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Taipei Gyms – Where to Exercise and Why World Gym Sucks

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If you are a short-term traveler in Taipei or are a long-term resident that does not want to commit to a full-time gym membership luckily there are some options for you. For the expat wanting to get a membership and attend more professional facilities there are also options but it can be tough to make a decision. Below are some options we recommend that you can consider for both and hopefully after reading you can get an idea of what to expect.

Short-time commitments

Until now we have not found a major gym brand in Taipei that accepts short-term contracts (i.e. less than one year). Therefore you will need to result to the government-established sports centers that are located in almost every major district in Taipei, ranging from Wenshan District, Songshan District and DaAn District. Unfortunately, there are no centers for Xindian and Banqiao Districts, as there areas are considered part of New Taipei City formerly known as Taipei County. To see a map where these centers are located you can click here.

Each center is slightly different but for the most part has the same working out facilities such as free weights and machines, cardio machines, swimming pools and a billiards center. The main differentiation is at the larger centers such as the Zhongshan location, which is the only one offering archery. For the gym facilities, you pay NT$50 an hour and prepay before entering. If you go over you are charged for every 10 minutes of use and not the full NT$50 so it is a great way to save money and assure you will not break the bank with your workouts. Towels are rented for an extra NT$20, which every person is required to have upon entering so make sure to bring your own if you don’t wan to rent. Other facilities such as the swimming pool range from NT$100-200 per an hour or session.

The history of these centers dates back to the Ma administration when he was Mayor of Taipei City. Due to Ma’s advocacy for maintaining a healthy lifestyle he pushed forth policies geared toward making exercise facilities readily available and affordable for anyone wanting to use them. Foreigners also are able to use them and there is no need to present an ID card.

Gyms with Contracts

World Gym is one of the most popular in this category but we are going to put our foot down and say that you should avoid this gym if you have other options. If you like unfit personal trainers constantly trying to fake befriend you and point out things they think are mistakes yet have no idea what they are talking about simply for the purpose of trying to get you to sign-up for over-priced 1-on-1 classes then you should join. This gym makes its core revenues through private classes, as one-hour sessions are almost that of an entire month’s membership fee. The trainers are trained to be more sales reps then qualified personnel and will try their best to persuade you into taking classes with all sorts of tactics.

From the very time you sign up they will not mention these classes but instead will measure your body and test your body fat percentage for records. The way they present this in the beginning makes it seem like this is part of the formality for signing up but after they take all their markings the sales rep leaves and a trainer enters in which he or she begins to make you feel guilty about your results. It almost is a fear-mongering tactic, and many people get these worried looks on their faces as if they had no idea just how bad of shape they supposedly are. They then present to you different options in how they can help and say it can all be achieved through at least 15-25 classes. Since many people are vulnerable when entering a gym for the first time many end up taking this route.

Now, this doesn’t mean that getting a trainer is bad and perhaps that is what you want, but the tactic is sneaky and is something you should take note of. In fact, after you sign the contract papers simply tell the sales rep you need to get going somewhere and will need to end your discussion. Otherwise, simply tell them in a nice way you are aware of the test and that you do not need anything beyond the contract but don’t be surprised if this is met with an awkward face. Afterwards, each time you see that sales rep most likely he or she will be fake polite with you and you will have built a reputation with the trainers as some sort of stranger. This is something you can brush off though if you aren’t bothered by these types of things. World Gym is about NT$1500 a month and requires a 1-month deposit along with the first 2 months payment up front. Cancellation is around NT$7000.

You are probably better off going another place such as Formosa Fitness where there are large varieties of kettle bells and more serious workout enthusiasts. The gym is foreign owned and also hosts a number of great classes, and now has 2 branches readily available.

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