Tuesday, April 2, 2013

First Day at CrossFit Chiang Mai - Foundations Review

So I've heard of CrossFit for years now but never really had a bit incentive to try it.  I knew that it worked, and worked well.  I also knew it would be fun.  Back in the U.S. it was mainly the price that stopped me from joining.  $240US a month is a LOT of money for a gym, especially when the run of the mill 24 Fitness membership is only $30.  However, the whole 24 Fitness Business model is based on selling 30x more memberships than the facility can handle, and hoping that most people will continue paying and stop coming after a few weeks.  CrossFit is different, CrossFit is almost like a cult, a workout cult.  

So why did I finally decide to drink the kool aid and join?  Well it was a good combination of factors.  After my last fight, I decided that I want to get in ideal shape before I even think of stepping in the ring again.  That combined with my injuries that I'm still recovering from, mainly swollen shins and my left foot I can't kick or run for another week or two anyways.  But mainly, I've just been bored with my routine and wanted a change.  Luckily, in Thailand, it's easy to just pick up and move.  Back home it would be unheard of to move apartments just because you are trying out a new gym, but here in Thailand, there's almost no reason not to.   Chiang Mai Cross Fit is on the north west corner of the old city where Nimmanhemin Rd turns into the Super highway.  

It's actually the perfect location.  Most people never discover Nimmanhemin road, which is a shame, as it's the coolest and trendiest part of Chiang Mai.  Nimmanheim is Chiang Mai's version of the East Village, Manhattan in New York.  It is filled with really cool coffee shops, salad bars, dessert spots, restaurants and tons of bars and nightclubs.  It's also the most expensive place to live in the city.  Luckily, CrossFit Chiang Mai is off the superhighway, which is less than a 5 minute drive by scooter but half the price to live in.  It's a bit daunting at first living right off the freeway, but you get used to it really quick and it's really not a big deal if you have a scooter.  

The closest Muay Thai gym is Lanna Muay Thai.  I few students do CrossFit in the mornings and Muay Thai in the afternoon as its both in the same neighborhood.  Lanna isn't the best Muay Thai gym in Chiang Mai, but because of the location, I might start training there once in a while when I start missing hitting pads and sparring.  I still have a few pre-paid classes left at KC Muay Thai, so even though it's a 40 minute drive away from my new apartment I'm still planning on training there once in a while.  Also I haven't forgotten about grappling classes at Team Quest.  I still plan on dropping in those once in a while as well.

Cost of training at CrossFit Chiang Mai:
The unlimited class membership is 2,600 baht ($87US) which is a steal compared to membership back in California.  It's also significantly cheaper than an unlimited monthly membership at a Muay Thai gym.  I think the only reason why they can do it because rent, and cost of living is so much lower in Thailand than it is back home.  Also a lot of the members are English teachers, travelers, and other people that wouldn't be able to afford much more.  When it comes down to it, $87US a month is still a lot of money, and I feel like it's a very fair price to charge.  If it was any more, I don't think I would have joined and would have stuck to Muay Thai only.

First Class Review: The Foundations Class.

I've technically been lifting weights for the past 12 years, so I should know what I'm doing by now.  But after today's class, I realized how little I really knew.  Matt Groves, a certified CrossFit trainer taught me and just one other guy the basics today and analyzed my dead lift and squat.  What I really liked was that he would spot a problem, then have a solution to fix it.  like, here's some weight plates under your heels.  Here's a box, positioned a few inches behind you to sit on, but still forcing me to push my ass back a few inches to reach it.  

I've never been a big fan of Olympic weight lifting, and it was the one aspect of CrossFit, along with the kipping pullups that I wasn't looking forward to.  But after today, I realized how good for you these exercises are and I'm glad that I had a properly trained professional show me how to do it correctly.  The only problem is since the fountains class is only once a week on Mondays, I might have to wait an entire week before training again, which I don't want to do.  Instead, I'm thinking about dropping in to the normal class on Thursday and maybe again on Saturday then doing the Fountains class again on Monday if they let me.  I haven't actually paid anything yet, so hopefully the 2,600 baht monthly covers both the normal and foundation classes for the month and it won't be anything extra.  

We ended the class with a medicine ball slam, burpee Tabata, which is basically HIIT/Circuit Training.  We did 8 rounds of 20 seconds, with 10 seconds rest in between.  So ball slam, ball slam, ball slam, burpees,  ball slam, ball slam, ball slam, burpees.  It's a total of 4 minutes of exercise, but it is intense.  I almost gave up half way but pushed through.  I do burpees on my own all the time, but having other people there doing it along with you, pacing you and pushing you.  That's what makes joining the cult worth it.  

Keep in touch on the blog and i'll let you know how it all goes.

Update:  After my second class, I still hadn't paid anything yet, so I brought it up myself and asked how much it would be. Turns out they are very relaxed about taking payments there and not money focused which is good.  I paid the flat 2,600 baht ($87US) and that covered both the foundations class as well as the unlimited classes for the rest of the month.  I feel like it was a very good deal.

Warm Regards,

www.12WeeksinThailand.com - Adventures in Thailand


  1. JK BowlingApril 12, 2013

    Let us know how well you improve!

  2. Thx for posting this info johnny, it's actually very helpful...My friend I met here last month in Phuket wants to come back in June and meet in Chiang Mai but she wants both crossfit type workouts and MT (while still being IN the city) since she trained at TMT. Obvi. the new TMT is too far away so sending her this article so she can make a decision. I'll keep u posted on when I firm up the dates. When do you think you are heading back to the states?

    1. Hey Chris, glad you liked the article. Let me know how it turns out. I'm flying back to the states July 3rd so I'll be there in June for sure.

  3. Hey Johnny, im a friend of chris and planning to visit chaingmai for a month starting June (excited)! Thanx so much for your helpful posts and would like to kno if u suggest any hotel near both training camps (considering I wont b driving around in a scooter)?
    Thnx for your help again :)

    1. Hey Sama, the best thing to do would be start at either Lanna or CrossFit and walk towards the other gym and see what is halfway in between them. I found a place near CrossFit for 4,000 baht a month including utilities and wifi, and there are some nicer places for 8,000 baht. Good luck and see you at the gym.

  4. Hi Johnny,

    I love all the info you've been posting. I'm interested in starting cross fit while I'm in Thailand for 3 months. Are there any other places other than Bangkok & Chang Mai that have cross fit? Also, Can you recommend a spot to rent for 3 months in Chang Mai for 5000-6000 a month? Thanks,

    1. Hey Enricka,

      I' glad you've been enjoying the blog and you're thinking about coming out to Thailand for 3 months. So far the only CrossFit gyms are in Chiang Mai and Bangkok, and I've heard the Chiang Mai one is a bit better. If you want to stay close to the CrossFit gym but still be in a cool area, Nimmanhemin Street is the best area. Here is a large white building next to the small Tesco Lotus that is 5,300 baht a month and has a swimming pool. Make sure you read 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap before you come, it'll make planning your 3 month trip here much easier and save you tons of money.


  5. Ohhh the Chiang Mai is alluring...

    1. Chiang Mai seriously has it all buddy.


Hey if you've read this far, you might as well at least leave a comment. Even just to say what's up! If you have any questions about training in Thailand just ask it here in the comments and I'll answer so everyone can benefit from it.