Training and Nutrition 21/10/2014

Morning Session: Body 360 @ Titan Fitness Phuket:

Body 360 workout @ Titan Fitness Phuket

End of a gruelling but awesome Body 360 Session

My morning session was at Titan Fitness Phuket, taken by the ever cheerful Kim. A very tough session but noticed that my HR is gradually dropping compared to previous sessions. I am gradually getting fitter – woohoo!

The session consists of a warm up, followed by  2 rounds 6 exercises. Each round is done three times. The exercises themselves are done for 30 second high intensity intervals, followed by a 15 second break before the next. After that, time permitting, there may be a bonus round (often abs!), followed by a cool down and stretching.

Today’s session was as follows:

Round 1:

  • Medicine Ball Clean
  • Medicine Ball Burpee
  • Dumbbell Curl to Press
  • Dumbbell Burpee
  • Upright Rows
  • Renegade Rows

Round 2:

  • Medicine Ball Push Up (These HURT!)
  • Push hold & Wipers (on your back, medicine ball held in the air, legs straight up, lowering them to left then right)
  • Knee to Elbow (plank, right knee to left elbow & reverse)
  • Bridge (Essentially “hip ups” from your back)
  • Crunches
  • Plie Squats

For the geeks among you, here is a breakdown of the session as recorded by my Garmin Fenix 2:

HR Zones for Body 360 21/10/2014

Heart rate zones for Body 360 @ Titan Fitness. 21/10/2014

I was hoping to add the graph that shows HR through the session as well, but can’t find it on the Garmin website. Perhaps it is only available through the iDevice app….although that would suck.

Afternoon Session: Muay Thai @ Chockchai Muay Thai Phuket


ChockChai Muay Thai Gang

The gang post an awesome 2 hour session.

I was very slack with my Muay Thai training last year, so am pleased to be gradually getting back in to some sort of rhythm. After last weeks sessions with Turbo Fairtex, I decided to go along to my friend ChockChai 3k Battery’s new gym.

The gym itself has yet to open, but is already looking good and is a welcome addition to Soi Tad Eaid (“camp road”). It sports an already impressive team of trainers, including Muay Thai champions Tukkatong Phetpayatai and Yuttajak Kaewsamrit Chaikam. Heading the team is Chockchai himself (Boonpeng Klaphayak), who has an incredible record of 243 Muay Thai matches and 112 boxing matches under his belt. At his prime he was Asian boxing champion, defending the title for some six years until a young upstart by the name of Manny Pacquiao eventually relieved him of it.

Anyway….about the session…

I arrived a little early, and as a result spent a good 8 minutes running longer than anyone else….error! In total, I’d say I ran around the mat for 15-20 minutes. This was followed by three rounds of skipping, then it was time for hand-wraps and water.

The class took the form which many do in Thailand. 3 rounds of shadow boxing (4-5 minutes), 3 rounds of bag work (which I am pleased to report was carefully monitored by the trainers, who made helpful suggestions and corrections to everyone), followed by 3 rounds in the ring with a pad holder (I was fortunate enough to be working with ChockChai himself). After that (which is quite gruelling enough ;) ), we clinched for 15 minutes (actually, I cut it short by 5 as my HR was peaking).

Just when we thought it was all over, we were told to do 100 knees and 100 “teeps” to the bag, followed by 200 sit-ups and 100 push-ups! Fortunately a little mercy was had and it was dropped to 100 sit ups. Sadly, as we had been doing 20 press-ups IN BETWEEN each of the 9 rounds (did I mention that?), my arms were simply too fatigued to comply, but I managed the sit ups and used the excess pussy time to do back strengthening exercises to compensate.

I really enjoyed the session, going to go again on Thursday and see if I can improve a little. My left leg is fluid and quick at the moment, but my right seems a little stiff and lacks power – something to work on!


