This review was written in April 2016. Since then Mr Toan has gone from strength to strength. The little gym described here is no longer but see Tuan Toan Gyms & Fitness Centers for information about his 2 new gyms and Get Fit for Real: Tuan Toan Gym & Fitness Centers for a more recent review. This review, My Gym in Hoi An, still gives a good account of what a good public gym in Hoi An was like not so long ago. These days the facilities and equipment have been substantially upgraded.
My gym in Hoi An – Nguyen Viet Toan Gym and Fitness Center – is tucked away on Tran Cao Van near the corner of Hai Ba Trung. This no-frills, local Vietnamese gym is a mixture of sweat, frustration, fun and inspiration. In Summer, it’s an absolute sweat box but it’s very cheap and has everything I need.
There are no comfort extras like air conditioning, flush toilets or floor area on which to work out but a myriad of equipment covers any muscle group you wish to work on. Most of the equipment is in good order, if a little dusty, but there are plenty of old rags around to wipe them down if you feel so inclined.
There are large mirrors on all the walls except where they’ve been smashed. I often wonder why some of the girls bother coming as a lot of their time is spent dawdling on the treadmill, sitting down resting or tying and untying their hair in front of those mirrors that have survived (about two-thirds). Not many leave having worked up a sweat, that’s for sure. They could be there to watch the young men primping and flexing their pecs, abs or guns in between their sets. A little bit of eye candy never hurt anyone!
Compared to Vietnamese coffee shops, music pumps at a relatively quiet volume providing a little rhythm for your aerobic work out. And girls … if you can possibly avoid using the squat toilet, do. It is separate to the Men’s, although men use it, and it opens directly onto the upper body equipment.
Early morning until about 7.30am is usually the busiest time. I haven’t been at other times so I can’t say how busy it gets late afternoon and evening.
Photos © Stuart NealBack to previous page