Location: Angkor Muscle Gym, House #0471, Watdamnak Village, Salakomreuk Commune, Siem Reap
Phone: 012 970 443
Opening hours: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Review: Training in Cambodia has been a totally new experience. Over the course of my travels, it has been interesting to see the ways in which difference societies value fitness. For example, over the last few years there has been an explosion of fitness culture in the UK. Gyms are full and supplement sales are through the roof. Nights out now sadly consist of muscle fit t-shirts and deep v-necks. (Just stop it, you know who you are.)
This gym is the first place that I have been that feels like it shares this culture. The gyms here are packed and the muscular aesthetic seems to be more common. This may be explained by the fact that Angkor Muscle Gym is the home of Siem Reap’s Angkor Bodybuilding Association. The emphasis here seems to be on muscle building but there is sufficient cardio equipment for a good workout.
A one-day pass is $1, a price which doesn’t seem to have changed since 2014 according to their the gym’s Facebook page. Entrance comes with a sweat towel, so no need to bring your own. The gym also has little lockers if you want to store your valuables whilst you work out. These are at the front just to the right of the reception area.
I am almost out of ideas as to how to preface the list of gym equipment, so this time I will say, within this gym is located:
- Dumbbells unto 50kg
- Olympic bars
- Squat rack
- Adjustable bench
- Incline barbell bench
- Flat barbell bench
- Decline barbell bench
- Smith machine x 2
- Lat pull-down
- Leg press
- Leg extension
- Leg curl
- Thigh abductor
- Pec dec
- Chest press machine
- Incline Chest press machine
- Seated low row
- Shoulder press machine
- Easy bar
- Trap bar
- Trap blocks
- Running machine
- Cycling machine
- Cross trainer
- Swiss balls
There is a small padded area at the back where seem to do classes or you can train abs.
There is also a pretty well-stocked gym shop at the front reception area. This sells water, protein powder, weight gainer, pre-workout, various other drinks. It also sells equipment and accessories such as yoga mats, various protein shakers, including Smart Shake, lifting belts, and gym gloves. A baggie of whey protein was £1 and I think the price was the same for pre-workout.
Who is this gym for? Whilst I was training here I saw a real mix of clients. There were a few backpackers here, but the majority of the people in this gym were Cambodian. There ran the gamete from body-builders who wouldn’t look out of place in any western gym to those who looked like today was the first time they every tried to squat. I remember those days. Squatting to heavy you get trapped at the bottom or almost killing myself because I hadn’t racked the bar properly. Ahhh. Those were good times.
Cambodia seems to have much clearer defined gender roles, and the ladies seemed to keep themselves to the cardio equipment, leaving the weights to the guys.
Angkor Muscle Fitness is clearly a muscle gym with a focus on heavy weights and lifting. The guys here all train shirtless and spend about as much time flexing in the mirror as they do lifting anything. If shirtless guys flexing is likely to be a deal breaker, then I would avoid this gym. By now, however I am used to it. And after a few good sets to get a pump, I was ready to whip off the, now soaked, vest and join in. Fuck it. When in Rome right?
I would recommend this gym to anyone looking for somewhere that you can lift heavy and won’t mind you grunting or clanking the weights. There is enough cardio equipment here to do a cardio workout, but you have to pay an extra $1 to use any of the equipment that requires electricity. Another reason not to go running, just in-case you needed one.
Tips: This gym is a good place to stock up on protein and pre-workout as there isn’t much of this stuff in the shops in Cambodia. A baggie of protein or pre-workout costs £1 and is available from the reception desk. It seems that they also sell tubs of protein if you will be there for longer.