Tag Archives: health

Challenges and Changes – What’s Going On?

The Butterfly Editions Cable Bay - 1Oh hey there! How's it going? Good, I hope.

I guess its about time for a little update. If you have still been popping by, you might have noticed that I haven’t been hanging around here lately.

Where on earth am I? What happened? What's going on?

I really didn’t expect to ever have to write a post like this, and to be honest, I’ve been putting it off tremendously. But, I feel like these words simply have to come out before I can carry on.

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When you last heard from me, Alan and I were happily exploring Cambodia - then all of a sudden I seem to have fallen off the blogging radar. I haven’t posted on my blog, have barely looked at my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and all those things we seem to think are so important - but that I’ve quickly come to realise at a time like this they are right at the very bottom of my priorities…and actually make me feel worse.

I had to return home for health reasons, requiring an unexpected and fairly major surgery. By the time I arrived home I remember saying that I’d cried so much that I’d literally run out of tears. I think most of the tears are for my travel dream, that now feels like its been shattered into a million pieces just out of my reach.

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I left my spirit in Asia. Thats the best way I’ve been able to describe how I feel right now.

I gave up so much to follow this dream and I guess I just feel cheated. I gave up a stable job, a decent income and my comfortable home to chase this dream I’d had for as long as I can remember - and to have returned this much earlier than planned feels like...failure.

Deep down, I know that I’m very lucky. I could have had long-term health implications. I could have had no “home” to return to. For goodness sake, I travelled through Asia for more than six months - a continent where many will never leave their own village, let alone their country. I’m indescribably privileged to be able to consider travel as an option, not to mention be freely on the move constantly for as long as Alan and I did.

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I’ve taken a long break from my blog. The honest truth? It's been too upsetting for me to reflect on our travels, too difficult to write these words, too many tears escaping every time my mind revisits my incomplete travels.

However, it's time to carry on with what I started. I'm digging deep into my dreams, adapting my plans, moving onwards and upwards. There are plenty of posts to come here on the Butterfly Editions, along with some exciting changes over the next few months.

So, there's the simplified version of the story. For the time being, Alan and I are living in my hometown of Nelson, New Zealand. It hasn’t been an easy few months, and I’m still not quite finished dealing with what happened yet. Fake it till you make it, right? But hey, we all get there in the end, don’t we!

Some life changes look negative and painful on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new and beautiful to emerge.

- Eckhart Tolle

For those of you that continue to follow along with my journey - thank you. I sure hope you stick around for whats to come!

Christie xx



I Need to Go Back to Koh Tao

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I was really, really excited to visit Koh Tao. I know a few people who have visited and I'd read a huge number of travel blogs raving about this perfect little island. We didn't have much time to spare before we headed up north but we had set aside three nights to relax and explore what I was sure would be paradise!

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See ya, Samui

Everything was perfect when we arrived and other than being a little sad about leaving our adoptive-home of Koh Samui, we were in good spirits about having a new island to explore right at our fingertips. By mid-afternoon, just a couple of hours after catching the boat from Samui, we had already hired a rather jazzy off-road scooter, navigated a very steep and unforgiving hill on a gravel road and checked into our gorgeous accommodation (Lungpae Resort) at the top of said hill, with a breathtaking panoramic vista.

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Things continued to go well as we hopped back onto the scooter, manoeuvred our way back down the hair-raising hill and ventured out for dinner that night. After a close call with a snake quietly slithering across the road, we found a quiet little beach and relaxed back into cushions, blissfully overlooking the sea as we contemplated what to order to eat.

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And that's when I made my fatal error. Let's just say I won't be ordering tofu noodle soup again any time soon!

I spent the entire next day feeling sorry for myself in bed, not out beach-hopping and exploring Koh Tao in our off-road scooter like I had anticipated. Probably fed up with my whining, Alan set out on his own adventure and kindly bought me back some gatorade, along with the photos like this to show me exactly what I was missing out on. So generous.

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Thankfully I had Kitty-kat to keep me company, the cat which seemed to be as much a part of our room as the curtains - he certainly seemed to think it was his domain. What a cutie.

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Still not feeling well enough to bump all the way back down that hill in the evening, we decided to simply wander up the few steps to the restaurant at our accommodation. Luckily, the restaurant is actually very popular in Koh Tao for its steak (which comes highly recommended by the Queen of Koh Tao herself, Alex in Wonderland!), so Alan indulged in the melt-in-your-mouth E4 steak which he still raves about to this day...while I wasn't even able to finish my sandwich. Damn that tofu soup!

