Muay Thai Beginners: FAQs for Starting Your Training Journey

Embarking on your Muay Thai journey is an exciting decision promising physical fitness, mental toughness, and a profound sense of discipline. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a complete beginner, Muay Thai offers a transformative path to self-improvement. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll navigate through the essential steps to kickstart your Muay Thai training, particularly tailored to those juggling a 9-5 schedule. Drawing from my own experience training from the age of 17 to 25 while balancing full-time studies and work commitments, I aim to provide insights that resonate with fellow working individuals pursuing this passion.

How to Begin Your Muay Thai Journey:

Initiating your Muay Thai journey extends beyond merely enrolling in a class. Start by researching and selecting a reputable gym that aligns with your goals and preferences. While the initial days can be intimidating, push through the Day 1 anxiety; fighting gyms, regardless of their nature, tend to be welcoming to beginners, fostering a friendly cohort. It’s normal to have butterflies during the first few classes, and overcoming this discomfort requires consistent exposure.

Consider alternative options if the chosen gym engages in any of the following practices:

Fitness or Ability Shaming: A reputable gym embraces individuals of all fitness levels and abilities.

Excessive Force in Drills: Ensure your partner respects appropriate force levels during drills. It is a major red flag if a trainer allows anyone in their gym to not respect the wishes of their training partner. This can lead to injury.

Judgment for Slowing Down or Seeking Help: A supportive environment encourages learners to pace themselves without judgment.

Unwarranted Pressure for Immediate Sparring: Initial weeks should focus on fundamentals. If any at all the only acceptable option is no-contact sparring with experienced partners, helping you grasp footwork, range, and fitness levels.

While the above may sound off-putting, my multiple gym experiences across various countries have been overwhelmingly positive. Instances of discomfort are rare and are typically swiftly addressed by vigilant trainers, ensuring a positive and inclusive training environment.

2. Is Muay Thai Safe to Train?

Addressing safety concerns is crucial for beginners. Explore the safety measures in Muay Thai, including proper warm-up techniques, the use of protective gear, and the importance of supervised training. In essence, Muay Thai is very safe to train as a whole. When sparring is included, the potential for harm, both short-term and long-term, does increase, as hard sparring (which is largely discouraged at all levels these days) can lead to injury. Light sparring is almost entirely safe outside of freak accident occurrences. It is worth noting that any reputable gym will ensure every safety measure is in place, and sparring can be entirely optional depending on your goals throughout your journey. Finally, if you have any concerns regarding this, you should take time to speak to both your trainer and a physician to ensure that training, in general, is an appropriate option for you.

3. How Old is Too Old for Muay Thai?

One of the common questions beginners ask is, “Am I too old to start Muay Thai?” The truth is, Muay Thai is a sport for all ages. If you are intending to train just for fitness or as a hobby, the sky is the limit! I have personally trained with both men and women in their 40s-50s who took it on as a means to lose weight or to challenge themselves. The only limit you have is that of your physical capability when it comes to movement and flexibility. No one will expect you to keep up with 18-30 year olds as an older person, so you have absolutely nothing to lose by giving it a go.

4. what if I want to go Pro

If you are interested in fighting professionally, it is a bit of a different story. You will most likely have had to begin training at some point in your teens or very early 20s. Almost all pro fighters take up training as children. That is not to say there aren’t exceptions to that rule. Alex Pereira, the current UFC Middleweight champion, began training at 22 as a means to distract himself from his addiction to alcohol. Another notable late starter was Kevin Ross, who was arguably one of the best Muay Thai fighters to come out of the United States. He didn’t even begin training until he was nearly 24 and went on to have an exceptional career. As it stands, there is no hard limit on when you decide to begin your Muay Thai journey. The only thing you need to do is make sure you have realistic and fair expectations for yourself based on your goals in your training and your age.

5. Fitness Requirements for Muay Thai:

While Muay Thai demands physical exertion, you don’t need to be an elite athlete to start. I personally began training as a quite overweight teenager to try and get into good shape. Many people make the mistake of thinking, “I will try to get my fitness in order before I start doing martial arts,” but this is a backwards way of thinking. Nothing will get you into shape for Muay Thai better than actual training. Regardless of your fitness level, as long as you have good enough mobility to do even very light exercise, you will be able to get started with training.

If you find yourself in a situation where circumstances, such as being overweight to a point where you struggle to be mobile or are recovering from an injury, I would suggest speaking to both a coach at the gym you are planning to train at and a physician to explore your options. Anecdotally, I once met someone through training who had started out at well over 140kg (300lbs +) and turned their life around by taking up a combination of BJJ, Muay Thai, and Western boxing. After getting the all-clear, they contacted a local gym and began training, making it known they would need to be eased in slowly and would not be able to keep up. The gym was happy to accommodate, and this individual went on to achieve a healthy weight over the course of just a few years.

6. Can Kids Do Muay Thai?

Muay Thai isn’t just for adults – it’s a fantastic activity for kids too. Almost all gyms will offer some form of a modified program for younger children to keep them engaged and help them build good fundamental skills. As children get a bit older (usually 10-15), they will start being able to get more immersed in their training and start doing more complex drilling and even light or no-contact sparring. There are numerous studies showing the benefits of children taking up martial arts as it helps them with their confidence, physical fitness, and discipline. Interestingly, there is even evidence to show that children with ADHD specifically benefit from taking up martial arts training. The relevant study can be found here.

7. Overcoming Common Challenges of starting Muay Thai

Every beginner faces challenges, be it the fear of injury or concerns about keeping up with the training pace. The very first thing you will realise as you get going is just how much of a workout Muay Thai can be. This is a bit of a double-edged sword as you will almost certainly be humbled on day 1 and wake up very sore the next day! As difficult as this is, once you have rested up and gone back for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th sessions, you will begin to notice that you are slowly adapting to cardio requirements and getting stronger.

This is an ongoing battle, and you will 100% hit points where you feel like you are getting nowhere, but I can assure you if you can stick out the first few weeks or months, you will be a much fitter and capable person on the other side of it. There is also the chance you will get hooked like myself and many others did, which will almost certainly make you a part of a new social circle, give you a new passion, and provide plenty of memories that come with it.


Embarking on a Muay Thai journey is a transformative experience, offering physical fitness, mental toughness, and discipline. Choosing the right gym is crucial, ensuring a supportive environment that discourages fitness shaming and prioritises safety during training. Age is no barrier to starting Muay Thai; it’s a sport for everyone, with benefits extending beyond physical fitness. Regardless of your current fitness level, Muay Thai accommodates beginners, fostering improvement through consistent training. Kids too can benefit, with modified programs enhancing confidence and discipline. Overcoming initial challenges is part of the journey, leading to increased fitness and a potential lifelong passion. This guide, born from personal experience, aims to inspire and guide individuals through their Muay Thai journey, emphasising inclusivity, safety, and the limitless potential for self-improvement.

If you have any questions about starting this journey, feel free to contact me at I’ll be more than happy to answer any queries and provide assistance as you embark on your Muay Thai adventure.

Photo by Pablo Rebolledo on Unsplash

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