Here is a list of several gyms and other facilities that are popular with expats in Taichung. Of course there are more around the city, so I’ve included how to search. Information is subject to change, so please check with the gym for current prices and times. If you have any suggestions or information that would be helpful to other expats, please comment and let me know. I’ll add it to the list. If you would like to write a review for one of the listings below, please send it to me and I’ll be happy to include it for the benefit of any readers.
健身房 – These are the Chinese characters for gym/fitness center. Type them into google maps and all the gyms near your location will pop up. In addition, check out my post on Swimming Pools in Taichung. Many of the swimming pools also have a gym as part of their facilities. Some are better equipped than others.
World Gym – There are multiple locations in Taichung. Several are located in department stores and there are also stand alone locations. You can expect to pay a membership fee as well as a monthly fee. This can vary based upon the location and services you choose.
World Gym SOGO. 2F., No.22, Sec. 1, Meicun Rd., West Dist., Taichung City 403, Taiwan (R.O.C.) TEL : 04-2326-2166.
World Gym has established itself as the biggest fitness franchise on the island. Founded in 1976 by Joe Gold and Arnold Schwarzenegger it first opened it’s doors in Taiwan in 2001. It has now expanded to a total of 44 clubs in 2016 of which four are in Taichung – World Gym Sogo, World Gym Central, World Gym Yizhong and World Gym Chongde branches. It’s a fitness brand that markets itself as trendy and sexy appealing to the market of twenty and thirty something’s caught up in the gym craze, but flexible enough to cater to busy moms or working professionals. It’s focus is undoubtedly on the former as the atmosphere and vibe is similar to a club blaring out the latest tracks for members to work out to.
The main floor of the Sogo branch reflects the layout of most of it’s branches. There’s a section of cardio equipment for the novice or beginner members. Next to it is the weights section for the more advanced and keener body builders. The main floor also has a spinning studio where the club provides spinning classes every week. It has also added a stretching and ab zone which is used mostly by personal trainers for core exercises or stretching clients post-workout.
The fourteenth floor has a small cardio circuit reserved for women only. This is also where the studio with daily classes are held. They provide a range of dance classes (hip-hop, jazz, pop, belly dance), varied styles of yoga and pilates, as well as aerobic classes in the form of Step, Body Combat or Body Pump. For the full range of options, and because the timetable is somewhat varied each month, please refer to their website for a more accurate idea of which classes are run daily. The third area on the fourteenth floor is used for stretching, yoga or general ab word as well. In addition, the gym also provides Krank Cycle classes too.
World Gym is also fully staffed with personal trainers to tend to those who require a more expert opinion on their workout regime. Trainers are on hand to develop a suitable workout and exercise plan and guide patrons on how to best use the equipment with minimal injury. Certain trainers are also able to do additional things like boxing, TRX or ViPR with their clients.
For a gym so big, the SOGO location is well-maintained with showers, lockers and towels upon arrival. Although there is no pool, there is a spa facility where club members can relax in hot tubs after their workout.
For access to such a wide array of services, World Gym offers an affordable rate by Taiwan gym standards. Membership fees start at roughly NT$1200 per month for a year long contract and go down if you sign two or three year ones. Personal training remains on the pricier side and starts at NT$1688 per session for twelve and gets cheaper the more sessions you buy in bulk. In an effort to keep up with the market, they run monthly specials and events which may causes these prices to fluctuate. When I enquired about set rates I was advised that consulting the gym directly would be the most accurate way to get an idea of these costs. For the most part, staff members aren’t fluent in English but there are one or two trainers who are English speaking and can show prospective members around the club. Visit www.worldgym.com.tw/en to find your neareset club and to arrange a trial run.
