There are few things more jarring to the system than first landing in Thailand and stepping out into the brutal Thai heat. It can put a cramp in the style of any fresh-faced nak muay! Beat the heat (and not the other way around). . .
TRAINING IN THE UNFORGIVING HEAT OF THAILAND
Chances are where you live is decidedly not like Thailand. Where you live probably has seasons. The humidity might also vary with the seasons, or maybe it tends to be dry. Sure, Thailand has its own seasons, but they don’t vary much temperature or humidity-wise. If you haven’t been to Thailand yet, it’s very hot and very humid.
The brutal Thai heat & humidity make for an almost unbearable combination, especially for people who go there to train. If you’re traveling from the other side of the planet, you have to factor in jet lag as well.
After saving up and taking the long flight in for several weeks of hard training, what you don’t want to happen is to only be adjusting the entire time. Every second of training is an opportunity for you to learn and get better, but it’s difficult to do that if you’re getting used to the climate.
Lucky for you, brave nak muay, there are some steps you can take to minimize your acclimation time.
FITNESS… OR GREATNESS
It’s easier said than done, but the number one thing you can do is to come in the best shape possible. Many people think that they can wait to get in shape when they arrive in Thailand…which is true, but like previously stated, they would be spending their precious time getting in shape instead of learning. Ultimately, you have to ask yourself the big question:
“Am I going halfway around the world for fitness or greatness?”
If you find it difficult to get to the gym before your trip, one of the easiest way to build up your conditioning is roadwork. Go for long runs as much as possible, as this is what’s going to save you from gassing out when you’re training twice a day. Even if you went in good shape, it will still take you some time to get used to the weather, but nowhere as much as if you went out of shape.
Someone who comes in good shape will only take about two to four days to get their lungs adjusted to the thick air, whereas someone who doesn’t come in good shape will take one or two weeks to do the same. Moreover, not coming in good shape means you have more to adjust to, such as muscle fatigue and overall conditioning.
TAKE IT EASY THE FIRST FEW DAYS
Most people don’t train twice a day, six days a week, so jumping into a Thai training regimen can be a shock to your system. Ease your way into it your first couple of days. If you go too hard too fast, you could get sick or get painful muscle cramps.
Almost all camps offer training twice a day, so show up to just one session when you initially arrive. You can also show up twice a day, but take it easy on the intensity. Don’t worry about disappointing the trainers and looking like a wuss. They’ve seen people come in and do too much and hinder their ability to do much the days after, so they’ll definitely understand you wanting to ease in.
STAY FULLY FUELED
Heat + humidity = sweat… lots of it!
You will sweat a lot, as will the people around you. Always make sure to drink enough water and supplement with electrolytes. Never, ever try to “tough it out” when it comes to dehydration.
Surprisingly, something many forget to do is eat enough. When you’re running and training twice a day, you need substantially more calories than you usually do. Eating enough will help you recover and give you enough energy to smash your next training session. Failure to do so will result in poor recovery and training output.
Take the above few steps to make the most out of your trip to Thailand! Live the dream – just don’t lose to the brutal Thai heat.
- Plant-based fighter, foodie, and aspiring physical therapist. Angela is currently living in Bangkok and training full time.