Ever find yourself feeling tired, fatigued and out of breath, and wondering if you should skip training for the day? There will always be days when you experience low energy and gas out more easily at training. Been there, slumped that.
After training for a few months, there were days where I could kick like a boss and then there are down days when I was gassed out right after warming up. I found that there are several factors that can contribute to sluggishness and low energy. This can be narrowed down to mainly improper lifestyle habits, such as insufficient rest or poor nutrition choices. With some lifestyle and dietary changes, now I am always able to beat the slump and stay energized throughout the training.
Muay Thai training can be classified as a form of High Intensity Interval Training, otherwise known as HIIT. HIITs are anaerobic in nature as opposed to being aerobic such as in long distance running. Anaerobic workouts are high intensity, and makes one feel fatigue in a short amount of time. Other examples of anaerobic exercises include weight-lifting, and crossfit. In steady-state aerobic exercises, you rely on oxygen and stored fat while in anaerobic exercises, you are fueled mainly by stored carbohydrates.
Ways to Improve Your Energy Levels for Muay Thai
If you’ve been experiencing chronic low energy at training, here are some of the lifestyle changes you can make:
- Get Sufficient sleep: As an adult, you need a recommended 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep everyday. Adequate sleep is also vital for muscle repair. If you aren’t resting enough, it’s hard to get stronger. And when you don’t get enough rest, it’s just logical that you feel more fatigue and restless. Try and make it a habit of getting sufficient and good quality sleep.
- Get hydrated: If you have been training hard at the gym, you need to be drinking at least 2-3 litres (or more) of water daily. Even mild dehydration have been known to affect mood, ability to think and energy levels. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks are best avoided. Go for pure drinking water.
- Get Fueled up: Food is your main source of fuel. You should ensure that you are getting the right amount of energy especially when you are engaged in a high intensity sport like Muay Thai. It’s certainly sacrilegious if you have been skipping on your pre-workout meals during this time that you’ve been training. If you haven’t been eating enough and eating right, it’s time to make some changes to your diet. Read on and find out what are the best foods to take before your Muay Thai training.
Should you eat before Muay Thai?
It is recommended to get fueled up with food 2 to 3 hours prior to your workout to get fueled up with energy. This ample time allows for the food to be digested and converted to energy. You should, however, avoid having food less than an hour before training, especially foods that are hard to digest. Exercising on a full stomach can cause nausea, cramping and stomach upset.
Best Foods to Eat Before Muay Thai
Taking the right foods before your workout can significantly improve your energy levels. Here are some of the food most recommended by fitness and nutrition experts for your glycogen needs:
Whole grain foods
Carbs, carbs, carbs. Carbohydrates is the number one source of fuel that your body looks to when it comes to energy needs. Whether it is whole grain bread, brown rice or oatmeal, whole grain foods are your best source of carbs that is critical in supplying your energy needs. Whole grain foods facilitates a slow release of carbs into your bloodstream, giving you a sustained stream of energy supply through your workout.
If rice and pasta ain’t really your thing, potatoes is your other great source of carbohydrates. Each serving size (300 g) provides 225 calories and 50 g of carbs. On top of that, they are also rich in Vitamin C and fiber. Potatoes get a bad reputation not because they are inherently bad but because of the way they are commonly prepared: french fries! Healthier ways to cook your potatoes include mash, bake or boil. Eat your potatoes, don’t be a couch potato!
This popular fruit is the go-to for a quick perk of energy to counter lethargy and sluggishness. It is high in vitamin B6 which is one of the components in energy drinks that gives you the required boost. They are also loaded with digestible carbohydrates and potassium, which aids in muscle function. Remember to go for fully ripened bananas for the best benefits. Skip the energy drinks, pass on your energy bars, and have a banana instead.
Even though protein ranks last when it comes to supplying energy, they account for 5-10% of your energy needs and is of paramount importance when it comes to muscle repair. Adding some protein-rich foods for pre-workout will put those muscle repairing agents to work as soon as your workout ends. The daily recommended protein intake for the average man is 56g while 1 large egg contains 13g of high quality protein. So 4 large eggs will provide you with the necessary daily protein requirement! Egg-cellent!
These nutrient-dense foods contain carbs, protein and fats, giving you the necessary energy for your workouts. You can eat a handful as snacks an hour before workout for a good dose of energy without feeling stuffed. Just remember to consume raw and unsalted nuts for the best health benefits.
Worst Foods to Eat Before Muay Thai
On the other side of the spectrum, there are also foods you want to avoid prior to your workouts. These foods contribute little to your nutrition needs but can also exacerbate your energy levels.
Food made with high refined sugar content will cause your blood sugar to spike, and then cause your energy levels to crash in the middle of your workout when the glucose level suddenly decreases. Example of these food include -but not limited to- donuts, energy drinks, soda and candy.
High-fat meals can take up to four hours to digest, which will seriously slow you down. Instead of having blood directed to your muscles where it’s needed, your blood will be flowing to your stomach for digestion instead. Stomach cramping and bloatedness can make your workouts terribly uncomfortable. You should definitely avoid the burger and fries.
This is a no-brainer. If you need convincing, studies show that alcohol inhibit the circulation of glucose which is what the body uses for energy. At the same time, alcohol affects the body’s ability to absorb water and results in more urination. This in turn, can lead to dehydration. Both of these factors can seriously weaken your energy levels. Here’s one more reason why you shouldn’t drink alcohol before workout: Drinking alcohol decreases protein synthesis in your body and this impairs the proper repair of muscles. I rest my case.
By adhering to the recommendations given in this article, I hope you can see improvements in your energy levels during Muay Thai training. Fuel up, train hard. To end with a quote by Steve Harvey, “You have the potential for greatness“.