Malaysia – Level Up Fitness, Kota Kinabalu

Location:  Level Up Fitness, S-1-5, Block B, City Mall, Jalan Lintas & Lorong City Mall, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Google maps: Click here
Web: Website
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
Price: 45 ringgits (Approx £8.30)

Like the look of this gym? If you want to stay nearby then you can check out the links to hotels within walking distance at the end of this article.

Review: Having flown from Manila to the Malaysian side of the island of Borneo, we arrived in the capital city of Kota Kinabalu, known as KK. We decided to spend a few days here which means finding gyms in Kota Kinabalu to review for the blog. In the end, I actually managed to find three amazing gyms. Slightly frustratingly, none of the gyms are located in the main town, but luckily both Grab and Uber operate in this area, so it is pretty easy to get around… (Note: this is true unless it suddenly starts pouring with rain. Then it can take ages to get a taxi and you get wet. Then your girlfriend shouts at you when you get back for taking so long. Probably, I mean, this didn’t happen to me or anything. Am I still typing this?) 

One of the first gyms that I found in Kota Kinabalu was Level Up Fitness, which is located in one of the many malls in Kota Kinabalu called City Mall. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was back at home when I walked into this gym. This gym is easily on a par with any modern standard western gym. It is very well equipped with all of the latest training modalities and even including things like Les Mis virtual spin classes, functional strength equipment and even a sauna in the spotlessly clean changing rooms.

Level up is a chain gym with 10 branches all over Malaysia. Its new owners took it this branch and refurbished it in October 2016. As a result, all of the equipment is new and functioning. The treadmills and bikes have their own TV screens and there are plasma TVs and projectors all over the gym to keep you entertained whilst doing your cardio.

In addition to this, this gym has one large studio and one spin studio. It also has a female only training area, a first for my travels. Given that Malaysia is a fairly modest, and largely Mmuslim, place this is in keeping with much of my other experience with this wonderful country. For example, the MRT system in Kuala Lumpur has women only carriages. I should stress that women are not required to train in this space, but it if offered as an addition to the equipment in the rest of the gym.

As well as these thing, this gym also has:
  • Dumbbells upto 50kg
  • Adjustable benches
  • Flat barbell bench
  • Incline barbell bench
  • Olympic bars
  • Squat rack
  • Cables x 2
  • Deadlift station
  • Shoulder press bench
  • Easy bar
  • Preacher curl station
  • Leg press machine
  • Lat pulldown
  • Lat pulldown machine
  • Bicep curl machine
  • Tricep machine
  • Shoulder press machine
  • Leg press machine
  • Thigh abductor machine
  • Various abs machines
  • Pull up bars
  • Dips bar
  • Foam rollers
  • Tubes
  • Functional strength frame
  • Punch bag
  • Kettle bells
  • Battle ropes
  • Sleds
  • Mini-trampoline
  • Main studio
  • Small room
  • Female only training area
  • Static bikes
  • Treadmills
  • Cross trainers
  • Rowing machine
  • Foam boxes
  • Swiss balls
  • Medicine balls
  • Steps
  • Yoga matts
  • Changing rooms
  • Showers
  • Lockers
  • Steam room
  • Phone charger lockers

In addition to this,therer is an astroturfed functional strength area, complete with sleds, functional strength frame, battle ropes and even kettle bells. Add to this 20 mins in the sauna and this whole training session felt luxurious. After weeks of making do with rusted weights, it was so nice to train in such a professional and modern environment. The gym even has a bank of lockers with various charging cables in each so that you can charge your phone while you work out if you need to.

Whilst I was training here, I made friends with one of the staff, Jessel Michael.  Borneo slowly coming to the fitness movement. Those who train make up the minority.  Jessel also provided me with some background to the gym and helped me with all the stupid questions that I had. Check out his profile on instagram here, His account is defiantly worth a follow.


The gym also has a small shop selling equipment such as bags, towels or glove as well as supplements. You can buy a protein shakes for 10 ringgits and Quest bars for 12 ringgits. You can also buy tubs of other things such as pre-workout, creatine or BCAA.

Finally, the gym also has spotlessly clean changing rooms, with showers and a sauna. The lockers in the changing room use touch card just like gyms in London and you get a free towel with entrance. Training here was just like being back in London. But with a better view!

Who is this gym for? I would recommend this gym to men and women, as well as people of all ability levels. The environment here is very professional and the gym was spotlessly clean and felt totally safe. They even have a women’s only training area, to accommodate women who would prefer to train in a single sex environment. The gym is also perfect for any of you cardio bunnies, as it has an entire floor dedicated to cardio equipment. Add to this the fact that they offer lots of classes and you have all the ingredients for a great training environment.
At 45 ringgit, it is one of the more expensive gyms in the area, so budget conscious backpackers may want to look else where.
Tips: There is no doubt that Level Up Fitness is a great gym. The only draw back is that is a little out of the way if you are staying in the backpacker’s district. However, using Uber and Grab, training here is still not too expensive. Also, as the gym is inside City Mall you can combine your workout with a little shopping, or even leave your other half to have a look around the mall whilst you train.

Nearby Hotels:

$ – Borneo Swiss Guest House: From £15

$$ – Celyn Hotel City Mall: From £25

$$$ – Suz’s Modern Condo: From £55