Location: Body Works Gym, Ukulhas Island, Alif Alif Atoll, Maldives
Google maps: Click here
Opening hours: No strict hours
Price: Locals – 100 Ruffiya a month (approx £6 or $8). Tourists 120 ruffiya per stay on the island. (approx £8 or $10)
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: I was having dinner with some other travellers my second night in Ukulhas when they mentioned they had been to the gym. I was surprised I myself didn’t know about it sooner, but inquired immediately. “Body Works,” on the harbour road. It’s a nondescript building with a closed yellow door and paper flyers covering the front, darkened window. This isn’t your ordinary gym, it’s a local owned place and by local, I mean it’s owned by the island for the island. There’s no front desk, no bells and whistles, there’s not even a bathroom or a sink. If you want to go, you ask your guesthouse owner to call the keeper of the key, and the door will be unlocked. It’s a large room with high ceilings, four fans, and tinted windows.
There’s no real open or close time, just coordinate accordingly. The Maldivians pay 100 Ruffiya (about $8 USD) to have monthly access. As a tourist, the fee is apparently $10 per stay on the island, meaning you have access the duration of your stay for $10 total. But! I never paid, and neither did the other guys I met.
The gym is sparsely equipped, but like anywhere, you can make do with what’s available and have a decent workout, especially if you’re creative. There are a few selectorized machines and some free weights. More specifically:
- Squat rack
- Leg extension
- Prone hamstring curl
- Leg press
- Lateral pull down
- Seated row
- Pectoral fly
- Bench press (but the bench itself is not attached to the base and the whole set up may not handle more than 100 pounds of weight).
- Incline bench
- Shoulder press
- EZ bar
- Dumbbells from 5-50 kg
- Lower back extension
- One treadmill
- One stationary bike whose resistance is really low so it’s not challenging. But it’s an island, so if you need cardio, swim!
It’s nice to see the local government promoting health and fitness. Hopefully, in time, they will get some more equipment.
Who is this gym for? Because the Maldives is a strict Muslim country, women are only allowed to workout between 3:00-6:00 pm and when local women are present, they ask you keep the door closed as they exercise without a burka. You can plan to workout when you want, with the exception of the female power hour, so long as you coordinate with someone to unlock the door. As a female, I’m sure I could have exercised outside of these hours as I’m not Muslim, but I didn’t mind seeing as I was able to meet some locals while there. (Also, by early afternoon I’d had enough sun, so the gym was a good excuse for a break)!Additionally, I honestly don’t think the place ever gets busy and one local male said he wouldn’t mind if I were in there at the same time as him.
Tips: There’s nothing for sale and you have to bring your own water and towel. You will sweat as there’s no AC and if you’re working out with the women, you’ll likely roast with the door closed, so stay hydrated. A few shops sell plain yoghurt and sugar-sweetened milk if you feel like you need to replenish that glycogen. Otherwise, again, it’s an island so if you need protein, eat some fish!
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