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How to deal with the heat in Thailand and other first-timer questions

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Hello MT ladies!
This is my first post in this fabulous forum.

I started MT very recently (less than 3 months) and come from western boxing background.
I'll be visiting Bangkok and possibly Chiang Mai for 3 months May-August this year.
I'd love to hear your experience on training in high heat and humidity. What are some tips to survive it?

-- Minu

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Hey, Minu. Welcome to the forum!

 

It is SUPER HOT in Bangkok at the moment, although May- August should be a little cooler. Still, this is a good question.

Of course, you have to make sure you drink lots of water, but it's a good idea to put electrolyte powder in it to help with rehydration, because you will be sweating a lot. You can buy little electrolyte packets in the 7/11 for around 7 baht each, they generally look something like this:

post-9791-13707545549708.jpg

At our gym, we have a fruit vendor who comes at the end of training every day and I always make sure to grab a coconut from him. Coconut water is full of good stuff and is actually more efficient at replacing body fluids than H20, so they say! Also, coconuts are delicious, so I recommend those.

It's really important to remember not only to keep yourself hydrated during training, but before and after. Admittedly, I struggle with this. In the gym, I'm chugging water all the time, but as soon as I go back to my room or to work, I forget and then end up with a headache a few hours later (this actually happens to me more often that I'd like to admit, because I'm silly). Your required water intake is likely to shoot up and it sometimes feels weird having to be reminding yourself to drink all the time, but personally, I pay for it if I don't. I've actually taken to using infused water as a way of making myself drink more often. I put stuff like lime, ginger, mint and cucumber in my water bottle to make it more interesting, then I'm far less likely to forget. 

You will feel your performance suffering as a result of the humidity when you first arrive. That's normal, so don't worry about that. It's fine to ease yourself into it for that reason and not go crazy on the first couple of days. 

Do you know which gym(s) you're planning on going to?  :smile:

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I'm drinking lots of water and adding electroltes during training. I got a box of 50 for 180 baht at the local pharmacy. The taste is horrible though.

 

We all also do mini-showers with ice water between rounds, just pouring it on your head.

 

The whole time I thought the heat wasn't bothering me. But then last week it cooled down for a bit and I was amazed at how much stamina and power I suddenly had. Then today it's 40 degrees again and I seriously considered puking in-between pad rounds.

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Hahaha yeah there is no getting around the heat really. Everything written above is great advice. I have a lot of experience dealing with heat injuries and I assure you it is something you want to avoid. Drinking water is easily the most important piece, but making sure you have enough electrolytes (salt, sugar, and potassium) will ensure that you body can actually hold onto that water for use. Typically we get enough of these through food intake, but with the amount you sweat during a Muay Thai session it is better to be safe than sorry and use electrolyte packets if you have any doubts. Personally I rarely use them; but I eat tons of fruit, put salt on everything, and drink horrific amounts of water lol. As an example, yesterday I drank 10.5L of water and two 500ml Gatorades. I likely weigh more than you so to drink that much would likely be excessive, but as a rule of thumb you should be drinking about one liter every two hours. Hope that helps!

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This is all great advice! I drink coconut water regularly for electrolyte so looks like I can just keep that going plus lots of water.

Emma, I'm gonna take the first couple of weeks to check out Bangkok and Chiang Mai with the family, and then it's all business at Master Toddy's!

This forum is awesome, thank you guys for putting this together!

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Emma, I'm gonna take the first couple of weeks to check out Bangkok and Chiang Mai with the family, and then it's all business at Master Toddy's!

 

 You're coming to Master Toddy's?! Awesome! So I'll be seeing and training with you soon  :bunny:

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Wearing breathable fabrics is helpful. It doesn't have to be the expensive "wicking" clothing or anything like that (but those are great if you have them), but light cotton or something you could potentially swim in is pretty good. You'll be about as wet as if you'd just jumped in a pool with your clothes on.

I totally forget to drink water between sessions as well, which means I'm starting out a little dehydrated each time. That's never fun and it's so easy to forget. So if you can figure out a way to remind yourself to start hydrating about an hour before training, you'll be better for it.

