Indonesia – Fitness 88, Flores

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Location: MyFitness, 4th floor Bērnu Pasaule shopping mall, Matīss, Riga, Latvia
Google maps: Click here
Web: Nope
Opening hours7am to 9pm daily
Price10,000 Indonesian rupiah (approx 0.50p or 0.70 cents)


Review:

Fitness 88, located on the beautiful Indonesian Island of Flores, has everything you need to hit out a sweet workout. During my time in Flores, I only came across two fitness enthusiast newlyweds who had visited the gym. They were still continuing to smash out workouts, seven months into their round the world honeymoon adventure.

One visit comes at an extremely affordable price of 10 000 Indonesian rupiah (approx 70 U.S cents), although don’t expect any Air Con or other ammenities. The windows are brilliantly propped open with empty water bottles though which provides adequate ventilation and lighting. The area is quite expansive and has a good vibe to it.

A male and female toilet is provided, which are below average even for a South East Asian country. If you choose to brave the bathroom, be sure to bring your own paper, or grab some at the mini market downstairs. Water can also be purchased at the mini market.

The gym boats long opening hours, from 7am to 9pm everyday, so you’ll definitely be able to fit in a workout around your active adventure time on the island. Taking a boat trip to hike on Padar Island is a must.

This gym has :
  • three stationary bikes (although quite old and with broken pedals),
  • weight plates (0.5, 2.5. 5, 7.5. 10, 15 and 20 kg),
  • three barbells,
  • dumbbells (16 and 18kg),
  • two treadmills (although I was unable to get them whirring),
  • a chin up bar,
  • squat rack,
  • and a punching bag hanging from the ceiling.
  • Various machines are also there, including
  • seated row and lat pull down.

 

The floor is covered in a spongy foam (and quite a few juicy sweat patches left by my travel buddy) which is really great for dynamic and plyometric workouts.

 

Who is this gym for? Flores is much much quieter in terms of tourism compared to the more popular islands of Bali and Lombok, so you’ll pretty much just be mixing it one or two local guys there. They provide great motivation, as they’re pretty ripped and blast their workout music through the huge speaker system.

TipsFitness 88 is listed on google maps, although there is no signage for the gym. It is located up a flight of stairs to the left of Denny’s Mart (mini supermarket). At the top of the stairs you’ll enter a room with boxes and mattresses. They have a sign in book on a table there to write your name and the date. They’ll have someone there to take your money. The entrance is located on the far right of the room.

Photos:

Laos – Tar’s gym, Vientaine

Location: Tar’s gym, Ban Oupmung, Vientiane, Laos


Website: Facebook
Opening hours: 9am to 9pm
Price: 10,000 kip (approx £1)

Review: Tar’s gym seems to be something of an institution in Vientiane. The message boards on Trip Advisor and other traveller’s forums all tell tales of this funky but basic gym, built in what looks like a family home. Despite the new wave of fitness clubs and gyms that seem to be slowly taking over Laos, Tar’s maintains it authenticity and down right weirdness.

The gym is apparently owned by a local bodybuilder, but sadly I didn’t get to meet him whilst I was there. The gym has everything you could hope for and its unusual setting makes it an experience. Much of the equipment is in front porch, meaning I was deadlifting with people walking past on the curb a few feet away.

Equipment wise this gym has:

  • Dumbbells up to 30kg
  • Adjustable benches
  • Flat barbell bench bench
  • Squat rack
  • Olympic bars
  • Smith machines 2
  • Cables x 3
  • Chest press machine
  • Pec dec
  • Lat pulldown
  • Easy bars
  • Preacher curl bench
  • Lat pulldown machine
  • Tricep pushdown machine
  • T bar row machine
  • Standing squat machine
  • Low row machine
  • Wide grip row machine
  • Leg curl machine
  • Leg press machine
  • Leg extension machine
  • Exercise bikes
  • Treadmills

Entry on a day pass was 10,000 Kip (approx £1) making it perfect for backpackers on a budget. It cost 1000 Kip to rent a for towel and 5000 Kip for a large bottle of water.

