Article by JP Mestanza with ring, canvas and bag photos taken by Paul Anthony Thompson

When Adrian Shead got married in April, there was no honeymoon. In fact, the Monday after one of the biggest days of his life, he was back at work overseeing the construction phase of the new Tiger Muay Thai and MMA Training Camp in Chiang Mai. Oh, and there’s also a baby on the way!

“Life is crazy at the moment,” says the 30-year-old General Manager of the facility, “I bring my wife to work. I have to do all the paperwork, but she’s got needs as well.”

Eight weeks from the expected due date, Shead is juggling his new life as a married man, future father, and head of one of the most prominent training camps in Thailand. Days become weeks and weeks become months in this hectic schedule of pre-fatherhood – something that he is integrating well with his new position at the camp.

“It’s a lot to take in. This is all new to me. I’m learning as I go along.”

While his wife, Nattapisa, waits for her husband in the newly minted three-story office building trimmed with black and orange colors during working hours, Shead supervises the continuing construction of the 2.76 acre camp. It’s located just 30-minutes from Chiang Mai City in Mae Rim.

The new training camp includes a sprawling Muay Thai complex – nearly twice the size of it’s sister location in Phuket. Shead has to make sure the large indoor MMA area, CrossFit area, weight room, healthy grill, spa section, relaxation pavilion (complete with video games and internet cafe), and accommodations are finalized in time for the late 2012 grand opening. A soft opening has already been planned for sometime within the next six months.

A fully-padded indoor MMA facility with top-of-the-line mats will be available for fighters to hone their skills using TMT’s program designed and led by the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Brian Ebersole, according to Shead.

The expansion is part of the training camp’s commitment to promoting authentic Muay Thai training and modern fitness techniques to a larger audience. In fact, according to Shead and Will Elliott, the director of TMT, the Muay Thai area will be outfitted with TMT branded canvas, ropes, bags, and turnbuckles – black and orange colors along with the TMT logo.

“Everything in the Chiang Mai facility will be state-of-the-art, but our commitment to authentic training is still our central focus,” says Elliott. “It is going to be a fitness paradise.”

Muay Thai training is already being offered at the new facility with three of Thailand’s top trainers, including master trainer Kru Pet Chaimanee and current Rajadamnern Stadium Middleweight Champion, Kru Lamsongkram Chuwattana. Private training is available with students trickling in every week, Shead says.

Accommodation will include three different price levels that will be part of the new multi-story building. Every room will have a TV, DVD player, dresser, and include wallet-friendly options with air conditioning. There will also be bungalows in a villa style area right on site.

“We’re going to start with 32 budget rooms on two floors and go from there, eventually getting to three to four floors,” explains Shead.

Managing all of the different aspect while maintaing a new life as a married man and future father must be difficult, but Shead makes it seem easy. Either that, or he’s really good at hiding the stress.

“It’s a different kind of stress though- it’s responsibility,” Shead says. “It gets to me sometimes but, then I put things in perspective, I wouldn’t change this for the world.”

He talks about his recent trip to the hospital where he takes tutorials on how to take care of his future baby, namely washing and feeding. From there, he goes back to the office and makes plans for what the new TMT Grill Chiang Mai will look like and how big- which will offer vegetarian and “fighter menu” options of healthy dishes. Shead feels his surroundings help him focus on his work.

“There’s nothing to distract you. It’s great up here with beautiful scenery and mountains. When customers get up they are going to be able to train hardcore and keep focus,” he says, “and everything around you is about half the price of Phuket.”

As for the honeymoon, Shead hasn’t thought of where or when. He has too much on his plate to think about that right now – though he can’t wait.

“When we decide and the time comes it will be well-deserved. “he says, “I have been lucky and had the great support of Will Elliott and the Tiger family to help which has been amazing. It’s been one hell of an adventure.”