List of gyms and boutique fitness studios in KL

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.

THE PLAYGROUND

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.

The Playground Website

The Playground. A boutique training studio in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur

HIIT2FIT

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.

HIIT2FIT Website

Offers strength, cardio and biking options

FIRESTATION 

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.

Firestation KL Website

Firestations STRIDE class offers alternating strength and running

BABEL

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.

Babel Fit Website

Top notch training rig at Babel Fit

KOA FITNESS

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.

KOA Fitness Website

UNION STRENGTH

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.

Union Strength Website

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.

Ministry of Burn Website

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.

Liquid Cage Website

FLYPROJECT

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.

Flyproject Website

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.

Girt Nation Website

GUAVAPASS

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.

Guavapass Website

Guavapass KL – photo taken at BASE Bangkok ūüėČ

F45

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.

SUMMARY

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!

Men’s Health Thailand November 2015 Ask The Trainer

Here is a translation for my monthly column in Men’s Health Thailand.

11012063_10153042306887142_3281844784604478776_oI have heard many people are trying the Paleo Diet. What is it and will it help me to get in good shape?
The idea behind the¬†Paleo¬†Diet¬†is that you only eat foods that occur naturally, and that you could have eaten 10,000 or more years ago. This means eating organic meat, wild-caught fish, fresh vegetables (organic if possible) and fruits in season and nuts. Cooking oils should derive from natural unprocessed sources such as coconut oil or avocado oil. Grains like bread, rice and pasta and dairy like milk and cheese are not permitted in this way of eating as the idea is that we haven’t fully adapted to these foods and so our bodies often do not respond very well to them.
I first heard of the¬†Paleo¬†Diet, or ‘caveman¬†diet‘ as it was called then, about 10 years ago and it’s been gaining in popularity ever since. Unlike many¬†dietary¬†trends, the¬†paleo¬†diet¬†isn’t going to die anytime soon as many people have adopted the¬†diet¬†as their full time, permanent way of eating, rather than a method for losing weight quickly. There are even food delivery services now that only send food that complies with the ‘paleo‘ way of eating.
paleoI personally am a big advocate of the Paleo Diet and it works fantastically well for me and many of my clients. Like many people, my body responds better to a lower carbohydrate diet which this approach naturally promotes. You can still get carbohydrates from sweet potatoes and fruits, but there is strictly no added sugar. Whatever your body type, you will certainly gain many benefits from eliminating processed food and sugar and consuming more natural foods full of nutrients. It also naturally provides high protein and lots of healthy fats which helps to keep you satiated and feeling full, and helps you maintain and build muscle.
Some people get obsessive over this way of eating, and desperately avoid eating anything not considered ‘paleo‘. I aim to eat¬†paleo¬†about 80% of the time but I do add in some dairy such as greek yoghurt and milk. The truth is, we can’t be sure of exactly what we ate 10,000 years ago and our eating habits and lifestyles have undoubtably changed a lot since then. However, as a guideline way of eating for optimal health, low body fat and maintaining and building muscle, you can’t go far wrong with this¬†diet.
I’m Jack Thomas, Founder of BASE. More information on our approach to nutrition.

Product Review: Adidas miCoach SMART RUN Watch

The ¬†miCoach SMART RUN is Adidas’s first attempt at entering the fitness watch market. In the last few years offerings such as the Nike Fuelband, Jawbone UP and various pieces from Garmin, Polar and TomTom have helped fuel a huge increase in demand and interest in exercise enhancing devices and products.

Personally I have never used any exercise gadgets so trialing this watch was a new experience for me and¬†I had little to compare it to. However, many of my clients use these types of watches and they clearly helps people get motivated to move more, run more or simply hit the target number¬†that they’ve been given, whether that’s steps, calories or miles. Ultimately, if anything helps get you in the fitness groove then that’s a positive.

Appearance and functionality

adidas micoach watchThe miCoach looks pretty slick with a 1.45 inch touchscreen and¬†weighs in at a fairly bulky 80.5g. However, it’s doesn’t get in the way of anything and it feels like it could survive a knock or two. I’ve had problems in the past with watches slipping or being uncomfortable but it has a double buckle system that gives it a secure, stable feel on the wrist when running, moving or for daily use.

The interface is a simple touchscreen and a single button underneath. This gives it a fresh minimalist look and moving around the options and screens is quick and effortless with swipes and taps.

The battery life is not as long as some other watches and that can cause issues if you’re using a lot of features or doing a long run.¬†Think of it like your phone – if you use it regularly expect to charge it daily.

Features and performance

The initial procedure to set up the watch is somewhat long-winded but once this hurdle is cleared there are numerous neat features that make the process worth it, and start to justify the price tag.

Uniquely, the watch can take your pulse from your wrist without the need for a chest strap using a laser in the back. Clever, huh? I wasn’t aware this was possible and the ability to monitor heart rate easily and without the need for a strap appealed to me. The colour coded metrics also made it easy to monitor at a glance.

The GPS sometimes took a minute or two to pick up which left me feeling a little impatient at first, but if you set it up once you start warming up this can be avoided. Once running, I took a route that I knew well and the distance was very accurate. Being a stickler for detail this was reassuring. I mostly run short distances up to 5k at max pace, so if it’s a few hundred metres out I don’t want to know.

adidas micoach interface

The various watch swipe and tap interfaces

The Bluetooth connection, once set up, is pretty sweet with feedback given on your run stats, pace, distance and plays music held on the 3GB worth of memory space.

As well as your watch talking to you while you run, you can also set up workouts on the watch which prompt you to do exercises and circuits. As a trainer and someone who is self-motivated, this feature is not really useful or motivating for me but these may be great features for some.

Summary

For 14,990 THB I expect a lot. The numerous features may make that worth it – GPS, music player and heart rate monitor being the big 3 for me. If the other features get you excited, you can charge it regularly and you like the futuristic look and feel, this could be the one for you.

From what I’ve seen of the other fitness watches and wristbands available¬†I think some of watches¬†from the more experienced players like Garmin and Nike would suit me more, or maybe something more minimalist like the Jawbone UP or Vivofit – so being the fussy little thing that I am, I’ll trial a few more and find the one that suits me best.

The Adidas miCoach watch and ranges from Garmin, Nike and Jawbone are all available at Ari Running Concept Store at CentralWorld in Bangkok.

Specs
Price: 14,990
Weight: 80.5g
Screen: 184×184 pixels,
Battery life:¬†’14 days’ of no feature usage. 1 day of¬†full usage
Charger: USB docking station


BASE is proud to have partnered with adidas. We provide accessories and exclusive adidas x BASE apparel.