Running, followed by three hours a session, two sessions a day, six days a week. Rinse and repeat.
This training regimen is more than double, sometimes even quadruple, the amount of what people are used to. Due to the structure of Muay Thai classes and lifestyle outside of Thailand, a majority of people just can’t dedicate that much time to training when they’re in their home country. Most people consider themselves lucky if they can make it to training just a few times a week given their busy schedules. But because many want to make the trip to the motherland of Muay Thai for the experience and to up their game, it can be a shock to the system; to be immersed in a lifestyle that’s just focused around Muay Thai (and nothing else) is a nice change, but it is a drastic change.
Get in Shape
The best way to make sure you waste less time acclimating to training and more time training and learning is to show up to Thailand in decent shape. If you show up to Thailand completely out of shape, you would not only struggle with the training, but the breathing alone would be difficult with the heat and humidity.
If you can’t dedicate more hours to training than you already are before heading over, do other things to up your cardio and endurance – working on these two will be the most helpful when it comes to high-volume training. Running, swimming, biking, and circuit training are just a few examples of how you can effectively do just that. Remember that every little bit will help you adjust once you get to Thailand.
Clean Up Your Diet
A big part of how you feel is an effect of what you put into your body. Therefore, binge drinking and eating pizza for two weeks leading up to your training trip in Thailand is not the best idea. Not only is it unhealthy, but you will feel way more worse than need be. Cleaning up your diet will help you feel better and improve your athletic performance. You don’t have to do it all at once nor do you have to be super strict about eating clean. Just do something so it can help you with your breathing, building strength, and recovery.
Some supplements are difficult to find in Thailand or are very expensive (especially sports supplements like protein powder) due to being imported. If there are products you use regularly that you are unsure if you can purchase during your trip, pack them in your suitcase. The one thing you won’t need to pack are electrolytes – these are sold in packets for cheap (7 baht, to be exact, or $0.23 USD) at every pharmacy, convenience store, and supermarket. It’s recommended you take a couple a day to help stay hydrated. Without electrolytes, you may feel lethargic and find it difficult to train due to being depleted of important salts lost through sweating. You will sweat a lot during your training sessions.
Between the training sessions, try to rest. If it’s your first time in Thailand, you may be very excited and want to do some sightseeing before training again, but if you are serious about training, save the touristy stuff for the weekend. Thai fighters take naps between the sessions and you should too. Rest is the only way your body recovers and repairs itself.
Getting a massage will help release knots and alleviate any soreness and tightness you might have. Thai massages are cheap (usually only around 200 baht, or $6.45 USD, an hour), relaxing, and, when done right, help with body maintenance and recovery.
If you’re still finding it difficult to adjust to the weather and training, it’s not the end of the world. Take the next session off, rest, and get back into the next one. Nobody will fault you for it, especially the first few days of your trip. Don’t forget that resting is part of training. There’s no need to push yourself when you already feel like you can’t give it any more than you already have – you can get sick or injured doing this.
By changing a few things in your routine to be proactive prior to your trip to Thailand, you can make sure your adjustment to the brutal training will go as smoothly as it can. For other tips for your trip to Thailand, check out our Guide to Planning & Training in Thailand – Part 2: Preparing for Thailand
If you want an in-depth guide to training in Thailand, I’ve got just the thing.