My First Encounter with Muay Thai

I joined my new gym here nearly five months ago. When we moved here I had a look around my new neighbourhood, to find out what gym would be most suitable for me. When my husband suggested Cobra Fitness I was reluctant at first. Checking out their website it seemed to be a proper fighter gym, offering Muay Thai, boxing and Brazilian jujitsu and everything else in order to get fit enough to practice these.

However, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a look, so I went in one morning to check it out. My first impression when I saw the main area covered with mats, and surrounded by a mesh wire fence with rows of punching bags, was that of a serious gym. Right at the entrance is a cage with about 20 spinning bikes. The weights area looked impressive too, there were rows and rows of free weights. And of course there was the boxing ring on a platform. Upstairs was a whole row of TRX bands and two treadmills. The predominant colours are black and “cobra” green. I could feel the testosterone in the air. Rap music was blasting through the speakers. To me, this gym seemed to scream serious workouts. No light pedalling on a reclining bike or endless hours on an elliptical machine here. I was hooked. I joined the same morning.

In the past months I have done countless classes in the gym. Spartacus training, abs destruction, legs, abs and ass classes, TRX classes and spinning classes. However, I didn’t have the courage to do any of the fight related classes such as boxing and Muay Thai fitness, boxing technique, Muay Thai technique or ladies Muay Thai. I casually observed them sometimes, but I felt intimidated by the sound of boxing gloves, shins and knees hitting pads. The one time we did some knees into the sand bags during a Spartacus class I ended up with a blue left knee for several days.

However, having the opportunity to practice boxing or Muay Thai is too tempting as not to try it. And what was I going to lose anyway by trying? So I decided to book some personal training sessions with one of the trainers to teach me proper technique. I don’t say that just because I am a personal trainer myself! I think it is very important to learn proper technique first before diving head first into a class, as it is very difficult to “unlearn” false movements, and it is safer for your body too, as the risk for injury is reduced. It is also far easier to learn in a one on one environment than to learn from a trainer who is looking after 20 or 30 people at the same time.

I was very excited and looking forward to my first session. To my delight we went straight into the ring. I had never been in a boxing ring before and I couldn’t help it – the “eye of the tiger” started playing in my head somewhere. The trainer helped me to put the wraps around my hands properly, folding it several times over my knuckles and then threading it between my fingers. Once the wraps and gloves were on, he showed me how to move my feet. Then we moved on to jab and crosses, hooks and uppercuts. It felt good to hit those pads.

And even though I was going at a slow pace in order to focus on my movements, I could feel my heart rate go up. And I definitely started to get out of breath once I was kicking and kneeing the pads! Doing half turns on the balls of one foot while the other leg kicks waist high from the side, having one glove on the chin while the other one gets pushed down, keeping the upper body straight at a slight backward angle and not forgetting to breathe – it is hard work! Working with a trainer means no taking turns, no downtime, no breaks. Just punch, kick, knee. It was hard, but so good at the same time. I felt strong and confident. I was soaking wet at the end of the session, so it was definitely effective in terms of a workout, but it had been fun. Really good fun. I felt the endorphins rush through my body all the way home. I will be back for more. And once I feel confident in terms of technique I will definitely try some of those fight related classes. I keep you posted how that will go of course!

Just a word of caution to all those ladies who love their perfect legs. Those kicks and knees will leave bruises on your shins and knees! Here’s a little shot of my legs the day after a boxing session with my trainer:

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So I think I will have to sit a few days out before a big event where a short dress or skirt is required. Otherwise, I am hooked and determined to continue with Muay Thai. It’s a fun effective workout, gets the heart rate up and will shape arms, abs and legs.

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