Are you over the age of 30 and know that you should be doing something to stay fit and active but don’t know what? You’ve been to a weights gym but find it boring and results are minimal. You want something a little more edgy and engaging that doesn’t feel like you are actually exercising. You want to do something for yourself and that you enjoy. What about training Muay Thai? I know it sounds daunting entering a unfamiliar environment and may think you will get beat up and it’s only for young guys, but I’m here to tell you otherwise.
This year I turn 37 and still actively train Muay Thai, Boxing and BJJ on a daily basis. It has become apart of my daily routine and enriched my life in so many ways. I’m big on goal setting and believe that to be successful in anything you have to set clear goals and work towards them everyday. This year I even graded to brown belt in BJJ which bought me one step closer to my lifetime goal of one day earning a BJJ Black belt. Three times a week I still train in Muay Thai and Boxing and have been doing so for the past 15 years. Below I’m going to share with you some of my tips for Muay Thai training in your 30’s
Listen to your body.
It’s a fact of life, at 30 our bodies don’t recover nowhere near as fast as when we were 18. It usually takes a lot longer to recover from big sessions and injuries. With age also comes wisdom (I hope) so that means listening to your body and allowing it to recover. Self maintenance, diet, stretch, and sleep all play an important role in recovery. If you are struggling to walk after your last session and fatigued from working a 12 hour day at work then maybe you should rest. We’ve got to train smarter as opposed to training harder.
No need to compare yourself to others.
So many of us get caught up with comparing ourselves to others, especially in Muay Thai. Sometimes we even engage in negative self talk when we “lose” a sparring round, or get caught in submissions in BJJ. It’s in human nature to always compare. But rather than comparing yourself to others lets shift the mindset to comparing your current self to your former self. Take a look at how much fitter and technical you are today compared to what you were like a year ago or even 3 years ago. Looking at old videos of yourself is a great way to see how far you’ve come. Remember, Muay Thai is about personal development and being better than you were yesterday. So stop comparing yourself to the hungry young lion at the gym who has a endless cardio engine and start reflecting on how far you have come. Celebrate your personal wins no matter how big or small they are. As Mark Twain once said; comparison is the death of joy.
Mindfulness in Muay Thai
We all have busy lives trying to find balance in work, family, relationships and social life. Sometimes it feels like we just don’t have time for ourselves anymore and spend most of the time doing things for others. We overthink about events in the past and stress about things that haven’t even happened and forget to live in the moment. We have all heard the benefits of mediation and how it promotes mindfulness, but if you are like me and your thoughts race it’s often difficult to sit still for 10 minutes. The only time I feel truly mindful is through practising Martial Arts: hitting bags, sparring, or grappling rounds. Practising Muay Thai gives you time out of your day to focus completely on yourself. It’s an opportunity to destress and forget about your problems for the hour and then have clarity after the session to address them with a clear mind. Whether you are a small business owner or work in a stressful corporate environment then you should definitely give it a go. What have you got to lose.
It’s journey not a race.
Many Martial Arts today belong to the Japanese Martial based arts known as Budo. The spirit of Budo sets higher goals than just winning in combat, but refining technique through constant training is the path to perfecting one’s character. This means that your Muay Thai journey should be a lifelong one of constant development and improvement through consistent training. In our society of instant gratification people tend to lose sight of the true values of Martial Arts training and not enjoy the journey because they are focused on quick results. I often tell people new to the gym that they won’t reap the real benefits of training until about 6 months in. Don’t stress if you aren’t pulling off techniques 2 weeks into your training. Enjoy the journey and believe in the process and it will come together.
Think about the health benefits.
We live in the age of sedentary lifestyles and increasing obesity rates amongst adults. This should send alarm bells for us to get active. Muay Thai is a complete body workout and one of the best calorie burners when compared with other forms of exercise. Not only does it do wonders for your body but it’s great for the mind too. It helps destress, and increase mental focus. Some may think it’s too exhausting after a long day in the office but you will find you get more energy throughout your day through consistent training.
A few months ago I had a high school reunion with some old friends. I hadn’t seen some of them for close to 20 years. They were all amazed at how young and healthy I still looked and I told them it’s because I live a healthy lifestyle and train everyday. Like most people they had the misconception that it was a young man’s sport or that you had to be super fit to start. I told them it all came down to goal setting and consistency.
For those of us in our 30’s or even older it’s important to stay active and live a healthy lifestyle. If you’ve always wanted to try Muay Thai most gyms offer trials. Try them out and see what they are like. You have nothing to lose. You can keep doing what you are doing, or you can be a better version of yourself by starting today.