This Blog Will Be Moving to F5 Strength and Muay Thai – The Last Lift Fight Love Blog

Dear Readers,

After some time of inactivity from blogging, I’ve decided to move this blog and close down the site.

The good news is I am not giving up writing; I’m merely consolidating two blogs into one for even better content and more regular posts. Running a gym and keeping up with the social media and blogging for two sites became draining on me. Since the material is on the same topics (Muay Thai, Strength, Mindset), I’d rather have it all in one place for simplicity.

This blog will close down next month, and over the next few weeks, I will be moving most of the blogs here to my gym’s blog F5 Strength and Muay Thai.

Thanks for reading and I hope you will stay tuned for more writing on my gym’s blog.

In the meantime, please enjoy this picture of my kitten wearing a “cone of shame” after her spay surgery. LOL


Suck It Up Buttercup: Getting Muay Thai Tough

Muay Thai Tough

I was not always Muay Thai tough. When I was twelve, I fell onto the edge of a broken log while running through a park. It felt like a basic scrape, something I was accustomed to getting now and then because I liked to play outside.  My mother reached out her hand to me, helped me up and instantly tilted my head up. “Don’t look at it,” she said.

I did as I was told and we started walking to the car. It didn’t hurt that bad, I told myself, but I did feel some blood trickling down my leg. “Don’t look!” My mother reminded me as we hurried toward the parking lot.

Once inside the car, my mother began driving to the closest hospital. I tried to close my eyes, but I couldn’t help myself. I looked down at my knee and saw a gaping hole in the knee cap about two inches long and an inch wide. Instantly a searing pain registered in my mind and I began to cry.

I always wanted to be a tough girl, but I never felt very tough. I whined when I was sick, cried when I got injured and felt hurt when kids made fun of me. I played basketball, but not very well and not nearly as good as the girls who started on the varsity team.

Fast forward to 2002 when I found Muay Thai, fell in love with the training and decided this would be the sport that toughened me up proper. I loved every part of it: the bruised shins, the sore muscles, the tired legs from running, even the blisters on my feet from learning to pivot on my kicks.

Muay Thai is a rough sport. Minor injuries are common even if you don’t train to fight. But another aspect of toughness that Muay Thai teaches you is mental. Most of what we consider pain is mental. Ever see a kid fall? They don’t cry right away. If it’s a small tumble, they pause and often freeze momentarily, waiting for an adult’s reaction. If the adult freaks out they cry; if the adult laughs and smiles at them and picks them up, they usually just move on and keep playing. We learn how to be tough. Even if we don’t learn from our parents, I’ll argue that we can teach ourselves later if it’s important to us.

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Finding the Right Muay Thai Gym for You

So you’ve decided you want to take up Muay Thai or Kickboxing and you have begun to search for gyms near you. It’s exciting to try something new, but where do you start and what do you look for in a gym? If you are new to martial arts or the last time you look a martial art you were in the little dragons karate program, you probably have a lot of questions and are not sure which are the right ones to ask. So how do you go about finding the right Muay Thai gym?

Finding the Right Muay Thai Gym for You

What is your reason for wanting to learn Muay Thai?

Get Clear About Your “Why”

I suggest that the first thing you ask yourself is,  “Why do you want to take up Muay Thai?” Take some time to sit down and write down your reasons.  Do you want to lose some weight or increase endurance?  Do you want more confidence?  Are you just interested in self defense or do you want to learn to spar and have plans to compete in the sport one day? If you don’t have specific reasons that’s ok too, sometimes people want to start a martial art simply because they want to try something new. Maybe you know you should be active to be healthy but clocking thirty minutes on the treadmill at 24 Hour Fitness followed by a half-hearted trip to the free weights area surrounded by grunting people wearing headphones just isn’t doing it for you anymore. That’s a good reason too.

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Benefits of Sparring Muay Thai

Do you remember that feeling when you were a kid at the top of a snowy hill on your sleigh, and you were scared to go down it, but you did it, and it was terrifying and glorious at the same time after you got to the bottom you ran back up and kept doing it again and again for hours? No?  Okay, well maybe you lived in a warmer climate and there was some big rock your friends dared you to jump off of into the water and you were so freaked out, but finally you did it, and it was so much fun that you told everyone about it and maybe started to recruit other people to do it, and maybe you teased your friends who didn’t want to  jump.

