Getting Ripped Off For Training – Why You Might Be Overpaying in Thailand

At home, you would most likely pay around $120US per month of unlimited training. In many parts of Europe, including Holland and Sweden training is often only $60US a month. Why in the world would you pay 10,000 baht ($333US) per month in Thailand where everything else is so cheap ? I try to keep quiet about this sensitive subject publicly but in this my blog, it’s no holds barred. Let me say it, then, “You are fucking getting ripped the hell off if you are paying 10,000 baht a month for training!” The only reason why gyms in Thailand are able to get away with it is because – once you factor in the costs of food and accommodation – your monthly budget is still really low compared to what it would be back home. You also get things like 1-on1 pad work and more personal time with top quality trainers than you would back home. While most gyms back home only have 1 trainer per class and you hold pads for each other, it’s the norm in Thailand to have 1 trainer for every 3 students (maximum). The classes are also longer and you train more often than you do at home as well.

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So, if you think about it logically, paying 10,000 baht a month (or 8,000 baht at Muay Thai only gyms) isn’t that big of a price tag for training twice a day, six days a week. If you do the math, you get 48 sessions per month and if you do Yoga or Circuit training for a 3 rd session in the day, you might even get 60 sessions in! So, you’re really only paying 208 baht ($7US) per session training twice a day – that’s a fantastic deal. However, that’s where reality comes in. I’ve now trained at more than seven different Muay Thai and MMA gyms across Thailand, often for up to 6 months at a time. I’ve seen hundreds of students pass through them; every single one came with the intention of training twice a day, six days a week and each ended up missing 40-60% of their classes by the end of the month.

Even pro-fighters (that come for a fight camp) end up getting sick, injured or simply overworked and become too tired to train. If you think you are the exception and want to pay for the unlimited monthly membership go ahead – it’s not my money. For some smaller gyms, such as KC you’re actually helping them out as a lot of the money goes to sponsoring young Thai kids go to school and train. Do yourself a favor and keep track of how many days you actually train and how many sessions you go to. I would happily wager the price of this my blog against anyone who thinks they will attend even close to 48 sessions in a month. The easiest way to keep track – and what I do – is hang up a calendar on the wall and write in what I did every day. Go ahead and pay for unlimited training for the first month, then tally up how many sessions you actually went to . Since I live at the gym at every camp, I go to every single session (even if I’m not training) just to stretch, shadow box, do light weights, eat, hang out, say hello, and watch. I see who trains and who doesn’t. It also forces me to not get lazy. The worst thing for people that don’t live at the gym, in regards to training, is being able to disappear for weeks at a time without anyone noticing.

Most people end up doing the following:
Week 1:
The first two days after arriving they train twice a day and jump right into things. On the third day their muscles are so sore and their body aches; they then take a few sessions off and start training once a day. By the fifth day they still show up for one session but are only able to train at 50% because their feet are blistered up, their shin bones hurt and their whole body is sore.

Week 2: During the second week they are committed to training hard twice a day but are exhausted by Wednesday. They start looking for supplements, protein powder and other things to refuel. Nothing helps. They decide to train twice a day, a few days a week and ‘rest’ by taking a morning off once in a while.

Week 3: Over the weekend they discovered all the amazing things to do in Thailand – then got drunk. They wonder why their cardio isn’t improving and don’t realize it’s because their drunken binge over the weekend offset an entire week of training gains. They’re also over-trained and physically exhausted but they continue to push, as they promised themselves they would give it their all.

Week 4: They decide to skip a few training sessions to further recover – which gets extended to a week. We don’t see them again, as they are too embarrassed to start again and are mad for wasting their money. Total sessions actually attended = twenty nine. Still, when you think about it, training twenty nine times in one month is very impressive. Most people back home only go to the gym a few times a week and, even then, those workouts are a piece of cake compared to what we do here in Thailand.

Honestly, that’s considered a dedicated guy and doesn’t include injury which happens to everyone to a certain degree. If you keep track of how many sessions you actually train in a month, it might be closer to twenty – if you factor the days you’ll miss from being sick or recovering from a minor injury. Like everyone else, I always paid for unlimited training sessions at every gym I went to and, like everyone else, I ended up paying way too much (not using all of my sessions) which, by the way, are non-refundable. Now I pay for 10 sessions at a time and it has saved me thousands of baht every month. Most gyms will let you buy 10 sessions for 2,500 – 3,000 baht ($83 – $100US). True, a lot of gyms will discourage it (as it’s a pain in the ass for them to keep track) but, remember, you’re the customer and even if you’re not on a tight budget, it’s still a good idea to not waste money. On average you will realistically train 20-25 sessions in a month even if you come with the best intentions, as most people do.

Other things like holidays, visa runs, and hooking up with a girl will cause you to miss a few days (or even an entire week sometimes). At the end of the day, 10,000 baht buys you 40 sessions anyway, and I can almost guarantee you won’t go over that. Of course, you may actually be the exception but 95% of you will save a lot of money by paying for 10 sessions at a time. Just make sure you keep track and be honest to yourself and to your gym by keeping track accurately. If you do go for the unlimited training package the gym will be happy to take your money. First, it’s easy for them to keep track of what day it expires; second, if you do go everyday twice a day they’ll be super-proud of you; and third, if you stop coming – as most people do – they still made money off of you, so they don’t care. Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket went under a lot of fire for charging people 27,000 baht upfront for three months of training, knowing very well that half of those people will stop coming after a month (when they discover the nightlife and girls of Patong or get into a scooter accident on the way back). Most gyms have a strict ‘no refund for any reason’ policy. At the end of the day, it’s your money, but it’s saved me an average of 3,000 baht a month since I switched; I actually train more often and harder now than I did before on the unlimited plan.

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