Saturday, February 23, 2008

18 Tips On Training in Thailand...by VictoriaNJMT

1. Before you leave it is best to have taken private sessions with a trainer. Group class is not as intense as a one-on-one session with a Thai trainer. If you have never prepared for a fight, this is the next best thing. Work the costs into your travel budget and start about 6-8 weeks before you leave.

2. Start running now. Run before class and sometimes run before and after class. You have to know what it is like to run and train right away. Running at 6am and training at 7pm will do you no good. You have to know what its like to train tired. Try to get up to 3 miles before leaving. (p.s. the more miles you run, the more prepared you'll be).

3. Contact the camp before you show up. You need to know if there are rooms available and how much they are going to charge you in advance. Don't show up and then negotiate. Nowadays camps are charging about 150-200 per week for training, food, and accommodation. There are huge differences in the quality of accommodations, so ask for PICS.

4. I will not tell you the name of the camp I went to unless I know you can represent. But most camps have website’s and the staff at your gym may be able to help steer you in the best direction.

5. Learn a little Thai. Get a phrase book and carry it with you all the time Don't be a typical American and speak English only. Knowing even a little bit of Thai will make people willing to work with you. Mention Muay Thai to the taxi driver and he will be you're new best friend.

6. Bring cash. Credit cards are not accepted at places like Lumpani or most vendors. Try to figure out ow much you'll need and exchange most of it at the airport. Outside of an ATM machine the airport gives you the best exchange rate. At the exchange booth in the airport, ask for 1000 baht in smaller 100 baht notes. The taxi driver will not break a 1000 for you.

7. When you land at the airport in Thailand Suwanabun? (spelling) go up one level and get a taxi from the departing ramp instead of the arrivals ramp. It will cut your cost in half. Have your destination written out in Thai. Don't take a limo Unless you’re a baller and don't care, you will be taking a very expensive ride. The taxi ride should cost you no more than $300 baht(about 10 dollars). Now if you are in a remote section of Bangkok, the fee will be more.

8. If you are going to stay in a hotel don’t book online. They will charge you double the Thai rate. Better to research a hotel address near your camp and then stay there for the night. You can always go directly to the camp if you land at a civilized hour.

9. As for training, take it slow. Don't try to achieve 85% of your max HR on your first run. Just observe the culture of the camp. You have been sitting in a plane for over 20 hours. If you try to push yourself, you will pull some muscles.

10. After you ignore number 9 and pull all your muscles, go get a traditional Thai massage(the kind with your clothes on gentlemen). They saved my life in Thailand. It only cost $100 baht/hour in my camp's neighborhood. I got them for the first couple of days I was there and they fixed my pulled calf muscle and allowed me to move my arms again. It is totally worth the time and effort. Thai oil in Thailand only costs 60 baht. Get some and put it on before you train. It will help loosen muscles.

11. Bring some books. There are few televisions in camps and we had animal planet in Thai almost all the time in the camp I went to.

12. Start eating spicy food well before you leave. Make yourself like it or you will be in a bad situation when you get there. Even the water is spicy in Thailand. Ha Ha

13. Eat at local food stands. As long as they cook it in front of you and its hot, you will be fine. Don't be put off by a little road stand and some plastic chairs. It’s the best food you will ever eat Don't eat at American food chains. Everyone I spoke with got very ill after eating at a Thai version of our American style fast food restaurants. Your in Thailand damn it If you don't see a Thai eating it, skip it

14. If you get into digestive trouble, you can rely upon the rolls of toilet paper that I suggest you pack in your suitcase. Also, most antibiotics and stomach medicines are available over the counter. You will also be impressed to know that many educated Thai people, such as pharmacists, speak English. They will be happy to give you medicine for whatever ails you. When all else fails, you have that phrase book right?

15. I don't know about nightlife over in Thailand. If you are there to train, you probably won't know much about it either. However, I always say that this is where tourists all over the world get into trouble. Don't get to drunk in another country. In fact, steer clear of large groups of foreigners where alcohol is involved. It's just good common street sense.

16. Speaking of drinking, hydrate yourself constantly. Force water down your throat. We all got dehydrated very quickly in Thailand. You can't keep water in you when you are training 6 hours a day in 95-120 degree heat. Drink soda, juice, water, smoothie’s, just drink. That groggy drunk feeling you will get after a nap is not from exhaustion, its dehydration. I can't stress this enough. Take whatever you think you need in terms of water and triple it.

17. If you are alone, take the BTS sky train. It is very clean, fast and will take you all across Bangkok very quickly. Otherwise, it costs just as much if not less to split the cost of a cab ride.

18. Smile. Thais get stressed out with too many facial expressions. You can curse someone out, but don't stop smiling. Also, East coasters, watch the volume of your voice, that can stress people out as well. You are going to have to learn to be patient. Cutting to the chase is not polite. Remember you Pleases and Thank you's. Wai to your elders. Always eat something or drink something if offered. Thais are very gracious. If the people at the camp cook you something, smile and eat it. Don't ask what it is. Just eat. ...VictoriaNJMT

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