by Don Heatrick

The world-wide impact of the COVID-19 virus is now being truly realised…

Events are cancelled and fighters are now feeling a little aimless, not knowing how long restrictions are going to be in place.

During this time of inevitable social lock-down – depending on where you are in the world, it’s either already here, or it’s coming – it’s the time to focus on the things you can control.

And as a fighter there are some big things you can do to continue to move forwards, even when you’ve lost access to your Muay Thai gym and must train at home.

Cup Half-Empty Or Half-Full?

When we come out of the other side of this, and the events are back on again, there will be two sets of people…

Those that let it all slip, and those that improved their physical and mental abilities.

Without access to facilities and training partners, the majority will let it all slip.

Those that proactively find ways to forge onward will emerge with a huge advantage, forcing everyone else to play catch up.

I’m not into making excuses or feeling sorry for myself.

And I don’t like to see the clients I work with, or those that follow me falling into that trap either.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, but take charge, and do what you can do… focus on that, and not what’s been taken away.

Odds are you will get the virus, but that you’ll be ok.

You just need to make sure you don’t pass it on to others that are vulnerable… which also means not passing it onto others that maybe aren’t vulnerable themselves, but could infect someone who is.

So we mustn’t be selfish. Heed the advice to self-isolate and ride it out.

How The COVID-19 Virus Will Affect You & Your Training

When you get the virus, your respiratory system will be damaged and your aerobic fitness compromised for a period of time. But for the vast majority it will fully recover.

When infected, goblet and cilia cells in the lungs become damaged, and fluid and debris begins to build in the lungs – making it hard to breathe.

This typically lasts about a week.

Your immune system kicks in and you’ll develop a fever as your body fights the virus. Your body will need to shift mucus by coughing and giving you a runny nose.

During this time, stop training, so you not only recover quicker, but you also don’t infect anyone else.

Self-isolate, eat, drink and sleep well. 

80% of those infected will only experience mild illness. And even of all of those that are hospitalised and discharged, 75–84% of them will have regained full lung capacity.

An unlucky 16-25% will suffer a 20-30% drop in lung function, even after full recovery…

But even then, these individuals can improve their lung function over time with cardiovascular training.

Your objective is to recover as fast as possible and get back to productive fitness training as soon as possible.

On return to training, your aerobic conditioning should be progressive and start low.

Build aerobic capacity and aerobic power using longer, steady runs, and gentler intervals… like I’ve described in my Optimal Fight Camp Blueprint – during the first two blocks of training.

Depending on how you were training before you got ill, your neuromuscular ability (your strength, power, speed) will not likely be significantly affected.

You can resume that at a higher level, and maintain better progress.

And this enhanced neuromuscular ability (strength and power) shouldn’t be underestimated in the “arms race” for superior Muay Thai performance once the fight events return in our calendars.

In the meantime, train to keep as much performance as you can before you get ill.

And there’s no reason you can’t improve performance if you train well, even in self-isolation.

Then after you’ve recovered from the illness, progressively address your diminished aerobic function…

And crack on with your functional strength, explosive power, and maximum speed training, pretty much where you left off.

Just make sure you plan your week well and allow enough recovery too.

Bunker down, take control of what you can, and get ready to adapt and make best of the bad situation…

And ultimately emerge ahead of those that fail to do the same.

Keep an eye on my social media channels and my website, where I’ll be sharing as much as I can to help you get through this.

Take care, and I’ll see you soon.

Don Heatrick

Founder of Heatrick Strength and Conditioning

Don Heatrick is a family man from the UK, former mechanical design engineer, European Muay Thai silver medallist, former pro Thai boxer (ranked 4th in UK while aged 40-years), a Muay Thai coach, podcast host, and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.

Don helps ambitious fighters and coaches take their game to the next level by bridging the gap between Strength & Conditioning, Performance Science, and Muay Thai.

Follow Don Heatrick on Instagram:


Unlock Your Muay Thai Potential

with the Optimal Fight Camp Blueprint

Elevate Your Game Through Strategic Strength & Conditioning

Becoming a dominant force in the ring requires more than just sweat and hard work; it demands a precise strategy

Our 12-week fight camp blueprint is your roadmap to superior athleticism and ring dominance, regardless of your current level.

When you adhere to scientifically-proven training principles, you’re setting yourself apart from the rest. It’s not a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ you’ll reach your goals.

Navigating this path can be overwhelming, which is why we’ve compiled the ‘Optimal Fight Camp Blueprint’ into a comprehensive PDF guide to simplify your training planning.