There’s no such thing as being too old to start training in Muay Thai. If you can still move, you’re probably young enough to enjoy the many benefits of training the art of eight limbs. People in their 40s, 50s, and 60s train in Muay Thai all over the world each day.
Muay Thai is one of the most fun martial arts you can train. It teaches you how to use your fists, elbows, knees, and shins as weapons. You also learn how to defend against such attacks using your head movement, footwork, guard, and shins.
Simply watching a Muay Thai contest is enough to get your adrenaline pumping and your blood flowing, and that’s nothing compared to how good training feels. Muay Thai is more than just a hobby; it is a lifestyle that provides many rewards like improved fitness, cognition, eye-limb coordination, improved flexibility and mobility, improved overall health, and lower stress levels. Everyone around you will notice something has changed about you when you start training Muay Thai.
Tips For 40+ Year Olds Starting Muay Thai
Let’s take a close look at some of the things you should keep in mind when starting Muay Thai in your forties:
1) Take Things Slow
It’s easy to get excited about starting something new, and you’ll probably be hooked on Muay Thai after your first training session. You naturally will want to go back and train multiple times during the same week to get more of the same feeling. However, your body isn’t yet used to the rigors of practicing Muay Thai, so that’s not the best way to approach your training.
Instead of attending Muay Thai classes as often as possible, assess your current fitness level and devise a training schedule your body can keep up with. Stay committed to your training, and you’ll eventually be able to train as often as you want.
You should also listen to your body when you first start training. Try not to train when your entire body is sore. That’s a sign that your muscles need a little more time to recover.
2) Don’t Put Everything Into Your Strikes When You Start Training
This ties into the first point listed above. You’ll learn many new techniques your body isn’t familiar with, so take things easy when you first start drilling techniques. For example, throwing a teep puts a lot of pressure on your hamstrings in a way most people aren’t used to, while roundhouse kicks (and many other techniques) do the same with your hips.
Practice moves slowly to give your body a chance to get used to the movements before attempting full power shots.
3) Reduce Other Physical Activity
If you already had a fitness routine before starting Muay Thai, reduce the amount of non-Muay-Thai related physical exercise you do. This is only a temporary change to make it easier for your body to adjust to the rigors of training Muay Thai. Adding Muay Thai to an already thorough fitness program is a recipe for overtraining.
Once your body gets used to Muay Thai training, you can gradually restore your other fitness activities.
4) Train Intelligently
At 40+, you’re in no position to ignore safe practices like warming up before workouts and cooling down properly after training. Doing these things significantly impacts how quickly your body recovers from each training session. It can even be the difference between you being able to train in Muay Thai at your age consistently and having to take a break from training.
Your warm-ups should consist of dynamic stretches like jumping jacks and light cardio like jogging around the gym. Anything that gets your blood flowing and heart pumping serves as a warm-up. Your cooldowns should consist primarily of static stretches. Stretch all your major muscles after class to remove all the tension built up in them. This significantly reduces delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). As a result, you’ll be able to train in Muay Thai more often.
You should also consider using workout recovery tools like ice baths, foam rollers, and massage guns to help with post-workout recovery.
5) Train Consistently
You’ll need to train consistently to enjoy the countless benefits of Muay Thai like increased muscle strength, improved cardiovascular endurance (and the health benefits associated with that like lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease), improved mobility, improved motor skills, improved muscle definition, enhanced immune system, and reduced stress levels.
Training sporadically limits these benefits and slows down your progression. Set your training schedule and stick to it. Ideally, aim to train two or three times per week when you’re first starting. You can add more training sessions once your body adjusts to the physical demands of training.
6) Fuel For Recovery
Being a little more disciplined with the things you eat will make it easier for your body to adjust to training Muay Thai. Your body will use up more calories when you first start training since many of the movements and techniques you drill are new to you, so load up on carbohydrates before training to ensure you have enough fuel to power through your training session.
Getting the proper nutrients into your body right after training also makes it easier to manage recovery. Protein shakes are an excellent post-workout meal choice since they are rich in proteins and other nutrients your body needs to recover. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, so make sure your body has all the protein it needs to repair tissues damaged during training. You’ll recover faster, and your muscles will grow quicker.
Avoid overly restrictive diets when you first start training since they often restrict your carbohydrate intake. Instead, craft meals that are about properly balanced in terms of protein, carbs, healthy fats, vegetables, and fresh fruits.
7) Stay Hydrated
Muay Thai gives you a mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercises, so you’re going to work up a sweat every time you train. Make sure you’re well hydrated before, during, and after training. Your training sessions will go much smoother when you’re adequately hydrated, and you’ll be less likely to cramp up during training.
You’re The Right Age For Muay Thai
Don’t let the mental barrier of being 40 hinder you from trying this amazing sport. There are 40-year-olds that are reaping the benefits of training Muay Thai worldwide, and you can be one of them.
Attend one of Evolve MMA’s complimentary introductory classes to see what training is like for yourself.
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