Weights, Dates, and Protein Shakes in Melaka, Malaysia

Just kidding! No dates. Just weights.

Keeping up with my fitness can sometimes be a challenge on the road. I do well when settled and I know where the gyms are, but when you get to a new place, it’s sometimes hit or miss.
When I got to Kuala Lumpur, I only wanted to stay for a full two days. While there are plenty of gyms in the city, I decided to spend my time being a tourist. I did a lot of walking and didn’t even focus on doing my PT, but the hostel where I stayed wasn’t conducive to physical activity of any sort and what little I did left me sweating bullets.
It’s hot here, over 90 degrees F everyday and over 85% humidity. You sweat pretty much doing nothing and the heat index is typically over 100 F. It doesn’t really make you want to run to the gym, but when I got to Melaka, I found a few. It was difficult to get a feel for what was available on line. I found one that had a picture on their FB page with a one time use fee of 5 Ringgit, so about $1.25, but the Uber to get there was $2.50 (and then back), so it wasn’t the cheapest trip, but doable. “X-Factor Fitness” does have a Facebook page and they open at 3:00 in the afternoon.

Not a huge variety, but you can make do.

It’s not the biggest gym, nor is it air conditioned, but I made do with what was available. It’s ok to be creative as long as you have good form and best of all, there were some stationary bikes. For the first time since my injury, I was able to properly pedal, and not only did it NOT hurt, but it felt good. My quad stretched and responded to the activity. I think it released some tension that was stuck in the muscle. When I finished up my workout, the owner mixed me a chocolate Optimum Nutrition protein shake. For 5 Ringgit, I was pretty satisfied! So, if you need to get in a quick workout, this gym would suffice, but luckily, I found something closer.

My face when I’m riding the stationary bike apparently.

Datuk Wira Gan Boon Leong is a local politician who once possessed the title of ‘Mr. Universe’, ‘Mr. Asia’, and ‘Mr. Malaysia’ in body building. There are statues in Melaka that portray him during his glory days and they are hard to miss! The Gan Boon Leong Gym, named after this prized local, is on the other end of Jonker Walk from the Dutch Square. It was hard to find any details on this gym (except the history), and their Facebook page isn’t well managed. No hours are posted (not even by the door) nor entry/membership fees stated. When I asked about that, I was told the gym is quite popular, so they don’t really promote it so it won’t get too busy. ? Don’t businesses want to be busy? There’s hardly anyone there anyway. In any case, I wanted to share what little bit of info I got in case anybody is ever in Melaka and they want to go to this gym. And for the record, you should go. It’s like a museum for old gym equipment.

I don’t know why this old stuff is so funny to me!

Some of the equipment is so old it looks like medieval torture devices and the dust, well I think some of it arrived via the Portuguese Galleons back in the 1500s. Haha, but you can still lift weights that are old and dusty, prolly look like a badass doing it too! ?

These aren’t that dusty!

The man I spoke with said they are open Monday through Friday 9-9. Saturday is a “half day,” and Sunday they are open for apparently just three hours: 10:00 to 1:00.
The gym is big. It’s on the second floor of the building and the door way is at the other end from Jonker Walk. There are a few noteworthy statues outside that made for some good photo ops, again, worth the visit. It’s also not air conditioned, so bring lots of water. There are a a variety of machines and some free weights, however, many are broken so you may have to forgo some exercises or modify based on what’s available. I can easily spend hours there, especially because I incorporate my physical therapy exercises at the start and throughout my routine. I need to walk without a limp! Almost there….

Good photo ops all around!

So yeah, the gym is interesting and will definitely stand out as one of the more unique fitness experiences I’ve had here in Asia and at 5 Ringgit per visit, I’ll take it!

Author: Tiffany Batsakis

Registered Dietitian
Fitness Fanatic
World Traveler
Food Lover
Weimaraner Owner

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