We speak to Gary Carter, personal trainer and founder of Sitpinyo Muay Thai & Fitness, about what draws people to the popular combat sport.
Before Carter got into Muay Thai, he owned a skate shop in Liverpool. Although he initially picked up the sport because he was looking for an interesting way to do cardio, three years later he began teaching his own classes. Next came three more years of training in Thailand, along with a few professional fights. His career eventually brought him to Hong Kong as a trainer at Pure Fitness, and the rest is history.
Muay Thai is very popular in Hong Kong. There are so many gyms here. I think because it’s a great way to get fit as it’s a full body workout. You are also learning a new skill while you exercise. [At the same time,] you can pick up the basics quickly so it’s quite accessible.
Everyone is always saying how the training is a good way to take their mind off other frustrations. Punching and kicking is also a good stress relief!
At our gym we keep it friendly and fun and everyone is welcome. Clients are always smiling and have a few laughs during their sessions. It’s important to enjoy your workouts as that way you will keep it up and be consistent. There’s a good social element to it, too, as many clients get on well and look forward to seeing each other at the gym.
I’ve had clients who’s goals are weight loss. Other clients have progressed on to a level where they want to fight in the ring. Clients all have various goals and it’s great when you see them happy and getting what they want out of the sport.
A common misconception about Muay Thai is people worrying they are going to get hurt. Sure, you can train hardcore if you want and do sparring, but you can also just train for fun. Often many clients show up nervous to their first class asking if they will get hit, but by the end they are surprised how much they enjoyed it.
From our Hot Seat series.