Basic Nutrition Principles For Muay Thai Fighters
You Train Like An Athlete, So Stop Eating Like a Fat Kid!
You know how to hit the pads hard. Your kicks bend the shit out of those babies and your punches are nothing to mess with. You got the grunt down, you wear your shorts with pride. You bow to your gym, to your kru, to your ring and you get those reps in.
You’re a badass. You train Muay Thai.
If you’re really serious about it – whether you’re preparing for a fight or simply enjoy the crazy – you’re trying to get better. Always. And aside from toughness, grit and determination, one of the things that can help you get there is nutrition.
It is in fact one of the most instrumental factor that can help you improve your game. It is also, unfortunately, one that’s most overlooked.
A lot of people indeed “go hard” at the gym but slack off when it comes to what they put on their plate. It shouldn’t be this way, it should about being the “most lethal motherfucker that ever happened” day in and day out. And for that “everything that you put in your body matters” because contrary to popular belief just training simply isn’t enough…
And a calorie isn’t just a calorie.
The thing is “cellular tissue is constantly dying and regenerating”[i] (through a process called mitosis) but if you train hard, the rate at which you break down tissue surpasses the average joe’s which makes the need for a speedy recovery dire. That’s why you have to:
Eat For Fuel and Know Your GI
It goes without saying that leafy greens should be a basic staple of your diet, but if kale makes you want to reach for the garbage can, do not by any means submit yourself to this kind of torture.
Rather, put thought and reflection into your food selection (a good rule of thumb if you don’t want to research on the topic too much is what’s called “shopping the grocery store perimeter” where most healthy fats, low processed grains, fruits and veggies can be found. Ice cream can be found there too, but you get my point…) and know that feeding your body doesn’t mean nourishing your body. ‘Cause the truth is “just because you can put something in your mouth, chew it, swallow it, and then poop it out doesn’t mean it’s food. It just means you can chew it, swallow it, and poop it out.”[ii]
That’s because the same amount of calories coming from two different source can either spike blood sugar and insulin levels or not. And as a fighter you have to steer clear of foods that cause the former.
First, because the body works best when your blood sugar is stable (if you don’t believe me, just think back to your last hangover or, on a more serious note, ask anyone suffering from diabetes) and second because those foods “tell” the brain and pancreas to stimulate insulin production, which makes you retain fat, making it harder to cut weight, and paves the way to chronic inflammation, which slows down the recovery process, making you sluggish in the ring.
So how do you stay way from these insidious fuckers?
You have to know your GI. The GI, or glycemic index, is a simple scale of 0 to 100 which gives a high value to foods that cause the fastest spike in blood and insulin levels. From there, all you have to do is pick mostly foods that score 55 or less on the scale, eat once in a while the ones that score 56 to 69 points and avoid anything higher.
What’s great about the GI is that it automatically makes you choose calorie-densed foods, avoid hyperprocessed food-like products, and lets you eat pretty much anything you want (none of the low fat/low carb bullshit).
Does that mean you’ll have to cook?
Unless you’re Johny Hendricks or Ronda Rousey and can afford to have Mike Dolce at your beck and call, yes, you’ll have to put a bit of effort in your meals. But it doesn’t have to be as tedious as it sounds.
You can buy a slow cooker and make a stew you’ll eat a couple times a week with some greens drizzled – not doused – in olive oil, you can just top raw organic spinach (there’s been one too many salmonella outbreak when it comes to spinach, make sure you go organic and prewashed) with chicken or fish or make yourself some hardboiled eggs (all it takes is boiling water and 10 minutes) paired with tomatoes and a slice or two of Ezekiel bread.
Yes it takes a bit of discipline and time, and sometimes you’ll long for the days when you just popped some already made-up tray in the microwave and sometimes it straight up sucks. But you’re a badass. You train muay thai. You got this.
 The Ultimate Fighter. Season 18. One punch away.
[i] Whole Foods To Thrive: Nutrient-dense Plant-based Recipes For Peak Health. Brendan Brazier.
[ii] The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body. Cameron Diaz.