OR how I exchanged my Bootcamp classes and the time at my gym in Vienna for Muay Thai and the beach to keep working out on Koh Lanta.
No matter if you are already an exercise junkie or you want to become one while staying on Koh Lanta in Thailand, there are several options how you can achieve your goal and keep working out on Koh Lanta. I want to share with you top 3 activities thanks to whom I managed to stay in shape. Basically, I exchanged my precious gym time in Vienna with much better versions of exercising — including fresh air and so on.
While preparing for a two months digital nomad experience on Koh Lanta, next to all the preparation like finding the right accommodation, visa applications, checking out a co-working space, I for sure was also thinking about how I will stay in shape. At large I was trying to figure out how I could keep up my exercising routine, that I have managed to build already into a habit back home.
I know that building a habit and keeping it a routine is hard enough. But threatening your routine by changing almost all of the circumstances is not only hard but also very risky. It is much easier to skip your workout in the morning because you just don’t have enough space in your small hotel room to do it. It is so simple to let yourself believe, that running barefoot on the beach is probably not the healthiest thing for your ankles. But because I thankfully knew that circumstances would be changing (like switching Vienna for Koh Lanta) and I also knew, that I needed a plan, to make the transition as easy and fast as possible, that’s exactly what I did: CREATE A PLAN.
My routine back home
Before I’ll talk about the options you have on Koh Lanta and THE PLAN, I want to share with you, how my workout routine looked like at home.
As you can see I am an early bird and like to finish my workout before most of the population in my current time zone is even awake. And that was basically one of the biggest challenges for me on Koh Lanta.
Now let me show you how I managed to stay in shape OR at least how I managed not gain too much weight while being on Koh Lanta and eating 24/7.
Working out on Koh Lanta
There are a couple of things you can do and of course, you could also bring your own equipment for working out. But I decided on the following 3 workouts to keep myself in shape.
The most obvious option is: running. I see a lot of people running on the street, which I really don’t get when they just have to turn right/left and are at the beach in 500 m. But everybody has his own preferences.
Still running on the beach was something I was looking forward to — let me think — for exactly 10 months; basically, since we left Koh Lanta last year, mid May 2016 😉
Although I would have loved to go for a run directly after waking up, which basically means between 4:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., I had to wait until 6:10 a.m.. Why? Well, although Koh Lanta seems to be a really safe place for women, I wasn’t really comfortable running while it was still dark outside. So because the sunrise was at around 6:15 a.m. I managed to get out of our room by 6:10 a.m. and had the advantage of “seeing” the sun rising (though it was the wrong side of Lanta) while running on the beach.
Learning from my last year’s mistakes, I skipped the part where I was trying to run with shoes on the beach. Running barefoot was the best experience I had last year. Although I had my running shoes with me, I didn’t even try it out once this year. Btw. running barefoot seems to be a bit more exhausting than running with shoes, still, the experience of feeling the sand between your toes is just priceless!
And thanks to Laura for kicking my ass every time I was struggling!
Cost: 0 ฿
7 minute workout
The 7 minute workout is one of my favorite “you can do it wherever you want to” exercises. It has more than just one advantage:
- Anytime: you can always squeeze in 7 min, no matter how busy you think you are
- Anywhere: you can do it in your hotel room, on the beach, …
- No stuff needed: you can do it without any additional equipment — just your own body weight
I had two options:
- doing this workout in our room, which basically would have been impossible for me, because I would have either needed to wait until Gerwin would wake up or risking to piss him off for me working out at 5:30 a.m.
- OR working out on the beach
Hmmm … if you know me just a little bit, you know that the decision wasn’t really that hard.
Guess what!? Of course, I decided to move the working out session to the beach.
And one sunny day the most amazing thing happened! After my morning run, I saw a couple doing something suspiciously similar to a 7 minute workout. Stepping out of my comfort zone I walked up to them and asked if I may join. As it is really common for like-minded people, they were more than happy to have another person joining their morning workout routine and … voila, the “KoHubbers 7 min workout” group was born.
