For most starting on their Muay Thai journey, the goal or dream is to become the best martial artist there is. Unfortunately, it is easy to feel unmotivated or disheartened along the way ultimately resulting in some people to throwing in the towel and ending their before they have barely scratched the surface.
Thinking of trying out Muay Thai? Keep reading to discover how to get started and set yourself up for success.
The adult human body is around 50-65% water, and it needs fluid to function effectively. Muay Thai can be highly dehydrating on the body.
Dehydration can result in some nasty effects such as headaches, impaired brain function and reduced endurance. Researchers recommend drinking at least 2 litres of water per day. Bring a bottle of water when you train and hydrate adequately. Set a timer on your phone if you have to!
#2: Food is fuel
Your body needs the right fuel when you are putting it through a high intensity sport like Muay Thai. Filling your body full of junk food will deprive it of the vitamins and minerals it needs to run and recover. Get your nutrition in check by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and cutting out sweets and fast food.
Before training you should take on a nutritious meal around 2 hours before your session starts, to give your body time to digest it. An ideal meal will consist of a generous helping of carbs for energy (pasta, rice, potatoes), some protein for muscle recovery (fish, meat, eggs) and a portion of veg. Pre-workout supplements can be added if you’re planning on a very intense session.
After training, your body will be craving more carbs and protein for recovery, so a post training meal is essential too – perhaps even a whey protein shake.
#3: Stretch, stretch, stretch
Stretching is often overlooked across sports, but it delivers bigtime benefits. Being more limber, flexible, and less prone to muscle injuries will give you big advantages.
Stretching to improve your flexibility on an ongoing basis, after warming up, and after training will prevent muscle strains.
#4: Find your balance
One of the main challenges most people starting out face is breaking out of the boxer stance. It takes practice but keeping your body straight, but this will prevent you from being thrown off-balance and is key for any round-house kick moves.
With the right balance sorted you will be in the best position to defend, course correct and counterattack. Poor balance will also delay the recovery phase of the kick and leave you vulnerable to counters.
#5: Consistency and time
You should be attending 2 – 3 classes per week and staying active in between. One way to reach peak fitness, is running and HIIT classes. If you commit to doing some cardio or strength training on your off days and you’ll find your stamina will grow over time.
It’s natural to be sore after your first Muay class, but some light cardio, yoga, foam rolling, or stretching to help reduce muscle soreness due to lactic acid will go a long way.
Be sure to rest. This will look different for each person. Taking regular breaks allows your body to recover and repair and will be a critical part of your progress. If you skip rest days, it can lead to overtraining and/or burnout.
#6: Wrap those hands
Wrist injuries are way too common in Muay Thai. The right wrist support can help you avoid them. When you don’t protect yourself by wrapping your hands, and you aren’t punching properly, then you are likely to cause yourself damage.
Soft bones and tendons in the hands take time to strengthen and get conditioned – this is just another key element when you’re starting out.
#7: Decent Muay Thai gloves
If you are serious about Muay Thai, then investing in a decent pair of gloves is highly recommended. The last thing you want is to borrow a pair of gloves from the gym which will be sweaty and smelly!
Try to stay away from gloves from big sporting stores or any of cheap ones. You don’t necessarily need the most expensive ones, but they should offer you protection, adequate padding, firm wrist support, comfortable fit without being too loose or overly snug.
#8: Find the right gym
Selecting the right gym for you is one of the most important decisions you will make mostly because it’s like starting a new relationship. You absolutely want to avoid a wishy-washy basic version of kickboxing with a few elements of Muay Thai added to it. Be sure to read reviews and join online forums.
Convenience is the other element you want to consider. The more convenient you make it for yourself, the more frequently you’re likely to go.
#9: Private training
Take private lessons to make sure your techniques are correct. In class, it can be challenging for an instructor to focus on every single person. The extra attention with just a session or two can make a huge difference. If you are experiencing pain from kicking or having difficulty with the technique’s instructors will help you to overcome the challenges.
#10: Have fun
Get to know the people at your gym and the people you train with. It makes training more social and often they are likely to be more experienced. You will have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips!
Now, you have all the necessary information to not only choose a great Muay Thai gym, but also the information you need to set a solid foundation for health and you’re training. Happy boxing!