Gyms in Kuala Lumpur
Overview of Gyms in KL
Gyms in Kuala Lumpur are generally of an excellent standard and several form parts of chains. They’re usually located in one of many large malls around the city centre and have expensive day pass rates, starting from around 50 ringgit per go. Keep reading to find out about free trials. For this price, you’ll be in an elite chain with a large modern air-conditioned gym, clean and classy changing rooms and at least one studio. These gyms in KL typically offer a variety of classes; Les Mills is very popular here, as are yoga and Zumba. Best of all, I even found a few good freestyle step and dance classes!
Local Gyms in KL
At the other end of the cost spectrum, I found a local gym for a bargain five ringgit. For this price, expect no aircon, potentially no fans and very old equipment. These sorts of gyms are usually focussed on weights and rightly so – doing cardio would be pretty unpleasant in 30+ degree heat! The best approach with local gyms is to think basic, whether it’s the quality of the mats, decor or toilets. Have low expectations and you won’t be disappointed.
During my 2.5 weeks in this awesome city I used five different gyms and checked out others. (For those thinking that doesn’t seem like many, I used them all more than once!) All of these clubs had excellent gym facilities in addition to three studios. Each had a main studio, yoga studio and Spinning studio.
For full info on the gyms in KL that I visited, see individual articles here or continue reading below:
Additionally, Jatomi Fitness is in the process of being taken over / rebranded as Enhance Fitness; I found a couple of branches in Kuala Lumpur.
Sports Toto Fitness doesn’t appear to belong to a chain but its facilities were certainly up there. And as a bonus, the club was actually quieter than most of the chains, meaning you could get on equipment easily.
Anytime Fitness is a large global chain and I’ve used their clubs successfully in Canada, Thailand and Australia. However, despite advertising free trials on their websites here, both clubs I registered for free passes at in KL refused me entry, with one telling me they do not accommodate travellers. The other one seemed to be in the middle of a name change and said they weren’t currently honouring free trials. All in all, not very reliable here.
I didn’t attend any of Chi Fitness‘ clubs this time, mainly as there were none in the areas I was staying. Note that Fitness First, Celebrity Fitness and Chi Fitness are part of the same group, and I’d therefore anticipate that Chi Fitness has the same high standards.
A Comparison of Gyms in Kuala Lumpur
You’d struggle to be disappointed at any of facilities at Fitness First, Celebrity Fitness, Peak Fitness or indeed Sports Toto Fitness. I’d like to include Enhance Fitness in this, but for me, it didn’t quite match up to the others. The reason is it lacked a couple of standard pieces of weight-training equipment and was also quite a dark and dingy gym. It does however offer the cheapest day pass of the five, at RM 50 a go. Personally, if I’m going to pay RM 50 for a workout, I’d rather fork out a little more and have everything I want. It had a great functional training area though!
In terms of gym facilities, the other four gyms in KL had everything I could have wanted and I found little to separate them in terms of facilities. Celebrity Fitness Bangsar Village and Fitness First Avenue K were however noticeably busier than the other clubs, making them uncomfortably so in peak periods. Although the air-conditioning was more than capable of coping with the volume of people, it was challenging to get on equipment. I attended Celebrity Fitness Bangsar Village late one evening and even at 21:00 it was a little too busy for my liking, which would put me off joining. However, these two clubs had hands-down by far the best class timetables, explaining their popularity. They had the largest number of classes and best variety, so if you’re a class junkie, I’d definitely recommend checking out their timetables.
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So, Which is Best?
My favourite studio of all was at Celebrity Fitness Bangsar Village. It’s huge, overlooks the city so you can enjoy natural daylight and the sound system was also very good.
Sports Toto Fitness was a favourite of mine in terms of gym facilities. This spacious club has a window the entire length of it and there’s plenty of space to train in the freeweights area. I particularly liked the fact that it wasn’t overly busy at any point, so it as easy to get on everything. Although its studio wasn’t as large at Celebrity Fitness, it still had a good mix and number of classes, though less than the other two clubs. If you like space when you’re training, this is the place to go.
