Muay Thai Tournament Tips: Nutrition and Diet Strategies

How To Prepare For The IFMA World Championships and Other Muay Thai Tournaments.

The following is a guest post by James Bee who works with professional fighters as nutritional coach.

ifma games logoWith the IFMA world championship games only weeks away, I hope everyone attending has been eating and training well. No doubt most of you have to meet at a weight class.

In this post I’m going to list the foods you should be eating and how to calculate your calories to get your weight spot on by the time you’re in Langkawi. With this goal in mind, you know you’re going to have to cut and monitor daily calorie intake. The strategy – consume all the nutrition you can get in as few calories as possible.

If you don’t need to lose any weight and just want to maintain your current weight, your formula for daily calorie intake is this:

To maintain current weight: Body weight in lbs x 13 Cal



Don’t worry about getting it perfect, you can likely get away with 10% either way. However just make sure you stick within this range of calories.

To lose or cut weight: Body weight in lbs x 10 Cal

Again, if you’re in between these weights, do your own calculations, they’re pretty simple. It’s just body weight x 10.


Muay Thai Tournament Tips

The Essential Foods To Eat Leading Up To The IFMA Games

Protein: Increase your protein intake for better recovery and performance. Muay Thai tournaments like the IFMA’s require extremely fast recovery so that you can fight again as you advance. This means you need a good supply of amino acids and proteins available to optimize recovery and repair your body fast.

How to get more protein in your diet?

Healthy fats: Increase your healthy fats now. Healthy fats or essential fatty acids are not made in the body so they need to be sourced from our foods. Consume foods like mixed nuts, natural peanut butter, fatty fish like wild salmon, eggs, flax seeds, or take fish oil omega 3 supplement which has been proven to reduce fat cells and increase brain function.

How to get more healthy fats in your diet?

  • Add walnuts or coconut oil to a smoothie recipe
  • Take a fish oil supplement.

Anti-oxidants: It’s time to ramp up the anti-oxidants. Consume red and purple berries which are rich in phytonutrients and contain hundreds, perhaps thousands, of substances that squelch free radicals.

How to get more anti-oxidants in your diet? 

2013-05-03-thugkitcheneatasaladnachosVegetables: The more phytonutrients you have in your diet, the more efficiently your body will run. Increasing your vegetables will enhance energy production, and help with cutting weight. The pick of the bunch is green leafy or brightly colored vegetables which are loaded with phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.

How to get more vegetables in your diet?

  • Eat more green salads.
  • Add veggies to a smoothie.
  • Chop carrots and celery as a snack.

Water:  Whether your weight cutting or not, water balance is going to play a big part in your performance. You need to drink at least 2-3 litres per day from now until the end of the games. While training and traveling it is easy to get dehydrated. Don’t make this mistake.

How to get more water in your diet?

  • Keep a 1.5ltr water bottle with you at all times, smash 2 each day and you’re right on track
  • Drink a big glass of water with each meal; this is your dehydration insurance policy.

Carbohydrates: Yes you absolutely need carbohydrates even when cutting weight, but how many carbs is too much or too less?

Too less and you are sure to drop weight, but you’ll also take a kick in the balls with performance, endurance, and concentration.

Too much carbs and you won’t lose weight quickly enough. If you are dieting leading up to the games I recommend you stick to around 100g per day when training. That’s about 2 cups of cooked rice or 1 medium potato and 2 bananas. Use fruits to top up glycogen (energy) stores in the hours before competing.

Foods To Start Avoiding NOW.

I might be going out on a limb here by saying fighters have tendencies to binge eat, but I’m saying it anyways. These are the foods which you should not be eating during your preparation for the games.

High calorie carbs – I’m talking things like doughnuts, cakes, potato chips, banana pancakes (for those of you training in Thailand, they can be hard to avoid). You will never lose weight while consuming these foods; they are too high in calories.

Salt and salty foods – Salt is not your friend right now, you need to start monitoring your salt intake. I don’t mean zero salt intakes; I just mean stay away from excessively salty foods and resist actively adding salt to your foods. This will help you lose or maintain weight easier as salt likes to hold onto water.

White processed carbs – Avoid foods like highly processed carbs as they wreak havoc with your bloodstream, increasing fat gaining hormones and inflammation. Opt for a brown unprocessed version which will increase satiety as well as give you longer lasting energy.

Those of you, who are going to Langkawi, follow these tips and advice leading up to the games and you will be good to go. If you’re not going to the games this year you can still follow this advice for great body composition and improved training performance.

If you enjoyed this post and know someone who might love it, make sure to share it since you could very well be doing them a solid!

Chok dee to all competing!


JB-Bio-picJames Bee is an author, a martial artist, a fitness and nutrition coach.

He’s also the creator of The Lean Performance Diet. The diet used by Muay Thai and MMA fighters to help them to get on weight, performance optimized and ready for battle. When he’s not chilling on the beach somewhere in Thailand, he’s helping people to live the lean performance lifestyle.

You can find out more about James and the Lean Performance Diet at his website,

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