We found a gym here in Nha Trang this week. We checked it out on the day after we got here. We are staying at a hotel across from the beach and this place is across town. It sounds far but the actual distance is about a mile and a half. The towns along the coast here in Vietnam aren’t that big compared to what we typically see back home.
On our first visit to check it out we struck out on the easiest path to get there, taking major streets only so as to not get lost. After a few blocks we noticed a lack of pedestrians anywhere around. It was kind of eerie but neat at the same time. Most of the shops and businesses were closed and any another person passed us by only every few minutes to include vehicles. For the few months we’ve been here in Asia we’ve grown accustomed to crazy amounts of people going every which way as possible. Joci and I immediately agreed that the zombie apocalypse has begun and it has begun here in Nha Trang. So of course we need to get our workout in if we are going to survive this new world. So we continued on our way only stopping occasionally to smash the people we came across because they were obviously cursed zombies walking the streets, we didn’t care how hard they argued with us.
So after we finally located the gym we found the only street leading to it was under construction. Literally unpassable do to the various tractors tearing up the entire road from building to building. We searched for another entrance circling the block. Eventually we found a side path between a few buildings to our objective. To our surprise the gym was located inside a large sports complex.
The sports complex included a soccer field, indoor basketball & racquet ball courts, and smaller rooms that we did not explore due to them being closed. Once we found the gym itself we were pleasantly surprised to find a rather large gym with everything we needed. It resembled those gyms from the 70’s I’ve only seen in pictures and movies. It was an indoors technically, having a roof of tin and walls of concrete. But the front wall had bars instead of windows and a gate instead of a door. There were even several pictures over the front desk of the local bodybuilding champ. He was quite impressive for a man we figured stood about five foot six and weighed about 160lbs. Seeing how it was closed we decided to make our way back to the hotel and come back the next day to workout.
On our journey the next day, for some reason unbeknownst to us, the streets were once again filled with live people hustling about. The street to the complex was no longer being worked on so we could walk straight in. And the gym itself was pretty busy with probably three quarters of the equipment being used at any one time. As we were paying the guy behind the desk, I recognized him from the pictures over the desk minus the fact that he was now wearing clothes and not a little pair of posing trunks. When I asked him if that was him in the pictures he grinned with a slightly embarrassed but proud look on his face and said yeah he won the 65 kilo weight bodybuilding title.
This gym was a real Godsend for us. Everything we needed for our strength training was here and we couldn’t have asked for better gym patrons to work out next to. Everyone there was there to work out hard and nothing else. Rarely did we hear any conversation, unnecessary talking, or see anyone standing around doing nothing. Joci was pretty shocked to see a gym like this. She said that she had never been to a serious gym like that and was very appreciative. I told her that this was more of what you would expect in a Marine Corps gym or small serious gym back home. The only big difference was that about 98% of the other gym goers were Vietnamese and there were no fans. There was in fact no cooling system in place what so ever.
This was one of the hottest gyms either of us have worked out in ever. By midway through our workouts our clothes were completely soaked with sweat and dripping. We couldn’t have been more wet if we had jumped in a pool. As I looked around at the other people working out I noticed that most of them were not sweating this much and in fact some of them looked fairly dry even though they were grinding out some pretty serious effort. Overall aside from the heat, this was one of the better gym experiences we’ve had on this trip. I’ll be sorry to leave it when we go.
Joci’s Version of the gym adventure:
At this point in my training/life there is very little one can say to keep me out of the gym. 89 degrees, but feels like 102 according to the weather channel? Still going to the gym. The chance of having to deal with the zombie apocalypse and smashing zombies? Definitely on the way to the gym with mallet in hand. Having to navigate my way through a construction zone and nearly get run over by multiple motorbikes? Still going to the gym. Every store you stop by on the way to get water trying to rip you off more and more? Still going to the gym. Nothing will stand in my way of getting in to lift.
After our zombie smashing trek to the gym, we enter what will soon become a gym I will judge all other gyms on. We walk into what looks like heaven to me, but feel like hell. I glance around while Gerad is paying the champion bodybuilder and I see many small, but cut-up Vietnamese men working out in tiny swim trunks. I think nothing of it at this point in time and just assume they want to look at their bodies while they work out. Fine by me, but at the workout goes on…bench press, incline bench press…the sweat starts to come. Then upright rows, lat pulldowns…by this point I am literally dripping sweat from every inch of my body. My elbows are sweating. It literally looks like I jumped into the pool and run right over to workout. I was beginning to understand why all these guys were running around with barely any clothes on. I really thought about doing the same, but then decided that I didn’t feel like being shown up by 99% of the people there.
Getting into this gym was a real eye opener for me. We have literally traveled the world and seen many gyms. After our last gym experience, where I was being shooed away from Gerad because this old (at least in his 70’s) man thought that I would not be able to spot Gerad on his bench press and where boyfriends stood tickling each other and trying to give each other titty-twisters while doing bench press, I don’t think I could have been more appreciative of the people who were here and what this gym was. Everyone in this gym was serious about what they were doing. I can’t explain the joy that I felt when I saw this. It makes working out that much more motivating and easier. I hope to continue to find gyms like this on our trip and when we get back home. Every time I walk out of the gym looking like I just jumped out of the pool, I think “Man, maybe we should just stay here for the rest of our trip.” But that wouldn’t make for a very exciting blog for all you now would it?
With too much sweat,
Joci and Gerad