Monday, 29 July 2013




Kuching's 24-hour low-cost gym

Back to Basics

Working out at Night

The biggest mistake I made last year was not working out at all during the entire month of Ramadan.  The problem of course was that after breaking fast and prayers there was little time for me to do any sort of work out since the gym closed at 10pm.  So what I would do come every Ramadan was to freeze my membership for the entire month.  That meant a whole month of virtually no exercise for me.  Last year I didn't lose weight. Instead I gained weight! Five kilos to be exact.  The biggest fear for me was that this scenario would again be repeated during Ramadan.  So you can imagine how happy I was to discover that Level Up Fitness, the gym I belong to, had opened up a 24-hour no frills gym at Arena Sukan at Jalan Wan Alwi.  For an additional RM10 I could become a member of LUF24HR.  What's more for the entire month of Ramadan that fee was waived.  So in essence I was using the gym for free.  Of course it also meant I wasn't freezing my membership.

So when the fasting began I shifted to LUF24HR. Of course the staff will only be on duty for a certain duration.  Please refer to for more information.  What is important to realize is that anyone who wishes to become a member of this 24-hour gym needs to get an electronic key in the form of a wristband.  To do so one must pay RM150, which is refundable upon termination of contract.  After the staff have gone, which is usually by 10pm, to open the glass doors to the gym, those electronic keys must be used.  Once inside there is a turn-style to get in.  Again the electronic key must be used.  Then the machine will ask for your thumbprint scan before you can enter.  I thought this was a brilliant idea, as then the gym would know who exactly clocked in beyond a reasonable doubt.  The fact that there were numerous CCTVs also meant that the comings in and goings out of member could be monitored.  I am all for gym members' safety especially late at night.

Since this is a no-frills concept gym do not expect towels or lockers.  Yes there are spaces available to put your workout stuff if need be, upstairs and downstairs.  Downstairs is where the free weights and assorted cross-fit equipment are located.  There is also space to stretch and do other free forms of exercises there too.  The floor to ceiling glass walls give us a good view of the outside and at night this is especially nice as we can see the cars wheezing by on the main road.  There are also lots of mirrors for those who need to view their body beautiful from every angle.  Upstairs its all about the treadmills, elliptical cross-trainers, stationery bikes and numerous weightlifting machines.  I as a rule stay away from machines I am not familiar with.  Injury of any kind is always my biggest fear.  What I want to use most are the treadmills, cross-trainers and stationery bikes.

The machines available are a varied mix of old and new.  There is one top of the line treadmill.  For reasons I will not get into I prefer the older ones.  For me it is always nice to run for 60 minutes.  So thankfully those machines have all been set to go that long.  A neat thing I discovered on two of the machines is that the touch screen can get me a running track or a 5km running route.  Of course it's nothing special, but in between watching the TV screens and what's happening outside it makes for a nice change. Also it can be programmed to go into marathon mode!  Those who run long on treadmills can now rejoice!  I was grinning from ear to ear when I discovered that.  At the other Level Up Fitness it would be impossible for me to run on the treadmills for long periods after 5pm onwards as there would be queues of people waiting to imitate a gerbil like me.  At LUF48HR late into the night it would most probably be only me and all those treadmills so I can go on for as long as I like.

Only way in after 10pm is via electronic key
Glass doorway leads into the gym
Read the small print
24 hours of working out possibilities
Feels like LRT time!
Check your wristband here
My electronic wristband key
Am all thumbs now
Open Sesame!


Safety is always big concern with me as mentioned earlier.  A lady from the other Level Up Fitness gym did ask me what I thought about training alone at nights at LUF48HR for women.  My best advice to her was to go in a group if she was the kind who feared for her safety.  For me the mere presences of CCTVs and also panic buttons was enough.  In fact there were panic buttons placed strategically all over the gym.  There was even one in the women's changing area.  Doors are limited to the single toilet and single shower.  Both work really well.  There's also a men's urinal.  If you need to change outside, huge floor to ceiling curtains can be closed around you for privacy.  There are two of these, one for the men and one for the women.  What's more CCTVs face out from the men's and women's changing area so that anyone heading towards them can be monitored.  I could see a lot of planning went into taking care of members well being.