Review by Mandy Wu
Taichung Muay Thai
No. 201, Section 1, Taiwan Blvd, Central District, Taichung City, 400
Contact: via facebook (search for Taichung Muay Thai on facebook)
Prices: $200 per class, $1500 per month or $10,000 per year
One on one private classes are available for $500 per hour
Monday 8:00pm Muay Thai
Tuesday 6:30pm Women’s Muay Thai
Wednesday 7:30pm Western Boxing
Thursday 8:00pm Muay Thai
Saturday 1:30pm Muay Thai
Sunday 4:00pm Western Boxing
The gym is also open at various other times for personal training (self training) so people are welcome to check the Facebook group and see if anyone is in training. As long as the gym is open people are welcome to train.
About the gym: We are a proper fight gym, Taichung Muay Thai was started about five or six years ago by a group of pro fighters who wanted a reliable professional place to train. The gym has changed location and grown extensively from those days, but the spirit has stayed the same. We are a non-profit gym (fee’s pay for the rent and equipment, none of the coaches are paid for their time) and train in a traditional Thai manner. We have several Thai members who train at the gym for free as it helps keep us true to our roots. We respect Thai culture and tradition, and the benefits that it has within society. We have several serious fighters who have been quite successful within the local amateur scene competing in Muay Thai, K1, Kick Boxing, Western Boxing and MMA.
We value respect, hard work and personal discipline. Safety is one of our main concerns. Most new members won’t get to spar other members until we have seen that they can do so safely. We have a strict drug-free policy and are a multicultural gym, classes are predominantly taught in English. As a non-profit we are more interested in quality of members than quantity of members. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come and train, but we do ask that our members take their training seriously and follow our rules.
We have a decent facility with seven heavy bags, speed balls, uppercut bag, floor to ceiling balls and a small boxing ring. We also have a weight room with free weights, cable machines, benches, kettlebells and medicine balls.
Review by Callum Cooper
Central Power Gym – This is a no frills gym with four locations in Taichung. Lots of good reviews in the Taichung Info Exchange. Reasonable rates.
True Fitness – a high end gym located in the Splendor Hotel.
Mandara Life Club – A full service gym, pool and fitness facility, part of the Mandara Hotel.
Merry Sport Gym – This gym is at the south end of YiZhong Night Market across from Taichung Park. Review below:
Location: 338 Jingwu rd, North District.
Membership price for 1 year – 6000nt. 3 months: 4000nt. (The 4000nt is from memory, I’m almost certain but not 100%, the 6000nt for 1 year is definitely correct though.)
Hours roughly 10am-10pm but you should check.
Merry gym, to put it simply, is a powerlifters dream: there’s just no messing around. It’s a small, relatively cheap gym, that does all the basics, and not much else. When I joined in 2014 they were next door to their current location, in a very small, very cramped space, with no a/c. It was full of big guys, lifting serious weights. There were few restrictions, many people exercised with their shirt off, stored things at the gym, and it was a fantastic 3000nt per year, and everyone knew each other. The owner, Mr. Chang, is an ex-bodybuilder, and a very friendly guy, but with limited English.
The modern day Merry gym has advanced somewhat, they have moved into a bigger brighter location, with a/c, on the second floor, overlooking Taichung Park. There’s a long table in the hallway used mostly as a place to eat, or for the P.T.’s to discuss things with their clients. There’s space here to put helmets and jackets. As you step into the gym, it’s still the same – what you see is what you get. Compared to today’s mega gyms, filled with rows and rows of equipment, Merry Gym offers the basics, which, if you know what you’re doing, should be more than enough for most. During the daytime there is one young man who runs the gym, and several P.T.s who help out as well, most can only speak Chinese but Rock, who is by far the largest guy you’ll see in the gym, has decent enough English and is very friendly. The day staff guy is a bit finicky with the rules; only water allowed near the equipment, sports drinks are left outside, proper shoes and towels, certain weights are for certain machines – he takes pride in his work. Usually around 5pm the owner comes in, always happy and willing to help, much more laid back, but still struggling with English.
