Location, location, location! Location is a key deciding factor when it comes to taking up a new hobby or sport. You may be unsure on how to go about scouting for a place to learn Muay Thai if you are a beginner. I’m here to solve the challenge on how to find the best Muay Thai gyms near you.
Do read all the way through to learn how you can find the best Muay Thai gym to train in your area and the various factors you should first consider. I have also included at the end of the article a list of things to look out for before you sign up.
Things to Consider
Location may be the most important factor as accessibility and convenience will encourage you to train. However, there are other factors that you need to take into consideration.
Finding a Muay Thai gym depends on your training goals. You can learn Muay Thai or kickboxing easily nowadays.
Before you start looking, first determine if you are training for fitness, self-defense, recreation, or to compete.
Traditional fitness gyms sometimes offer Muay Thai/kickboxing classes but the focus is more on cardio workouts. Authentic Muay Thai gyms are more suitable if you wish to train for fitness, recreation and competition.
Most Muay Thai gyms are very welcoming even if you only just want to get fit. Muay Thai training can seem intimidating but most gyms will accept anyone coming to train.
Muay Thai vs MMA Gyms
Mixed martial arts gyms are often great places to learn Muay Thai striking. The upside is that you have a variety of classes to choose from. MMA gyms may offer Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), boxing, Muay Thai and conditioning.
You do need to watch out for a few things. MMA gym membership can be more costly due to -typically- bigger facilities, more trainers and various equipment setup.
Check if they offer discounts if you are planning to train Muay Thai only.
Membership price can be a deal-breaker or an instant-clincher. Higher fees do not always mean better instruction but usually translate to better facilities.
Add-ons like 5-star facilities, MMA classes, etc. can add up to a higher membership fee. But don’t discount small family gyms. They can sometimes provide more personable instruction and overall experience.
Some gyms offer annual memberships, while many others do a monthly subscription. Annual memberships can work out to be cheaper but it is a huge commitment. Just go with a pricing model that suits your financial preference.
Finding Muay Thai Near You
Muay Thai is becoming increasingly popular around the world. You will be able to find many Muay Thai training options in most cities. The best ways to find them are as follow:
1) Ask for Recommendations on Facebook
Family and friends are your best and most trustworthy sources. If you have friends or family members in your area who happen to train Muay Thai or know someone who does, they can point you in the right direction.
You can do this very simply and quickly by using the “ask for recommendation” functionality on Facebook.
Most people would have done their own share of research to find the best gym possible. The added benefit is knowing people at a gym that you can train with.
I have friends who train Muay Thai, so I asked for recommendations before moving further. I ended up training at one of the suggested gyms which turned out to exceed all expectations.
2) Google search “Muay Thai Near Me”
If you got nowhere after asking for recommendations, then Google is your best friend. Simply search “Muay Thai near me” which should show you a long list of gyms in your area. Remember to share your location to get the most accurate answers.
3) Check Out Review Websites
After shortlisting the gyms from (1) and (2), it’s time to do more research on them. Any self-respecting Muay Thai gym will have its own website, Google Business page or Facebook page.
If you do a google search on a particular gym, you will usually see an info box on the search results. This is a Google Business feature. You can find reviews about a gym in this section.
Besides Google Business and Facebook, Yelp is another good review website. There are some despicable businesses that write their own reviews so make sure to check a variety of sources for a balanced outlook.
4) Do A Background Check
If you got this far, it’s time to do a background check on the instructor(s). Start with the gym’s social media pages to look at their training videos. You should also check the instructor’s personal Instagram accounts to look up on their credentials.
The level of engagement is also a good gauge. Students who enjoy their classes are more likely to like and comment on their gym/instructor’s social media pages.
5) Set up a Trial Class
Now for the final test. If everything is looking good so far, call up for a trial session. Almost every gym offers one free or paid trial session. You can take advantage of this to check and compare a few gyms.
Some gyms also don’t publish their membership prices online so you need to inquire in person.
Things to Look Out For Before Signing Up
As promise, here’s a list of things to look out for before signing up:
I have trained with many Muay Thai instructors over the years. The best world-class facility cannot make up for an unenthusiastic trainer. The number of championship titles also don’t matter much because I have come across multi-time champions who just can’t teach.
Qualities of good trainer include motivational, passion for teaching, proper fight experience, and enthusiasm.
Maintenance & Hygiene
You don’t want to train at a poorly maintained gym either. Tired equipment and an unclean environment can post potential health risks. Look out for signs of bad maintenance like big holes in the floor mats, or badly-torn leather on heavy bags.
Skin infections are common in a sweaty environment so look for gyms that put emphasis on cleanliness. Gyms that hire janitors are usually safe bets.
Convenient Class timings
Class timings are important for most working adults. Ask to see a timetable so you know there are classes available that coincide with your free time.
Location! If you live in a big city, there will usually be many options to choose from. The more accessible a gym is, you will be more motivated to go for training.
Those of you living in smaller towns may not have this benefit. Avoid training at McDojos that teach fake Muay Thai. One option is that you drive a little further out of town to train once a week during the weekends at a good gym and train at home during the week.
Training Muay Thai has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Muay Thai is a life-changing experience. You will be fitter, stronger, more positive, disciplined, and driven.
As Zig Ziglar once said,
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”