Coffee and Muay Thai

I was never a fan of coffee; always been a tea kind of person. Green tea, black tea, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai milk tea, with or without sugar, tea’s my spiritual beverage. Never did enjoy the taste of coffee. That is until recently when I was gifted with some Vietnamese coffee powder. Damn. Just serve it straight up black without sugar. This stuff is amazingly addictive. It not only tastes good, the aroma is heavenly and I have never felt more focused at work after a cup. It’s the magic potion that fights off all post-lunch drowsiness and keeps me sharp, focused and highly productive! Coffee, it’s the nectar of the Gods!


Benefits of Coffee for Muay Thai

Alright, you can obviously tell I’m crazy about coffee right now. But as a naturally-born skeptic, I had to make sure that there is no detrimental side-effects to drinking coffee. So after much research and some personal experimenting, I have come to find that coffee has some qualities that are actually beneficial for health and also Muay Thai training. As a matter of fact, many athletes and fighters have been known to take a cuppa before their competitions. Let’s take a look at some benefits of drinking coffee for Muay Thai:

Improves Physical Performance
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Alertness and increased focus are 2 well-known effects of drinking coffee. These heightened senses will enable you to execute your techniques with more precision, react quicker -especially for sparring-, and train with better form with lower likelihood of injuries. Some studies also show that coffee consumption enhances the athlete’s physical performance with more endurance and power. Definitely a great drink for those days when you feel languid and sluggish.

Burns Fats Effectively
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The body always turns to glycogen as the first source of fuel. But when you ingest coffee, the caffeine causes fats to be used as an energy source, resulting in more effective fat loss. At the same time, drinking coffee increases metabolism. So a cup before training will boost the calorie-burning effect of Muay Thai. If you are looking to tone your body, coffee is just what you need as a pre-workout beverage.

Reduces sensation of pain
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A study done by scientists at the University of Illinois showed that caffeine can blunt the body’s perception of pain and this is probably why fighters take coffee before their fights. This reduction in perceived pain can help you to push harder during training, leading to performance and physical gains.

Prevents disease
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I used to tell my friends and family to cut down on their coffee intake because we have all been led to believe that like all addictive substances, coffee is inherently bad and causes illness. Turns out, there are plenty of scientific researches that have proven that there are health benefits. Drinking coffee has been shown to prevent diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and liver disease. So coffee actually benefits everyone whether they train Muay Thai or not.


Disbenefits of Coffee

Now, before you go and guzzle down gallons of coffee, there are some drawbacks to over consumption of coffee or caffeine. Here are a few downside of coffee:

Withdrawal Symptoms
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Regular coffee-drinking can lead to over-reliance on caffeine which in itself becomes an addiction. Then once you stop drinking coffee, you can experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, constipation, lethargy and anxiety. This is why an occasional appreciation for coffee has led to long-term and even excessive consumption.

Stomach Upset
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Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can activate the gastric acid production. This can result in abdominal pain, feelings of nausea, bloating and heartburn. So if you are planning to boost your morning session training with some coffee, make sure to consume with or after some light food. Now I see why it’s almost a standard practice to serve coffee after breakfast.

Insomnia
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This varies from person to person, as is the effect of the dosage size. But alertness is an established effect of caffeine and drinking coffee at the wrong hour, can clearly cause insomnia. For those who seldom take coffee, even a small dosage during the day can make them wide awake at night when it’s time to sleep. Surely not the best beverage after dark.


Conclusion

As you have seen, coffee can be both good and bad. So as with all things, moderation is the key. When you are in need of a perk up before a training, a cup of black coffee can do wonders and give you an extra edge. For me, I try to limit myself to 2 or 3 cups a week to reap the benefits and avoid over-consumption. Skip the sugar, and you have the perfect pre-workout booster beverage. All said and done, ultimately, the key ingredient to excellence still lies within you and your drive to succeed. Remember, “nothing will work unless you do”.

Chok dee!

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