Tiger Muay Thai

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My first meal in Thailand looked harmless enough. It wasn't.

Watch Jack Osbourne: Adrenaline Junkie Online posterI decided to come to a kickboxing camp in Thailand after seeing Jack Osbourne’s physical transformation on his reality series, Adrenaline Junkie. I have been complaining about wanting to lose 30 lbs. for years and frankly I was just sick of talking about it. I wanted to do something weird and extreme and physical, and this seemed like the right solution. I had never done Muay Thai in my life, so I planned on taking classes everyday for the 4 months prior my arrival so I’d be completely “conditioned” by the time I arrived. What I forgot to consider was that if i had the commitment to workout every day for 4 months, I wouldn’t be 30 lbs. overweight in the first place. And I’d probably be rich, famous, and living in the hills. So big surprise, I prepared for Thailand and this intense experience by working out a total of zero times. Then I justified that “it would make a better story to be completely unprepared…” I really am brilliant at the justification game.

It was raining when I arrived in Phuket, and the warm air felt thick and heavy (I’m not one of those interesting travel writers, so every once in a while I’ll force in overly-descriptive words to make it seem like I am). I took a cab to my training camp of choice, Tiger Muay Thai. Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand, and there are literally thousands of training camps throughout the country. Bangkok has its share of popular camps but I decided to go for more of a beach experience on the island of Phuket, in the Andaman sea off the Southern coast of Thailand.

Myanmar has been in the news recently due to the citizens violently protesting the junta government there. The internet has been shut down in Burma in a feeble attempt to stop information about the rights violations from getting out into the world. But the only Thailand inclusion in these news stories is problems at the Burma/Thailand borders with refugees fleeing Burma for obvious reasons. Under no circumstance would anyone want to go and visit the Burma border at this time, so it makes sense that I have to go there in 2 weeks to renew my tourist visa.

And although it looks like “fuck-it” it’s actually pronounced “poo-GET.” I found TMT by doing some internet research and contacting past guests, and after being here a few days I think I made the right choice. The owner Will is an American, as is his right hand man Cori. The rest of the staff is Thai, and there are 18 trainers who all live at the camp. It’s a very close-knit family, and the overall atmosphere is friendly and welcoming. I expected a sort of frat house mentality, but the testosterone level is surprisingly balanced, given the intensity of training that goes on here. There are people (like me) who have never put on a boxing glove before, and there are also professional fighters here training for a pro fight. I fit right in, as long as no spiders run across the mat and force me to scream like a girl.

The spiders here are the size of small dogs. I’ve only seen one so far, and it was about as afraid of me as I am afraid of wine.

I went for the deluxe bungalow (quelle surprise) which has TV/DVD, A/C, a small fridge, hot water, WiFi, twice weekly maid service, and a big porch overlooking a coconut plantation. It’s 18,000 baht per month, which is about $500 right now. Training (up to 7 hours a day of Mixed Martial Arts, Muay Thai, and yoga) is 8,000 baht or $222. So you’re looking at $722 for a month of living and training in a tropical paradise… compare that to any fitness or destination spa out there, and you can see why Thailand is such a deal now. Even with a $1,000 flight thrown in, it’s still cheaper than a week at most spas. And if you put it on your mom’s credit card, it costs you nothing! (just kidding mom…) Then there’s the Thai food, which is awesome and only about $2 a dish. Even a couple dishes and a beer won’t be more than $5 in most places, but if you’re trying to lose weight the food can definitely be a trap. Almost everything is fried, and when you don’t speak the language it’s harder to make all kinds of special requests when you’re ordering, like “hey could you not deep fry everything you bring me first?”

Speaking of food, here’s a little Thai food tip: If it’s insanely hot going in, it will be insanely hot coming out. My first meal at the airport (above), which was ordered by pointing at bowls of things that looked vaguely familiar, cost me 3 additional bottles of water and left my clothes completely drenched in sweat. And hours later… let’s just say the party had only just begun.

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