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The next day I actually woke up feeling considerably better so we ventured to Tanote Bay, a beautiful, peaceful beach that Alan had come across on his solo escapades the day earlier. We hired snorkels from our resort and had a wonderful few hours relaxing on the beach and snorkelling around the rock which had zillions of colourful fish!

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By the evening I determined that I was on the road to recovery, hunger had finally set in, and that I could really demolish some pasta (if you've been reading a while you'll know how much I like pasta!). Referring to Alex in Wanderland's Where to Eat on Koh Tao we hightailed it directly to Porto Bello in Sairee for a hearty dose of Italian food. A few pesto doughboys and a bowl of spaghetti later, I was feeling like myself again.

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Unfortunately, the next day came far too quickly and before we knew it we were back on the ferry, headed towards the mainland for the next part of our Thai odyssey: the north!

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Food poisoning sucks. I knew it was bound to happen at some point on this indefinite Asia adventure of ours, but I really hadn't anticipated it happening in perhaps the place I was MOST looking forward to of all, and had very few days in anyway.

I simply have to go back to the paradise of Koh Tao and give it another shot - even if just to order an E4 steak for myself!

Have you ever had sickness ruin a holiday? Tell me I'm not the only one!


Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to follow me on BloglovinInstagram & Twitter and my brand-spankin' new Facebook page to keep up to date!



Muay Thai Training in Thailand: Week 4

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In the two weeks since we left our beloved Superpro on Koh Samui, we have stayed in four different towns/cities, and five different guesthouses. After staying in a single place for one glorious month I had forgotten how much moving around and having just a couple of days somewhere makes you busy, busy, busy!

Not to mention some unfortunate food-poisoning-laced Tofu Noodle Soup, along with the fact we have been spending hours upon hours (upon HOURS) putting together our three-week itinerary to obtain our China visas (which we leave for on December 29th!), my stressed out little brain has had little time for my beloved little corner of the internet.

But I digress!

Though Week 4 of Muay Thai training in Thailand may have ended over two weeks ago... better late than never, right? Let's talk about our final week at Superpro Samui!

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Our final training session

Week 4 was a fun one. We knew we were coming to the end of our time there so were making the most of our last few days with our group of friends. We continued to train every day, except Saturday as our bus picked us up early in the morning, onwards to our next adventure!

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Despite the smiles, we were so sad to leave!

Classes were feeling easier (though by no means does that mean they were easy!), and I noticed how much fitness I'd gained in the past three weeks. It was still hard to make it to the top of the hill each morning on those killer runs, but it was certainly easier! Since I first made it up without stopping at the end of Week 1, I never once walked up the hill again - a physical and mental feat I am proud of.

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The rounds in the ring were also noticeably easier to get through. In Weeks 1 and 2, I was dying by the third round, but by Week 4 I could get through four three minute rounds with energy, even though I consistently sucked at the compulsory push-ups between rounds. I was still being corrected on my form, but was coming out of the ring with a touch of energy remaining, enough to get through to the end of class.

As I mentioned earlier, Week 4 definitely became more about our friends. Training was just a mere side-activity! We enjoyed plenty of dinners out, revisiting some of our favourite local haunts and some last-minute sightseeing before we left.

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The most epic night of all was our final night on Koh Samui. Everybody squeezed into our little studio apartment and we ruined the last four weeks of hard work by noshing down on copious amounts of chips, cheese and crackers. Later on we headed out for dinner to one of our favourites: Wine Connection at Central Festival (100 baht red wine, yes please!). Perhaps a few too many glasses of wine and Spy wine coolers later, my head was spinning adequately as I drifted off to sleep. A night of lots of fun and a million selfies, but also very sad to to say goodbye to some of my favourite people. Thank goodness for Facebook, right?

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Before we arrived to Superpro Samui, I had absolutely no idea what Muay Thai training in Thailand was going to be like. And I suppose for everybody, depending on your goals and reasons for being there, nobody will come away with the same experience.

However, it certainly came as a surprise to me (and Alan), that not only did I handle an entire month of this full on training schedule in a sport I had absolutely zero prior knowledge about, I really ENJOYED it!