Weirdly, this is another gym with a full size DRESSER in it. Is this a trend in Asia? Remember the gym in Chiang Mai? What is this madness?

To be fair, this gym seems to be based in the owner’s house, and finding the right machine means wandering through the various rooms like you are at some kind of weird house party full of sweaty grunting me.

This is also another gym which seems to have opted for a tiled floor approach downstairs, which is strange given how little tiles appreciate having weights dropped on them. I managed to hit a trip PB with a 130kg deadlift, which isn’t too bad bearing in mind I am down to under 70kg in bodyweight. I also had to control the decent very carefully to avoid demolishing the poor owners porch tiles, meaning I ended up doing negative reps.

As opposed to the Sotsai gym, this gym was all men. This did make me wonder if yesterday I committed a huge faux par and accidentally trained in a women’s only gym. I do have long hair, so maybe they just thought I was a really ugly women. Its happened before you know. No, not really. Whats wrong with you?
The gym also has a little supplement shoo selling protein, amino acids, pre-workout and weight gainer in tubs. This is a good find, as supplements seem a little rare in Laos, although do seem to sell them in some of the larger pharmacies here.

Who is this gym for? Whilst there was a nice vibe and friendly locals here, I would probably only recommend this gym to guys, because there are much better places for women to train that are pretty close by. See my next post for details of the gym I would recommend. Training in Tar’s is somewhat of a right of passage in Vientiane, so head down there and see what you think.

Tips? There is a really good selection of machines for training back muscles in this gym, so I would strongly recommend training back day here.

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Thailand – 44 Focus Gym, Bangkok

Location: 44 Focus Gym, 175 Thanon Chan, Khwaeng Wat Phraya Krai, Khet Bang Kho Laem, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10120
Tel 094 767 4394
Website: Facebook
Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 9am to 11pm. Sun: Closed
Price: 79 bhat (approx £1.75)

Review: Having flown back from Chiang Rai to Bangkok, we dropped my mother off at the airport for a tearful farewell. Whilst it was sad to see her go, I am inwardly excited to go back to eating meat without the guilt trip. As I had ended up buying a 2.5kg tub of protein at Go Gym in Chiang Mai, I had to decant it all down into several Tupperware boxes to get in my backpack to board the flight and then cram all of these into my bag. It meant throwing away a few things, but this was a small sacrifice.

We are now spending 2 days in Bangkok before heading into Laos. It will be interesting to see what the gyms are like there and to see if the fitness culture that has been so prevalent in Cambodia and Thailand has caught on. Back in Bangkok I managed to find a GNC and decided to try L-Arginine & L-Ornithine, which is its precursor, to help boost growth hormone production. I have only been taking for a little while, but I already feel like it is helping to boost muscle growth and volume. I also bought some resistance bands just incase I can’t find a gym in Laos and you can look forward to another video coming soon about how to use your backpack to get a good home workout. Please try and pretend you care. This is all I have. Stop laughing.

Anyway, I decided to try another gym in Bangkok and the closest one to my hotel was 44 Focus Gym, which was about a half an hour walk. When I saw the gym logo, I knew I had to train here if only because the logo was too cool not to and would look lit on the Gym’s of the World Instagram page. (Which you can check out here). As I set out the door, it started raining. To make matters worse, this gym is not where Google maps says it is. I have geotagged the correct location to this post to save you the wandering around that I had to do. By the time I walked into the gym I was looking a little like a wet rat with man-bun. Not a strong look if I am honest.

Today was chest day and I managed to get up to the 40kg dumbbells on incline press and felt like I could have gone higher with someone spotting me. The only person in the gym at the time strong enough to help me was a Chinese bodybuilder who was so much bigger than me I thought me might try and eat me if I asked him to spot me a second set.

44 Focus has all the equipment you might need, but it is crammed into a gym that is just too small for it all. Luckily the gym didn’t get too busy whilst I was in there so there was space to move.

