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My Athletic Journey, And My Big Dream To Inspire And Grow The Fitness Community (Part 2).

Part 2 has been long overdue, it’s been a hectic few months for the gym, but happy to see all the progress we’ve made thus far this year. Three major events/seminars in three months is no easy feat let me assure you. So where did I leave it last time? Oh right, Olympic Weightlifting.

This sport is really a process of humility and determination, unlike Powerlifting where it takes a day to learn but years to perfect your craft. In weightlifting, it’s rare to see someone snatch 100kg+ without a significant period of training. It’s strange, from being able to consistently Deadlift 260kgs + to barely being able to snatch a barbell, it's humbling to say the least. But what’s life without challenges?

My first experience of Weightlifting was through one of my closest friends and co-owners at Iron Hive. Hi Tham! It was actually during one of the seminars he helped me with back in 2017 That is when I first witnessed someone throw a barbell overhead with some seriously impressive weights. There I realized that there are people actually interested in learning about this weird mysterious ‘Olympic Sport’.

Over time I also developed as a person, I knew that while it was cool to do Powerlifting and I still love it to this very day. I wanted to operate a gym and in order to do that, I needed to understand the sub-culture behind the sports we represent. So that’s undeniably the main motivation for embarking on this new journey. It was then a process of educating myself on what I needed to know, to learn and feel what weightlifters felt. Only then can I serve.

Once you know what you want, you take action. I contacted an ex-weightlifter to coach me from time to time, it was challenging and honestly, it was difficult. I travelled all the way to Georgia to train with him to develop my understanding of this sport, to see how real athletes trained. I even ended up competing in a Weightlifting competition and medalling. Random I know.

Then it was time for me to go back to school for my Masters Degree. My partner and I settled for Sydney and seriously what a life-changing decision. It was there I went to a Weightlifting Only ‘gym’. I use the single quotation mark because it wasn’t really a gym, it was a school more or less, where people would train day and night to better their craft.

If understanding the subculture of the sport was what I was after, then this was my answer. A small room full of people whose passion in life was to perfect snatching and clean and jerking. A coach who was an ex-International Weightlifting Athlete, what more could I ask for?

The training was tough, I’ve never seen such hardworking people in my life, I swear some people stayed there for 4+ hours a day. Some would do double sessions (AM and PM). It was a new world. But wow, I learned a lot. To all of the members/athletes there, thank you so much. You’ve all had an amazing impact on my life. For this, I will always be forever grateful.

It was there that the opportunity to take a trip to Russia for a weightlifting camp came along. I jumped on it, and my partner came along, forcefully (sorry Soo Jin). I’m sure you didn’t enjoy it as much as I did. But it was there I learnt about the origins of the Weightlifting giants of the World. We trained 3 times almost every day. I appreciated how hard professional athletes worked from this experience. I can never do that.

My time in Australia eventually came to an end and yes despite all the Weightlifting I did graduate with my Masters Degree (In case anyone was wondering). I was able to learn about all aspects of the sport, not just the snatch or clean and jerk. This knowledge gave me the ability to serve people who wanted to do Weightlifting to the very best of my own abilities.

Life is dynamic, we change as people every single day, slowly but surely. Sometimes things are planned, sometimes not. This brings me to the next sport which makes the three core sports of our gym CrossFit. This was a complete accident, as weightlifters, you tend to try to find a gym that allows you to drop weights. So let’s enter the world of Metcons.



Keen Thammathataree is the CEO of a new fitness start up in Bangkok, Iron Hive Gym. He’s a former Commonwealth Games Powerlifting Champion, Olympic Weightlifter and CrossFitter. He’s extremely passionate about sports business and is a Sports Management honors degree graduate from the prestigious University of Edinburgh before receiving his Masters in Management from the University of Sydney. His goal in life is to see people use fitness as a tool for self-actualisation and finding their true inner self.

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