Even when I was frustrated because I just couldn't get the technique right. Even when my alarm bleeped at 7.30 in the morning telling me it was time to wake up. Even when I arrived at the bottom of that damn hill, looked up, and knew that a hellish run was ahead of me. Even when I cried in the shower after my first ever training  wondering how on earth I would get through the whole month.

I'm so, so happy I pushed through the pain and did this.

I'm super proud of my month training Muay Thai in Thailand. Not only did I learn some new bad-ass self defence skills, discover a new sport that I enjoy (I don't mind watching the fighting, though can't see myself ever doing that thanks!), and exercise more often and with more intensity than I ever have before - there is one thing that I am proud of above all else:

I did something completely out of my comfort zone, something that scared the living daylights out of me, and I enjoyed it!

That's what makes me proudest of all.

I miss Superpro Samui every single day.

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See you next time, Samui

Read about the rest of my Muay Thai experiences here: Week 1, Week 2 & Week 3.

If you are a fellow newbie considering Muay Thai training in Thailand, or even if you have never considered it (like me!), but it intrigues you in some way - go for it! You won't regret it.


Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to follow me on BloglovinInstagram & Twitter to stay up to date with The Butterfly Editions!



Muay Thai Training in Thailand: Week 3

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How on earth we are already more than 3/4 of the way through our month training Muay Thai at Superpro Samui is beyond me. I remember Week One going soooo slooooow, but this past week has zoomed by! Where has the time gone and can I have it back now please?

I took training a lot easier this week, after spending last Sunday hobbling around feeling sorry for myself. Two hours of morning Muay Thai training, followed by two hours again in the afternoon, before compulsory Saturday night drinks and dancing on the beach (because hey, I'm on a tropical island), apparently makes for one sore left hip that plagued me for much of the week. Kicking, of which there is plenty in Muay Thai, was not possible for a few days!

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Totally worth it though

I skipped Monday entirely, then took it easy for the rest of week with just one class a day. Ha - its funny how 'taking it easy' was still 10 hours of training in a single week, which is more than I'd EVER do at home! But its all relative I guess.

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I was kind of kicking again by Wednesday, and by Thursday was almost back to normal. But then Friday I turned the ripe old age of 25 (when did I grow up?!?!) and I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've ever worked out on my birthday. Of course, I only did it so I could eat without guilt all the cheeseburgers, milkshakes, cake, lollies, chocolate, chips, cheese and wine....that I may have consumed over the course of the day! Needless to say, getting up on Saturday morning for Muay Thai training was quite the challenge so I'm glad it turned out to be the most relaxed class we've had so far.

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You better believe this was my birthday lunch. BEST EVER.

In terms of the Muay Thai itself, as I say in every weekly update it is bit by bit becoming more natural. Of course I've still got plenty to learn but its surprising how quickly you pick it up when you are training every day in a condensed format like this (as opposed to going once or twice a week like you might for sport's practice at home).

Its funny, because I was chatting to someone here saying how at first I used to enjoy the 20-minute warm up run because it was the part that I could actually do. Now that I can get through the Muay Thai drills without doing everything wrong (more or less, albeit in some awkward beginner way), I actually prefer the Muay Thai part of the class and dread the run! Hill runs suck, why do I choose that route every single day?

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On Saturday night we went to watch the fighting in Lamai - there were a couple of women's Muay Thai fights but also three men's fights, and two young boys fighting (which I mostly covered my eyes for - I didn't want to see them hurt!). One of the men's fights ended in a KO (knockout) which was rather exciting and one of the girl's fight in a TKO (technical knockout). Another men's fight also ended in KO and an elbow that had caught him to the eye had his face dripping with blood. Intense much! It was an interesting experience, where its kind of exciting but also nerve-wracking and also rather violent so you're not quite sure how to feel. I think I kind of enjoyed it?

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Performing their Ram Muay before the fight begins

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Wham! Knockout.

There have been a few goodbyes this week, which is always sad. You have your little group of Muay Thai friends but its always changing as people come and go. It makes me sad to think that its going to be us departing next week - its such a happy little lifestyle here!

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Friends and birthdays. Love my Superpro family!

I felt like this was a lazy week, but laziness is going to hit me for real when we leave in a week's time to Koh Tao. I am going to do nothing for a few glorious days and soak up every second - just like this water buffalo...

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Three weeks down, one to go!

Read about the rest of my Muay Thai experiences here: Week 1Week 2 & Week 4.


Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to follow me on BloglovinInstagram & Twitter to stay up to date with The Butterfly Editions!



