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!

Food and Physical Fun in Kuala Lumpur

It has been my goal to not only keep up my blog posts, but to also focus on food and fitness while I travel. Today, I’m going to try to do just that while I share my day spent in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.
Every time I go somewhere new, it takes a bit to adjust. You have get accustomed to a new currency, new language, new customs, and new foods. That last one is always a struggle, the curious foodie in me wants to try everything, but the RD and injured Fitness minded person tries to hold off. I was in Thailand for over four months, so the desire to try everything lessened and I often cooked my own food or had my go-to decent meals and snacks. So far, I’m learning what I like here in Malaysia, as well. Thankfully, there are plenty of options and I can choose meals without rice and noodles. I’ve also seen a variety of juice and smoothie shops, and one even offered a whey protein add in. Cool drinks on hot days are quite refreshing, so happy they are an option.
It rained this morning and I was beyond disappointed. I don’t like rain. It just depresses me and has since I’ve been traveling. I ate breakfast in Chinatown and ordered grilled chicken with a side of sautéed cabbage and a fried egg.

Chinese food for breakfast!

I sat and mulled over how I’d plan my day considering the rain. Everything I wanted to see required me to mostly be outside. I had my iPad and notebook, so off to McDonald’s I went. They always have a reliable bathroom, cheap coffee, and I had to catch up on some work. I spent two hours (over one coffee) there and luckily, when I was ready to go, the rain stopped.
I’d wanted to hit up a gym while here, but the one that gives a free pass is quite far and may have cost me in transportation so I decided to add my own physical activity to the day and paid a visit to Bantu Caves. I saw them on the map and a google search proved they’d be quite an adventure, and a workout, with over 300 steps to reach the top. And as it turned out, there was another cave in the vicinity, so I did quite a bit of stairs.

The stairs go all the way to the top.

Thankfully, I fueled up with a banana smoothie made with plain yogurt and “chocolate powder” before I set off on the 11 km train ride out of the city.

Yep, I did all of that and more!

I felt so accomplished when I finished, not only did I make it up and down all the stairs, but I avoided the Indian sweet snacks and did my best to stay fully hydrated during the day. It’s hot here and humidity is a whopping 85%. I was feeling pretty ripe on that train ride back, but at least the AC was on!

You have no idea how much I love this stuff, but I had to pass! Gulab jamun!

When I got back to the city, the rain hadn’t started back up and I really wanted to go to the Petronas Towers. I scoped out the area and decided to leave the rest for tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll go up to the top and walk through the park.

This is my new pose- it shows I can now stand on one leg again!

By the time I left, my knee was getting sore so I sat and had some grilled chicken for a snack and made my way back to the hostel. It’s time to do some PT, but I’m tired of sweating! I did a lot today, walked over 6 miles, climbed a load of stairs, and managed to get some decent food in me.
I’ve found delicious chicken is available most places and chicken satay is a common meal, complete with a fairly decent sized serving of spicy peanut sauce. Cashew chicken was my go to in Thailand and here, it’s going to be chicken with peanut sauce. ?

Indonesian style dinner: Chicken, veggies, spicy peanut sauce, and a piece of delicious tempeh!

Knowing your healthy options is important. I tell this to my clients in the states as well. If you do not have time to prepare meals, or can’t, like me now because I’m bouncing around Asia and don’t have a kitchen available, it’s good to have some “go-to” meals that won’t break your calorie bank for the day. Although I’m a budget traveler, there are times I’ll spend an extra bit of money for a healthy meal. In Bangkok, I’d spend upwards of $6.00 for a salad at Gourmet Market. Having healthy meals actually makes me happy, so that’s one area where I’ll sometimes spend the money.
So, what about you? Do you want to try everything when you travel? What are your go-to meals and snacks and how do you incorporate physical activity on the road?

Hotel Fitness Centers

Did you know there are over 1 million luxury hotels in Bangkok?!  I made up that statistic, but it really seems possible, they are everywhere, and that’s not including the cheaper hotels and hostels that cover the city.  I recently read somewhere that Bangkok was the most visited city in the world in 2016 and with all those people coming and going, the staff at large luxury hotels can’t possibly know all their guests, right?  With that in mind, I’ve been experimenting with “crashing” some hotel fitness centers and pools, and it works.

It first started at the Sofitel. Another traveler gave me a day pass to use the amenities on their 10th floor spa area overlooking Lumpini Park. When we arrived, nobody asked for the passes (given by the MOD the night before). I used the fitness area and spent the afternoon by the infinity pool. Not a bad way to spend the day when you can’t walk much! I then went to the Grand Sheraton because I know somebody who stays there. I asked if I could sit by the pool, so he walked me over and I stayed, lounging on a chair under the natural trees, a little oasis in the heart of Bangkok.

Doing what I can when it comes to lifting.

I went back to the Sofitel, feeling “safe” that I still had the guest pass, and again, no questions asked.  I worked out, swam laps, and showered in their immaculate facility with shiny off white marble like floors. Because that visit was a success, I decided to be a little more adventurous. I hit up the JW Marriott, just across from my hostel. I did some recon and was directed to the pool. The staff even opened the doors for me.  I did order a salad so as to not draw any attention to the fact that I was ultimately stealing real estate there. For the price I paid, it’s worth it because you cannot get a one day pass to a fitness center here in the city, much less one with a pool that’s within walking distance to me.