The gym has:

  • Dumbbells up to 50kg
  • Olympic bars
  • Squat rack
  • Smith machine
  • Incline barbell bench
  • Decline barbell bench
  • Flat barbell bench
  • Cables
  • Lat pulldown
  • Lat pulldown machine
  • Seated low row
  • Weighted row machines
  • Leg press
  • Leg extension
  • Leg curl
  • Thigh abductor machine
  • Preacher curl bench
  • Easy bars
  • Swiss balls
  • Kettle bells
  • Treadmills
  • Cross trainers
  • Static bikes
The gym also has a rack of communal lifting belts and gloves on the wall for people to use, which is a nice touch. The gym has fans and wifi throughout, as well as lockers bathrooms and a shower.
The reception desk also doubles as a little shop selling water, juices, protein shakes, a range of supplements and other basics like gym gloves.

Entrance on a day pass was 79 bhat, (approx £1.75) or monthly membership is available for 900 bhat. The gym has no contract or joining fees, so offers a flexible option if you don’t want to commit to a fixed term contract.

Impressively, this gym boasts national and international bodybuilding champions amongst their trainers, and having seen these guys in the gym, they are 100% legit. Personal training sessions are available in blocks of 12 at 800 bhat each (approx £20), but shorted blocks can be negotiated too.

Who is this gym for? Whilst I was here, I saw all ages and ability levels training in this gym. Id did seem to be mainly Thais training when i was in there, but the guys willing to help me when I needed and I was made to feel welcome. The gym is on the main street and is open fronted, and felt like a professional safe environment. I would recommend this gym to anyone looking to train in this part of Bangkok.

Tips: This gym is not where Google maps says it is. See the location for this post for correct location.

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Thailand – Fitness Combo Gym, Chiang Rai

Location: Fitness Combo gym,  131/25 soi 3 tanone ratchayota, 57000 Amphoe Chiang Rai, Thailand
Tel: +66835646022
Web: Facebook
Opening hours: 10.30 am to 8.30pm
Price: 50 bhat (Approx £1)
 
Review:  Having spent a few days in Chiang Mai, we decided to venture even further north to the city of Chiang Rai. Now I am big enough to admit that Chiang Rai is not what I expected. What I was expecting dirt roads and wooden houses, but in reality Chiang Rai is a far more and modern city than many of the places we have been so far on this trip.
 
Having my vegetarian / hippy mother in tow is also causing a few problems when it comes to meal time as we are having to eat in these vegetation / vegan restaurants. Hmmm tasty salads. *sobs into his napkin*  

Thank god I managed to stock up on protein powder in Chiang Mai, because I am sure these vegetarian meals are not giving me enough to build anything. I did crack last night and ended up eating a 400g imported New Zealand T-bone steak, cooked rare, whilst my mother ate her vegetable pad thai across the table from me. Does that make me a bad son? Maybe. But worth it. 
 
Anywho, onto the gym. In its current state, Combo gym is a long, thin gym with pretty basic equipment. The cardio machines are at the front near the breeze, then the machines and free weights at the back. Whilst it is basic, it does have enough to get a decent workout if you can be a little creative, or you decide to train shoulders like I did.  
 
What makes this place unique is that Combo Gym also offers MMA lessons. They have a half octagon in a separate studio next door. This space has a padded floor and is found to the left of the main gym. As far as I can tell, Combo Gym is owned and operated by a French guy, but he was teaching in the MMA school when I trained here, so I didn’t get a chance to speak with him or work out what his credentials are. You can find the gym’s facebook page here if you want to contact him and ask him.

By way of equipment, this gym has
  • Dumbbells upto 60 lbs (approx 26kg)
  • Adjustable benches 
  • Squat rack
  • Olympic bar 
  • Flat barbell bench 
  • Chest press / fly multi gym machine 
  • Lat pulldown 
  • T-bar row machine 
  • Preacher curl bench
  • Easy bars
  • High cable 
  • Dips bar
  • Pull up bar
  • Treadmills 
  • Cross trainers 
  • Static bikes 
  • Punch bag
  • Partial octagon 
  • Gloves, focus mits and kick-bags 
 
A day pass for the gym is 50 bhat, but you can buy a weeks pass for 600 bhat, Access to the gym and the fight club costs 1500 bhat for a month, but you may be able to negotiate shorter passes with the owner.  
 