Muay Thai Training in Thailand: The Gear and Essentials You’ll Need

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From six days a week of Muay Thai training in Thailand over the last few weeks there are a few things I have quickly learned are essentials! If you are a Muay Thai beginner like I was (and, uh, very much still am!), read on for a complete list of gear you'll need for your training.

I've sorted this into two lists: Gear, and other essentials.

Gear

Depending on your Muay Thai gym most gear can be borrowed, however this can be a little gross and smelly (Muay Thai is one VERY sweaty sport!).

  • Boxing gloves

    I have a pair of Twins 12oz gloves (pink, of course!). Gloves are sized depending on the thickness of the padding, most gloves range from 8oz to 16oz. It would pay to check with the gym you plan on training at to check their requirements, as some may require 16oz gloves for beginners. I'm happy with my 12oz and would recommend this size for a beginner female, these protect your fists pretty well and I probably don't punch hard enough to get sore hands anyway! I purchased these on Koh Samui in a local Muay Thai store and they cost me about NZD$80. If you buy locally make sure you buy from a reputable Muay Thai store to ensure your gear is authentic. Also make sure you try them on to make sure they fit, they shouldn't be tight, you'll probably be wearing hand wraps underneath so there needs to be some space.

  • Hand wraps

    Can be purchased for pretty cheap (around NZD$10) but I've been borrowing mine so far. We wear these for most of the training session, also beneath our gloves. Hand wraps make me feel bad-ass.

  • At least two full sets of sports clothing

    More if you can fit it in your luggage! Two hours of Muay Thai training in Thailand will have you dripping with sweat, unlike anything you've experienced before. Imagine a two hour workout in a hot yoga studio and you'll begin to get the idea! I have two sports bras, two workout shorts and two tops plus a few pairs of socks that I've been hand-washing and rotating. I wish I had more!

  • Sports shoes

    Despite being barefoot for all the technique/skill training and while you're in the ring, the first 20-30 minutes of our classes are always dedicated to a cardio warm-up. You'll likely start with a run or skipping rope, if you don't have shoes you'll have no option other than the torture of the skipping rope. Bring shoes and make sure you give yourself the choice of going for a run!

  • Shinguards (not essential)

    Mostly to be worn during sparring to protect your shins. I haven't sparred (don't fancy getting punched in the face, thanks!) so I don't have any - though I do have multiple bruises on my shins!

  • Mouthguard (not essential)

    Again, if you're planning on sparring you'll probably need one of these.

  • Groin Guard (not essential)

    Only if you plan on serious sparring.

  • Muay Thai shorts (not essential)

    Most of the guys wear Muay Thai shorts to training, but can I point out that most of these guys are pros, or have been training for years! I'd like some Muay Thai shorts but am waiting until I feel confident in my skill before I go ahead and buy some. Just a worthwhile note for other females, I have read that the pink shorts are typically worn by the elite - as in you earn the right to wear pink. I don't think it would be too big of a deal, but its probably safer to avoid the pink shorts and choose another colour instead.

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Other Essentials

This is just to give an idea of other items you'll need over the month that are related to your Muay Thai training. You can buy these along the way and top up as needed.

  • Washing powder

    Remember the sports clothing I mentioned above? Yep, after each session you'll be hand-washing it straight away in the shower/sink and hanging it out to dry for your session the next morning. Washing powder does a much better job of removing the sweat stench (an unfortunate truth) than hand soap. Trust me.

  • Shampoo and conditioner

    Your hair will be so drenched with sweat after each training session that you'll be dying to jump straight into the shower and wash it. If you're training twice a day you'll be washing and conditioning your hair twice a day too. I thought I'd get away with just washing my hair every now and then, but no, this kind of sweat-head is too far gone for dry shampoo to fix.

  • Drinking water

    Dont skimp on drinking water! I feel sorry for people who unknowingly turn up to class with a small 600ml water bottle, which is maybe enough to get through the first half hour of class. Especially in Thailand's heat, you're going to need at least a 1.5 litre bottle per session. Because you can't drink tap water in Thailand, its cheapest to buy them in 6 packs (around 50-60 baht, $2 NZD), and store them in your room.

  • Plasters, strapping tape and antiseptic cream

    Blisters on your feet are common, as is taking the skin off your knuckles. Strapping tape is essential as band-aids alone will slip off the moment you start sweating! Be sure to use antiseptic cream on any wounds as you're standing in other people's sweat all the time - yuck.