My food for the day was as follows:

Breakfast Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sat Fat Trn Fat
Fresh – – Coconut Water, 1 cup 46 9 0 2 0 0
Poached eggs on toast simple, 1 serving 269 16 14 12 3 0

Watermelon – Raw, 1 cup, balls 46 12 0 1 0 0
Calorie – Sweet Potatoe tuna and. Broccoli, 1 plate 314 34 4 37 0 0

Homemade – Grilled Salmon Steak, 6 oz 241 0 11 34 2 0
Homemade – Potatoe Mashed, Added Milk and Salt , 200 g 141 25 0 6 0 0
Generic – Papaya Shake With Water, 16 oz. 90 0 0 0 0 0

Snacks (Post workout)

Musclepharm – Combat Powder (Chocolate Milk), 1 scoop (34,9g) 130 5 2 25 1 0
Musclepharm – Combat Powder (Chocolate Milk), 1 scoop (34,9g) 130 5 2 25 1 0
Vita Coco – Pure Coconut Water 11.1 Fl oz, 11.1 fluid oz 60 15 0 0 0 0

This left me with an overall calorie intake of 1467, while burning 2780 (not including Basal Metabolic Rate).


Overall, today I managed to burn 947 Cal in the first session, and a staggering 1833 in the second! I haven’t included calories which my Vivofit reliably informs me I also burned just walking around (14313 steps, sessions NOT included)…. Very happy with the way training went, and with nutrition, although I am worried that the calorie intake is a little low for the training intensity.

Posted in Muay Thai, Strength and Conditioning, Training, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Collecting thoughts about how to use this blog.

Life in Thailand has been pretty amazing for the last few weeks. I have so many things which I’d like to blog about in details, but have yet to find the time to do!

For my own reference, I’d like to do a post on each of the following:

Fenix 2
Titan fitness
Malaysian Gym
Chockchai Muay Thai
Phuket Top Team
T-Rex Muay Thai and MMA.

I think I’ve pretty much decided that as the readership of the blog is fairly minimal, I’m going to dedicate a post a day to the previous days nutrition and fitness. These posts may get a little in depth and geeky (they may not, I haven’t decided yet…), so if you’re not a fitness geek, feel free to ignore them!

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Just a quicky

So, my first session at Phuket Top Team was less than successful. That isn’t to say the session was no good – it was excellent, but sadly I managed to sprain my finger in about the 3rd roll I got after the session. Nothing too serious I hope, but it has put me out of training for a couple of weeks. Very much hoping the good guys there will honour the 10 pass card I bought for a little longer!

Today was my first day back at training after some rather debaucherous birthday celebrations in Krabi at the weekend. I decided to ease myself in gently with a relatively easy going session at Titan Fitness Phuket – the “Body 360″ class.

Hannah and I were doing this class regularly earlier this year with a very good instructor named John Priest. He has now moved on to pastures new and I was a little concerned that the class may be the worse for it. However I was pleasantly surprised and the new instructor Alex, together with one of the owners, Kim, took me through a superb hour of training.


The class aims to work the whole body, with a combination of cardio, weights and resistance based exercises. For today we used: Dumbells, Kettle Ball and Plyo Box. After a 10 minute warm up, we went through two sets of exercises (approx 6 per set) and did each set three times. This is something that a few months ago was a precursor to proper training. It burned a little fat, improved cardio a little and built a little muscle.

Today it has left me almost unable to walk!

Sadly I didn’t manage BJJ in the evening as I was simply too fucked. Doh!

Back at it tomorrow morning though, so wish me luck!

On an unrelated note, our Thai lessons are coming along fantastically! We are able to read and write the majority of Thai script now. That isto say we’re just over halfway though the alphabet (44 Consonants and 22 Vowels), and have covered most of the ones we see most frequently written. This has led to us wondering the streets reading signs like kindergarten kids, much to the hilarity of the Thai’s. It’s like cracking a code….and it feels good. Very good.

