Boon Leong Gym, Melaka
16 Jalan Kubu, 75300, Melaka
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 8:00 – 21:00, Sat: 9:00 – 20:00, Sun: closed.
Cost: RM 5 per day
Boon Leong Gym is the most central of Melaka’s gyms that I found and is located at the end of Jonker Street (west side). It’s unmissable due to the statues of Datuk Wira Dr. Gan Boon Leong, a former award-winning bodybuilder who won various titles in his time.
Although the statues are clear, the entrance doors are not – it’s not the double doors with a black sign and Chinese writing on them, which is what I initially thought. Instead, go around to the right of this whole building and you’ll see a staircase. Head up there and the gym is over the whole first floor -friendly staff greeted me when I arrived.
I don’t usually write a history section, as, let’s face it, most of the time we’re not too interested in the history of our gyms. However, the unmissable statues out the front are impossible to ignore, as are the numerous pics around the club. Datuk Wira Dr. Gan Boon Leong has won a stream of bodybuilding titles in his life – not only Mr Melaka, but also Mr Malaysia, Mr Asia and Mr Universe. Understandably his gym pays tribute to this with numerous photos and book of achievements. He went on to become a Malaysian Bodybuilding Federation Chairman, as well as a politician. It is said that he played a significant part in Melaka achieving its UNESCO World Heritage status.
Can’t say that about every gym I visit! When asking if Boon Leong is still alive (having read he achieved one of his titles in 1956) I was told he is now in his 80s and lives right near his gym here. All quite a touching story.
This large gym has certainly stood the test of time. I believe it’s where Boon Leong himself trained back in the day and some of the equipment here certainly looks old enough. This well-lit open plan gym has a decent floor and easy layout. You’ll see a good mix of cardio and resistance equipment, but bear in mind it ranges from old to very old. There is no aircon here, and when I attended on a weekday at midday, no fans were on either though there are several overhead. That said, I was the only person working out. So, take plenty of water and your own towel. The toilets are in good condition and the club is clean and well looked after.
This is predominantly a weights gym, though you’ll see a good number of cardio machines here too. Some of the cardio machines near the back of gym looked more like an antique collection than gym equipment if I’m being honest(!), but these were a minority and the vast majority of equipment in this large gym was certainly usable.
Interestingly there are very few mirrors in here compared to most weights gyms, though you will find some on part of the free weights area.
The gym is divided into free weights and resistance equipment, and there are literally TONNES of resistance machines here, including many duplicates. Even if this gym was busy there would probably be plenty for everyone.
You’ll find a large number of dumbbells and fixed weight barbells here. The total weights of each were unclear as it simply states the weights of the discs, not the total barbell weight (and before you think I’m bad at Maths, it’s never clear what the bar weight is!). The weights here look at least as heavy as those in most gyms though and there are plenty of duplicates – I haven’t seen this many fixed weight barbells (both straight and curled) for a while!
You’ll also find two sets of cable crossovers, a couple of pull up bars, preacher curl station and several bench presses including flat, inclined and declined. I also found two Smith machines although strangely I couldn’t see a squat rack.
You’ll also see several abs and hip extension benches, along with hanging leg raises, rotary abs and stretch machines.
There’s also rather a lot of very old resistance equipment here, some of which I didn’t actually recognise. If they keep it much longer, it’ll probably start increasing in value again. 🙂 But this does all add to the atmosphere of this place, which is well worth a visit.
You’ll find a good number of cardio machines here, which take up the whole length of one side of the gym. I found around ten treadmills, nine crosstrainers, seven upright bikes, one recumbent bike, an arm bike and two steppers. The equipment was once top of the range I’m sure – it’s manufactured by well-known brands such as TechnoGym and Precor, but it’s far from the modern stuff you’d purchase nowadays!
This is very much an old-school gym so you won’t find much in the way of functional equipment. You will however find some battleropes, a hanging punchbag and a couple of step boards. There is plenty of floor space for stuff like burpees, walking lunges etc, though no dedicated area. I only found a couple of mats around in different places at the side of the gym.
Due to its status and history, training here is certainly an experience to remember and something of a privilege. As the cheapest gym I found in Melaka, it’s a must if you’re on a budget too. Train early as the lack of cooling would be tough otherwise. This place is well worth a visit in any case if you’re into your weights. If your focus is cardio, I’d probably recommend paying a little more to use a gym with fans and more modern equipment.
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