  • Hardcore hair-ties

    You don't want your hair falling out, especially not while you're in the ring with your gloves on - annoying! Invest in plenty of durable, strong hair-ties. On that note make sure your hairstyle is going to work for you - instead of a ponytail, I usually wear mine in a tight bun or a french braid, as I find my hair comes out less knotty after two hours of training. Knotty hair does not make for a happy Christie, Alan will attest to that.

  • Patience

    Unfortunately this isn't something you buy, but you'll certainly need it none-the-less. Particularly if you have never done martial arts/boxing before you are going to be incredibly frustrated with your uselessness, just like I was. Instead of being embarrassed every time the trainers come around and correct your form, take what they are saying onboard and try as hard as you can not to make the same mistake again! There is a lot to learn and it just takes time, commitment and patience.

If I discover anything else over the next couple of weeks I'll add it to this list, but for me as an absolute beginner I feel that this covers the essentials. Let me know if you've got any further suggestions!

Would you be interested in training Muay Thai in Thailand?


Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to follow me on BloglovinInstagram & Twitter to stay up to date with The Butterfly Editions!



Muay Thai Training in Thailand: Week 2

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I can't believe how quickly time is flying by on Koh Samui. We have been training Muay Thai at Superpro Samui for two weeks now, but it barely feels like yesterday we arrived!

There is no doubt that Week 1 was tough, and both Alan & I were constantly sore and tired for the week's entirety. Week 2 has been SO much better! After working through the initial fatigue, bruising and in my case an almost inability to even brush my hair because my arms were too sore (!), I'm beyond pleased that we have come out the other side feeling mostly like normal people again.

As in, we can train in the morning and instead of being sore and exhausted for the rest of the day, we have energy to get out and about and explore this beautiful island of Koh Samui.

And explore we have!

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Since my very first class where I was the only female and only beginner, thing sure have changed a lot over the past week! There are now a number of other newbies staying and training onsite, including a few girls, so I'm no longer alone.

Over this second week I definitely have noticed my form improving and I'm being corrected a lot less which is very motivating, however just in the last couple of days I feel like I have hit a bit of a lull. It feels like my body is starting to catch up with what I'm putting it through and I'm just feeling a little lower on energy during training, to the point where it is beginning to affect my form.

I've trained consistently every day this week so am looking forward to Sunday (tomorrow) off like crazy - just got to get through tonight's session first. Raging way to spend a Saturday night, eh!

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Shadow boxing during warm-ups. Saturday morning's class is small!

In my recap on Week 1 I mentioned the challenge of learning and remembering all the lingo - thankfully this is becoming a lot easier to me now and I'm mostly able to focus on my technique and becoming faster, than simply trying to remember what's what in each drill. Although I still look like an absolute dork in these photos it definitely is becoming more natural!

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I'm pleased to say that I've already smashed one of my goals, I'm able to run up the hill before training non-stop, and have done multiple times now. Even though I feel like I'm dying every time I run up, it feels pretty good afterwards! The abs still need plenty of work though...perhaps a few too many panang curries and pad thais? haha.

I know I said this last week, and its kind of gross but I'm going to say it again: Muay Thai training (especially in Thailand's heat) makes you sweat so freaking much! I'm literally drenched before the class is even halfway through. We often do a warm-up drill that involves 100 elbows - left, right, left, etc - and sweat just flies off my elbows each time like a shower, often hitting whichever unfortunate person is in front of me. For two hours straight it's pretty much just drip, drip, drip. Your bag gets sweaty, the floor gets sweaty (and slippery!), everything gets sweaty. SO much sweat. I always thought sweat was disgusting but when everyone else is in the same boat as you, profuse sweating strangely becomes quite normal.

Please excuse my ridiculous concentration/this-is-killing-me facial expressions...

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Injuries. Despite the bruising having gone down and seemingly becoming hardened to bleeding knuckles, barefoot training on foam mats has led to both Alan and I suffering nasty foot blisters this past week. I had a bit of a blister explosion while I was on my rounds in the ring (yuck!), it stung like MAD but I could't stop until the time was up. Maybe I'm already toughening up?! We didn't miss any training sessions because of the damn blisters, but it sure made training a rather sore and difficult activity for a couple of days! We even had to get up 10 minutes earlier each morning to have time for taping them up, waaah!

