Sri Lanka – Power Gym, Jaffna

Location: Power Gym, 218 Temple road, Jaffna
Review: I have never trained anywhere like this before. This gym was the inspiration behind this blog. Power Gym is located in an almost derelict old colonial building and has been going since 2003. This was without a doubt my favourite place to train in the whole of Sri Lanka, just for the experience of having done so. The equipment is old but functional. The weights are heavy and somewhat rusted. This is a no nonsense place. This gym’s Strip lighting hums gently under the pumping tamil music which blares out from a pair of speakers in reception. This is definitely not one for the faint of heart or beginners. They staff and clients were clearly not used to tourists and you should be prepared to be openly stared at and watched train. However, there is a friendly owner and once you break the ice, the people training are friendly too. Think it helps if you can make some heavy lifts as an introduction which seemed to win me the respect of the Tamil guys training there.
Whilst the equipment is somewhat dirty and rusted, Power Gym has all the essentials for a decent workout including:
  • barbells and free weights up to 20kg plates,
  • dumbbells unto 32.5kg
  • an easy bar and hammer curl bar,
  • lat pulldown machine
  • cables 
  • seated row machine 
  • treadmills
  • squat rack 
  • Benches 
  • T-bar row bar
Entrance on a day pass cost me 400 rps. (£2)
This gym sold the following products: 
  • Water 80rps. (£0.40)
  • Milo (5g protein, 20g sugar. not great) 

Who is this gym for? I would not recommend this gym to beginners, or to women. I trained here twice, and on neither occasion did I see another tourist. From the reception I was given, I think that I may have been amongst the first tourists to train in this gym. Also, on neither date did I see any women training here. Given the general reaction that european women seem to get in Jaffna, and the somewhat traditional attitudes to women in general in Sri Lanka, I would probably advise that lone women avoid training here.
However, if you are a gym regular, you have to try this place out! Just make sure your tetanus jabs are unto date. 

Tip: Also, there is no air conditioning or even a fan. So bring a cloth or some tissue as I was sweating buckets by the end of my workout.


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