Well, that’s kind of what sparring Muay Thai is like… kind of. At least that the best analogy I could come up with today.

muay thai team sparring

Post Muay Thai Sparring Smiles with my team at F5 Fitness

I will say that learning to spar is one of the hardest things I’ve accomplished in my life and also the most rewarding. I’ve written before about why it’s okay not to spar if you don’t want to and still train Muay Thai with pad work, but I wanted to write about why you should along with the mental and physical benefits of sparring Muay Thai.

Obviously, sparring makes you better at the sport of Muay Thai, but what can it do for your life in other ways?

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Overcoming Pre Fight Nerves

sealing the ring muay thai

“Sealing the Ring”

You can feel your sweaty palms underneath the gauze and tape your coach masterfully bound over your hands. You tried hard not to let your hands shake while they worked. You begin to stretch and warm up, shadow box and you notice your mouth is dry. The gloves get taped on by a commissioner, and you realize now there is no going back, not even another bathroom break. Maybe at this moment, you have a twinge of doubt. Why am I here? This is crazy! I could get hurt. We have all thought something like this before.

When you begin to hit pads your body feels “gooey,” legs a bit heavy, timing slightly off. You notice how that first couple minutes of pad work leaves you more breathless than you are used to in training, but you power through until the punches feel crisp and your kicks feel strong. Second wind, they call it. Once you have broken a sweat, you wait on deck for your name to be called. You hear the crowd cheering for the fight before you, maybe you glance at your opponent who is waiting too. What are they thinking?

Stepping over the ropes into the ring, you hope you don’t fall, you feel the knot in your stomach, the bright lights are jarring to your eyes. After the ring is sealed you are called to the center; now it’s okay to stare at your opponent. You look them straight in the eye, trying to project confidence, trying to instill fear. You take a good look; your mind is racing, you probably don’t even hear what the referee is saying, you just nod. Your mouth is still so dry. Clean fight, good fight. Okay, got it.

Back to your corner. This is it. The bell rings. Fight! There is only one winner. Will it be you?

…The answer lies in your ability to excel at overcoming pre-fight nerves.

No fighter is exempt from fight nerves. Some fear, some anxiety is a good thing. After all, you are about to do something dangerous, courageous and challenging; it’s important your senses are heightened, and you are extremely alert; something that a being a little anxious will do for you. The important part is how you deal with the fear. Will you use it positively, channel it into your punches and kicks or will you let it own, making you tired, weak and ineffective?

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Training for Your First Muay Thai Fight

Are you training for first Muay Thai fight? How do you know when you’re ready?

I had been training for about six months before I had my first Muay Thai fight, not something I recommend to my students today, and not something I specifically planned for either, but nevertheless, I found myself at a smoker at the Muay Thai Academy in North Hollywood. The small gym was hot and crowded with students, family, friends, random fans of a sport not yet popularized in America. The ring was small, the canvas patched with duct tape and blood stained. I geared up in the small, one stall unisex, bathroom, put my Thai shorts on, my sports bra. Took out my jewelry, which at the time took about fifteen minutes, as I had ten or so odd piercings in my body.

I remember little of the fight, hopped up on an adrenaline and buzzing with nerves all I remember is getting punched hard a couple of times and thinking, “Holy shit, this girl wants to hurt me.” It was an unsettling realization. As strange as it sounds, the fact that this was a vicious sport hadn’t occurred to me yet. I was just a girl who loved to train Muay Thai.

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Muay Thai Sparring: It’s okay not to want to get punched in the face

I still remember the first time I got hit really hard in the face. During a Muay Thai pad work session my coach hit me square in the nose with a Thai pad and I froze. As I felt the blood trickle down the back of my throat and tasted the salty liquid. It took me a minute to register that my coach was yelling at me, “Hit the fucking pads, Roxy! Keep your hands up.” I suddenly came to and returned fire with a jab cross kick and at that moment I had several realizations…

1. The guys must be going easy on me in sparring cause this was more pain than I had ever felt before

2. Getting hit sucks

3. I was angry about it

4. I really wanted to hit my coach at this point, but knew that was unacceptable

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Weight Cutting for Muay Thai: History, Ethics & How-To

This article was originally published August 18th, 2011 for Muay Thai Authority. I have posted it here with some minor revisions.
 