I can't quite believe I'm saying this, but I'm almost SAD that two weeks have flown by and I don't feel ready to leave! Alan and I need to start planning where we go from Koh Samui when we finish up in two weeks (because uh, we've planned pretty much zilch so far), but I'm not ready to think about leaving! I'm feeling settled, stronger and (relatively) dedicated to this lifestyle - I'm not sure where Muay Thai is going to fit into my life once we leave here. Yep, some days I dread training just like the next person, but afterwards, wow! There's nothing quite like accomplishing an intense, two-hour Muay Thai session.

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Dare I say it out loud, but I am proud of what I've achieved in the past two weeks of my life, and can't wait to become even more so in the couple of weeks to come. Muay Thai training in Thailand is hard work, but SO immensely rewarding. I'd recommend it to anyone!

I've got a post coming up on all the gear and essentials you'll need for your Muay Thai training, plus I'll also share some links to blogs and websites that I've found helpful and inspiring in my Muay Thai training journey. Keep an eye out!

Read about the rest of my Muay Thai experiences here: Week 1Week 3 & Week 4.


Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to follow me on BloglovinInstagram & Twitter to stay up to date with The Butterfly Editions!



Muay Thai Training in Thailand: Week 1

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Friday marked one week since we arrived at Superpro Samui, so I thought I'd write a bit of a recap of the first week of my Muay Thai training in Thailand, and share a few things about Muay Thai that are swirling around in my mind.

These thoughts are in no particular order and are possible very random - my brain and body are tired from being used so much over the past week... it has been one heck of a learning curve, thats for sure!

  • Muay Thai training is much, much harder than I anticipated it was going to be. I have a new found respect for those who train as hard as this!
  • The structure of the class is essentially 20-30 minutes warm up (skipping rope or a run - normally I run up the hill behind us, the view from the top is worth the run, plus skipping sucks!), hand wraps on, warm up drills, shadow boxing, gloves on, drills on the punching bags, 4x 3 minute rounds in the ring with a trainer, more drills on the punching bag, gloves and wraps off, ab work, cool down drills and some stretches. Indispersed with push ups throughout. This goes for two hours with just a few minutes break here and there to guzzle some water. Did I mention it was 32 degrees celsius yesterday? Phew!

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  • In the first class, I felt way, way out of my comfort zone and completely overwhelmed. I’d never done anything like this in my life, so apparently I didn’t even know how to throw a punch correctly! I was constantly being told by the trainers to shift my position, go faster, harder, etc. Not to mention I was the only female AND only beginner in the class! At some points I wondered if I would be able to stick it out the whole month. The second class was slightly better, as I was more prepared as to what to expect. By the third class I was finishing with an exhausted smile on my face and its been onwards and upwards from there.
  • Females are always made to be right up the front! This made my initial class even more overwhelming, as I had expected to be able to stand at the back and copy the person in front of me (and also kind of hide the fact that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing from the trainers). I’m used to being up the front now, though, in fact surprisingly I quite like it!

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Looking up - a moment's respite from the warm-up run. I can't really complain, can I?

  • There is so much to remember: jab, punch, hook, uppercut, side kick, front kick, knee, elbow, spinning elbow…etc, in forever changing combinations. Its like learning a dance routine when you don’t know how to dance!
  • Muay Thai is the hardest workout I have ever done! I used to do pump and spin class at the gym plus run up Rapaki (a giant hill in Christchurch, New Zealand) twice a week. In my uni days I was a fairly speedy half-marathoner. However, I’ve never dripped in sweat quite like after two hours of Muay Thai. It is so hard but so good!
  • Each training I guzzle at least one 1.5 litre water bottle. SO THIRSTY. We find ourselves topping up our water supply almost every day, luckily Tescos up the road sells cheap 6-packs of water (but we can’t fit more than one pack on our scooter at a time).

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Strange to be supermarket shopping in Thailand!

  • Despite not sparring, I’m covered in bruises. Both shins, both knees, right elbow, right thigh, right forearm - how did I even get that many? Alan looked over at me the other day and said he could count eight bruises just from where he was standing. Two of the knuckles on my left hand are raw and slowly healing. Alan has been kicking all his life (Taekwondo) so his shins are really hardened to the impact, whereas my body is still just trying to figure out what on earth I’m putting it through!