I will try to sort pictures out soon to make this blog a little more visually interesting. In the meantime, love to all xx

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A year of smiles

So I have been remarkably slack at keeping this blog up-to-date. Fortunately the readership consists primarily of Russian and Chinese spambots, so the future of mankind has been relatively unaffected.

I’m starting again as yet another reboot has begun. Hardy Hemmingway 3.0. Or is that 41.0? Can’t be sure, but the fact is I’m on another mission, and this time I mean it….. no, really….

The next nine months are dedicated to self-improvement. Physically and mentally. I am limiting myself to three paid clients and four charity projects as far as work goes (I’ll reveal all later). Other than that I shall be learning and training. Simple as that.

Having been in Thailand for quite a while now, this is the year that I get serious about the language. I’ve been learning gradually as I’ve been here (with the help of some excellent beginner lessons early on from the esteemed Cherry and Merry), but now it’s time to take it to the next level. Hannah and I had lesson 1 yesterday with the both witty and excellent Kru Gai (“NOT GAY HARDY”!) at Lingua Plus, and are on our way to earning our Educational Visas.

The Education Visa is a necessity these days for staying in Thailand long term unless you have a business, job or family here (unless you’re of a certain age with a bank full of cash, in which case you can spend a little “retirement” time here). The application process is quite simple; fill in a form with your school, provide a copy of your passport and copies of all stamped pages therein, then just attach 10 photo’s, give them to your school and await an invitation from the ministry of education. Simples.

Work and education are taken very seriously here, and all correspondence is to be considered formal. This means that while you may spend 99% of the year dicking around in tank-tops, flip-flops and shorts, you’d better wear a suit for any application photos! Hmmmmm. A suit.

Why didn’t I think of packing one?

Perhaps it’s the fairly consistent 30° heat.

Or the high humidity.

Or the fact that I’m always on a motorbike.

Maybe it’s because it isn’t the best attire for Muay Thai or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

..or swimming for that matter…

Anyway, the fact remains that I don’t possess a suit in Thailand. The closest I have is a black shirt, which has absolutely no idea what an iron looks like, and has frankly seen far better days.

It is said shirt I was wearing when I went to have my photos taken. It is the miracle of Photoshop, Thai ingenuity and healthy “We’ll get around it” attitude to ticking bureaucratic boxes, that resulted in the pictures I attach. I’ve never looked so smart. Again, REALLY. I have ACTUALLY never looked so smart. Or white. Evidently having a healthy tan isn’t best at the ministry of education. Thanks for the new skin tone guys!

Anyhoo, thought I’d get into the swing of writing again. Been meaning to all week, so much to say…gotta start somewhere! Forgive the disjointed missive, things will improve…

Right, off to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in an hour. First time training in MONTHS. I’m sure the lovely crew at Phuket Top Team will look after this old codger though. Second session of the day incidentally @GarethBowen! Dived in the pool for the first time today. Adored it!

If you’re interested in watching my fitness journey, a more detailed account is available on my (open) myfitnesspal account.

Ciao for now, oh, and nice one Scotland!

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Over a year on, training begins again in earnest!

Following a skype conversation with my gorgeous girlfriend, I have decided to start training again in earnest. I have trained a bit in the last year, far more sporadically than intended – now I aim to do a bare minimum each day for a month until I return to the uk. I will record it, take pics, and monitor progress for a month. I’m aiming to be totally honest with myself about training levels, nutrition and smoking. Let’s see what difference a month makes!

Front view, 27/05/2013
Side view - some work to do

Side view - some work to do

I have taken “before” pics – they haven’t worked out great so will try and refine my photography method ;)

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P. Villa, Ban Tai review (and SCAM warning)

Ok, I’m going to admit it before you read on. This post is 100% sour grapes. And, as all who have visited will be aware, wine in the land of smiles is pretty awful ;)

However it could also save a future long termer some money and hassle, and if you are looking for accommodation in the Ban Tai area of Ko Pha  ngan  at a reasonable price, then advice and help online are scarce, so I am hoping this review will help people on their quest for a  reasonably priced house to rent.