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Something great that not many people think of is Pink Himalayan Salt. Just a little pinch in your water goes a long way. Also, don't actively cut salt from you diet while you a here. I know salt gets a bad rep, but the right types of salt in the right circumstances is often necessary.

 

Mu nutritionist recommends the Pink Himalayan salt because of it's vitamin and mineral content :)

 

And as Sylive and Emma have already mentioned, being dilligent in hydration between sessions :)

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Something great that not many people think of is Pink Himalayan Salt. Just a little pinch in your water goes a long way. Also, don't actively cut salt from you diet while you a here. I know salt gets a bad rep, but the right types of salt in the right circumstances is often necessary.

 

I was actually using Pink Himalayan salt at one stage, but for a different reason. Last year, I started having allergic reactions whenever I was in air-con, out of nowhere. Obviously, air-con is pretty hard to avoid here so it really started to bother me because I was constantly congested, sneezing and generally gross. I read about using the Himalayan rock salt in a drink every morning to counter that. I wasn't sure if it was total quackery, but tried it out anyway and somehow, my symptoms disappeared pretty much immediately. I'm still not sure if it's quackery - I haven't read any scientific information to back it up, which pretty much goes against everything I believe in, haha. It was very strange, though!

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My shins were injured prior to coming to Thailand, so I kicked bags with shinpads on, sometimes for an hour at a time, on top of wearing them for sparring. This was during the very hot days recently. Here's a word of wisdom: Do not do that! I've ended up with heat rash all over my legs, exactly in the form of the shinpads. Not a great experience.

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Don't be afraid to take a day off and hide out in Air-Con. So many people jump straight into the 2 sessions a day and it's too much for the body. Listen to how you feel. Skipping an afternoon session to avoid taking 2 or 3 days off due to exhaustion is just common sense.

Be aware that exhaustion takes many forms. 

Your body might feel fine but your mood and motivation could drop massively. Rome wasn't built in a day. Build slowly, allow time for your body to recovery.

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I struggle with the heat and rehydrating as well.  I drink loads of water while training, but aside from that I don't think of it.  I keep a large bottle in my room at all times and will chug some if I happen to look at it.  I use the electrolyte powders too, but only when I really feel dehydrated; I don't like that they contain a lot of sugar.  I've found that using and ice pack (like the ones you use to ice injuries) on the back of my neck or on my face in between rounds helps me out a bit.  Also, you can buy powders in the shops that are designed for heat rash; they have menthol in them or something and help give a cooling sensation. 

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Something great that not many people think of is Pink Himalayan Salt. Just a little pinch in your water goes a long way. Also, don't actively cut salt from you diet while you a here. I know salt gets a bad rep, but the right types of salt in the right circumstances is often necessary.

Mu nutritionist recommends the Pink Himalayan salt because of it's vitamin and mineral content :)

And as Sylive and Emma have already mentioned, being dilligent in hydration between sessions :)

  

I was actually using Pink Himalayan salt at one stage, but for a different reason. Last year, I started having allergic reactions whenever I was in air-con, out of nowhere. Obviously, air-con is pretty hard to avoid here so it really started to bother me because I was constantly congested, sneezing and generally gross. I read about using the Himalayan rock salt in a drink every morning to counter that. I wasn't sure if it was total quackery, but tried it out anyway and somehow, my symptoms disappeared pretty much immediately. I'm still not sure if it's quackery - I haven't read any scientific information to back it up, which pretty much goes against everything I believe in, haha. It was very strange, though!

I personally find pink salt very good. A small pinch over pineapple and it tastes devine. Everybody said its mineral portfolio is great for after workout hydration.

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I've actually really struggled with the heat this year it's getting slightly cooler im noticing it at night more which is good! also I just like to add regarding another thread on gym attire I live in the hottest province in Thailand and I wear tshirt training so all this have nakedness cos it's hot I don't get!! ha

 

cooling powders are great and I finally get why the thai's cover themselves in it!

