Could you imagine being one of those people who skip their sacred chicken rice lunch break to change out of shirt, suit, and tie and actually go for a one-hour workout? Or those people who don’t go home after a long day for Netflix and Cup Noodles but rather maximise the rest of their energy with a highly productive gym sesh? We couldn’t really imagine it. But then we checked out BASE Amarin.

BASE Amarin joins the BASE Bangkok family as the third and latest addition to the city’s infamous sleek and stylish chain of urban gyms. Just last year, BASE was voted Asia’s Gym of the Year, and now with the opening of BASE Amarin in the heart of Chidlom, we were curious to see what the hype was about. Going for the true BASE experience, we tried out the gym’s signature BaseCamp class this month, leaving with much to talk about over our sacred chicken rice lunch the next day.

BASE Amarin gym review

Location

Surely, if you know Bangkok, you’ve heard of BASE. The name is capitalised for that extra sporty oomph, the colour scheme is a strong black and white, and the gym seems to ooze with only good-looking humans, many of whom seem to live in the grey area of individuals who only have 12-15% body fat. But it’s really not as intimidating as it seems.

BASE Amarin is tucked into a corner on the second floor of Amarin Plaza, in the heart of Chidlom’s bustling business and shopping district. It’s a city-centre gym much as you would expect it. Closely packed, with every square metre cleverly thought out, between an outdoor reception area, and the closed-off indoor gym area. It’s a great spot for business men and women to hop on down for a quick workout before, after, or during office hours. There’s no grand entrance, it’s very casual, and it’s relatively easy to find. It’s also directly connected to the skywalk that leads to Siam’s shopping havens and the BTS, in case you were up for throwing yourself into the rush hour grind post-squats and deadlifts.

BASE Amarin gym review

Facilities

The thing with BASE is that a BASE workout is not like your regular gym workout. It’s not the kind of place where you can enter and just kind of ‘do your thing’. BASE focuses on group trainings and classes, and on getting the most out of your session. At BASE Amarin, the set-up is that of a circuit class, with different stations and only a few machines and equipment, albeit a varied selection. The workout area is compact and tailored to the classes BASE offers, with a small separate area towards the back for personal training sessions.

The changing rooms are very small yet very cleverly designed. It’s an urban gym, after all. People aren’t here for a post-gym spa session; they aren’t looking for a sauna for socialising. Nevertheless, the amenities are well thought out, with many gems in the smaller details. There’s a box of spare hair bands for overflowing manes, there’s mouthwash for curious breaths, and there’s even micellar water for the pre-workout makeup removal. The mirror offers perfect selfie lighting, with motivating phrases like ‘Build Your Base’ printed onto them. In just a few words, the facilities at BASE Amarin are tailored to and designed immaculately to fit the BASE experience.

BASE Amarin gym review

Classes

A classic BASE workout is comprised of a combination of high intensity cardio and strength training, with options available for those who prefer to focus on the former or latter specifically. Classes are either 45 or 60 minutes long, and target different fitness goals. For example, BaseBuild and BaseStrong focus on strength, whereas BaseBurn and Speed & Endurance are cardio and HIIT-focused. For all-round fitness, and for the true BASE experience, go for BaseCamp, which perfectly combines all of these.

Classes claim to suit all levels, yet there is also a session called ‘Foundations’ for absolute beginners. Personal training is also available, entailing customised programmes to meet the needs of individual bodies and goals. The first classes are held at 6.40am, and the last take place at 7.10pm on week days and 5pm on weekends. Walk-ins are not encouraged, and registration is highly enforced and recommended, as the classes are often tailored to the number of participants. For our 6pm BaseCamp session, we were an approximate 15 people, which became kind of vital to our experience.

BASE Amarin gym review

BaseCamp

For many of the classes at BASE Amarin, and BaseCamp in particular, half the fun is in the team and class environment. There are six stations, at which you will do specific exercises for a total of five minutes each. Think, squats and lunges, rows, planks, cycling, step-ups, and running. It’s a combination of strength and cardio exercises, which can feel extremely motivating, seeing as you ‘only’ have to do a particular exercise for a relatively pain-free five minutes – and you’re really pushed to give it your all within that timeframe. It’s certainly not boring, but for first-timers and untrained gym rats, it can seem quite overwhelming.

Yet that’s where the team steps in. You’ll be put into a group of two or three to complete each exercise, and whilst each task is individual, it definitely amps up the fun and motivation to do it as a team. The trainer checks in on each station with an encouraging comment here and there and tabs on the remaining time, yet is not really there to provide much guidance, especially to beginners. You can go as fast and hard as you like, with scoreboards at the cardio stations for those who love a little competition. All in all, it’s an energetic and exciting workout which definitely feels effective, though at times confusing for the uninitiated.

BASE Amarin gym review

Verdict

In case it has not yet become apparent, we are not hardcore gym rats, but we can appreciate a great gym class, even in the company of hardcore gym rats. BaseCamp at BASE Amarin is one of these. It’s a haven where the budding city woman can hang up her work clothes and shut off the world for an hour and really get the most out of her workout. It’s really quite fun – as long as you know what you’re doing – and there’s a true sense of community between all partakers. If you’re a beginner like us, you’ll learn the hard way that a ‘burpee’ is not a cute version of a burp, yet with each kettle bell squat you’ll feel encouraged and motivated to find out more. It’s a dynamic environment, and the workouts yield quick, visible results.

With BASE Amarin, BASE continues to live up to its renowned reputation as a sexy, urban gym. They run classes that make you feel like you’re racking up cool points just by being present. They host seminars on trendy topics like Intermittent Fasting. They do all this against a dark broody interior in the corner of a major central Bangkok mall and to a Spotify playlist that really fires you up. It has the attributes that can make a gymming newbie furl up in fitness fear, but it has the heart that will make him or her (okay, us) unfurl and just enjoy it. Located in the beating, boxing, burpee-ing heart of the city, here’s just another reason to throw away the Cup Noodles and strut the skywalk to BASE Amarin on your next lunch break.

BASE Amarin, 2/F, Amarin Plaza, Phloen Chit Rd., Pathum Wan, Bangkok +66 2 256 9560

Lisa Gries
Managing Editor, Bangkok
Lisa loves to travel, and is always on the lookout for the world’s best nap spots. She’s a serious Asian art history nerd, and has a knack for languages and coffee table books. She hopes to publish her own novels one day, one of which will likely be called ‘All The Great Conversations I Had In A Bangkok Speakeasy.’ It’s a work in progress.