Tiger Muay Thai offers the Big Buddha run every Tuesday, as part of its daily body fit classes. Guests meet in front of Tiger’s office at 8:30 AM and are transported to the base of Big Buddha to begin the hike. The only equipment you need for the Big Buddha hike is a sturdy pair of trainers and a bottle of water. Tiger’s body fit instructor, Ocean Bloom, explains the Big Buddha run below.
What is Big Buddha?
Big Buddha is one of Phuket’s most important and revered landmarks. It’s a large Buddha marble statue that sits on the highest point in Phuket. It’s a steep 4KM hike from the base of the hill, where we begin our Buddha run. The workout is about an hour long and we use the hike to do intervals, power walks, and exercises along the way. It’s an all-levels class, so it can be done as a race for time or it can be used as an hour of cardio introduction.
Walking at a steady pace takes about one hour. If you are an elite athlete, you could do it in as short as 21 minutes. That’s the record for the fastest time and that is running the entire distance uphill.
Is it challenging?
Yes. Life is challenging and so are our workouts. However, it’s all about the approach you take to it. Because we go as a large group, there’s safety in numbers and a tremendous amount of supportiveness. People are hiking at all different fitness levels. There are elite athletes that can train together during the workout, and there are a lot of guests who come in with a very limited fitness background. We try to team up similar experience levels to go through it together.
We change the workout slightly each week. Often we will combine interval training or strength exercises during the hike. Some weeks we drag tires up with us. Some weeks we just get to the top as quickly as possible and then do a circuit. It’s slightly different each week.
Do you have to drag a tire by yourself?
Some experienced athletes choose to drag a tire by themselves, but most guests are placed into groups of three, so they can share dragging the tire up the hill. It’s a great teambuilding exercise and can be a great tool to motivate yourself, when you have teammates rooting you on. It’s great to train with a tire, because then when you come back without a tire, you’ll find that you’ve increased your speed up the hill.
We always team up and stay together. We have an assistant on a scooter constantly monitoring the group and checking in with people to make sure they’re hydrated and that they’re not pushing themselves past their ability. We get everyone up the hill.
What can you see on your way up to Big Buddha?
What make this training session so exciting and different is the amount of wildlife and nature that you see along the way. It truly is a journey. Each time you do it you will see new things. Elephants, monkeys, butterflies, birds, lizards, and more. Even the weather can be exciting. Along the way there are also spectacular viewpoints overlooking Phuket.
Would you recommend the Big Buddha run for someone trying to lose weight?
Because it’s an hour-long cardio session, it’s a great way to burn fat. It’s also great because of the varying terrain. It goes from totally flat to very steep. There are places to walk, jog and run. You’ll be working all the muscle groups of the body. It’s one of the best ways to strip off unwanted fat. Plus, because we go up in a large group, you are definitely motivated to push yourself harder than you ordinarily might. People are often surprised by just how fast they make it up the hill.