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  • One thing that has changed for me already is my goals, and my reasons for being here. Before we arrived I figured Muay Thai would be a great workout for a month, I’d get some of my fitness back that I’d lost after a couple of months eating my way around Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, and maybe even be able to rock some abs in my bikini (in my dreams!).
  • Sure, I still want those things, but now I want to achieve SO much more than that! I want get more confident in my footwork and perfect my left kick, I want to punch harder and faster, I want to get through my rounds in the ring without becoming breathless, I want to prove myself to the trainers and not look like a wuss, I want to not struggle when we’re made to drop to the floor for pushups (which happens way too often during class!) and I also want to be able to run up the hill before class without stopping for a breather. Achievable? We'll see!

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  • Having a comfortable room makes such a difference! We’d booked a simple double room but after some issues with the water pump, we were super thankful to be upgraded to an apartment room which is so nice! Alan and I have been living in close quarters for months so its wonderful to have a bit of extra space, a dining table, being able to prepare some of our own food, and just relax after a hard training session. Of course the palm tree view out one window and the pool just a few steps out the door, helps too.

My blogging perch on a  rainy morning

My blogging perch on a rainy morning. Even more beautiful on a sunny day!

  • I can see how Muay Thai becomes addictive! I feel like I've discovered a new world...I go to bed reading Muay Thai blogs and watching Muay Thai videos on Youtube...is this normal?

Have you ever tried Muay Thai? Is Muay Thai training in Thailand something you would consider doing?

Read about the rest of my Muay Thai experiences here: Week 2Week 3 & Week 4.


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Muay Thai Training in Thailand: Why Am I Here?

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I'll be writing a full series of blog posts about Muay Thai training in Thailand over the next few weeks. I found it near impossible to come across much information about what to expect from Muay Thai training in Thailand as a female and absolute beginner. I'm hoping that I'll be able to help out other beginners who are interested in this physical and mental challenge, with information and insights to what Muay Thai training in Thailand is like.

These posts will be interspersed amongst catch up travel posts from our last six weeks in Malaysia and Singapore.


If you've read my last blog post, you'll know that I'm currently a few days into a month-long Muay Thai training in Thailand. If you know me personally, you'll probably be thinking that this is a very unusual activity for me to choose, and what on earth am I doing here?! Don't worry, I've been thinking that a fair bit myself too.

Even with just my first few training sessions under my belt, I have plenty to share about this Muay Thai lifestyle that I am so new to and somehow, strangely enough, am enjoying (who would have thought!). But we have a whole month to talk about what I've learned and all that jazz. I figure that I had better start by explaining how I've ended up here in the first place!

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My life for the next month...

As you'll know if you've been reading the blog, I'm travelling with my other half, Alan. Despite not admitting to it, he's a martial arts fanatic. He has been training in Taekwondo for more than 20 years, is a 5th degree black belt in the sport, has taught classes for the last 15 years, and has competed and trained all over the world. In his spare time, it is normal for him to lose hours of his life watching youtube videos of Taekwondo, MMA and UFC...at which point my eyes roll into the back of my head with boredom. Ha.

So, even without reading any further I am sure you can already guess that this was not my idea.

Before we left for our long-term travels through Asia, Alan mentioned a few times in passing that he'd love to do a month-long martial arts training camp somewhere along the way. My reaction to this was to smile and laugh, then quickly change the subject.

When Alan began to seriously look into different training complexes in Southeast Asia, I knew this was more than just a passing thought. Knowing that we had two full months in Thailand, he began researching specifically for Muay Thai training gyms there.

I'd imagined my Thailand days being filled with copious amounts of Pad Thai, Chang beers and mango smoothies, sun-filled days spent tanning on the beach. You can imagine my horror when I began to process the thought of spending an entire month doing hardcore Muay Thai training in Thailand for hours a day - my dream of Chang-fuelled nights out dissipating from existence.

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There are fights multiple times a week in Koh Samui. Gazavat on this promotional poster is training here at Superpro.

It was while we were in Singapore that Alan was emailing back and forth with Superpro Samui and before I knew it we had paid a deposit to spend a month there, living in their accommodation on-complex and training as much as we wanted. There was no turning back now!

Fast-forward five or so weeks to last Thursday and we arrived at Superpro Samui, on Thailand's tropical paradise of Koh Samui. I'm currently Muay Thai training in Thailand - how crazy is that? I'm already a few training sessions in - despite being black and blue all over, sporting a bleeding knuckle on my left hand, and an inability to move when I wake up in the morning, I'm feeling good!

