Author: Randy Pilares
Cover Image: Ian Smith
Prepare your body for the actual training and it can perform according to your expectations.
It’s important to follow each one of these principles regardless of how old you are, but it becomes key as you continue to train at a later age. Getting your body ready for the hard grind of training Muay Thai or any other combat sport will lessen the likelihood of injuries.
Among the best and most simple ways to prepare your body is to warm-up and stretch before you train. A proper warm-up and stretching routine is an absolute necessity as the two work hand-in-hand.
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A proper warm-up will help to increase your heart rate and circulation in a healthy way. While dynamic stretching will get your joints and muscles ready for the hard work that will come later.
Find and complete a comprehensive warm-up and dynamic stretching routine that works best for your body. The length of the routine doesn’t matter as much as targeting all of the relevant joints and muscle groups that you’re about to use does.
Listen To Your Body
You want the challenge of pushing yourself, but you also need to know when to set your limits. The key to this is to know when and how to listen to your body.
It will help you to preserve your body, allow you to do the things you love, and extend the longevity of your training. You have to know what your body is capable of and at what point you need to lighten up. This is even more important as you become older.
While it can be tempting to go beyond your usual routine, it’s still best to be cautious, but consistent.
For example, your training routine might last for an hour. Now there might be days when you feel inspired – like you can go for hours! Right at that moment, it can be quite tempting. Allow for extra recovery time between rounds, add just a little extra to the routine and see how you feel on the following days.
If your body only feels mild soreness, but ready to go again, you may have reached a new level where you can add on a little more. If you feel more tired or more easily fatigued than usual, then it’s time to stop. Don’t force your body to go on even when it’s already signaling you that it’s had enough.
Recovery is the Key
Training Muay Thai as you get older also means you need to assign more of your time and focus on recovery. Recently, coaches and athletes have become more educated on the benefits of spending more time in rest and recovery.
There’s no point in training to the point of burning yourself out and breaking consistency. Chances are your body won’t be able to perform to its full potential the deeper your dig without proper time for recovery – adding to the potential of sustaining an injury or mental burnout.
The best thing do is to give your body enough time to rest and revolver in between training sessions with the addition of extra active recovery sessions such as light walks, hikes and mobility / stretching routines.
Muay Thai is a physically demanding sport that will challenge the body. You need to plan your recovery periods just as carefully as you plan your training regimens and workouts. If you need to take a day off or two, then by all means do so. Gradually, you’ll start seeing and feeling the results of longer rest and recovery periods.
In your ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s, and beyond, the cliche “train smarter, not harder” becomes more and more applicable.
You want to make the most out of every training session by maximizing what your body is capable of doing at that point in time.
Train to, but don’t push too far past your limits by utilizing the tools that you have. Living to train another day at the forefront of your mind.
A major part of training intelligently is to make sure that each movement is done with proper technique. When you keep this principle, not only will you look great, but you will also be efficient with your moves – minimizing the risk of getting hurt.
By being smart about your training, you can extend the longevity and quality of your Muay Thai practice for more years to come.
KEEP IT FUN
If there’s one thing that needs to stay consistent when you’re training, regardless of your age, is to have fun.
Sure, you might be serious about your training, but it is important to remind yourself to enjoy it and to keep it as a source of joy and happiness. No need to be grim and brooding as you train in the gym or at home.
Remember, it’s the enjoyment that made you stick around for Muay Thai in the first place. Even when your entire body was sore or you were gasping for air, there has always been a small part of you that loved the challenge, had fun, and enjoyed the results.
That fun and enjoyment kept you going, and kept you coming back for more. It should continue to be present when you train. How can you maintain that? By always being excited to learn something new and working to master it in the gym.
Muay Thai offers an almost inexhaustible supply of moves and counter moves that you can hone in and practice for years on end. Practice on your own without a care for who is watching, practice with the ole’ reliable heavy bag or with a partner at the gym!
People’s physical attributes and how they react to certain conditions will always differ, but the one place where the playing field will remain even, especially when training a martial art such as Muay Thai, is in their mindset.
If the goal is to be able to train effectively regardless of age, then one needs to have the right mindset for it. Consider the things that we talked about above and then apply them to your training. It would also be beneficial if you could do your own research and add to what we discussed.
By doing so, you can add to your knowledge of the sport and continue to do it for as long as possible.
So, step in front of an imaginary training partner, a heavy bag or get someone to hold pads for you and strike away. . . you’ve still got years of training ahead of you!