 

I'm really looking forward to cool season the year and I won't complain! lol

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Yeah now the heat got me good also, previous year it was all fine except some little skin irritation from sweating on my elbows (the inside, no idea how to call that) probably from keeping my guard up, running, ... and a really sensitive skin. Nothing a cream from the pharmacy couldn't help.

 

 

 

Now I got that again this year, applied some creams, it kept the same and slightly I got it on my back also with some kind of (light?) inflammation on it so I went to the skinhospital and got some pills and a cream. The skin on my back is really damaged now like it's been scratched open or something so those "scratches" are holding me back to train again, I fear to get an infection again if to much sweat comes on/in (and since I'm in Bangkok and I just sweat fast is it difficult to keep the sweat away) anyway I hope to be training soon again!! Not running immediately with a soaked wet (sweat) shirt on me or not clinching, but some skipping, padwork, bagwork, ... would be fine because I start to feel so useless and eat more crap foods, even after 4 days no training.

I'm here to train to the max! I can rest at home also...

 

 

So yeah watch out for the heat but don't ever let that hold you back to have some amazing experiences here in Thailand! :)

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Hello MT ladies!

This is my first post in this fabulous forum.

I started MT very recently (less than 3 months) and come from western boxing background.

I'll be visiting Bangkok and possibly Chiang Mai for 3 months May-August this year.

I'd love to hear your experience on training in high heat and humidity. What are some tips to survive it?

-- Minu

Hi!

How did you find the weather? I may be going to Bangkok for work, August-December. I also train MT and want to train there during free time. I am very susceptible to heat exhaustion, especially in high humidity conditions. What is a good strategy to acclimatize? Just go very slow and keep hydrated? Also do most gyms have fans but no AC? 

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This thread helps a lot with my fear of heat exhaustion going to Thailand this August. I'm from Canada; i may be South-East Asian descent but i much prefer the cool/cold atmosphere. Anything beyond 25C/77F+ i start cooping myself up in my dark room filled with fans and whatnot haha....

I'm planning of bringing some supplements for the 2 weeks i'm training Muay Thai (twice a day) so it'll be ranging from a 1lb bag of protein powder, BCAA pills w/ electrolytes (cap form), glutamine (cap form)and some fishoil/omega 3's. So these supplements should suffice as they're light enough for the trip. 

I was told to not go 100% during the first two days because you want your body to get used to the heat and humidity. Stay hydrated before/during/after training. And you might be even lucky too if they have ice baths :) my gym does! 

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(I havent read every reply so forgive any restatements)

1. LOTS of water. I do two liters/day minimum

2. It helped me appreciate the heat in Hua Hin when I went to rural Phichit - town that made me terrifingly, dizzyingly hot every day. Like it was so hot a haze was over my head at all times. Came back to HH and instantly loved the weather. Try staying outside under some shade for a good long while, daily. Or train outside, if you train. get acclimated to extreme heat.

3. Talc keeps yo' booty dry and smelling like a baby.

4. two, sometimes three showers a day, mate. I shower upon waking, before training, and after. In luxuriously cool water.

 

plus the thais say heat makes you "not fat". Think about how thin you'll get and you'll appreciate the heat.

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(I havent read every reply so forgive any restatements)

1. LOTS of water. I do two liters/day minimum

2. It helped me appreciate the heat in Hua Hin when I went to rural Phichit - town that made me terrifingly, dizzyingly hot every day. Like it was so hot a haze was over my head at all times. Came back to HH and instantly loved the weather. Try staying outside under some shade for a good long while, daily. Or train outside, if you train. get acclimated to extreme heat.

3. Talc keeps yo' booty dry and smelling like a baby.

4. two, sometimes three showers a day, mate. I shower upon waking, before training, and after. In luxuriously cool water.

 

plus the thais say heat makes you "not fat". Think about how thin you'll get and you'll appreciate the heat.

Yeah, my trainer makes us do padwork in the weight room, which is like a damn sauna. He says it's good because you sweat more (really he just wants to lose 2 kilos), but I'm farang and I sweat SO HARD, all the time. No help needed.

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I just got back from BKK after 2 wks of training. I've found my body swells up and my hands and feet were big. I drank a lot of water but that alone didn't help. Electrolytes helped a bit but here come the heat rashes. Cooling powder is a must IMO!!! 