In short, avoid P Villa. The five houses currently in the compound boast AC, and “hot showers”. That is about all they have going for them. Set in a picturesque building site, they have been built as closely together as possible to maximise revenue. The rent (anywhere from 10k – 15k baht a month depending on what you can negotiate) is excessive for the area. There are cheaper and nicer options around.

All of these things I accepted when I took a house there as the location was perfect for me. Roughly half-way up the Ban Tai road, on the way to Wat Khao Tam, the houses are situated in a great spot for access to Kobra Muay Thai and the ubiquitous centre of Koh Phangan life, the Ban Tai 7-11. As Natasha was to be on a pedal bike, this spot was great as both Thong Sala and Ban Tai were accessible along a straight, hill-free road.

“OK, so it’s a little pricey, and the building site aspect does’t sound appealing, but why is this worthy of a blog post?” I hear you ask…


One of the more beautiful aspects of Thai life is the Buddhist culture. The honesty and integrity of the people. There are Thais that are an exception to the rule (generally as a result of over-exposure to western values), but on the whole, they are lovely.

So when scams are executed, when sleazy, greedy tactics are used to extort money, I am aggrieved and feel the need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Here’s the problem.

Pretty much all long term room / house rentals on Koh Pangan include bills. It is the norm. Unless you are renting land or have a different agreement in advance. For 12,000 baht a month (which is what I reluctantly paid for the first month, I really should have held out for 10k), bills will ALWAYS be included.

I asked about this when the property was rented. I signed a contract for the month which made no mention whatsoever of bills. I also, stupidly, paid a 3000 baht deposit against “damages” to the property (as worded in the contract).

Upon checking out yesterday (while in a rush to get to the ferry, or I would have fought this harder), the person who was looking after the houses (Mr Bao), inspected the room. He was happy that it was clean and damage free. I asked for the return of my deposit, whereupon he presented me with a break-down of electricity used – which conveniently came to exactly the amount of money that was due to be returned to me. Money I had been intending to use for onward transport.

I argued. He phoned his “big boss” in Bangkok. We argued some more. He spoke to local Thai friends of mine, who were similarly angry at the scam. Ultimately I had to give up as I was running out of time for the ferry, and accept the loss of nearly 60 quid.

I did promise that it would end up costing him a lot more than that in the long run, and that such greed and conniving is rarely rewarded. And here I keep that promise. You may have noticed that I have spelled Ko Phagnan several different ways in the post. There is a good reason for that.

You, the reader, have found your way here either because you know me, or have been searching for good, cheap accommodation in the Ban Tai area of Koh Pha Ngan on a search engine.

The aim of this post is to make sure people do not make the same mistake as me. I will remove it if the money I am owed is returned to me, and the owner promises not to cheat in such a fashion in the future.

Thanks for reading, much love,



Posted in Ko Phangan, Thailand | 1 Comment


I can get through arduous Muay Thai sessions (just) … and today I put my back out shopping for cleaning products.

…and the temple next door appears to be having a rave.

There is no logic in this world…

Posted in Ko Phangan, Muay Thai | Leave a comment

A journey of a thousand miles

…begins with one small step. Something of a cliche, but one that I am clinging to this morning after my first proper Muay Thai session in about 3 years.

Having done almost no training at all in the last 2 years, following a skiing incident which left me with not one but two totally shagged knees, I knew that the first session was going to be tough. I’ve done this before though. Many times. At many different camps.

If you’re out of shape, you can simply sit to the side, grab some water and breath and take a break while the trainers are occupied with the other students. It aint that hard….

I arrive at the camp bang on time, and note as I pootle through the gates on my powerpuff girls coloured moped the absence of the familiar grunts, whirl of ropes and dead thwacks of pads being hit.

I am alone.

Except for a young and extraordinarily fit thai guy.

He looks me up and down. I can sense the disdain felt towards my less than Van-Damme like physique.