When I worked out late at night I could see the security personnel for the entire Arena Sukan area patrolling.  This was a welcome sight.  My only worry was always that a member would bring a friend in.  I guess this can easily be rectified if members wore their electronic key wrist bands at night.  So members know that the others are members too.  In fact all I want to do is workout and train and not have to worry if the person next to me or behind me is a member or not.  I am sure I can take good care of myself, but others might not be so lucky.  This may seem like a small matter, but when it comes to women it will become a huge matter.  Another thing I notice is that after midnight the main gates outside are closed by the guards.  This is an extremely good thing.  When I came out of the gym there can clearly see me as the entrance is in sight of the guard house.  So when I drove off they opened the gate for me.

Space to do your thing
Very motivating sign
I want muscles!
Always friendly and helpful staff
Upstairs rest area
Two machines to keep me cool
Bicycles that go nowhere
Rowing your boat?
Elliptical cross-trainers
The scariest machine at the gym for me!
For me to run like a gerbil
M is for Men

W is for Women

Panic button
Do they Transform?
Machines that make me want to confess to anything
Machines I don't even know how to use
Will it make me taller?
She knows I am ready


When there is free flow of hot or cold water how can anyone complain?  I like the rest area upstairs very much. If I needed to check on work I could easily do it there.  Of course there are a few things that would be much appreciated at the gym.  But then again this is a low-cost gym so I it is supposed to come with no frills.  I know I will be heavy with all that berbuka puasa goodies, so the sight of a recently put weighing scale was much appreciated.  With CCTVs everywhere it's hard for anyone to take anything, let alone bring a friend in.  For that a penalty of RM50 will be imposed on the gym member.   I realize my upper body strength is limited.  So a chin-up bar would be much appreciated too.  Also maybe monkey bars or those jungle gym ropes that go up high so that I can improve my climbing skills for obstacle races in the future.  I know a certain Kenny Sia must be grinning and shaking his head when he reads this.  Yours truly does ask too much for RM10 extra.

So now I have no worries if I need to train during Ramadan at all.  What more even after that I plan to go to LUF24HR again.  The thing is I like the power to choose when I want to go to the gym.  There have been many a time I wanted to run early in the morning and it was raining or the sky was heavy with rain clouds.  Now I have another option.  This gym has opened up lots of possibilities for me.  Though I must admit running long on the treadmill is the most boring thing ever.  However it is really safe when I stop to consider what's out there.  Trust me I have been chased by dogs, nearly hit by bikes (head on again!) and eyed by motorcyclists in a most disturbing way.  When we run alone on the road in the wee hours there are so many dangers out there.  I am a big guy and I know I can run myself out of danger if I have to, but still, there is always the feeling that someone might find my water bottles attractive...

LUF24HR might not work for everyone.  Those who need to company of others will find it a very lonely place after 10pm.  I have been there till well past midnight. Maybe because I like training alone so it mattered naught to me.  The music still blares loudly.  The air-cons keep me cool and two windmill like fans spin slowly to circulate the cool air.  So anyone wanting the freedom of going to the gym whenever they want too, do give LUF24HR a chance.  You will be surprised at how easy it is to workout when you don't have to worry about the time.  The fat old man running on the treadmill well past midnight is real.  Do say hello.  He is a really friendly and sociable chap.  You don't have to be a runner to be his friend, though most of the time running is the only thing he talks about.  At the end of the day it's all about working out, and being a member of not one but two gyms, has a lot of advantages for me now.  Thank you Level Up Fitness for continuing to blaze the trail for gyms in Kuching.

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