Blogpost: Vegetarianism and Muay Thai

By SBG Performance & Nutrition

Now there’s a headline I thought I’d never see!

Vegetarianism and Veganism are lifestyle choices that lots of people in this modern era choose to make, be it for ethical, religious or personal reasons. Does omitting certain things (in particular animal meat) mean that they cannot have the same health, fitness and performance goals as an omnivore such as myself? Absolutely not. Does it mean we have to a bit more intelligent and savvy when programming their diets? Yes, it does. 

First off lets define the different types of vegetarianism:

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: Abstains from animal meat, poultry or fish but does eats eggs and dairy.

Lacto Vegetarian: No meat, fish or poultry but does eat dairy

Vegan: Does not eat any products that is sourced from an animal (bees wax and sheep’s wool included)

While vegetarians do have a restrictive diet, it does not have to be depriving and does actually have many health benefits. Vegetarian diets are usually much higher in fibre than their meat eating counterparts and this translates to better gut health. Vitamin and mineral intake is generally higher and the ratio of omega 3:6 in their diets is often more in sync due to the lack of omega 6 rich meat present in meat eating populations.

There are some common misconceptions regarding vegetarianism. Whilst meat and fish are great sources for iron, vitamin A and vitamin B12 it does not mean that they cannot be obtained elsewhere. Leafy greens are a fantastic source of Iron (especially when supplemented with vitamin C which increases the absorption of iron into the blood) and orange, yellow and red vegetables contain pre-cursors which can be synthesised in to vitamin A by the body.

However, vitamin B12 would be of some concern with a strict vegetarian diet. It is found almost exclusively in animal tissue as well as in small amounts in dairy and is crucial in folate production and cellular reproduction (think wound healing and mass gain). A lack of vit B12 in the diet can cause major problems in arterial wall health and has been linked with a host of other things you don’t want to be experiencing (stroke, thyroid issues, depression). This is something that vegetarians and vegans will need to consider when designing their meals.

Right, scare-mongering over with lets see how we can optimise vegan/vegetarian diets for training in Thailand.

One of the main problems when programming a diet for a vegetarian client that is training Muay Thai is obtaining adequate amounts of protein to support lean tissue and stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Because plant proteins are referred to as incomplete, we have to be clever when putting together a meal plan to ensure we get the right combinations of foods to obtain an adequate amount of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) in each meal. This isn’t a problem with omnivores as animal tissue is a ‘complete’ protein source. It has all of the required amino acids in its protein for our bodies to break it down and rebuild it in to our own tissue. Supplementing with plant based protein powders, or whey isolate if dairy is ok, between meals can also be a solution to continually stimulating muscle protein synthesis throughout the day.

As I have discussed in previous blogs, Muay Thai training is heavily dependant on the glycolytic (carbohydrate) energy pathway. As vegetarian diets tends to be higher in carbohydrates anyway this is actually quite handy when it comes to programming meal plans whilst training in Thailand. As long as we can then get enough good fats into their diet to support hormone production and cell health, we should be on to a winner. 

Following a vegetarian or vegan diet has many health benefits and you can create some wonderful and tasty dishes to make it something that you enjoy. You only need to worry if you are a lazy vegetarian. By that I mean someone who doesn’t put any thought in to their diets and just ‘doesn’t eat meat’. These same people will live off cheese and onion pasties and ready salted crisps. Not optimal! Don’t be that guy.

Are you a vegetarian thinking about coming out to Sumalee Boxing Gym to train? Please get in contact via or check out the Facebook page to discuss your options.

Blogpost: Nutrition, Performance & Recovery for Nak Muay

By SBG Performance & Nutrition

How best to perform during, and recover from, twice a day Muay Thai training? To allow your body to keep up with the sheer volume of training that Nak Muay are expected to undertake, it is vital that you put as much effort in to your fuel and recovery as you do your training. Anything less and you can expect to feel flat, under-perform and start to pick up injuries that just won’t go away.

Nutrition is vital to keeping you firing on all cylinders during your time training in Thailand. Far too many people simply under eat when they are here and yeah, it looks great on the scales initially but soon enough the afore mentioned symptoms begin to creep up in conjunction with what is known as overtraining. I don’t want to go too much into overtraining in this blog because it is a long winded topic. What I want to do is give you tips on how to optimise your refuelling and recovery and what signs to look out for should you not keep on top of it.