The gym also has a little supplement store, which is welcome as this is the only place in Chiang Rai that I found supplements for sale. I have taken a photo of their stock below, which included protein, weight gainer, amino acids, vitamins and even creatine and pre-workout. These all worked out about the same price you would pay in the UK..
 
Who is this gym for? In all honesty, if you are just looking for a gym to train weights in, then Healthy Gym Plus is a better gym and I couldn’t recommend this gym over that in its current state. 

However, if you wanted to train MMA rather than kickboxing, then I would suggest this is the place for you. The equipment I saw looked in a good condition, and from the little that I was of the owner in the cage, it looked like he knew his stuff. 

It will be interesting to see what the new premises look like when they open in January 2017. I have reached out to the owner online and will update this article if he responds.  
 

 

Tips: Only place I found to buy supplements in Chiang Rai, so stock up here if you need them.


Thailand – Healthy Plus Gym, Chiang Rai

Location: Healthy Plus Gym, 152 Rd. Thanalai Connecticut. Wiang district, Chiang Rai 57000.
Tel: 094 616 5005
Website: Facebook
Opening hours: 12pm to 10pm

Review: It might just be me, but the name Healthy Plus Gym seems a tad ironic for a gym which mainly teaches people how to kick each other in the face. Maybe ironic isn’t the right word, but something about muay thai training just sits at odds with the general ideas of happiness and health. 

Healthy Plus Gym is a mix between a kickboxing school and a standard gym. Unlike many of the kickboxing schools in northern Thailand, which focus solely on kickboxing training and conditioning, Healthy Plus Gym has a full sized gym alongside its kickboxing ring. The gym offers one on one kickboxing coaching, starting at 6,400 bhat for 8 lessons, as well as personal training sessions. As a poor backpacker, this was simply too much for me, but you might be able to negotiate individual sessions with the trainer. 

The gym equipment is pretty new and the gym contains enough equipment for a good workout. Once thing I did notice is that both times I trained here is was suspiciously empty, with only one or two other people in the whole gym which was a little disconcerting. 

The gym has a cool vibe, with a chill out area with chairs made from old barrels and motivations paintings on the walls. You can see these below.

With regards to the kit here, this gym has: 

  • Dumbbells upto 36kg
  • Adjustable benches 
  • Squat rack 
  • Olympic bars 
  • Smith machine 
  • Cables 
  • Preacher curl bench 
  • Easy bars 
  • Fixed weight straight bars 
  • Fixed weight easy bars
  • Lat pulldown 
  • Chest press machine
  • Leg press machine 
  • Leg extension machine 
  • Leg curl machine
  • Abs crunch machine
  • Lat pulldown machine 
  • Bicep machine
  • Thigh abductor machine 
  • Seated low row 
  • Punch bags x 2
  • Kickboxing Ring 
  • Gloves and focus pads
  • Swiss balls
  • Abs roller
  • Yoga mats
  • TRX 
  • Dips / pull up bar 
  • Battle ropes

A day pass in this gym was 70 bhat and they sold water and protein shakes at the front desk. 

Who is this gym for? Whilst I was here, I did see some lone female tourists taking kickboxing classes, but to be honest it was so empty that I never really got a feel for the place, nor the chance to chat with the locals or the owners. However, it is clearly a professional gym and as such, I saw nothing here which would put me off recommending this place to anyone. The cardio equipment is in the front window though, so prepare to be stared at by people walking past whilst you jog.

Tips: There is a second weights room at the back of the gym and through glass doors, past the toilets and then through another set of glass doors. In this back room they have the squat rack, smith machine and another set of cables and dumbbells as well as a lot of other machines. Don’t miss this room or you will be selling yourself short!

