Fitness Gyms in Thailand & Fake Personalities

Well, I know this is more of an education website than anything else, but I’ll need to air out some things, especially because I’m great in SEO and stuff. So, it’s time to give my fair share of what this is about.

Boutique gyms, the gyms in Bangkok that have trainers and you join group classes. You can’t workout in these gyms by yourself, rather buy a package to be able to join the classes. Over the years, I was on a contract for a couple of years with The Lab which has since fallen (from 3 gyms to nothing). I’ve also joined ClassPass, a company that’s notorious for charging you for not showing up, and this year I wanted to get out of my comfort zone to join new gyms.

And to be honest, in each of the gyms, you can tell if someone is real or someone is fake: from crossfit gyms, to standard gyms that are known because influencers take their half-naked photos in the mirror before tagging and checking in to get the gym more notoriety. Let’s break down my experiences this year and why I believe developing your own discipline is best, rather than throwing away money to scams.

Encore – Sathorn Square

Loyalty had always been in my DNA for a long-time. The main gym trainer, David, and a co-investor of The Lab, at the time, Tuk, were the ones who formally opened the gym back in September of 2020. However, that same energy they had at the beginning vanished. First, Tuk, who’s all about money, tried to making a power-play on me (instead of others) when I asked about using some dumbbells during the 8-month COVID shutdown of 2021. When she told me the price to borrow, I said “damn, I mean, they’re going to be sitting their idle, and you want me to pay a per month price that adds up to me buying my own dumbbels?”

So I bought my own, but I did end up going back at the end of the year because I still had remaining sessions on the package. So, basically you have about 6 women, most of them housewives, and after the shutdown, they had a new Vietnamese trainer who was unbelievably egotistical. Let’s just say I bought a 10-session package (people, I advise you NEVERRRR to buy a double-digit package) because what happens is they may end up changing their energy completely. In just three sessions left, the energy was so low to the unbearable breaking point that I cut my losses and never went back.

Lesson learned? No way. BAD MUSIC, Terrible customer care, CEO being an ass (Tuk) and the trainers just being uninspired. NOT A PLACE TO GO!

The Hive – Not Keeping THE SAME ENERGY

This is a crossfit gym at the end of town. First time I went there, INSANE WORKOUT! So grateful to have met everyone there and my girlfriend even got good vibes from it, just by seeing the pictures and videos. However, when I would go in there in the afternoon, the trainers were snobby. Not only that, the same two that were super nice in the morning were now assholes in the evening. Bad, bad, bad. The consistency in energy was just not there over the days, and that’s they’re at the bottom of the list.

The Cubic Fitness Scam

Ahh, the scam of them all. This gym is full of influencers and women who want attention. It’s so frustrating trying to stay focused with all these clowns taking photos.

What really made me angry that the Spanish guy was super nice at the beginning. Shortly after, it was hard to keep a conversation going with him. He asked me how much classpass was and tried selling me on a package of theirs. The other CEO, Mack, was high-energy and SUPER NICE….but that was just because of the sales. After you joined the gym, Mack still somewhat kept that energy, but the frustration began to mount because the energy and fake connections in this gym, not being able to focus and get away from certain people, was always evident.

I decided to take some time off, pausing the last 22 sessions of my membership, and when I did, I was told at the beginning that I could pause my membership very easily.

The Spanish one, Nil, who’s the cofounder, told me to email — which I thought was head-scratching. So I decided to email and they ended up acting like immigration, asking for a travel itinerary to pause my membership.

I said to myself, “wow, I knew it. I knew something just wasn’t right with this place and knew all these happy faces were hiding something.” From the maid who looked very sad all the time, to the young Thai trainer who gave me ominous looks….I really wanted to dive deep into who these people were, but it was too late. When I saw that, I SAID, “I could never go back there and go to the gym again because I would call them out on the freezing of the membership.” The bridge had been burnt, and then that was it. I complained to paypal, got a call from them, but it was too late by that time.

