Ladies of Muay Thai: My life of kneading dough and kicking butt!

Ladies of Muay Thai Feature images

Ciska Rossouw is the owner and head baker at Loaves on Long in Cape Town. But when she’s not sticking her fists into a freshly rolled ball of dough, she’s thrusting them into a punching bag.

And on 27 April, those fists will be flying at her opponent’s face at the Ultimate Warrior Fighting Championship in Cape Town. While she prepared for fight night, we got down and dirty with this Chef-Foodie-Fighter as she continues on her journey to becoming her best self.

Fighter training

What do you do on the tough days, when motivation levels are low? Recite the mantra “you get what you work for… not what you wish for.”

Do you change your approach to training from time to time? I move between disciplines, but Muay Thai remains my training staple.

What type of training are you love most right now? Muay Thai all the way, and some functional fitness. While I still enjoy weight training, I don’t do it any more.

The fighter diet

How have your perfected your nutritional approach? Kristen Barrett has been a great help to me in better understanding my nutritional requirements. As a chef, I tend to make things indulgent, but she gave me a better understanding about what works and doesn’t in relation to my specific body type.

Does your diet change between training and rest days? Not really. The only difference is that I drink loads more water and will have a pre-workout bullet coffee before training.

What’s your trick to sticking to a diet, other than sheer willpower?

  • Eliminate all temptations from your immediate surroundings. That means no cookies in the cupboard!
  • Make your eating plan fun and sustainable.
  • Don’t under eat.
  • Set short- and long-term goals.

Yay or nay

Long steady rate cardio? Nay… I find it boring to be honest.

Oats in the morning? Yay… It’s a good option most of the time, but first establish if you’re insulin resistant. It might do more harm than good.

Training in a crop top? Nay… I don’t have anything against it, but will certainly not punish anyone by wearing one.

Burpees? Yay… but I have a love hate relationship with burpees.

Gym selfies? Yay, but before and after a session. We wor hard during a workout, so if you have time for a selfie you’re not working hard enough!

Pre-workout nutrition? Yay. I usually have a “bulletproof coffee” before a workout. I feel like food wants to exit early on in the workout, but the coffee and a little coconut oil gives me the necessary energy to sustain a workout.

Intra-workout nutrition? Just stay hydrated.

Post-workout nutrition? Eat some protein and continue to hydrate. I usually eat a chicken and broccoli, cabbage and asparagus salad.

Grilled hake? Yes please!

Fat burners? Nay. Only way to properly burn fat is to heat your core body temperature. Work hard and push more. Results will come. You get what you WORK for!

Deadlifts? Yay! I enjoy a good heavy Romanian deadlift… I love the burn!

CrossFit? Yay… as long as you find a sport/discipline that you enjoy and keeps you fit, motivated and healthy… go for it!

Sports massage? Oh hells yes!

Cheat meals? It will be ignorant to say that you will never cheat, but be sure to plan for it. I would also advise not to make a cheat meal a reward. Find a healthier reward than food.

Early morning training time? I absolutely love starting my day with training, but most mornings my workout consists of kneading some dough and rolling some croissants.

Training partner? Yay. It’s great to have a training partner – someone to push you and who gets to know your strengths and weaknesses. Pick the right person and you’ll learn something from them, and you’ll train better together.

Running? I’d like to be able to run for the fitness aspect, but don’t think I’ll ever aim to run a marathon.

Social media? Yay! I enjoy social media a lot. It’s a great source of inspiration and a way to connect with people all over the world. I enjoy having a “fitness profile” (@pushkick_panda) to share the journey and explore.

Active rest? You need to listen to your body and when it needs a little break. Know when to push and when to dial back a little. Rest is important for recovery, but you can still stay active on your rest days. Go for a beautiful long walk or a light jog or swim.

EMS, tried it? Nay. Never tried it…

Any final thoughts?

Starting at new at a gym, or embracing a new form of training can be scary, but be proud of yourself for making the change and taking the first step. You deserve it. Everything you want is on the other side of fear.


Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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