Thailand – Gold Hillside Gym, Chaing Mai

Location: Gold Hillside Gym, 50 Huaykaew Rd, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50300
Tel:  053 225 984
Web: Facebook
Opening hours: 8am to 10pm

Review: Have you ever walked into somewhere and suddenly felt like you had been transported back in time? Something about the ambience, the colour of the walls or maybe the decor just seems at odds with modern life? Like the feeling you get walking into a 1950s theme restaurant or one of those living villages that your parents took you to in order to trick you into learning about history?

Well, walking into Gold Hillside Gym felt like that. Something about this gym just screamed 1980s. Sure, some of the machines were so outdated they reminded me of the first BBC computers we had at little school. And the walls were that shade of light pea green that you know it was the cheapest colour at the shop because no-one wants it, but that wasn’t it. I think what did it for me was the full sized three piece dresser at the back of the gym that looked like it came from everyone’s Grandma’s house. Honestly, this thing took up the whole back wall and stood their without explanation. Look!



Even weirder than its inexplicable presence, was the ambivalent reaction of everyone else training there. NO-ONE seemed to bat an eye lid, even the other tourists training there for the first time seemed to shrug it off like this was a normal everyday occurrence, perhaps scared to wake the locals from their collective delusion of normally. I mean look at this guy. Playing with his phone like everything is normal. Well this is not normal. Its madness, I tell you. Madness.

However, popular opinion seems to against me on this one, and I hear that Fitness First are considering introducing chaise lounges and grand father clocks in all of their London branches. And yes, I just made that up. There is another 10 seconds of your life you aren’t getting back.

Anywho. Other than one oddity and the terrible paint, the Gold Hillside Gym is actually a pretty good place to train. Whilst some of the machines are old, they all work and are well maintained. The cables run smooth and the weights are all nicely racked, even if they are made up of two different sets. There are enough weights for the squat rack and the benches to be in use at the same time and the gym is big enough not to get too busy, even in peak hours.

By way of equipment, this gym has:

  • Dumbbells upto 50kg
  • Adjustable benches 
  • Squat rack 
  • Smith machine 
  • Incline bench press
  • Decline bench press 
  • Cables 
  • Lat pulldowns 
  • Pec dec
  • Leg press
  • Leg extension 
  • Leg curl 
  • Low row machine 
  • Chest press machine 
  • Squat machine 
  • T-bar row machine 
  • Lateral shoulder raise machine 
  • Abs crunch machines 
  • Dips bar / pull-up bar 
  • Static bikes 
  • Treadmills
  • Padded area 
  • Swiss balls 
  • Abs rollers 
  • Kettle bells


Entrance to the gym on a day pass is 50 bhat (approx £1), although week and month passes are also available too. The gym has clean toilets and changing rooms, as well as a decent sized studio for group classes. It offers Zumba and Hiphop classes for 60 bhat a time and daily yoga classes for 50 baht. I have put up a shot of the timetable which was in place in November 2016.

The gym sells water and tubs of protein at the front desk with a small tub costing around 1200 bhat and a 2.2kg tub is about 2500 bhat. However, the brand is one which seems to be popular out here but is unknown in Europe. Personally, I would rather buy my protein from Go Gym and stick with a brand I recognise. (You can see the review and location of Go Gym here.) 

Who is this gym for? I trained here twice whilst staying in a hotel around the corner and both times I saw men and women training here, as well as a mix of locals and tourists. The gym has a safe and clean feel, and I would have no reserves about recommending it to lone female travellers or those looking to keep fit rather than bodybuild. They gym’s cardio equipment is relatively new and is situated near several TV screens to keep you cardio bunnies entertained whilst train!

Tips: To fit in with the vibe and general feel of the gym, I would strongly suggest you grow an 80’s porno moustache before coming here. Yes, that applies to both men and women! 


From here, we are going even further north to Chiang Rai, so look forward to seeing what they have up their by way of gyms! See you soon.












Thailand – Go Gym, Chiang Mai

Location: Go Gym, 74 Lumping Rod, Changphueak, Mueang Chiang Mai, 50300 
Tel: 0988209099
Opening hours: 8am to 12am
Review: Every time I think I have seen it all, I come across a gym which redefines what is possible. Go Gym is one of these places and this gym has literally everything. 