Then the huge email I got June 18th, 49 days after the 30 session purchase “your membership has been cancelled.” This came 11 days shy of the cutoff date, and that’s when I went to google reviews and had to give them a one-star review because that’s fucking unacceptable. To cancel a membership 11 days before the expiry date….you could be taken to court and sued. Period. So now with this cancellation, I can go back to paypal and tell them they didn’t deliver on what was promised, and I should be able to get a reimbursement.

In a nutshell

Joining a gym has its ups and downs. A gym where there’s just equipment is great, but you have to consider the accounts and if they’re healthy or not. If gyms are trying to make big sales, it’s looked at as being fishy. Stay away from ALL boutique gyms and just invest into a home gym, or go to a functional gym that’s cheap. NEVER CONTRACTUAL! Never ever pay for a year or six months. 1 month is preferred. High premium? Worth it, because if COVID shut downs emerge again, you will lose months and they won’t give a fuck.

Interviewee #5 – Rich Cohen: CEO & Founder of The Lab BKK

Back in the early stages of last year, I was already looking at making my way to Bangkok.  I wanted to be around a community of great, entrepreneurial-minded people.  I contacted this gym called The Lab BKK online and spoke with a man name Rich – who just so happens to be on my podcast today.  I was very apprehensive with the entire ordeal, but I just decided to join the class shortly after the Spartan Competition back in September.  After 30 minutes of this particular cardio class, I was completely dead.  I bought a package, and 5 months later, I’ve never looked so sexy before in my life (HA!).

Moving onto the man of the hour – Rich Cohen – a fitness entrepreneur in Thailand and originally from England.  The first time I met him, he beamed with this aura of optimism.  I’m attracted (no pun intended – don’t get it twisted) to people who are just a bundle of great energy.  I spoke with him the entire class about different things, but it wasn’t until two days ago when I asked myself, “just ask him about joining the podcast.” He agree – instantaneously – and here is some show notes, questions, answers and an intro from him.

“I was 21-years old, wheelchair-bound, sitting in my parent’s backyard smoking a joint, slowly en-route to recovery following a near fatal neck and back injury.”

Richard went on to say that he had that “jesus” moment.  That moment that most of us (I hope) say “enough is enough.”  He came to Thailand in 2004 in a remarkable prime.  Since there were only 1-3 fitness guys around at the time, he built what’s turning into an empire.  Full one-hour podcast down below!

Also, his personal thoughts on the Ketogenic Diet

“I used it for my competition and it worked well for me personally as a fat loss strategy, although I got very sick towards the end and it has taken me a few months to reset the way my body functions since introducing more carbs and protein.

I think it works well for certain people, for instance a friend of mine is type 1 diabetic and an endurance athlete (triathlon) he says going on that diet has been life changing for him as a blood glucose management tool.

Long term I’m not sure what the health implications are consuming that many fats.

Some diets suit different people, I always encourage people to experiment with different types and take bits from each that works well for them.”

I made a blog about a year ago on the ketogenic diet.  I received some backlash and whatnot, but it was all based on opinion.  I’m not someone who sticks to a strict diet.  I love my pizza and my hamburgers, although not excessively.

Nonetheless, to see this many create a business which is booming in Bangkok and ultimately going from wheelchair to champion – is simply amazing.  He did an ultra-marathon in the Atacama Desert in Chile.  I’ve been contemplating about doing an ultra-beast, and now I think I’ve been inspired to achieve it because of this inspirational figure.


Feelings of Sadness – Identified The Problem & Set Myself Up To Win

I, just like everyone else, have the same problems just like any other human being on this planet.  There are times that I get sucked into a state of mind that I can’t escape for several hours.  A feeling of discontent; probably stemming from a mishap, miscommunication, and depreciation of another human being.  Yes, someone who I thought was awesome turned into a needy, materialistic princess.  This past Tuesday was Day 1.  I knew that it wasn’t going to work, so I distanced myself immediately and she vanished.  However, that void needs to be filled.  Because the void isn’t filled yet, there was a feeling of emptiness throughout the day that put me into a melancholic state of mind.