Swimming Pool, anyone?
I also really liked Peak Fitness G Tower, just a short walk from Ampang Park metro station. Its unique selling point was an attractive outdoor pool. Its main studio had less classes than the “big two” and was a similar size to Sports Toto Fitness. What I really liked here was the freestyle classes. You can enjoy freestyle step and power dance here, both of which were awesome. It’s also a little quieter than Fitness First and Celebrity Fitness, making it a great option.
Peak Fitness G Tower was also the only club I’m aware offers a weekly casual rate. This comes in at a pricy RM 149, but given that Sports Toto’s minimum term is three months and some of the others ask you to sign up for a year, this might suit those who aren’t staying long and have the budget.
I know I’m not supposed to take the cafe into account when evaluating gyms(!), but if I was, Fitness First Avenue K would take the lead on this front. You’ll find all sorts of naturally flavoured waters, coffee and fruit tea here, along with a relaxing area to chill out or work. These are free of charge and there are charge points too!
The part you’ve all been waiting for! Many gyms in Kuala Lumpur offer free passes on their website, and the ones I acquired in KL were 1, 3 or 7 days long. I’ve included links to these on individual sites. These are usually consecutive days. Some clubs make it clear on their websites that you should be a Malaysian citizen / working there to be eligible for it, whereas others simply state that Terms and Conditions apply. Frankly this could mean anything. I usually check the email confirmation for any further signs that I might be turned away. If not, I recommend turning up and talking to them in person, as it’s easier to negotiate this way.
It is understandable that gyms only offer freebies to residents, knowing that there’s a chance some will join afterwards. There’s little incentive for them to offer free passes to tourists, however my frustration is at the casual rates which some gyms charge. Travellers like myself simply can’t afford to spend $20 on every workout, just because we are not attending the same gym every day. I will sometimes put this to the club and try to negotiate a fairer price if I can’t get a free trial. Some clubs / staff might have the flexibility to offer a discount and it’s more likely to happen if you turn up in person, ready to train, with your wallet open.
How to Use Them
Note that email confirmations often say to call the club to arrange at time or state that they’ll call you. It’s not like in the USA where a free pass email is exactly that (I miss you, Planet Fitness!).
If you manage to get a free trial for more than one day, you’ll usually be given a temporary card with an expiry date on it for you to show on future visits to the club.
Take Your Passport…
A small number of clubs will ask for your passport or other ID upon entry. Of the ones I went to here, only Enhance Fitness (Jatomi) did so. I am usually asked when I least expect it and not very frequently. But definitely best to keep your passport on you, just in case.
The Cheaper Options
One local gym in KL which I identified was Gold Gym, not to be confused with the US chain of fitness centres. If you were expecting the US chain, you’ll be in for a shock here! It’s something of a typical local gym in Asia. So, no aircon, machinery from the previous millennium, tatty decor and you probably don’t want to look in the bathroom, if there indeed is one. I had a quick look around – it’s five ringgit and focusses mainly on weights. Thankfully these pass the test of time well as iron doesn’t tend to fall apart. If you can stand the heat and you’re on a budget then go for it. Bear in mind this place is one floor up, which doesn’t help the temperature. It’s a reasonable size though with a good range of weights.
2nd Floor, 46-2, Jalan Nyonya, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Facebook (Yes they appear to be using the logo of the actual Gold’s Gym!)
Opening Times: unclear. Their Facebook page states different times to the ones I saw on the door (10:00 – 21:00).
Cost: RM 6 a day, or RM 80 per month, plus a registration fee of 50k.
If this sort of club is appeals to you, bear in mind that not all local clubs are shown on Google maps. You’re best off asking your accommodation or any of the locals where the nearest gym is, making it clear you’re happy without aircon and want to train in a local gym.
Summary of Gyms in KL
Choosing a gym on your travels is a very personal thing and will depend on various factors, such as your location, budget and what sort of facilities are a priority to you. Kuala Lumpur has some of the best gyms I’ve found in Asia and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with any of these clubs. Gyms in KL are normally willing to show you around before paying, so make sure you’re happy before parting with any money.
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