Indonesia Expat
Lifestyle Sports/Health

Staying Fit In The City

Despite Jakarta’s bustling and chaotic nature, too many residents lead a sedentary lifestyle. It’s time to move and get healthy, Jakarta!  Indonesia Expat interviewed accomplished personal trainer, Nick Laspina, for his perspective on staying fit.

In Jakarta there is a trend of collapsed foot arches, rounded shoulders, and lower back tension, classic indicators of a sedentary lifestyle.  Laspina explains that feet are our foundation, and collapsed arches alone can lead to knee pain, lower back pain and hip instability.  More exercise, and the correct exercise, is imperative to keep our bodies and minds healthy for the long term.

Diversity is Key

Getting a membership at a gym is a great idea but diversifying your routine is paramount.  Want to lose weight?  HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and running on the treadmill are not the only ways to do it.  Mixing up your routine benefits your mind and body.  However, Laspina offers the advice that there should be some type of consistency in order to develop a baseline and measure improvements.

Eating – Be Social

Indonesia, and specifically Jakarta, is a melting pot of outstanding local and international cuisine.  With food regulations that may not match your home country, it can be difficult to determine exactly what you are eating.  Laspina advises to get social!  Ask around to find the grocers that carry grass-fed beef if that’s what you’re after.  Be persistent and specific when asking around town and eventually you will find the clean foods you are looking for.


Classic Indonesian food is generally healthy, but watch the portions.  Rice, tempe and tofu are good but they shouldn’t dominate the plate, and you shouldn’t consume too much of anything in one sitting.  Laspina recommends to eat a small meal every two or three hours.  Skip the fried foods when possible, and perhaps opt for a water instead of that last Bintang.

It’s the small things – Break up the monotony

Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to stretch and walk around your workplace or home.  Hitting the gym is important but over the course of the day it is imperative that you don’t sit idle for too long.  It takes less than ten minutes to get up and get the blood moving.  The mental break will also make you more productive in your day.


Be smart, avoid areas that are freshly fumigated, check the smog levels before going for a long run outdoors, and consider working out inside instead.  Laspina recommends a eucalyptus steam when feeling bogged down after hazy days.

Have an Open Mind – Fitness has evolved

Have you been trained by a professional how to work out properly in the last five years?  The fitness industry has been evolving.  Fads and techniques that we participated in 20 years ago have been replaced.  Research of body movement, injuries and the development of new technologies have given fitness a new face.  In Jakarta, group classes are an exploding trend. If you are careful with your form and mindful of your movements, group classes are a great way to keep motivated and diversify your workouts.

Using an educated personal trainer with a solid background in physiology and anatomy is essential for anyone who wants to start working out.  You don’t necessarily have to commit to lengthy subscriptions anymore either, so even if you are a seasoned veteran you may consider consulting a trainer periodically. Having a trainer serves the purpose of motivator, corrector, and educator.  In the city where you have to make a concerted effort just to walk around, a personal trainer is a great idea for that extra motivation.

One of the biggest mistakes Laspina identified is people rushing through their workouts.  There is also a misconception that the more you sweat, the better the workout, which is not universally true. You also do not need to push yourself as hard as you can every single time you workout.

Gyms, group classes, car-free day walk/run/cycling, outdoor charity races, dance, golf, and various team sports are all available to us.  Get out there, be social to find out how to get signed up, and if you need that extra motivation to get you out the door, work with a trainer!


Nick Laspina is an experienced personal trainer, boxer, swimmer, weight-lifter and all around athletic leader.  He graduated Penn State University and worked in prestigious gyms throughout New York City. He currently works as a trainer and leads fitness classes at Soulbox SCBD, Jakarta.


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