It all started watching the Kickboxer with Jean Claude Van Damme 20 years ago. I dreamed of going to Thailand and fighting Tong Po. I was always quite a small and weak kid and had terrible posture (the boring exercises from the doctor didn’t help), so practicing a Martial Art would have been an absolutely great idea. But instead of kicking pillars in Bangkok I was practicing my skills in the Streetfighter Games (nothing wrong with that) and doing many other sports but NEVER sticking to anything long enough. There were no such things as fitness centers in Switzerland and our schools definitely didn’t have any strength and conditioning coaches.
Anyway, a few years ago when I was taking a break from my job, I was traveling around Europe partying and drinking too much – I felt constantly tired and had little energy. Because of that I become more interested in moving my body and changing to a more active lifestyle. I tried jogging, strength training (with a crappy home dumbbell set) and punching a boxing bag. I asked a few friends to show me some Muay Thai skills or how to do a proper bench press or squat, but something was missing.
I needed a Coach. A REAL Coach who could teach me the sport specific skills and (what I didn’t know at that point) motivate me.
So I ended up in Thailand. Training Muay Thai full time. Getting stronger, healthier and starting to enjoy life finally more. I had completely underestimated the psychological effects of any kind of exercise until then. I realized that my body was not just getting stronger, but I also felt better. After a while I start to fight professionally in Thailand.
I could write now interesting stories for hours, like having a motorbike accident on the way to the fight because a snake attacked us or being the only foreigner fighting in a boxing ring outside a Police Festival in the middle of drunken, armed and out of their mind police officers, but let’s keep it more on the coaching aspect of things.
However, because of an injury and a surgery, I was forced to stop fighting. Only the fact that I changed my lifestyle completely and had really good and supportive coaches over these few years made a long term training adherence possible. On my own I would have stopped a long time ago, even if I consider myself as a strongly intrinsic motivated person. Not just because of a lack of skills and progression, also because of motivation. Sometimes it’s just necessary to have someone there to make sure to follow the training plan, especially when we are stepping outside of our comfort zone.
After the surgery I started the journey of becoming a Personal Trainer and a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. During that time I also decided to have my first Personal Trainer here in Bangkok when I need help in learning how to deadlift, squat etc. with decent technique.
Today I am teaching Muay Thai and how to execute proper movements and exercises to help people reach their goals and (in my opinion the most important aspect) make exercises and moving fun.
Having a positive influence on people to adapt a healthy lifestyle is very complex. I honestly don’t know everything yet but it needs to go far beyond sharing pictures of good looking bodies with blunt motivational phrases.
With the right mindset and influence, we can help people, who are not confident in their bodies (like I was too) or scared to enter a fitness facility, with making fitness an important part of their lives.
There is nothing wrong training on your own. It’s easy to find a good and free exercise routine online. But finding an activity that you really enjoy and then actually stick to it is harder.
To anyone who struggles with following any kind of exercise routine or activity for the long term, I can highly suggest to find a qualified and trustworthy coach. Bangkok is full of decent Health Clubs and Personal Trainers. Or if you don’t mind sweaty gloves, try out one of many Muay Thai gyms in Bangkok. Maybe one day YOU can fight Tong Po.
Let me you know your story or struggles with following any exercise in the comments or as a message and share this post. J