Before I get into the equipment lists and what they offer, it is worth noting a few things about the sheer size of this gym. Go Gym is based in an open-sided warehouse at the edge of the Chiang Mai and as such it is able to do things on a scale that most gyms could only dream of. As well as a cardio area the size of most of the other gyms I saw in Chiang Mai, Go Gym also has three full sets of dumbbells and benches, three sets of cables, a kickboxing area which includes a full sized ring and punch bags, several matted areas for stretching or yoga and a large “street training area” worthy of Ninja Warrior. Some serious thought has gone into this place and as a result, it is able to offer all things to all men. Sorry. All people. Bad man.

From chatting with some of the locals, it seems that in the two years since this gym was open they have continually added new equipment to their gym and are always seeking to improve things.
This gym includes:
  • Three sets of Dumbbells up to 125 lbs (Approx 50kg)
  • Many adjustable benches 
  • 3 Smith machines 
  • 3 Squat racks
  • Truck tyre deadlift
  • Truck tyre squat 
  • Truck type bench  
  • Three cables 
  • Incline barbell bench 
  • Decline barbell bench 
  • Several Flat barbell benches 
  • Two pec decs 
  • Incline chest machine 
  • Decline chest machine 
  • Cable seated chest machine 
  • Squat machine
  • Lat pulldown 
  • Seated cable low row
  • Lat pulldown machine
  • Low row machine 
  • Underhand pulldown machine 
  • Cable lat pulldown 
  • Leg press
  • Leg extension 
  • Leg curl 
  • Reverse fly machine 
  • Thigh abductors 
  • Several kinds of ab machines 
  • Assisted dips / pull ups bar
  • Easy bar 
  • Hammer curl bar 
  • Fixed weight straight bars
  • Fixed weight easy bars 
  • Punch bags x 2
  • Kickboxing ring 
  • Exercise bikes 
  • Treadmills 
  • Cross trainers 
  • Rowing machines 
  • Street workout course
  • Twin bars 
  • Battle ropes 
  • Vertical rope 
The gym also has decent changing rooms, lockers and free wifi throughout. 

And the price of access to this incredible, almost spiritual, place? 60 bhat per day or 900 bhat per month.  Let me put that into context, that is about £1.40 for a day pass. Insanity. 

And I am leaving this review like this after Go Gym didn’t even bother to respond to my request for a free day pass in return for a spot on my blog. Yes, I am trying to sell out, but so far no-one is interested in buying. 

If you are looking for this place, you will see that there is another gym close by called O2 Gym. On my second day in Chiang Mai, I actually went to train somewhere different and have a second gym to review for this city but I walked in and straight out again because it couldn’t hold a candle to Go Gym. I also checked out another couple of gyms when I walked past them in the city and none of them come anywhere near to slightly close to this one. Honestly, don’t even bother looking anywhere else in Chiang Mai. Don’t do a disservice to your workout.

As well as the gym, they also have a protein bar where you can buy water, protein shakes or a variety of bullshit vegan crap. They also sell fruit and sandwiches if you need a quick meal after your workout. They have their own range of clothing too, but since I can hardly shut my backpack at the moment I was forced to give this a miss. I did manage to get a tub of protein here though. A 2.2kg tub costs me 2500 bhat, which is about £50. But, at 74 servings a tub it still works out cheaper than buying shakes on a daily basis. I also bought a tasty protein brownie for 80 bhat, which was pretty good on the snack scale, rather than just being pretty good for a protein snack. Basically this is unheard of. You can also buy shakers, gloves, belts and even lifting straps here. I have been trying to find a pair of straps for ages and no-one has even seemed to understand what they were. I picked up a pair here for 150 bhat, which is about £3. I am looking forward to getting back to a 140kg deadlift sometime soon!

