One of the wonderful things about Crossfit is the incredibly welcoming community. Before I came to Chiang Mai I had already worked out at five different gyms and had great experiences at all of them. I discovered Crossfit Chiang Mai when I saw a fellow Brooklynite wearing a t-shirt at the gym, and at the reasonable Thai prices I was excited to get some fitness in.

Like most establishments catering primarily to locals and expats, CFCNX is located well outside of the old city. This meant a terrifying bike ride along a main road and highway, crossing lanes of traffic and dodging motorbikes. The first day was the worst but eventually I came up with a strategy where I didn’t feel like an accident was inevitable.

On my first day I gave myself extra time to find my way so I was almost thirty minutes early when I arrived. This gave me a chance to check out the gym and get to know the coach for my class, a bad-ass mother of three named Monica. She is at least in her mid-50s with hair as white as snow, and she clearly knew her shit.

We chatted for awhile and she explained to me that the gym I was standing in was actually brand new– they hadn’t even finished paving the floor yet. The space was created in converted tennis courts, with a huge covered area and even more uncovered space. This was a total treat after working out in New York City. I got to flip tires and hit them with sledgehammers, and prowlers were a much more regular part of their programming. This won’t mean much to most of you, but the programming style was very similar to CFSBK and I was very impressed. Definitely a quality outfit.

I expected most of the members to be foreigners and they were, but there were a surprising number of Thai women training with us. I asked one of them how long she had been Crossfitting and she explained that she was an instructor at the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute.  All instructors at ISDSI are trained as Crossfit coaches, and students participate in classes as part of their program. Boom, Tik and Pui were all very friendly and it was nice to have the opportunity to chat with some locals.

I was a little disappointed to see my numbers after such a long break but it felt so good to get some serious physical activity in. I was surprised by how much I missed the hard work and I’m a little nervous how I’m going to fit in exercise during the next few months of traveling.

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