6.24am. The bell is ringing, rooster’s screeching, dogs barking and now, Yohan is knocking on my door waiting for a sign of life. I grumble in response. 6.24am isn’t a time that should exist in the life of an unemployed 21 year old holidaying in Thailand, but here I am, and the clock on my cheap Samsung phone is taunting proof. I’m not on holiday anymore though, not really anyway. For the next six weeks I will be training up to 6 hours a day in pursuit of achieving a new years resolution (get fit and learn a martial art). Nestled about 3 hours south of Bangkok in the Sam Roi Yod national park is one of the more secluded Muay Thai camps in Thailand – 301 Muay Thai & MMA. Away from the parties and distractions in Phuket, Pattaya and Bangkok, those serious to get fit, lose weight and learn Muay Thai come here. Eight rooms line the side of the newly built gym looking onto the lap pool, MMA cage and boxing ring which I will call home for the next 6 grueling weeks.
6.35am. My casual and inappropriate Colorado shoes are on, muscles stretched and the three Aussies in the camp are walking down the path to begin what would be my first ever 10km run. It takes about 500m to get my breathing right and find my rhythm, but I’m running! About 20 minutes in, the first glimpse of sunlight peers over the nearby island, a beautiful sight. Wheezing and in what now resembles more of a fast stumble than a jog I make it to the halfway point, positive that my pores have excreted at least 500ml of left over beer and Mekong Whisky from Phnom Penh. Astonishingly, I make it 7kms until the group halts and walks, the furthest I’ve ever ran.
7.45am. Feeling triumphant in my efforts and promising that tomorrow I’ll go buy some real running shoes, there is barely any time to stretch and hydrate before starting 20 minutes of skipping. Each jump hurts and I’m becoming more and more thankful each time I screw up so I can stand still, and catch my breath. All the while knowing that there is still about an hour and a half to go in this morning’s session. Finally the skipping comes to an end with a set of 15 pushups, something we will be doing every five minutes for the rest of the session as we move onto shadow boxing. By this stage our group of three has grown to seven as the four French guests join us, accompanied by Yohan the head trainer and two local Muay Thai trainers to critique our stance and technique. As the trainers yell something in Thai to indicate that our third five minute round is over it is time to wrap our fists, pull on some gloves and hit the bags. One round of punching, one of kneeing and one of kicking, again each round lasting 5 minutes. Cursing, heaving and dripping in sweat I try to drag out each 30 second break between rounds by spending a few more crucial moments at the drinking fountain. I manage to make it through the rounds, despite the fact that towards the end each punch got weaker and each kick fell lower, I made it. To finish off the session we do sit-ups and overhand pull-ups. The sit-ups Yohan blatantly tells me, I need to do a lot more of.
9.15am. The workout is over and we can finally relax. The pool is nice and cold and the aroma of breakfast getting cooked is wafting through the gym. Unlike other gyms where you may have to feed yourself, here we have two meals prepared daily. High protein foods such as chicken, lean meat and plenty of eggs combined with veggies and rice makes for perfect training food. Usually three different dishes await us with plenty left over for lunchtime fuel or late night snacks.
10am. The gym area is deserted bar one or two people sleeping in hammocks or sunbathing. The French seem to love sunbathing. There is six hours between workout sessions and because the training is so intense most people spend it relaxing in their rooms or sleeping. Walking into our room to lay down and recoup some energy for the afternoon session I’m met with the lingering smell of tiger balm that has been soaked into calves and groins not used to the training.
The Thai’s well known saying ‘same same, but different’ applies well at 301 as the afternoon session is just that. A 20 minute run is combined with 20 minutes of skipping for the cardio portion whilst the rest of the session is a combination of shadow boxing, bag work, pad work and clinch training. At about 6.30 or 7 we all jump into the pool to cool down, camaraderie forming even amongst the non-english speakers over the effort and pain in the day’s events.
9.00pm. I sit on my bed, barely able to lift my freshly tiger balm coated legs I lay down in one exhausted heap. My head hits the pillow and I have a deeper, more dream filled sleep than I have in years knowing that tomorrow I’ll have to wake up and do it all again in pursuit of achieving my goals.
Thinking that a bout of intense overseas training sounds like you? It is probably in closer reach than you think. Air Asia and other low cost carriers have cheap flights to Thailand and the course itself is probably cheaper than your living costs back home. Less than AU $700 will give you a Month of training, accommodation and food here at 301. I’ve added the link below if you’re interested.