Over a year ago I joined up with California Wow, which is a chain of gyms throughout Thailand. They have had a lot of bad press over the years, mainly through people complaining as a result of high-pressure tactics by their sales staff to get people to join. A lot of their sales staff only get commission, so naturally they use a lot of shady tactics to get their commission. Definitely these sales people are not looking ahead to repeat business (and it seems the commission structure doesn’t lend itself to rewarding them for this). So those people complaining typically are those who find themselves at home having purchased an expensive Gym membership, and suddenly realize it is not what they wanted.
However I’ve found that if you can get past those high pressure tactics (by going with someone who is already a member so they can insulate you from the pressure) then they have some excellent deals. I got a “lifetime” membership for about US$700. When I joined I was actually very happy to pay that price for an annual membership, and was surprised when they said it was for life. I expected some scam. Apparently the only condition was that one had to “renew” the lifetime membership annually by paying a 100 baht (about US$3) continuation fee within 30 days of your membership anniversary each year. So within 30 days of the first anniversary of my membership I went and paid the 100 baht. It indeed was painless and I have another year of membership! There have been some rumors of the company closing down at anytime as they aren’t producing the returns promised, however these rumors have been going around for years.
Anyway, it was the first time that I have ever belonged to a Gym ‘chain’. Now as you have probably seen from my other posts, I take my workouts seriously. I have a 4 day split, I record every exercise I do, and I time my rest breaks between sets (currently 1 minute). I used to record my results on a tatty notebook I carried around, but changed to the Fitness Builder app about 2 months ago. I am very pleased with the app and highly recommend it.
Whenever I travel I endeavor to maintain my training routine, and the biggest problem is that the equipment, machines, and even weight measurements (kgs vs pounds) can be different in each Gym. If the equipment I usually use at my home gym isn’t available then I have to find a replacement and work out what weight I should start at etc. All pretty inconvenient.
So when I checked in at the Marriott in Pattaya when I was on holiday, I was happy to see that just about opposite the hotel was a branch of California Wow. I went in for my workout, and right away was pleasantly surprised that one swipe of my Gym card confirmed I was a member, and I didn’t need to pay anything. The next thing that surprised me was that on the gym floor all the machines were exactly the same as what I use in the California Wow back in Bangkok! In fact it seemed that there were even the same number of each type of machine! I could effortlessly continue with my routine, using the same machines and same weights. Wow! (pun intended), I could get used to this!