Video by Laura Pena
After that, we met every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the next couple of weeks at 7 a.m. to do our 7 minute workout together. At some point, we have even been 7 people working our asses out on Phrae Ae beach on Koh Lanta. Thanks to Olly, Maya, Laura, Keji, Carolien and Serge working out was not only super efficient but also a lot of fun.
Cost: 0 ฿
Definitely, the best experience ever was attending the Muay Thai classes in Lantas Muay Thai Gym. Unfortunately, I only managed to get my ass to the classes a couple of weeks after we arrived on Lanta. But at least I managed to attend in total 10 ass-kicking (pan intended) and soul-sweating lessons during my stay. Which is basically 10 classes more than last year 😉
I have to say that I definitely owe it to KoHub and the organization of an intro class for 100 ฿ (thanks Michal) that I had the chance to try it out and fall in love with this sport. Although I have to say that the first 1,5 hours of Muay Thai during the intro session have been the most exhausting, most sweat-inducing hours in my life, I immediately knew, I would have to continue doing this kind of exercise. We had the honor to not only be able to train with the Thai trainers, but also the great honor to have Vlada, the Russian guy, to introduce us to this amazing sport. After surviving my first 1,5 h Muay Thai and losing easily at least half of my water household, we — Laura, Keji, Sara and I — decided to do Muay Thai at least twice a week: Tuesday and Thursday (and occasionally also on Sunday before our Communal Breakfast).
Being part of not only the KoHub community but also finding people who have been crazy enough to join the Muay Thai classes was so much fun. This is definitely one of the things I am looking forward to while dreaming about our next trip to Koh Lanta. Not only because Muay Thai is an amazing workout — you really are training your whole body. But because it also was a new experience. Stepping out of your comfort zone in more than just one way is something that I love while exploring new territories on this beautiful planet.
And I have to say that Muay Thai was not only a big step because of the exhausting workout. It has been also a step out of my hygienic comfort zone. Training barefoot in the gym? No problem. I really quickly got over the barefoot thing. Especially after spending a lot of time at KoHub and going to the toilette and trying to convince yourself that the fluid you are stepping in each and every time is just water, is one big step. So after that, running on sweaty mats during Muay Thai classes is like a walk in a park. But after a couple of classes, we started training with gloves. Yeah, I know. Where is the comfort zone boundary with that?
Well, let me get there. We’ve been mostly training at 8 a.m. in the morning, which means, we’ve been the first group of students starting off the day at the gym. So you start to ask yourself, while putting on the training gloves, why, when you are the first today, the gloves are wet inside. Then, at some point, your brain starts to kick in, and at the same moment, you try to convince it to just drop the topic, because you don’t really want to have the answer to that question.
But, nevertheless, although putting on the gloves and sharing liquids with other Muay Thai trainees is maybe not the experience you are looking for, the classes are worth stepping out of your hygiene comfort zone anyways 😉
And if you are interested how the gym looks like and what we are doing during class, check out the short video I’ve made.
Thanks Keji, Laura and Sara for joining in and sweating with me — it was exhausting BUT sooooo much fun, especially having you around!
Cost: 400 ฿ / 90 min lesson
1700 ฿ / 5 x 90 min lesson
3000 ฿ / 10 x 90 min lesson
Working out on Koh Lanta — THE PLAN
After showing you a couple of options you have to keep working out on Koh Lanta, let’s talk about the plan. Because at least for me, if I don’t have a plan especially when it comes to things that have nothing to do with eating chocolate or watching Netflix (these work out pretty good even without a plan ;-)), it seems that it is much harder to stick to those things. So having a plan for my working out sessions, is the way to not even start arguing with my inner sleepy me about if we should do something in the morning, that by any means could possibly be exhausting.
Although Koh Lanta is a tiny island for most of us far, far away from home, you have enough options to still be able to do your workout without any good excuse that could keep you from doing it 😉
If you have been on Koh Lanta before, and have other options how to stay in shape, keep working out on Koh Lanta or at least get rid of all the additional calories you eat, I would love to hear about your thoughts or your experience in the comments below.