Here are my top 10 tips for optimal performance and recovery…

  1. Keep protein elevatedThe minimum amount for an active individual is 1.2g/kg of body weight per day, however due to the rigours of twice per day training I recommend you up that to about 2g/kg. This will also help with satiety.
  2. Do not go low carbThe stored form of carbohydrates (glycogen) is going to be your primary fuel source whilst training Muay Thai. Dropping them too low will result in loss of performance and fatigue during your sessions. Your carbohydrate intake might be as much as 50% of your overall calories whilst training in Thailand due to the excessive demands placed on your body. Most of these should come from vegetables with things like rice and potatoes coming in second.
  3. Do not go very low fatAlthough not your bodies preferred fuel source, fat has a vital role to play in our overall health. It is responsible for hormone synthesis, cell structure and nervous system health. Be sure to have a portion with each meal, be it cooking your food in coconut oil or including fat from nuts and seeds as part of the recipe.
  4. Ensure your diet is high fruit and vegetablesThe health and wellness we receive from them cannot be underestimated. Packed full of vital nutrients and phytonutrients, they help our bodies recover by clearing waste from our systems produced as a by-product of exercise.
  5. Include plenty of oily fish where possibleThe fatty acids found in oily fish cannot be made by our bodies so need to obtained through the diet. They have great anti-inflammatory properties which will aid in recovery between training sessions. Decent oily fish such as salmon tends to be quite expensive in Thailand. Make sure you bring a good quality supplement with you if you don’t want to get stung.
  6. Take advantage of natural recovery foodsThings like beetroot and spinach are natural vasodilators which widen blood vessels. This will increase nutrient delivery to your muscles which is a massive bonus after intense exercise. The Sumalee Ringside Restaurants Fighters Menu is packed with foods optimal for intense training and recovery.
  7. Use electrolytes in your water during trainingMinerals such as sodium, magnesium and potassium are all lost in fairly substantial amounts when you sweat, especially whilst exercising in the blistering heat of Thailand. They are vital for nervous system health, cell signalling and water retention so taking them on board whilst sweating it out in training is a great way to stay on top of it. You can also salt your meals with a high quality rock salt such as Himalayan Pink, or Celtic Sea salt which is taken from seas with a very low heavy metal concentration.
  8. Lights out by 10.30pmNot strictly nutrition related but massively important nonetheless. The prime time for our bodies to rest and repair is between 10.30pm and 6.30am, any less sleepy time and you risk feeling lethargic and under-performing the following day.
  9. Supplement with Zinc & MagnesiumA lot of active people are deficient in these minerals anyway, let alone after increasing there training volume 5 or 6 fold. Magnesium especially has hundreds of biological functions including nervous system recovery and cell membrane stability. Supplementing with 400mg before bed can help relax the body before drifting off to sleep. Zinc & Magnesium can be bought as a combined supplement called ZMA.
  10. Use BCAAs before morning trainingGiving your body a dose of Branch Chain Amino Acids (the building blocks of protein) before training without food in the morning, will offset the chance of your body breaking down muscle for use as energy. Muscle tissue is metabolically active meaning that it uses calories just being there. Loss of muscle tissue will result in reduced strength and power output.
Signs you are pushing it too hard…

  1. You lose your appetite, feel weak or lose interest in training
  2. Your sleep becomes disrupted
  3. Nagging injuries won’t go away
  4. Continued decrease in performance during training
  5. You have an over reliance on stimulants such as caffeine or pre-workouts
If any of these symptoms persist, you need to take your foot off the gas. I know this will be the last thing you want to do but you have to look at the bigger picture. Not only will your performance suffer but so might your health. Reduce your training load and intensity by 50-75%, focus on your rest and recovery and look back at my top 10 tips for nutrition, training and recovery and make sure you have ticked them all off the list. Once symptoms start to subside then think about upping your volume of training. However be aware that overtraining, depending on how long you have been burning the candle at both ends, can take some time to fully recover from. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact for more advice either through my Facebook page or by emailing

I hope you found those pointers helpful. Above all enjoy your training and stay on top of your health!

Until next time…


Fight Results: MUAY THAI FURY, 31st January 2015 at Patong Boxing Stadium

By Mike Davis for Sumalee Media

1. Neungdaew Sitkrujaroon VS Kompetch Tanaimichelle (23kg)- Kompetch WINS via decision

2. Mongkol Thong Sumalee Boxing Gym VS Arthur Singpatong (60kg)- Mongkol Thong WINS via decision

3. Suaetai Patong Boxing Gym VS Sliman Kin Khao Restaurant (68kg)- Suaetai WINS via KO

4. Kwanchai Elite Fight Club VS Anes Singpatong (68kg)- Kwanchai WINS via decision

5. Duangsompong Kor Tapaotong VS Alka Singpatong (75kg)- Alka WINS via KO

6. 4-Man Tournament (65kg)
Semi Final: Rafi Singpatong VS Kompetch Lukjaomaesaiwaree- Rafi WINS via KO
Semi Final: Craig Sumalee Boxing Gym VS Nakornsri Elite Fight Club- Nakornsri WINS via decision

Final: Rafi Singpatong VS Nakornsri Elite Fight Club- Rafi WINS via KO

Watch the full fight videos from Team Sumalee below!