The equipment all looks around 10 years old, it’s not shiny and new, but it weighs the same. The free weights section has an incline barbell bench press, flat barbell bench press, one flat/incline bench, one decline bench, squat rack, shoulder press, and one bicep curl bench (preacher curl). There’s also a free barbell, typically used for deadlifts. There’s a selection of barbells, both straight and EZ) and a selection of dumbbells up to more than anyone can lift. The only problem I had here was that they have two sections of dumbbells – weighted in pounds for the lighter ones, then heavier ones weighted in Kg. The problem is they don’t quite match up – the heaviest of the light ones is about 20kg, whereas the lightest of the heavy group is 30Kg, thus there’s a big 10kg step to make if you’re around my strength. Otherwise, this is a great area. Coming at lunch time, its never busy, it usually gets busier in the evening, but people are very willing and happy to share.
There is a small array of cardio machines – I think 3 treadmills and 2 bikes, there may even be a cross trainer. Otherwise there’s a few machines for specific muscle areas, triceps, abs, shoulders, pec flys etc, that you’d always expect in a gym. Around the corner there’s 2 smith machines, and the leg section – squat press, hamstring curls – the usual. And the last thing, is the cable cross machine, fit with pull up bars, lat pull downs, and row pulls on the sides.
This gym is basically your cheap alternative, while not as cheap as it used to be, 6000nt is still a good price, but only if the location is convenient to you. There are certainly pros and cons to Merry gym. The changing rooms leave a lot to be desired, the mens has one smalll shoe rack to put clothes on, one bathroom (no toilet, just a squatty, and no tissues) and 2 showers. I’m informed the womens is the same. There’s no real stretching area, not really a problem during the day but at peak times would be an issue to find space.
What I really like about Merry gym, is that it’s got a proper gym feeling. People aren’t just going there to look good, or to take selfies, in fact very few patriots take their phones in. This gym is about serious, hard work, it’s about getting strong. Theres a lot of regulars here, so its great to practice your chinese, and everyone is always friendly. Equipment is often shared, and people are happy to spot if asked. A few of the regulars have decent English and are happy to help when they can. Basically, if you want to get big and strong, focussing on compound moves with a few extras, Merry gym is a great place.
For women joining the gym, it really depends what you want. Theres a number of women who exercise here, some are powerlifters, some want to be a bit stronger, some just want a cheap gym. As I’ve said, it’s a friendly gym, but not a sleazy one – I’ve never seen guys hitting on girls here – everyone is here to work.
The location is just south of Yi-Zhong market, meaning theres lots of places to eat nearby, and parking a scooter is never a problem, and there are car parks nearby.
Overall I am a big fan of Merry gym: it’s simple, easy going, friendly, and has all that you need. It’s cheap, and has a good location. However, as a cheap alternative, it does only really appeal if its convenient for you. If you want rows and rows of machines that you can’t tell the difference between, if you want the sauna and the steam room, or lines of attractive people checking themselves out in the mirror, this probably isn’t the gym for you.
Review courtesy of Steven Laird
Fitness Factory – located near the heart of the city.
Ed Gym – located on Wenxin Road near FengJia University.
Phone #: 0980 277 940
Wenxin Rd/Henan Rd Intersection (above Mos Burger)
Membership is 8000 for a year, but you can also pay monthly or buy tickets. It’s open from 10am to 10pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 8pm on Sunday. The owner is Ed, he speaks excellent English and is built like a train. He’s very friendly and approachable, and very knowledgeable about exercise and gym routines. It’s a small gym, containing three treadmills, some free weights and a number of different machines, nowhere near the size of Fitness Factory; however it’s rarely busy, meaning waiting times for equipment are short, and in my opinion there is enough machinery to work every muscle group comfortably. The clientele is varied: some heavy lifters, some newcomers, some working predominantly on cardio – there is a bit of something for everyone. The lack of variety of machines – compared to Fitness Factory, for example – might be a bit restrictive for some, but for me Ed Gym represents great value for money in a friendly and non-competitive environment.
Review courtesy of Anonymous
Full Force Fitness – 台灣大墩路12街296號 5th floor
ISSA – Integration Sports Science Academy
VPL -Vast Physical Limits