isnt an easy workout, but it isnt too hard. You get out what you put in.

8. Is a gym empire in FlexHIIT Tokyos future? DT: I like to take things step by step. I think if people like FlexHIIT, it will naturally grow and then we can adapt our business plan and eventually build an empire!

9. What would you say to people who claim they dont have time to workout? MK: Most people nowadays know that is BS, so I dont really get (that excuse) a lot. Its my job to help them find the time to train and make sure that they get their a to the gym. A good way to make sure you get some time to train is to pick a few days and times you can go the gym and work your schedule around it. Work your schedule around your training, not your training around your schedule. (I got that from somewhere but I cant remember where.) DT: I say we have to change our mindset and really understand the difference it will make in our lives to do some sort of stretching and resistance training everyday. I dont do a full workout everyday, but I always do a few stretches, like a cat or dog stretch; I raise my arms over my head, loosen my shoulders, stretch my neck and hips, go down and touch my toes. I understand I probably do this more than the average person. Everyone is different, but everyone definitely has five to 10 minutes a day to do a plank, some pushups and stretching. I confess: I do stretches in the bath or shower. It sounds funny, but I incorporate my stretching with something that I do daily so now it is a habit. While the hair conditioner is setting in two to three minutes, I do stretches to release my shoulder and neck tension. I recommend making achievable goals though so you dont feel guilty if you dont workout. It doesnt have to be everyday, and it doesnt have to be for long. Once you start working out, your body starts to want it like food, so your workout regiment will become longer and increase in intensity.

10. Whats the difference between health and wellness? DT: Health refers to the condition of physical body, whereas wellness refers to broader aspects such as mental and emotional well-being. Wellness reflects more of the lifestyle choices one makes to achieve a balance in health, which can incorporate healthy eating choices, working out, meditation, social activities and anything that helps you adopt behaviors that enhance your health.

11. Is Japans gym culture changing? DT: I still see more men at my gym on the weights. And I have more women in my yoga and dance classes than men. I definitely see an increase in the number of personal training gyms everywhere I go, but so maybe more women are getting into resistance training. I still meet many men who confess that they are so tight that they avoid stretching or yoga class, but want to increase flexibility. I dont have so many women who say they want to gain more muscles, but they do want to overall be fit. In FlexHIIT we want to have an equal number of women and men so far, we have a good balance.

12. Do you have a go-to pump-up jam? DT: I personally dont workout to music. I am probably rare in that. If I am on the treadmill, I watch YouTube videos! Sometimes I watch cooking videos, or dance videos. Other than being on the treadmill, I dont listen to music. My workouts are mainly dance and yoga, and for yoga, I like to put on repetitive sounds of nature like waves, and for dance I practice to the music that I am doing choreography to! MK: Duality, by Slipknot. Good stuff! Really gets you going.

13. Atheleisure suitable to wear in daily life, yes or no? DT: Yes, atheleisure all day. Half of my wardrobe is now yoga pants. Also I like comfy mixed with a little bling like skirts, dresses, suits and sneakers!

14. What three things are always in your fridge? MK: Yogurt drinks for my kid, eggs, some sort of cooked chicken. DT: Eggs, avocadoes, broccoli.

Diana Tsuruda

15. Are treadmill desks or ergonomic chairs worth it? DT: I think that any efforts made to improve health and alignment are worth it. I like the fact some people can sit on a yoga ball at work or have standing desks. I havent experienced a treadmill desk or ergonomic chair, but a comfortable chair has value! If you can concentrate on work tasks and walk on a treadmill, why not? MK: I dont know much about treadmill desks, but ergonomic chairs are designed to help you sit comfortably for a long time. But you shouldnt be (sitting a lot) anyways: There are a lot of people nowadays with low back problems, and sitting for long periods of time is one of the main reasons.

16. Who is your role model? MK: I dont really have any. But I do admire people who work hard and make something of themselves. DT: I dont have one specific role model. I admire a lot of people both famous and non-famous, people who do great things out of love, people who are intelligent, passionate about their work and beliefs, and set out to make their mark or make the world a better place.

17. Do you collect anything? MK: Surf gear and boards, eye glasses, shoes. DT: I have a lot of clothes, costumes and accessories. I dont specifically have a collection of something though. I love the things I have, but I definitely am always trying to declutter, Marie Kondo-style.

18. Its your cheat day and you can eat anything you want. What are you having? MK: Im not on any super strict diet at the moment, just making sure I get the right amount of protein, carbs, fats and veggies. But if I was going to have a cheat day, I would say a nice juicy burger. DT: I dont have a cheat day. The majority of my diet is healthy such as lean meats, lots of fruits and veggies, and a small percentage of is rice and other carbs . My pleasure foods are dark chocolate, cookies, sugary coffees, and occasional fried foods and ice cream.

19. If you had a useless superpower, what would it be? DT: I would love to bend myself in half in all ways, and be able to make people flexible but that would be useful wouldnt it? MK: To fly, because you can go anywhere you want. Your choices are endless.

20. Whats your favorite inspirational quote or saying DT: I have three: If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it, by Yogi Bhajan; Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration, by Thomas Edison; and Be nice to people. You never know whats going on. Ever, by Caroline Flack. MK: Get active, stay active. Thats the one thing a lot of us dont do anymore. And it sounds cool, bang!

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FlexHIIT Tokyo wants you to unlock your strengths - The Japan Times

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March 7th, 2020 at 3:43 pm

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