UPDATE (8/10/2016): Make sure you take advantage of the weekly deals at iHerb.com. You get 20% off of the selected brands. Sometimes there’s brands that have whey protein, so you can stock up on it. But be sure to buy in the beginning of the week because they’re usually sold out after a few days. To see what brands are part of the weekly deals, click here. I will also occasionally post coupon codes near the bottom of the page, so be sure to check back now and then to take advantage of it.
UPDATE (9/19/2015): So I’ve been lifting and watching what I eat consistently for about 14 months now. I won’t talk about my gains, but I will say that I’m pretty satisfied with the results. If you have any questions or want advice, feel free to comment below. Over the course of 14 months, I still haven’t found a cheaper option for protein and supplements than iHerb. However, I have developed a list of products that I have been ordering consistently: whey protein, creatine, pre-workout, multi-vitamins, fish oil, and protein bars (optional). I’ve ordered the products by level of importance, with whey protein being the most important. Protein bars are optional, but I recommend it for those who are busy and don’t have time to cook a quality protein packed meal. Furthermore, the protein bars that I order are packed with 15-20 grams of fiber! Also, I tried to find products with the most value for each category. In other words, I found the cheapest quality product with good reviews for each category.
If you want to add all the above items to your cart, simply click here.
TIP: What I usually do when ordering protein is I set the filter for price to $10 to $50 via the left menu. This narrows down the whey protein by price. Then I sort the results by “Heaviest” which can be found on the top left area of the results box. What this does is that is shows only whey protein priced from $10 to $50 with the heaviest ones first. The heavier ones are usually the 5LB proteins. When you buy more protein, it usually is cheaper. Then with the price filter I had set above, I know I won’t be spending all my salary on just protein. I also recommend buying more of the same product, rather than buying 4 different products. Some products will give you a discount if you buy a bulk amount starting from 4. Also from time to time, there will be sales where there are massive discounts so be on the lookout for those.
I apologize for the recent disappearance. I’ve been very busy and finally started to settle down living in Japan. In fact, I’ve even joined a gym. Not no local gym that’s sponsored by the government where you pay about 400 yen to get in each time and you have a time limit of 2 hours. Each ward should have it’s own. Those gyms are meant for the old people in Japan, where there’s an abundance of. I mean no offense to the elderly, but I say this because the gyms are not equipped for bodybuilding, let alone just getting in shape. I’ve been to two different local gyms and none of them even have a bench press, which is probably the most popular workout ever. Anyway, there just happened to be an Anytime Fitness that opened up nearby. For their grand opening, they waived registration fees and the key card fee (this is what lets you in). I pay around 7,000 yen or about $70 a month. Yes, that’s no mistake, I said $70 a month. Welcome to Japan. Actually, $70 per month is considered cheap in Japan. Most gyms here cost over $100 a month. No joke. And on top of that, those gyms are not opened 24 hours. Depending on your membership, you can only go during certain days. Furthermore, you can only go during certain times during those certain days. I’m not joking. Luckily for me, Anytime Fitness is opened 24 hours, hence the “Anytime” and I can go whenever. To add to that, I can go to any Anytime Fitness location, not just in Japan, but worldwide. I’ve actually already taken advantage of that and have been to 3 different locations in Tokyo. All this for only $70 a month. It’s a freaking steal in Japan, right? Okay, I went overboard with the introduction and I haven’t even started the topic yet.
So after joining a gym, I wanted to buy whey protein powder and supplements. Apparently, buying protein powder and supplements in Japan is super expensive. I know stores like Don Quijote have whey protein and supplements, but super expensive and their brands that I’ve never heard of (Japanese generic brands). I’m not hating on the Japanese brands, but if I’m buying expensive whey protein and supplements, I’m gonna buy it from brands that are at least known in the bodybuilding industry. And so I did some research. I remember back in the states, I would order from Bodybuilding.com. Turns out you can change the country of the store, meaning they can ship to Japan! I was stoked. Prices were decent and there’s always deals and coupons to get a steal. Prices were even in yen and it was all in English. I thought it was too good to be true. And it was. When I got to the checkout page, the shipping fee was a lot. Although there were 3 options to choose from, the Super Saver option was still super expensive. The shipping fee pretty much killed the deal.
And back to researching I went when I came upon a website called iHerb.com. Despite the name, there were also a whole bunch of other types of products such as beauty products, herbs, some other stuff, and most importantly, “supplements and sports”. Although iHerb’s prices of whey protein weren’t that great, the prices of their supplements were. However, keep in mind that the shipping fee makes up for the higher cost of protein powder which I’ll talk about more in a bit. There was even a coupon that took $10 off if you’re a new customer. I’ll talk more about the coupon later. And lastly, most importantly, the shipping was “cheap”. Shipping was only $4.00. Yes, ONLY $4, well as long as your order was under 30 pounds. But that’s a steal! I could order 30lbs of whey protein and shipping would only be $4. And on top of that, delivery time is 3-5 days. That’s crazy. Furthermore, if your order totals $40 or more, you get FREE SHIPPING. Wait, there’s still more. If your order is over $60, you can an extra 5% off on top of that. Tell me not, that’s a steal. I should stop here. I feel like if I continue, this article will never end. Ugh, here we go… I just remembered that iHerb has a trials or samples page. What that means is that there’s a bunch of samples that you can try for as low as $0.25. On top of my protein powder order, I added a whole bunch of $0.25 and $0.50 items to my cart. Even if I didn’t need it, I still added it anyway. But yeah, be sure to check out the trials page too.
Beware of Customs Fees
iHerb has it written on the website, but I had to learn this the hard way. For those that are ordering from Japan, make sure your total order doesn’t exceed 16000 yen. When I shop on iHerb, I have the currency set as US dollars. Use a currency exchange calculator and make sure the value in yen is under 16000 yen. Just to be safe, make sure the value is at least 1000 to 2000 yen under 16000 yen. You will be charged an extra 3000 yen for custom fees if your total price is above 16000 yen. You will have to give the 3000 yen to the delivery person in order to receive your products. If you cancel, you won’t get a 100% refund. So the best thing you can do is make sure you don’t order anything that exceeds 16000 yen.
Hopefully, this article will point you in the right direction in getting quality well-known protein and supplements for an affordable price and quick delivery time. I know things in Japan are expensive, but I feel there has to be a better option sometimes. I wish you the best of luck in achieving your fitness goals.
iHerb Coupon Details
UPDATE (8/24/2016): Enter promo code MOON2016 to receive an extra 10% off any order over $60.00, shipping to Japan. This offer ends Wednesday, August 31st at midnight, Pacific Time.
Here’s the coupon I mentioned earlier: DPJ857
Get $10 OFF plus FREE SHIPPING on orders of $40, while orders less than $40 receive $5 off. First-time customers only.