So, what did I do?

Step 1: Look Back At The Wheel of Life

So, because the Romantic Relationship aspect of my wheel plummeted significantly, this explains why I’m experiencing such feelings.  Someone just walked right out of my life.  Understandable.  The feelings I had going on explained my current state of mind.  Anytime a category falls very fast, very quickly, you’re going to experience ‘negative’ feelings.  Not talking to her anymore means that void is open.  The void is open and it has to be filled.

I went on to ask myself ‘what areas of my life am I neglecting currently? Friends and Hobbies. 

Sure, I went on a trip to Kanchanaburi recently, but then it was overshadowed by constant nagging and resulted in a fallout.  I need to also look back and ask myself, “what am I doing on a routine basis that brings me joy?” Sure, running and working out, but I’m talking about in the friendship realm.  My best friend, who I’ve known for the longest, is a goner.  Someone who I spent a great amount of time talking to on a routine basis is now gone. A couple others’ communications are decreasing significantly….so what should I do? MAKE NEW FRIENDS!

There’s an app I use on a routine basis that landed me three purposeful relationships as of late; most notably, a teacher in Costa Rica that gave me an email that changed my life (later podcast). These people can come and go, though.  In retrospect, history has shown that I can create some lifelong relationships with some individuals.  I decided to sign up for some activities with the gym I go to.  There’s a massive park activity happening on the 16th of December where a lot of people will compete in a competition.  This is where I can meet likeminded people who are on the same wavelengths as me.  BOOM! I never used to do this because of work obligations, but now it’s time to become selfish and put “me” first.

This will fulfill the void soon and I’ll be able to meet people.

Practice What I Preached: Keep Myself Busy

Depression, which I don’t have, happens because you’re focusing too much on yourself rather than other people.  On days I have a lot of free-time, I schedule blogs, podcasts, videos, do writing, research, set up ads and other things.  I keep myself as busy as possible and this works because I take my mind off things I cannot control (circle of concern) and focus primarily on things I can control (circle of influence).

Anytime you’re in the gutter, look at the eight categories: personal development, physical environment, romantic relationships, fun & hobbies, family and friends, career, wealth, health.  When you do this, you can identify the problem and solve it rather than letting it seep into your next workday, week, month, or even year.


Change of Environment Is Essential In Physical Growth

First and foremost, I’m not a weightlifting junkie.  I don’t go for personal records, bulk, and consume 150 grams of protein a day.  I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie since my Track & Field days in high school and college; moreover, I love speed.

Since moving to the location I’m at about 3 years ago, I can’t help but notice a trend whereas I’ve fallen out of routines.  Now, why has this been perpetual for so long? Well, the first gym, which was family owned, had maybe 12 pieces of machine.  There was NOTHING I can do in there and it was rather boring after a few times going there.  So, I found out after a restructuring of the massive shopping center where I work at….came a small gym that I liked much more than the extortionist –  also known as Fitness First Thailand.

I’ve been working out there for about a year already, and just this past week I went there and it just wasn’t in me anymore.  This is what happens when you don’t challenge yourself and look at different ways to improve your workout routine.  Going there, doing the same exercises with the same equipment for a year has doomed my motivation of ever going there again.

After Spartan Thailand, I needed something to sustain my ability to workout heading into 2018 because without a race for the next four months – my fitness could take a serious hit.  So, I decided to join a class at a gym called The Lab; and with a 30 minute workout, I realized this was the place I needed to be out.  Surrounding yourself with people who have the same goals as you is CRITICAL to maintaining the motivation needed for your goals.

After that, I got a random message from someone at Virgin Active who was responding to an email that I sent somewhere between 2-6 months ago.  The universe is always conspiring, and that random message didn’t come without intention.  Therefore, with four classes a week and a new gym on the horizon, I’ve gotten my motivation back and I’m aiming for Melbourne or Angeles City for my next Spartan race in the dawn of the year new!

On my podcast I talk about how you can overcome the stagnation and lack of motivation.