We consider the massive tricritical Ising model M(4,5) perturbed by the thermal operator φ1,3 in a cylindrical geometry and apply integrable boundary conditions, labelled by the Kac labels (r,s), that are natural off-critical perturbations of known conformal boundary conditions. We derive massive thermodynamic Bethe ansatz (TBA) equations for all excitations by solving, in the continuum scaling limit, the TBA functional equation satisfied by the double-row transfer matrices of the A4 lattice model of Andrews, Baxter and Forrester (ABF) in Regime III. The complete classification of excitations, in terms of (m,n) systems, is precisely the same as at the conformal tricritical point. Our methods also apply on a torus but we first consider (r,s) boundaries on the cylinder because the classification of states is simply related to fermionic representations of single Virasoro characters χr,s(q). We study the TBA equations analytically and numerically to determine the conformal UV and free particle IR spectra and the connecting massive flows. The TBA equations in Regime IV and massless RG flows are studied in Part II.