Who is this gym for? The atmosphere in this gym is great and a mile away from some of the shirtless meathead type gyms of Cambodia. On the two days I was here I saw every strand of society training in this gym, from old thai ladies to biker gang members and everything in between. The gym is also popular with Farangs (which is what the Thais call Westerners. Of all the places that I have trained in Thailand, this place contained more absolute monsters than any other gym. After weeks of being the biggest, and strongest, guy in most of the Cambodian gyms I trained it, it was good to see some of these guys making such giant lifts and remind me that there is always room for improvement. I would recommend this gym to everyone. The only down side is that the location is on the north side of town, meaning it may not be accessible easily to those staying in the Old Town. 

Tips: If it sounds like I am on this gym’s nuts, its because I am. Deep. If I lived in Chiang Mai, I would train here everyday and would probably own a t-shirt with the gym logo on. Being around bigger and stronger lifters keeps me motivated and means that you always have the chance to learn something new. Go Gym is the kind of place where you end up learning simply by osmosis. With so much equipment, you have the opportunity to continually evolve your workouts and vary your training, which is so important to avoid plateauing. Great gym. Great price. A+.


 




Thailand – Fitness First Sathorn Square, Bangkok

Location: Fitness First Sathorn Square, 98 North Sathorn Road, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok
Opening times: Monday to Friday 6:00AM – 10:00PM
Weekend 8:00AM – 9:00PM

Review: Over the years, I have been a member of most of the large gym chains in the UK. For example, when I first moved to London used to live in a shared flat in South Kensington and I joined the nearest gym, which happened to be LA Fitness. This gym was huge and as I didn’t have a job, I would often train here when I woke up at around 11am. It was at this time that I used to witness a bizarre natural phenomenon, known as the ‘training of the trophy wives’. Swarms of wealthy, beautiful women whose sole purpose in the life it seemed was to train everyday so they could look beautiful and dazzle at dinner parties. Every now and then, I would see one of their sweating, overweight and usually aged husbands training with them. Rather then working out, they would always be scanning the gym, as if to try and work out which of the younger, fitter men were planning to seduce their prize. It was like watching some absurd and surreal play and generally helped kill the time between sets.

Eventually, I left LA Fitness and joined Fitness First. We were together for about 8 years and had some really wonderful times together. We still have an on-again-off-again relationship,, as my membership if currently on hold. Oh, those were the days.

Anywho. 

Long story short, this Fitness First is exactly the same as every other large branch of Fitness First I trained at in London. Except with more Thais. There are free soft drinks and coffee provided in the reception area. You can get a free towel and they have all of the latest equipment, group classes and offer short HIT classes on the central matted area. There are a couple of subtle differences however, to reflect common practice here in Asia. The first is that the gym also provides shorts and t-shirts for men and women to train in so no need to bring any kit. As such, all you need to bring with you is your shoes and your gloves. Yes, I use gloves. And yes, I do have soft hands. 

Another difference is that they also have a little food counter which seems to sell healthy snacks, light meals and smoothies. The reception area is large and seems to encompass a chill out area, where people meet to relax and socialise. The gym appears to be a social activity in Bangkok and the membership costs mean that places such as this only appeal to professionals, making it essentially a private members club. This is very much the other end of the spectrum to the Outdoor Lumpini Park Gym, which you can read about here

As you would expect, this gym has pretty much everything you could ever want, and includes:
  • Dumbbells unto 50kg. (But they do jump from 40kg to 45kg and then 50kg)
  • Adjustable benches 
  • Barbell flat bench
  • Incline barbell bench 
  • Decline barbell bench 
  • Olympic bars 
  • Smith machine 
  • Cables 
  • Assisted dips / pull ups bar
  • Lat pulldown 
  • Fixed weight bars up to 50kg
  • Easy bars 
  • Pec dec 
  • Leg press
  • Leg extension 
  • Leg curl 
  • Lat pulldown machine 
  • Chest press machine 
  • Shoulder press machine
  • Seated low row machine  
  • Thigh abductor machine 
  • Function strength frame 
  • Treadmills
  • Cross-trainers 
  • Cycles 
  • Rowing machines 
  • Power plate machines 
  • Swiss balls 
  • Medicines balls 
  • TRX
  • Yoga mats 
  • Kettle bells
  • Sand bags 
  • Resistance bands
  • Wobble boards 
  • Rubber weight tubes (if you know the name then drop it in the comments)
  • Punch bag 
  • Gloves and focus mits
  • Foam rollers 
  • Plyo soft boxes
  • Stretching stools
  • Spin class studio 
I am sure that I have missed off a few things from this list, but I started losing the will to live typing it, so that is all you are getting. Class timetables can be found on the Fitness First website here, so have a look here if you are interested. From memory, the gym offered classes such as Yoga, Zumba, Kickboxing, Spin and Body Pump classes. As you would expect, this gym is air conditioned and has good Wifi though out. 

