A lot has happened in the last few years in South East Asia’s fitness industry and it has been a joy to watch.
More and more people are taking their fitness seriously and working out is becoming something that is now enjoyed; looked forward to.
Shockwaves from the fitness industry explosion have been felt throughout Kuala Lumpur, with new offerings springing up in each corner of the city.
Singapore and Bangkok has a fitness scene that’s easy to access by the skytrain, MRT or walking. KL is more spaced out with few options walking distance apart, so if you’re on a gym-hopping trip make sure you’ve got your Uber or Grab app at the ready!
Here is my guide to the best boutique fitness options in KL, Malaysia.
A new kid on the block, The Playground is a beautiful fitness space in the Bangsar area of KL, spanning 4,500 square feet and offering both group classes and personal training.
A slick and sexy vibe is backed up by solid training programs and inspiring, movitating coaches at the top of their game.
Tons of natural light and a wide range of top quality fitness kit makes this one of the premier training choices in KL.
Dark room, pumping music, motivating coaches and on-screen heart rate monitoring – this is what you can expect at HIIT2FIT.
Situated in the Publika building, their workout is a mix of strength training using TRX, medicine balls and dumbbells, combined with water rowing and treadmill work.
Their two offerings are Mean HIIT which is their functional training offeirng and Lean HIIT, which is cycling. Both offering heart rate monitoring as standard.
I love training at Firestation – the trainers are pumped, the music is good, the workout is tough and well-structured and they add in all the little touches like cold towels and lighting to complete the workout experience.
Firestation – or FIRE as it’s come to be known for many – is an adidas-sponsored gym offering STRIKE, which is water bag boxing, RIDE which is cycling and STRIDE which is alternating treadmill and floorwark in a similar style to Barry’s Bootcamp.
If you can get a spot, be sure to try their Saturday morning 30-30 concept which involves 30 minutes of STRIKE, RIDE and STRIDE with a shot of juice between each session.
If we had to live in a gym, it would be Babel.
It is quite simply one of the most stunning and well-equipped gyms I have ever been to. State-of-the-art Rogue and Technogym equipment throughout, high-end bathrooms, a beautiful cafe and hang out area and very helpful and friendly staff.
Your Instagram feed will glow radiantly after each visit to this place and we really love the vibe.
They have a lot of niche gear that looks unused and fresh out the box but are great if you know what you’re doing – peg boards, curved treadmills, the new TRX, Concept SkiErgs and Rip Trainer. If none of that means anything to you, trust me when I tell you these are cool pieces of kit in the right hands.
If you’re looking for the complete training experience we would rank The Playground and Firestation higher, but if you like to spend the day at the gym feeling like royalty, this is the place.
Anyone that promotes the message of strong women gets a big thumbs up from us, or in this case a BangkokFitness Top Choice trophy.
Dubbed a ‘playground for women’ KOA fitness is a female-only gym that are serious about what they do. The gym is well-equipped with tons of strength gear like barbells, cables, sleds (always nice to see) and kettlebells, sprinkled with cardio and HIIT tools like treadmills, battle ropes and bikes.
Offering open gym, personal training and group classes, if you’re in KL and you’re a women, a visit should be on your list.
An open gym that specializes in raw strength – we have lifting platforms, a sled, all kinds of barbells, kettlebells and dumbbells. There’s also some cardio equipment in their to round off your session.
Union Strength is based on the 1st floor of the Hartamas Shopping centre.
MINISTRY OF BURN
Ministry of Burn – or MOB – runs 3 fitness concepts: MOVE is full body HIIT, RIDE is their cycle class and ROW is their new rowing concept class.
When we dropped by to check it out in the afternoon it was closed, so make sure you visit during training hours.
LIQUID CAGE BOXING
After the success of Rumble in New York, Aqua boxing – using punch bags filled with water – has really taken off worldwide.
These offerings have undoubtedly made boxing more accessible to the masses, and Liquid Cage have jumped on the trend with a nightclub style training environment and three boxing concepts – 45-minute options with Liquid Wave and Liquid Surge, and a 60-minute Liquid Heat class focusing on endurance.
Another New York concept, rhythm cycling, finds its way to KL with Flycycle.
Cycle to the beat of the music with motivating trainers/performers who guide you through a tempo cycling workout coupled with upper body hand-weight exercises.
Their Flylab yoga concept and Flyfight boxing classes complete the project.
GRIT NATION CROSSFIT
Grit Nation is one of many Crossfit offerings in KL, but the only one we’ve had a chance to try.
Expect encouraging and passionate coaches, your typical Crossfit garage vibe, a giant rig and a bunch of heavy weights – exactly what you’d expect from any self-respecting Crossfit!
We were impressed with the cleanliness of the gym and the warm welcome and thorough introduction from the coaches.
Asia’s favourite gym pass has recently launched in KL, offering fitness classes all over the city.
You can only visit each studio 4 times per month, but if you like to dip into different studios then this is a great option.
With F45 you know what you’re going to get – each of their 1,000+ locations around the world does the exact same workout with screens around the studio to keep you on track and remind you of what’s next.
The 45-minute session will incorporate functional strength and a range of tools in a class setting of up to 36 people. There are currently 3 locations in KL – Publika Mall, KLCC and Mont Ciara.
The recent explosion of choice has left the fitness consumer spoiled in KL. We predict big things for the industry here over the next few years and look forward to seeing what happens.
If there are any studios we’ve missed out, please let us know and we’ll make sure we visit next time!