I don't have to be here doing this. I could have travelled somewhere else for the month and met back up with Alan afterwards, or I could be staying here and relaxing pool/beachside for the month while Alan trains his ass off each day. But I've chosen to be here, and commit to this.

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Purchased some gloves. Pink, of course.

Despite Muay Thai (really, martial arts in general) being so far out of my comfort zone, strangely enough I want to be here. Sure, its hard and it hurts! I've said before that I like to live outside my comfort zone, and this is a real life-changing challenge for me, to push through some tough mental and physical barriers. Perhaps one day soon my eyes won't be rolling so far back into my head if I have to suffer through martial arts videos - I'm already surprisingly into watching Muay Thai documentaries!

Maybe it'll toughen me up a bit, eh!

Have you ever trained in Muay Thai or another martial art? Would you consider training Muay Thai in Thailand?


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Healthy and Delicious Crispy Toasted Muesli Recipe

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. If I'm out for brunch, I'm an eggs benedict kinda girl, but at home I usually rely on cereal/muesli/porridge, yoghurt and fruit for a healthy boost of energy to get going in the morning.

And boy, this muesli is a superb start to the day. It's a versatile and simple muesli recipe that can easily be adapted with what you feel like or what you have on hand. You can change up the nuts and seeds, or even add some dried fruit. Live a little, be wild, go crazy!

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Crispy Homemade Muesli Recipe

Inspired by Annabel Langbein's low-fat muesli recipe in Great Food for Busy Lives

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups rolled oats (I like the chunkiness of the homebrand ones)
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup fruit juice (I used Just Juice's stevia sweetened apple juice, though I've made with cranberry before and that was delish)
  • 1/4 cup flavourless oil (or coconut oil would be fab!)
  • And a couple of generous handfuls of banana chips, to mix through at the end!

Method:

Preheat oven to 150*C. In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds and cinnamon. Mix the apple juice and honey together and heat to dissolve the honey. Add the oil to the juice/honey mixture. Pour the wet mix over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Tip into the largest roasting pan you have and spread out (cleaning up is a breeze if you line the pan with baking paper!). Bake for about an hour, checking every 15 mins or so, until golden. Mix through the banana chips. When cool, store in an airtight container.

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I like it best served with my favourite The Collective yoghurt, blueberries and peaches. Yum!

Whats your favourite breakfast?


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5 tips to stay healthy when you have a desk job

Like many of you, I have a desk job, which means that I sit in front of a computer for the majority of my day. It is easy to fall into bad habits with a desk job, which not only means that the pounds can pile on quickly, but your attitude can take a dive bomb and you can end the day feeling completely exhausted.

Here are my five top tips to stay healthy when you have a desk job!

1. Go for a walk on your break. It is so important to get outside during the day, for some fresh air and a shot of Vitamin D. Vitamin D, combined with a little movement will do wonders not only for your physical health but also your attitude and mind set for the afternoon. I aim for 30 minutes walking in my lunch break every day – which adds up to 2.5 hours of walking a week!

2. Hold back on the coffee. Don’t let yourself become addicted to coffee! And if you are, wean yourself off it. Coffee will dehydrate you and eventually leave you feeling even more tired. That’s not to say don’t have any coffee at all – I love (and look forward to) my coffee first thing in the morning to ease myself into the day, but limit yourself to no more than two a day. When you do have your coffee, sip away at it slowly and savour the taste. It is meant to be enjoyed, not gulped down in five seconds flat!

3. Keep a water bottle at your desk. And actually drink it. Aim for 1.5 litres during the work day.

4. Eat right. Guys, this is not new news. Pack a balanced lunch (my favourite is to bring leftovers from the night before), and bring a couple of snacks – maybe a piece of fruit and some nuts. Stay away from the vending machine!

5. Make time for yourself after work. Being happy at work is not only about being at work. What you do to maximise your happiness outside work hours will positively impact your mood overall. I often think about what I have planned after work and it puts me in a good mood all day. Plan to meet a friend for a drink on the way home, plan a date night to look forward to, or imagine how nice it is going to be when you get home and can make some cheese & crackers, plant yourself on the couch watching the Ellen Show…or whatever!

6. Smile. Even if it’s the day from hell, just smile. Having a positive attitude can make such a difference. Fake it til you make it, right?

Are you also a desk-dweller? Do you have any further tips to stay healthy when you have a desk job?


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