The Olympic Gym Penang
59B Lebuh Tye Sin, 10300, Georgetown, Penang
Facebook Note, the Facebook page is not run by the gym owner/manager!
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 7:30 – 23:00, Sat: 7:30 – 20:00, Sun: 7:30 – 13:00
Cost: RM 10 per day
Location and Entry
I found The Olympic Gym Penang easily, thanks to its location being correct on Google and the large sign high up on the building. Intuitively I climbed the flight of steps below it to the gym entrance. Once inside, things got a little more confusing. The gym is a long, fairly narrow room and you’ll materialise in the middle of it, with no apparent reception desk. Head left and the desk is at the end (back) of the building. Here I was greeted by the owner, who just happens to have been Mr Malaysia a few years ago! It was a privilege to meet Khoo Ewe Beng, who told me he is now nearly sixty. Not for the first time in Malaysia, I’m at a gym associated with a previous renowned bodybuilder! (See Boon Leong Gym in Melaka for info about his gym and achievements)
Khoo and his staff seemed surprised when I mentioned I’d seen their Facebook page – they knew nothing of the FB link I have posted above! They rather curiously took a photo of it, perhaps an enthusiastic member set it up?
Note that the opening hours displayed inside the club are not actually correct, yet the ones on Google (and on my page) currently are.
The Olympic Gym Penang is a fairly small gym resembling a long strip. There’s no aircon, but several fans help things along on the cooling front. It’s also pretty cramped as they have tried to cram as much equipment into the available space as possible. So much so, that there’s a hip extension bench outside of the main gym at the top of the stairs, and a hanging leg raise out the back! Despite being short of space and narrow in parts, it’s clean and very popular with the locals. I rocked up late morning on a Wednesday and it felt busy with around 10 people, given the size of the place!
Lockers are provided, so take your own padlock and towel. You’ll also find open cubbyholes and free water (take your own bottle) – a nice touch, as most cheaper gyms don’t do this. You’ll find one each of a squat toilet, shower and changing room.
The gym was male-dominated when I went (I was the only girl!), but this wasn’t off-putting as people were friendly / just got on with their workouts. This may tie in with the gym being somewhat weights-dominated, with a huge amount of resistance equipment.
Equipment here is mostly a little ageing, but I’ve seen a lot worse. It was all in good condition and there was a good motivational atmosphere here, thanks to friendly staff, good music and other people working out.
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The lack of space in the gym was never more apparent to me than when warming up for my pull ups. I stood near the bars, rotating my arms and torso, and seemed to be in everyone passing’s way. The gym is really just a line (or dual line) of equipment in parts, but wider in others.
You’ll find a set of pull up bars connected to a squat rack, as well as assisted pull ups, a lat pull down, lat raise and Smith machine. There’s also a “Freemotion” machine, which is a pair of cables allowing a diverse range of exercises (adjusted with a pin). You’ll also find a (flat) bench press and a preacher curl station.
As for benches, you’ll find a few for free weights work as usual, along with an abs bench and hip extension bench.
Apart from this, you’ll find a large amount of resistance equipment, mostly pin-operated. Despite the size of the gym, I actually found more machines here than in many large gyms. Not all of it was especially modern either and some things I didn’t recognise at all. I read that the gym has been around since 1985!
It wasn’t clear to me what weight the dumbbells went up to as they are composed of discs, but I’d guess at least 40kg. The gym is particularly narrow here, so I’d recommend grabbing your weights and moving out of the way of anyone wanting to either pass or access the rack. And don’t forget to rerack – everyone else here does and it was easy to find what I wanted here.
You’ll find a small amount of cardio equipment here, but it does at least include four different things. I found two treadmills, a crosstrainer, one upright bike and one recumbent bike. The equipment is not especially modern, but was in good condition.
The Olympic Gym Penang is a little lacking in this area. The lack of floor space is a very limiting factor and I couldn’t even find mats (let alone worry about where I might put them). I did however find an abs roller and some push up bars. That is unfortunately your lot. I used the abs bench to do my abs work and will save the functional training for another day.
As the cheapest gym I’ve found here so far, it is something of a bargain for RM 10. Its central location is ideal too, and so is the buzzing atmosphere. Definitely avoid peak periods though; even a Wednesday lunchtime was a little too busy for my liking! But the equipment all works well and if you’re after a good weights workout, you’ll certainly get one here if you’re not too picky on what equipment you have. If you enjoy using resistance machines, you’ll have a lot of fun here!
All in all, a friendly little gym, ideal for those on a budget.
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