Ordinary Thai food
Most Muay Thai boxers in Thailand do not need to modify their diet, as ordinary Thai food is not only delicious but extremely healthy. Thai people eat large amounts of white rice with almost every meal. Added to this are small portions from a selection of dishes served family style. Most Thai food is prepared using fresh ingredients and is highly nutritious. Meals are carefully balanced to contain small amounts of fat and protein along with plenty of fresh herbs and vegetables. Between meals Thais will snack copiously on the abundance of tasty fruits available in Thailand.
Weight divisions in Muay Thai
Since the introduction of weight divisions body weight has naturally become of prime importance to all competing Muay Thai boxers. To reduce body weight one must control food intake and eating should be planned in terms of proper food content and proper meal times. If a person’s energy intake (i.e. how much they eat) exceeds their body’s energy requirements then weight gain will result. If a persons energy intake falls short of their body’s requirements then weight loss will follow. If you wish to reduce body fat and despite training hard you are still not losing weight, then you must eat less. It is as simple as that.
Highly processed foods such as ready-made packet meals and burgers have very high energy concentrations compared to almost any other types of food. They often contain extremely high levels of fat and salt, and tend to be poor value nutritionally. If you follow a diet made up exclusively of these kinds of foods your health will suffer and you are likely to gain weight.
A diet that includes very few processed and pre-packaged foods is healthier and is likely to encourage weight loss. Prepare food at home every day using fresh ingredients and you will probably find yourself following a healthy diet without the need to become a nutrition expert.
How to eat if you are training in Muay Thai
When you first begin training in Muay Thai boxing don’t worry too much about the amount of food you are eating. Give your body a chance to get used to the new training schedule. Your appetite will find its own rhythm. Try not to eat within the few hours before training. Intensive training on a full stomach will make you unwell.
You must drink enough fluids to fulfil your body’s needs and never allow yourself to become dehydrated. Sugary soft drinks can be high in calories and offer no nutrition; you are better off drinking plain water. You will sweat a lot during training (especially in Thailand’s humid climate) and this fluid loss needs to be replaced. But drinking excessive amounts of water is also not helpful to your body and will certainly not help with your training.
During training sessions try to take only small sips. During the rest of the day listen to your body, it will tell you when it is thirsty. You should drink one or two glasses of water following each meal to aid digestion. Rehydration drinks containing a mix of salts and sugar are a good idea if you are worried about the amount you are sweating or you have just begun training in Thailand’s hot climate. These drinks should be limited to one per training session.
If you are losing weight you must be especially observant of your own body and look carefully for any signs of stress. Weight loss should not exceed one pound (0.5 kg) a week. Anything faster (unless you are seriously overweight, in which case consider controlling your weight before embarking on a very intensive training regime) will have a damaging effect on your body, the evidence of which may not present itself until much later in your life.
Remember, every person has a natural body weight that is dictated by their individual traits.