Eating Healthy While Training Muay Thai in Thailand
Most recreational and competitive athletes are aware that in order to get the most out of your body when training and competing in a sport, you need to eating healthy on a consistent basis. Keeping nutrients in your body, maintaining proper hydration, and staying away from certain foods that affect your health are critical factors to having a successful Muay Thai in Thailand experience. If you’re going to compete at the highest level, you need to be well aware of the nutrition of common Thai dishes, what the fighters are typically eating on a daily basis, and where you can get healthier dish alternatives. As a professional or aspiring professional fighter, you must also be aware of your weight class in Muay Thai, and make sure that you’re hitting the proper weight before each of your fights.
Nutrition and Learning Muay Thai in Thailand
Before going into the Muay Thai Diet, its important to know some basic nutritional information that is relevant to Muay Thai fighting, and training for any contact sport. You want to be maintaining the required daily value for all of the important vitamins. Vitamin A, B, C, and D will all contribute to your health and your training capabilities.
Thailand Note: When training in Thailand, it might be difficult to get all of your daily nutritional requirements if you haven’t brought your own supplements. However, when Muay Thai training in Bangkok, you have access to dozens of different shops around the city that will take care of your supplement needs.
The food and meat in Thailand may be delicious, but there are typically a lot of unhealthy meat choices available, especially within the areas of the country that have Muay Thai gyms. Thankfully, there are plenty of chicken and fish options available across the country. Pork and beef are great options, but contain a higher fat percentage and if you have difficulty making weight, consider avoiding these meat types.
Thailand Note: Fighters on average lose weight and keep it off when beginning Muay Thai. It’s not common for fighters to do vigorous or heavy strength training and muscle growth routines while training Muay Thai in Thailand. Don Heatrick, a professional Muay Thai influencer has an excellent article on muscle growth tips and tricks while training Muay Thai.
Many Thai fighters will swear by their own nutritional regime and dietary choices, so it’s safe to say that every fighter is slightly different; Type A can be more tolerant to eating fatty foods during training, while Type B could have a slower metabolism and not be as tolerable to them.
Crucial Knowledge to Eating Healthy While Training in Thailand
There’s a reason many fighters make the pilgrimage to train in Thailand and that’s to learn where the sport was born, to embrace Thai culture and most importantly, to train and live as the other Nak Muays do. Food is no exception here, and you’ll find a variety of healthy (and unhealthy) eating choices for fighters. A Thai fighter’s diets usually includes the following:
- Breakfast consisting of rice, a small amount of fibrous vegetables, and a small portion of meat, usually grilled or steamed.
- Fruits throughout the day and during lunch
- Dinner consisting again of rice, and healthy meat choices such as chicken or fish.
- Water, all day, every day.
You won’t see many fighters deviate from these food choices for eating healthy, although it’s easy to put in some very unhealthy additions to this diet. Thailand is notorious for it’s high-sugar, MSG-laden food. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a natural salt compound that we all have within our bodies. There has been a lot of criticism and ill-informed research regarding the potentially negative effects of MSG on the human body, although no detailed and reputable scientific studies have concluded that MSG has a negative effect on your body. However, it’s important to try foods with MSG to conclude yourself if it’s something that you want to consume while learning Muay Thai in Thailand. Moderation is important with all eating habits, and having a high amount of sodium or sugar in your diet can make training difficult. If you’re looking to lose weight while training, stay away from foods such as:
- Sugary foods and drinks (the green, red, and blue colored drinks you see in roadside cafes need to be avoided). A lot of coconut-based dished are also filled with sugar.
- Cha-Yen (Thai style tea) has a ton of sugar in it. Although very tasty, try to avoid drinking too much of this orange-colored tea.
- Pad Thai — Very unhealthy, filled with bad carbs, sugar, salt, and fat.
- Deep fried foods — There’s a ton of deep fried food that can be found all over Thailand. Fish, chicken, pork, and even rice, the oil is not healthy and should be avoided especially when trying to make weight.
If you have the time or you’re planning on cooking while you train Muay Thai in Thailand, you have access to modern supermarkets and the thai-style markets that open up in the morning and afternoon. Muay Thai Guy has an excellent package that will inform Muay Thai chefs on what to cook and how to get what you want that can be found here.
These are the general ideas and knowledge that you should possess before you begin your journey to Thailand to train Muay Thai. The typical dishes, how to pronounce them in Thai, and their price can be read here. As a fighter, you want to be eating healthy all the time, even after training. Temporary diets will not help and if you have healthy eating habits, stick with them!