Malaysia – Stark Fitness 24/7, Kota Kinabalu

Location: Stark Fitness 24/7, 1st Floor, Damai Plaza Phase 3, Jalan Damai, Luyang Commercial Centre, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Google maps: Click here
Opening hours: Always open 24/7
WebFacebook
Price: 15 ringgit (approx £3)

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: Just touched down in Malaysian Borneo? Then chances are you will have landed in the capital city of Kota Kinabalu.  If you are reading this blog, then there is also a good chance you will be looking for a gym in Kota Kinabalu too. Well, I am happy to report that there are a number of decent options to consider. Sadly, all of these are a little outside of the main backpacker area, but with both Uber and Grab now operating in Malaysia, all of these gyms can easily be accessed by a cheap taxi ride of about 10 to 15 mins. Just make sure you have downloaded the apps and have a local sim card before you leave the hotel to make sure you can get back.

The first of the gyms in Kota Kinabalu that I found was Stark Fitness 24/7. Despite having the cheapest day rate in Kota Kinabalu, Stark Fitness still has a decent set up, even by western standards. It is a medium-to-large sized gym with upto date equipment and lots of free weights. By any metric, this gym would be considered a good gym, and were it not for the other two gyms I found in Kota Kinabalu being essentially high end health clubs, this gym would likely have been my first pick.

The gym its-self is modern, using a keycode door system similar to the 24/7 fitness chains that operate in the UK. Much like those gyms, Stark Fitness is open 24/7, meaning you can fit your workout in around your timetable. As many Malaysians don’t drink, a workout after meeting up with friends remains totally possible out here. In the UK, if I meet friends after work, there is little or no chance I am making it to the gym after that. Ever tried burpees after 4 G&Ts? I have, and I wouldn’t recommend it.

So, what kind of equipment does Stark Fitness have? Well I saw:
  • Dumbbells upto 38kg
  • Adjustable benches
  • Flat barbell bench
  • Incline barbell bench
  • Olympic bars
  • Squat rack
  • Cables
  • Pull up bar
  • Lat pulldown
  • Seated low row
  • Preacher curl bench
  • Hammer curl bar
  • Easy curl bar
  • Fixed weight straight bars
  • Chest press machine
  • Chest fly machine
  • Assisted drips / pull up bar
  • Leg press machine
  • Leg curl machine
  • Leg extension machine
  • Oblique abs machine
  • Thigh abductor machine
  • Static bikes
  • Treadmills
  • Cross trainers
  • Rowing machines
  • Swiss balls
  • Weighted bags
  • Punch bags
  • Yoga mats
  • Changing rooms with showers
  • Lockers
  • Scales
So basically, they have pretty much everything you could need to put a decent workout together for any body part. The cardio equipment and machines are in good working order and the gym is air conditioned too. You even have TVs above some of the cardio equipment, so you can watch some of the local TV as you train. I had no idea what was going on during my incline walk warm up, but it seemed dramatic AF with lots of crying and fainting. Kinda like Telemundo.
The gym also has a vending machine which sells water and isotonic drinks, as well as a little shop by reception which sells basic equipment such as shakers, belts, gloves and even foam rollers. It is good etiquette to bring a sweat towel, as despite the air conditioning you will sweat a lot more than the locals in this gym. You can also buy them at reception if you need to pick one up.
The gym has communal lockers which use a combination locking system, meaning that you don’t need to bring your own padlock with you. The men’s changing rooms were a good size, and were clean and equipped with western standard toilets. The gym doesn’t provide towels, so if you want a shower after your workout, you need to bring your own.
Who is this gym for? I trained here a couple of times whilst in Kota Kinabalu and on both occasions the gym was busy with locals and tourists of both sexes. With the cheapest day pass of all the gyms in Kota Kinabalu, Stark Fitness is a good choice for budget conscious backpackers visiting Kota Kinabalu.
The gym offers a clean and professional atmosphere and seems to be based in a pretty safe area. Malaysia in general is one of the safest countries I have travelled to and the people are kind and helpful. The only real danger is getting stuck at the gym for a while, as demand can outstrip supply on Grab and Uber if it rains heavily. Standard common sense should be applied if travelling on your own.
Tips: The entrance to the gym is a little hidden. You need to walk around the corner to your left a little, past the coffee shop. The entrance is around the side and up the stairs to the first floor. Once on the first floor, you can walk around to the right to find the gym entrance. See the photo at the bottom for a picture of the entrance so you know what you are looking for.

Nearby Hotels:

$ – DM Hotel: From £15

$$ – Lanvin Hotel: From £25

$$$ – Friendly Homestay: From £42

Photos: