Dietary Considerations for Thai Boxing Training

Muay Thai Moves, Muay Thai instructionalA Muay Thai fighter must keep the body fit and conditioned for fighting. For that reason, diet plays a very essential role in training and must be tailored to:

1)      Provide energy for training.

2)      Provide the energy, protein and other building blocks to ensure efficient and rapid recovery following the hard training sessions.

3)       Maintain a lean body condition that allows control of the fighter’s weight.

However, the normal diet in Thailand is sufficient for the average Muay Thai boxer. That is because most Thai eat rice with each meal, and rice is a good source of complex carbohydrates that fighters need for energy. Thai food incorporates a variety of dishes in small portions and is made mostly from fresh ingredients, so it is highly nutritious and well balanced. Thai meals include very little fat, a small amount of protein and many vegetables and herbs. Thai people snack on fruit, not sugary candy or starchy chips and breads as Western cultures do.

Here are some diet tips to keep in mind while undertaking Thai boxing training.

First and foremost, concentrate more on the exercises you are learning than your diet. Your body will adjust and tell you what it needs. Over time, your appetite will find its own pace. Realize if you have been on a Western diet, your body will need to adjust to the Thai way of eating. Take it slow, but give it a try.

Second, try and not eat for several hours prior to training.  Muay Thai training is intense, and if you train on a full stomach you will experience cramps and digestive problems. You may also experience a loss of energy due to the body’s process of digestion, e.g. concentration of blood to the stomach and abdominal regions and change in blood sugar levels due to insulin secretion (insulin dump).

Third, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. When you lose 2% or more of your body weight in water you suffer a marked loss in energy and mental concentration. Sugary drinks, even sport drinks can be counterproductive. Nothing beats water. Limit your caffeine intake. Drink herbal teas.

During Thai boxing training you will sweat a great deal because the exercises are intense. So, you have to be able to replenish your fluid levels. But, by no means guzzle down water and overload your stomach. Sip it now and then while training.

Remember that weight loss is not the goal, gaining lean muscles and strength is. That is not to say many people do not lose weight while mastering Muay Thai. They do. However, it is not healthy to lose more than a pound or two a week, even if you are overweight.

The bottom line is this – if you want to get the most out of your Muay Thai training, eat healthy and drink lots of water in small but frequent amounts throughout your day.  Experiment with traditional Thai dishes and slowly convert to their diet.

If you live a western country, eat small regular meals, rich in complex carbohydrates and with small amounts of good protein – fish, chicken, eggs, yoghurt. Keep your fat intake low and stay away from junk, fast food.  

As a rule of thumb a Thai fighter undergoing intense Thai boxing training needs to take in approximately 1gm of protein per Kg of body weight, however, keep in mind that the body can only assimilate 20-25gms of protein at a time so eat small amounts often. Protein supplement drinks are also a convenient way to acquire the amounts of protein.

Follow these tips and your body will become it’s optimum best for training and for competition fighting in Muay Thai.

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