This is how I “paid” for my day at the Marriott- a huge Cobb Salad.

I love the pool and ambiance at the Sofitel, but I have to take a taxi there, so that costs me a few bhat. The fitness center is definitely doable with a variety of machines and free weights, but I have to say, the JW Marriott wins in that regard. It has more equipment than many small gyms and for my purposes, it is very practical.  The pool area is set up to look like a garden and doesn’t offer the views that the Sofitel does, but hey, swimming is swimming and I need it! The Pool at the Sheraton is quite nice too, but I didn’t go to their fitness center, it is on a different floor.

The pool at the Sheraton surrounded by a well manicured garden.

For now, it’s fun crashing hotel fitness centers and pools, and it saves money! If I were to stay in Bangkok longer, however, I’d pay for a gym membership. In the meantime, it is a good tactic to get in some exercise while traveling and I definitely love being able to lift weights! Do you have any stories of sneaking into hotels? Any attempts gone wrong?

Working one leg on the quad extension at the JW Marriott.

Pop goes the ACL.

Wow! Yet AGAIN!!! I have not updated my blog in forever. I left Thailand on January 1st as planned to travel through Myanmar. I took a long boat from Thai immigration and wasn’t sure I’d make it across but I did, and I was so excited to be somewhere new. I spent the night in that southern port town across a small bay from Thailand and began my overland trek north. I’d wanted to go by boat, but now that the roads are finished, the ferries didn’t get enough passengers to keep running. Organizing the van trip was simple, the few hotels in town will provide information and the van will come pick you up and drop you off wherever you’re going to stay in the next town.

Stopping for gas…

I spent my first full day on a small van/bus. We covered about 120 miles and it “only” took 13 hours. I got in to my hotel around 2:00 am and slept in. When I ventured out the next day, I joined up with another traveler from the Netherlands. We took a long boat to a small island that had a path dotted with pagodas and temples. Just as we were finishing up at the last temple, I hopped off a short wall and heard a loud “POP.” I was done.

Along the pagoda path.

Fast forward about 200 miles and two days of travel on different busses to Bangkok for treatment. I registered at an international hospital (one of the best in the world) and met with the orthopedic doctor. After an MRI, I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus and ACL.

I’m determined to continue my overland Myanmar journey once I’m better. I’m on a setback here in Bangkok, but one day, I’ll be able to walk again!

I made calls to my travel insurance provider, scheduled surgery, and recover now, for as long as it takes.
I’m bored in Bangkok. Laziness breeds laziness and I’m unmotivated to do any of my writing, blogs, and posts. Going out is taxing, and at best, I only care to do my PT.
Being stuck, immobile, with only one functioning leg, in a big city is no fun!
My next blog will be about my insurance fiasco!
To be continued…

Work Flow Fusion

 

The Gym Crew in Kathmandu, Nepal.

I wrote this blog post on December 22, 2016. It’s January 22, 2017. Exactly one month later and I never posted it. How ironic. Now I need to follow up on this topic!

I’ve been on the road for over 5.5 months and I’m not planning on coming home anytime soon. I want to find a way to generate income while I travel and although I’ve done some freelance writing, it doesn’t generate much income. I have a few things in the works, but I have ideas, and hopes… Hopes that the perfect opportunity or something like that will fall into my lap. I feel like I could market myself here in Thailand as someone who works in wellness to the resorts and spas and whatnot, but I don’t want to commit myself to staying put in any one place for too long.

Does this mean to repackage your weights?

I’ve wanted to fuse travel, fitness, and components of a healthy lifestyle into one, but I don’t know how. My blog doesn’t get much traffic (and I don’t keep up with it), people don’t engage much on my FB fitness page, and I don’t have a large enough following on IG to have an impact on that form of social media.

The owner of a small gym in Ulan Batar, Mongolia.

How do I market myself as a traveling RD? How can I appeal to different companies for sponsorship in exchange for social media postings, reviews, and write ups? For example, I’d love to get a free nights stay in a hotel, workout in the fitness facility, and blog about it. There has to be an interest out there and this is just one example. Gym reviews… I’ve worked out all over so far- China, Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand…

Body weight workout in the Gobi Desert.

I met a woman last night at the hotel restaurant. She recognized my American accent and we got to talking. Shortly after I left with another group to go get dinner. When I got back, I wanted to go hangout in my room, but it was pretty early. I stopped by the restaurant, the American couple was still there, but kept walking past. Finally I turned around and joined them. We shared stories and told them why and how I ended up doing what I’m doing. She told me her sister has a website and blog related to fitness. She said large companies like Nike and Adidas pick up the articles and publish them- the contributors get paid. She said she’d connect me. Fitness from all corners of the globe! Just what I want to do! Is this even real? I’d say it sounds too good to be true, or too impossible, but I almost went back to my room so maybe there’s a reason I turned back! I really want to go further with my travel endeavors, not only travel, but do something more with it… Any ideas? Connections? Recommendations? I’ve always had the travel bug and now I do it and feel like

Hitting the weights at Elite Gm, on Ko Samui in Thailand.

I can’t ever give it up!
Help me!