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Can you tell more about the heat rash? Do you mean like an allergy?

I just got back from BKK after 2 wks of training. I've found my body swells up and my hands and feet were big. I drank a lot of water but that alone didn't help. Electrolytes helped a bit but here come the heat rashes. Cooling powder is a must IMO!!! 

 

I remembered now that I got a huge rash on my hands and arms - almost up to my shoulders - during my whole 2 weeks of training in Thailand. I have allergy and usually get allergic reactions to food or pollens. My reaction to food is specific and I can basically tell if I'm allergic to the food after taking a small bite, but it was not that. And my rash was getting worse day by day. I was drinking a lot of water, taking electrolytes, vitamins, ibuprofen, anti-histamin medication, calcium...still the rash was not going away. Honestly, I didn't bring my hardcore medications and creams that I usually use when I get an allergic reaction back home, so it was really hard to deal with. I tried spraying it with a silver-spray - a guy had it and used it as an anti-septic. It was giving a bit of cooling feeling for a while, but didn't make the rash smaller - so it was not an infection of sorts.

I suspect it was an allergic reaction to a mix of different things: different water, different pollens, sweating everyday, showering 3-4x a day and contact with other people's sweaty skin.

When I came back I asked my doctor if it's possible that I'm allergic to my sweat and she just laughed...so it probably means no. 

Yet, my reaction was really bad. Afer I came home it got better (it was winter when I came back, like - a real winter, with freezing temperatures and stuff, so no pollens flying around. I'm usually allergy-free in winter).

So... if you're an allergic person, better take your meds with you just in case. I know it sucks to pack more, but better be safe than sorry. 

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Hi MIcc!

The heat rashes look like allergic reaction, raised rashes. You are right, as soon as I got back to the US, all my rashes and hand and feet went back to normal. I could of been allergic to something in Thailand without knowing the root causes. I did bring benadryl with me and I took it every other night or so, but that didn't help with the rashes.

Perhaps I should bring my regular allergy medication with me and the rash cream next time, just to see that difference. Glad you had a good training in Thailand.

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Hi, in a supplementary heat-related question, I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on whether high factor sunscreen is readily available and relatively cheap in Thailand? I'm going to be training at Diamond Muay Thai on Koh Phangan for three months, and I've got super pale Irish skin that never tans - I just burn, then my skin falls off, so I don't even bother trying to sunbathe. Somewhere really hot I would usually slather myself in factor 50 but that's a lot of bottles for a three month stay - will I be all right to just bring a couple and assume I'll be able to get more while I'm out there, or should I fill my suitcase?