“Sawat Dee Krap, Sabai dee mai?” I say.

His expression remains emotionless. My half assed attempt at Thai has not procured the response I was hoping for. He motions his head and eyes towards a lorry tyre.


Oh shit. This is going to be hard.

I duly dump my bag and begin hopping up and down on the lorry tyre. The point of the exercise is threefold. It increases your calf strength, cardio and is handily about the right size to enable you to become familiar with rough positions in footwork.

I jump for a good 15 minutes. Perhaps even 30. I glance up at the clock.

It’s been 2 minutes.


It’s 9 in the morning. The temperature is creeping up to 33 degrees. I am outside. There is no fan.

I last another three minutes before my calves begin screaming at me. They let me know in no uncertain terms that they have been quite happy with the atrophy program they have been on for the last couple of years, and that they would be much happier if I left them alone and allowed them to get back to it, thank you very much.

I have to sheepishly leave the tyre and stretch them out a little.

I jump back on, and  persevere. After another 5 minutes, a second trainer approaches me, hands me a rope, and says “skipping!”.


I have been in Thailand less than 5 full days, yet already have an infected cut on the top of my right foot, and damage various on the left; donated by the stupidity of barefoot moped riding and the belief that my feet were hard enough to take on 7-11 flip-flops.

I manage to swing the rope for 10 minutes, surprised that I am only occasionally brutalising  my wounded feet with the hard leather. I’ve actually never skipped this well. Perhaps it is because I am injured that I manage it, but in spite of the the breathlessness I am pleased with this achievement.

Second trainer, sensing that cardiac arrest is imminent, comes over with a wet towel.

Ah, this is more like it“, I think.

He places it over my face. It’s not just wet, it’s fecking freezing! Evidently it has been living in the ice bucket. I inadvertently open my eyes in surprise.


Despite my family’s particular penchant for the word, I believe it should only be used when absolutely appropriate. This is one of those times.

I realise as the trainer insists I remove my tank top (I am under no illusions that me training topless is pretty, and not entirely happy with this) and begins to towel down my body, arms and legs, that the towel is not just covered in icy water. It also has boxing liniment infused. Actually, I realised that the second I opened my eyes, but had time to reflect on it as he toweled down the rest of my body while I squinted, eyes watering, trying not to moan like a pussy.

Then the training begins in earnest. And it’s good. VERY good.

Both trainers correct things in minute detail. Slight wrist angle changes, footwork, posture, guard. All are relentlessly dissected. Gradually improved. A third trainer (the owner, “Kob”) arrives. He makes even further tweaks. He goes through “Yang Saam Khum” (three steps walk), a lovely peculiarity of the style which has an enchanting legend attached to it that I may cover in a future post. I have never trained at a club where so much detail has been thrown in in the first lesson. I’m sure it was because I was the only student that so much attention was given, but I am very grateful nonetheless.

We train for about 45 minutes like this. I am flagging badly. The session should be an hour and a half, it’s been about an hour and ten minutes and I genuinely can’t do much more. Very embarrassed, I explain that the heat and my fitness level will not allow me to continue much longer. This is not good. I’ve never had to do it before, and it is not going to garner me an enormous amount of respect.

The trainers understand, I talk to one who is actually very flattering. “Technique good” he says. I am pleased.

“But too fat”.

I am crushed but in accord.

I begin to pack my things to go.

“No no!”, says trainer number two.

He leads me over to the weights area (pics to follow), places a pillow on top of a device which clearly has it’s roots in medieval torture and says “Sit up!!”.

I spend the next 5 minutes painfully and slowly executing contortionist sit ups  – not helped by my infected foot. I think that is enough. I sit upright for a second to rest.

“100 more!”, says Kob.

Now the first step is made, I look forward to the rest, and sincerely hope they become easier. Just doing one session a day for now, so bring on tomorrow!

Posted in Ko Phangan, Muay Thai, Thailand, Training | 4 Comments