The gym also had a pretty decent little supplement and accessories shop, so long as you don’t mind having to stump up the extra cost of buying them at the gym. The shop is stocked things like, t-shirts, tops, gym gloves, MMA gloves, gym bags, headphones and shakers as well as protein, glutamine, BCAAs and weight gainer. However, there are plenty of places that sell protein in Bangkok, so unless you are in a rush, you can save some money by heading elsewhere.

The membership structure is a little suspect, as the minimum period you can join for is 5 months. They quoted me 2000 bhat (Approx £42) in joining fees and then 2885 bhat (Approx £50) a month in membership fees. A one day gym pass was quoted at  a ridiculous 1000 bhat (approx £21). 

Who is this gym for? The price structure, and general ethos of Fitness First, means that this gym is not really suited to anyone travelling through Bangkok, but rather it is aimed at professionals based in the city. I suppose it ultimately depends on what you want from your gym. Places like this are great for beginners, as they support you, help you build programmes to reach your goals and have people on hand to help with technique or motivation. Things like group classes are a great way to make working out fun and social and help to keep you coming back. 

That being said, there is a way that you can get a free 7 day guest pass as a tourist or backpacker. But it is going to involve some lying and a little acting…..

Tips: Like Fitness First in the UK, you can sign up for a free guest pass to come and check out the gym and its facilities. Fitness First in Thailand actually offer a free 7 day guest pass if you play your cards right  and tell them the right things but be careful. If they suspect you are a tourist trying it on then they will tell you that they can only offer you a single day pass. If you want to be able to take advantage of the 7 day pass, you need to tell them that you will be in Bangkok for work for more than 6 months. Be ready with a fake address and company name too. I made the silly mistake of developing a back story that saw me in Bangkok for 3 months and I only managed to get a single day pass. Still, one day for free is better than none I suppose. Also, if you have time, maybe go along in a Polo shirt and smart shorts if you can. I turned up in my gym kit and I think they saw through my not so cunning ruse pretty quickly.  

Thailand – AVOID Tony’s Gym, Bangkok

Location: I am not going to tell you.

Review: Fuck you Tony. 

Why I hear no-one ask? Oh don’t worry, I will tell you. Whether you want to know or not.

Firstly, on their basic website, Tony’s advertise a day pass for 250 bhat (approx £5). Having seen the state of their gym, this is an extortionate price. Before I knew this however, and in the name of this blog, I walked to the MTR and took a train across town to check this gym out. It took me about 35 mins to get there. Having found this place, and made my way inside, I was met by a Thai lady on a makeshift desk at the front of the gym.

It was here that I was told that this gym did not sell day passes at all. Instead, I was told that I needed to buy a 15 day pass for 600 bhat (approx £12). Despite trying to explain that I did not need a 15 day pass and explaining what the website said, I was met with a computer says no response of “15 day pass only” from a women who looked so dead behind the eyes that she is either been dead and being operated as a puppet, or one of her parents must have been a crab.

Everything about this gym, from the shoddy building, the poorly maintained front garden and the dirty reception area, screams “I am likely to get dysentery from training here.”

As a result of this, I was forced to walk across town to another gym. Don’t waste your time here.

Fuck you Tony.

Who is this gym for? The kind of people who end up on “sucker lists” getting conned out of £10,000 for a bag of magic seeds.

Tips? Train anywhere else. Literally anywhere. Do press-ups in the gutter rather then train here. Facts.