Every athlete is looking for that extra edge in competition. If we can be just a fraction of a step ahead of our opponent in one area of athleticism that gives us an advantage. In a sport where all it takes is one punch to make a champion that advantage could be cardio, strength, speed, agility, skill, experience, reach or size.

Muay Thai, like other combat sports, is divided into weight classes. Theses weight classes are supposed to level the playing field so that opponents are equal in size, but with new modern techniques borrowed from other sports like wrestling and MMA, Muay Thai fighters are now using weight cutting to gain a serious size advantage over opponents.

Some may say that weight cutting is cheating; others claim that it’s just a matter of discipline and sacrifice. I say that it’s a question of science. But like any other science experiment, if you make a mistake it can cost you a lot – in this case, it can cost you the fight.


I Just Started Muay Thai & My (Blank) Hurts. Is This Normal?

When i first started Muay Thai my body and mind were soft. The sport has shaped me for the better inside and out.

After a fight in 2004 – I’d been training for two years at this point. When I first started Muay Thai my body and mind were soft. The sport has shaped me for the better inside and out.

I get this question at least once a month. I’m not trying to be funny or poke fun at anyone. When you’re starting a new sport, there is a huge learning curve for the mind, the body and the culture that surrounds it. If you factor in the steep decline of our youth’s athleticism and combine it with the new popularity of combat sports like MMA you’ve got a lot of newbies starting a challenging sport who need a considerable amount of (re)education about how to simply move their body safely, condition it well, and recover.

These days being athletic is the exception and not the norm. Even playing outside as a kid is unusual. I’ve trained many clients who have never played a sport in their lives and others who played the occasional sport in high school, but from college through several years into their professional career they haven’t done anything athletic consistently for any length of time. Then they show up to the gym with mobility issues, muscle imbalances, poor diet, crappy cardio and a few extra pounds on them. The situation finally gets to the point where they are willing to take action. Change is possible, or course. With effort and consistency, all these things can be reversed or at least drastically improved. I’ve seen adults train and become more athletic and fit than they ever were in high school.

However, if true athleticism is the student’s desire, they have to be open to a complete re-education in fitness and health. Getting an athletic body means you have to develop a strong training ethic, an athlete’s mindset and the skill of listening to your body, knowing when to push it hard and knowing when to back off. I played basketball and tennis in high school. I was on the varsity team at a tiny private school, but I was far from the star player. I was mediocre at best. It wasn’t until I found Muay Thai after college that I truly excelled at something athletic, developed a somewhat muscular body and most importantly learned to suffer through challenges to get rewarded with success. I will share with you what I have learned in my time training Muay Thai since 2002. The physical challenges, conditioning, and setbacks I experience along the way and how I coach my clients through their Muay Thai journey.

In this blog, you will learn how to navigate the new world of Muay Thai training injuries, specifically the physical conditioning and recovery aspects. What to expect, what changes your body will go through, what will hurt, what pain is healthy and what is not, the difference between an injury and the discomfort in stages of progression, how to care for your body, rest, recover and grow. You may also want to check out my Blog: Tips for Muay Thai Beginners.

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How to Set Action Goals & Get Results!

 

How many times have you set a weight loss goal or made a resolution in your life and not been successful?

…Or been temporarily successful, only to put the weight back on or backslide later? Some of my clients come to me with a history of repeated failed attempts at weight loss. I know this can be disheartening at best and at worst can lead to a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting and self-loathing. As an athlete in a weight class sport for ten years, I sympathize, the scale can feel like your worst enemy.

The scientific and nutritional reasons why diet and exercise often fail people is a topic for another blog. I’ll touch it briefly by saying that successful clients don’t focus on calorie restriction (especially low calorie, low fat and hi carb diets) and excessive exercise. Instead, they focus on real food choices, food quality, lifting weights & finding joy in sports (like Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, basketball, rock climbing or tennis).

Today I would like to focus on how to set a fitness, health or even a life goal, something that when done correctly can bring great happiness and fulfillment to our lives. I’ve written before about willpower and neuropsychology has lately been the research topic that is most interesting to me. Goals setting is just a part of the willpower and habit human experience. If you want to know more, see the end of this blog for recommended reading.

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