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    • The above video is from almost 11 years ago. Sylvie is up the Hudson River where we lived, taking the train down to NYC to train in a Muay Thai gym in the city, more than an hour away from the small town we made our home. This video just gives me quiet tears, hearing her sincerity in response to some pretty harsh commentary coming through YouTube. One of the things Sylvie was exposed to was, from the beginning, being an outsider to "Muay Thai" proper. She was training with a 70 year old man in his basement in New Jersey, an hour and a half's drive away. She was putting up videos of her training because there was nobody like Master K, her first instructor, online anywhere. There was pretty much nothing of "Thai" Muay Thai online. A small community of interested people grew around her channel, but also came the criticism. From the beginning there was a who-do-you-think-you-are tone from many. You can hear it in her voice. She doesn't think she is anyone. She just loves Muay Thai. She's the girl who loves Muay Thai. I cry in part because many of the themes in this video are actually still operating today. She's a huge name in the sport, but personally she is really still just the girl who loves Muay Thai, who takes the alternate path, doesn't ride with gyms, doesn't care about belts, doesn't want to fight Westernized Muay Thai. She's burned a path into Thailand's Muay Thai for many, but she's just replaced Master K - who to this day loves Muay Thai as much as anyone we've ever, ever met, with the possible exception of Dieselnoi - with legends of the sport. Karuhat, Dieselnoi, Yodkhunpon, Samson, Sagat. These are her fight family. And the same quiver is in her voice when she thinks about, actually yearns for, their muay. Wanting to be a part of it, to express it. From someone on the inside, it's just striking how little of this has changed, though like a spiral it has been every climbing higher, towards more ratified and accomplished feat, many of them feats that nobody will duplicate...simply because she's just The Girl Who Loves Muay Thai, and is taking the alternate path. She's running through the foothills of Thailand's greatness. And like then, when people in Muay Thai criticized her, today she has the same. The same unbelievers. And it's as pained today as it was on this day in the video. What's remarkable about her journey is that it necessarily has involved sharing, exposing, all of her flaws to everyone. She's likely the most documented fighter in history. We've put up video of every single fight and probably a 1,000 of hours of training. She has lived herself as exposed to everyone, as much as a fighter can be. What I'm amazed by, watching this 11 years on, is her equipoise, her balance in holding the harshness of others, and her lack of ego in all that she was doing. One of the most difficult things she's encountered in developing as a fighter, reaching for the muay of yodmuay, is actually developing an ego, a pride or dignity, which is defended not only in the ring, but also in Life. How does one get from the above, to where one needs to be as a fighter? What internal transformations have to occur? I happened upon the above video today, the same day Sylvie posted a new vlog talking about her experiences in training with some IFMA team teens at her gym. She was reflecting on how many of the lessons of growth she had not been ready for as a person years ago, especially lessons about frustration and even anger. You can hear the frustration in the video at the top. Mostly it falls behind a "I mean no harm" confession. She's just loving Muay Thai and sharing it. The impulse of those shared early videos of Master K eventually became the Muay Thai Library documentary project, likely the largest, most thorough documentation archive of a fighting art in history of the world. It's the same person doing the same thing. Even to this day, nothing of this has changed. But, what has changed is the depth of her experience, in over a decade of love for the sport, and in fighting an incredible 268 fights, and counting. Take a look at the vlog she put up today, and see what has changed. From the above has come one of the most impactful western Muay Thai fighters in history, both as a person and as a fighter. And the mountain is still being climbed:    
    • What is interesting about this is that it is one of the few steps taken at the New New Lumpinee which doesn't seem like a bend toward Western (or Internationalist) ideas and instead is broadly in support of the ecosystem which has produced Thailand kaimuay Muay Thai superiority for decades. Modernist views are against children or early youth full contact fighting, but in this case Lumpinee is lending its name to younger fighters, in hopes of developing stars and their following much earlier in their lives. No matter what one thinks of child fighting in Thailand its a fundamental part of why Thais fight like no other people in the world, just in terms of skill. Interesting to see Lumpinee leaning into something there has been pushback on.
    • Last week (or so) a video went "viral" on Thai social media. It was a scrappy street fight between a young kathoey (generally used for male to female Trans, but less frequently used also for female to male) protecting herself from a local, cis male bully. Nong Ping is the young Trans woman and in the video, shot by a bystander on their phone, and she absolutely goes to town on this bully. In the end the bully is standing, panting, tired, and nose dripping from his nose. After this video got so widely shared, Nong Toom - "The Beautiful Boxer," and the most famous kathoey celebrity and former Muay Thai fighter - took Nong Ping in under her wing. Nong Toom has had the young woman staying with her and has begun training her in Muay Thai, saying she already has heart and now just has to learn the skill. Nong Toom even accompanied Nong Ping on a TV show that is more or less a platform for guests to air out their grievances and settle disputes (Sia Boat and his fighter who has been charged with throwing a fight for money appeared on the show a month or so back). Nong Ping and her bully appeared on the show with the host, and Nong Toom at the table as well to educate this bully and the public. Here are some photos of Nong Ping. The first is a screenshot from the street fight, the remainder are those posted by Nong Toom as Nong Ping is a guest in her house. Nong Toom says she believes Nong Ping will have the opportunity to have a professional fight after she's been training for a bit. (As per Thailand's laws, Nong Ping will face either a cis male or another kathoey.)   For the latest Thailand Muay Thai News Updates check out our Muay Thai Bones Newsletter
    • No worries!! There are still some peeps Who'll keep stood up for it!!
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