Claire Foreman, vegan Muay Thai fighter
Claire Foreman, vegan Muay Thai fighter
Claire ‘Fury’ Foreman is a Muay Thai martial artist from Australia. She has won the Victoria WMC Bantamweight title and in November 2015 fought for the Australian title, and won.
She has also fought since then against multiple national champion Sam Brown which she felt was a better fight and better performance. In October 2016 she fought and beat a rival who had reach and height on her side (read more here).
Unsurprisingly she has a demanding training schedule, training six days per week. “This includes skipping, shadow boxing, heavy bag work, pad work, technique drilling, sparring and grappling” explains Claire.
“On top of this I run or do strength and conditioning in the mornings. I mix up my running with intervals, hill sprints and endurance runs. If I have while before my next fight my strength and conditioning trainer will focus on building foundational strength with low reps and heavy weight. We’ll then move to developing power and explosiveness with higher reps and lower weight and finally a couple of weeks before fight we’ll concentrate on developing speed and agility. I also do mobility and flexibility training.”
She’s been vegan since July 2015, following seven previous years of vegetarianism. The last two years had been times of cutting down on dairy consumption.
“I originally went vegetarian because I couldn’t stand to support the cruelty inflicted onto animals particularly in the factory farming industry” Claire told us in March 2016.
“As I learnt more about the effect the agricultural industry had on the planet and animals I couldn’t justify consuming any animal products. Fortunately I met more and more inspiring vegans, particularly my housemate who convinced me with her amazing cooking. I remember having her dairy free ice-cream one day and thinking ‘wow if I can still eat ice cream like this I can definitely do this vegan thing!’ I gradually began replacing animal products and taught myself how to cook delicious, nutritious plant based food.”
Claire was also interested in how the transition would affect her performance. “I researched successful plant based athletes and found that it could speed up my recovery, help me gain lean muscle gain and improve my overall health."
"I have been really happy with the results so far; in combination with improved training and rest regime, I have been able to increase the intensity and duration of my training, build muscle and reduce my body fat percentage. My sport requires me to ‘make weight’ on a regular basis and although I am stronger and more muscular than when I first started fighting I am still able to make the same weight.”
What does she eat?
Eating foods lose to their natural state is an important part of Claire’s strategy and she tries to “avoid ingredients that sound like they belong in a chemistry lab.”
“My diet is full of whole grains, pulses, beans, tofu, tempeh, veggies, fruit, nuts, natural oils and lots of greens! I’m not overly concerned with expensive so-called “superfoods” I think you can get all the nutrients you need from simple whole plant based foods. I’m not extremely strict with my diet though and I always leave room for treats on weekends."
Claire’s aware that travelling will present challenges, but she’s ready for them.
“Soon I am heading off to Southern France and Spain and have been told it will be quite a challenge. I am happy to eat simply when I need to though and if I have to live off olives, bread and wine then I reckon I’m up for the challenge!”
Since turning vegan Claire has had her coach convert to veganism. She also counts herself lucky as she has a supportive group of friends she trains with.
“A lot of them are either vegetarian, vegan or omni’s who are trying to eat more plant based. Whenever we get together they all make vegan food for us all the share. I find that most people are respectfully curious, just disbelieving that an athlete can perform on a plant based diet. I love having the chance to educate them if they ask.”
With such a high level of success achieved already, Claire has much to be pleased with. At age 27 when we spoke to her in March 2016 she had a fight record boasting fourteen wins out of sixteen, including three stoppages and of course a national title. Surprisingly she doesn’t count her title win as her greatest moment as she felt she felt with a more reserved style, with the Sam Brown fight being a much more exciting fight. She also respect’s Brown’s aggression and high work rate.
Claire’s also proud of the everyday milestones such as overcoming injuries, learning new techniques and furthering strength and conditioning training. She emphasized to us that these achievements have been as part of a team, and she owes a lot to Tao and the Sor.Jaiphet Fight Team, Andy and Combat MMA & Fitness, Sylvia Lokollo and Corefit, Hamid at Back on Track Physiotherapy, Damien and MMA Fight Store, Joe Foreman at Pixel Ready, Xan and Superstar Hair and Tash at Bodhi & Soul Café .
Future plans include fighters in Australia before she looks at international competition, particularly large events in the US, Europe and China. She’s also keen on trying boxing, and is keen to train younger fighters when she retires.