The Whole Body & Mind Workout
As an ex-professional Muay Thai fighter and previous PE & Health Teacher, I am now the head trainer Ace Fitness Bootcamp in Chiang Mai in Thailand and an advocate of Muay Thai; a popular combat sport of Thailand.
Muay Thai has a whole host of benefits for both men and women not only as a whole body workout that exerts a large amount of energy, but it is also a practice that works on the mind to help relieve stress.
What is Muay Thai?
Muay Thai is a fighting art which originated in Thailand and is nicknamed ‘the art of 8 limbs’.
Many confuse the style with kickboxing; however it differs in that Muay Thai also allows the use of elbows and knees as weapons for its participants.
Over the last few years, many training camps in Thailand have opened their doors to welcome tourists and fitness enthusiasts to learn their combat style. The popularity of this alternative fitness trend has spiralled, leading to an abundance of gyms being opened up all around the world to meet the growing demand.
What does a typical Muay Thai beginner’s class entail?
Classes tend to be a combination of technique and workout time. They usually begin with a dynamic warm-up of bodyweight exercises and shadow boxing (punching the air).
The instructor will demonstrate a technique for the participants to see, then the class practices the techniques in pairs, with one customer holding protection pads while their partner attempts to try out the technique.
During this period, the instructor will walk around the class providing advice and tips to improve techniques and motivate.
Why should I get involved?
Because it is such a brutal fighting art, many people are put off joining a Muay Thai class.
But don’t be intimidated! Approximately 90% of clubs now offer non-contact classes, meaning you can enjoy all the physical benefits of Muay Thai, without having to spar or get hurt.
Here are just some of the incredible benefits:
A typical class is said to burn roughly 533 calories (figures based on a 160lb female). Any combat class can be very physically demanding and therefore, is a great workout for the full body. Regular training is guaranteed to shed some unwanted body fat.
After a hard day at the office, putting on your gloves and ‘throwing some leather’ while your partner holds the protection pads, is possibly the greatest stress outlet.
There is a huge rush of endorphins after only a couple of minutes of hitting the pads. Many of my clients often ‘joke’ that they picture their boss or an annoying work colleague instead of the punching pad.
I strongly believe that any exercise we do needs to be fun.
Enrolling on a fitness routine that is boring and monotonous will only last so long, and we already know that fitness consistency is the key.
Muay Thai can be fun and can create great group camaraderie, which is the soul of any good fitness group. It is hugely rewarding to finish a tough Muay Thai session and then throw a high five to your class partner, who has just survived the same workout as you!
Where can I sign up?
Run a quick internet search for Muay Thai classes in your area. There are plenty of schools, but if you are unable to find a local one then I would recommend trying another form of combat fitness such as kickboxing or boxing which yields similar benefits.
Schools across the UK
Gym Box – London
Ko Muay Thai Gym – London
Fightzone – London
London Fight Factory – London
Singdayt – London
Pure Thai Gym at Trojan Free Fighters – Worcester
K-star – Birmingham
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