Wednesday, October 3, 2018


By Sara Pereira

How to stay (or get) fit in Bali

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Island of the Gods

Bali is the type of destination that deserves more than just a quick trip. A week is definitely too short to appreciate the beauty and diversity this little island has to offer. But deciding to stay in Bali for more than 2 weeks gives rise to the inevitable question: how to stay fit while visiting the 'Island of the Gods'? The good news: Staying fit in Bali is easy, better yet it's quite possible that you will improve your fitness over there, given you approach it the right way. Simply put, to stay fit we need to take care of two things: nutrition and exercise. And for both causes Bali proves to be an excellent location.

Dieting in Bali

The Balinese cuisine can be called quite healthy in principle, with standard meals containing a lot of proteins, vegetables and overall low in carbs. Obviously this depends on your specific choices, but if you want to eat healthy, you can literally find opportunities to do so at every street corner.

The most popular dish around the island is the so-called 'nasi goreng' (fried rice) and will often be served with chicken, egg and vegetables. If you are more strict on carbs there is always the 'gado gado' which is a dish existing of only vegetables and tofu. Veggies check, protein check. Or you can resort to the soto soup, again with chicken, egg and vegetables. In general the warungs allow you to pick and combine your own dish and almost all of them offer sate ayam (skewered chicken) and all kinds of vegetables. So even when eating out, you have no reason not to eath healty. Also note that the Balinese really know how to use herbs and spices which often means they need less or no salt in their dishes, which can be considered another win for your healthy diet.

Dragon fruit (Photo courtesy of Pexels)

More than that the food is -to Western standards- extremely cheap. Lots of exotic fruits can be bought for less than a dollar per kilo. Some of them proven to be good for the digestion or to speed up your metabolism. (Think of papaya, dragon fruit, soursop, or snake fruit).

When ordering a fresh juice always be sure to request for no sugar, cause at most places they tend to add sugar otherwise.

Where to work out in Bali

The second part of the equation is exercise, or physical acitvity in general. It starts as simple as the possibility to have a nice walk. Preferably on the beach. Since the beaches are more or less all connected, this means you can have a walk along the beach for 6 hours straight if you please to do so. On the west coast for example, you could walk from the crowded beaches in Kuta to the beautiful 'floating' temple of Tanah Lot. Walking this will take you somewhere around 4 hours. Not a bad way to get that sweat running.

If you want to increase intensity then there is the number one sport on the island: surfing. Catering to all kind of levels of surfers, from absolute beginner to pro, Bali is definitely a hotspot for surfers and aspiring surfers. Especially if you are a novice, don't underestimate how intense a good surfing session can be. Both in terms of endurance and pure muscle power required. You will mainly target legs, abs and arms while improving your surf skills. 

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Martial arts are another quite popular sport on the island (Bakti negara is the local martial art) and thus it will not be hard to find a dedicated gym to practice your favorite combative sport. That said, the gyms in general on the island differ quite a lot in quality and it depends on what part of Bali you are staying in whether you can find a good enough gym to keep your routine up. 


If you are somewhere around Kuta/Denpasar, a strong recommendation is Rai Fitness on Sunset Road. The gym is named after the owner Ade Rai, who is quite the celebrity after winning the World Championships in natural bodybuilding 3 times. He is without a doubt the most famous Indonesian bodybuilder, and his gyms attract some famous clients from time to time. The gym itself is of good quality. The machinery is up-to-date and clean, the gym is quite big and offers next to the regular facilities a sauna, freshly cooked food and a shared swimming pool. 

In Canggu you can visit Avenue Fitness, a complete and clean gym that also offers sauna and spa and there is of course CrossFit Wanderlust if you are into crossfit.

Are you residing in Ubud? Then you will have a harder time finding a decent gym to lift weights. One of the few options is Ubud Fitness Centre. If you don't stay too long in Ubud, maybe it's better to consider another activity instead of lifting weights. It just isn't the perfect area for that.

Photo courtesy of Sara Pereira

If you stay in Uluwatu and want to lift weights, head over to a Bali Training Centre. A basic but stylish gym in the southern part of Bali.

If none of these options suit your taste, you can always opt for an intense trek into the mountains (Agung or Batur) or up the volcano, yoga sessions on the beach or some snorkeling around a shipwreck.

And last but not least, to complete your ultimate fitness experience, there are the Balinese full body massages. For less than 4 dollar an hour you can get a massage covering your legs, arms, full back and neck. This is a great way to release toxins. But to be honest, more than that, it just feels amazing. And that is also worth a lot.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

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