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What Red Flags to Watch Out for When Looking for Muay Thai or Kickboxing Gym

As someone who's been training in muay thai and kickboxing for over a decade, I've had the opportunity to visit...

As someone who's been training in muay thai and kickboxing for over a decade, I've had the opportunity to visit and train in gyms all over the world. I've been to kickboxing gyms all over the world, from Bali to Belarus, and have seen the excellent, the bad, and the downright ugly. And let me tell you, some of the red flags I've seen are so brightly colored that they almost sparkle.

So let me be your guide if you're considering joining a kickboxing gym. Based on my training experiences in more than 20 nations, here are some warning signs to look out for.

Lack of professionalism

When you walk into a gym, the first thing you should notice is a sense of professionalism. The gym should be clean, organized, and well-maintained. The instructors and staff should be knowledgeable and approachable. If you walk into a gym and it looks like a frat house, that's a major red flag.

I once visited a gym in Southeast Asia where the instructors were more interested in taking selfies than teaching proper technique. 

Poor safety measures. 

I once visited a gym in South America where the instructors didn't provide any safety equipment or guidance. They simply told us to "go hard" and let us loose. Needless to say, I left that gym with a few bruises and a newfound appreciation for safety equipment.

Kickboxing is an intense sport that can result in serious injuries if proper safety measures are not taken. Make sure the gym has safety equipment such as gloves, headgear, and mouth guards available for use. In addition, look for instructors who prioritize safety and provide clear instructions on how to execute moves properly.

Aggressive or unsafe training methods

Kickboxing is an intense workout, but there's a difference between pushing yourself to your limits and being forced to do unsafe or aggressive exercises. Be wary of instructors who encourage students to push past their physical limits or use intimidation tactics to motivate students.

I once visited a gym in Europe where the instructor was notorious for screaming at students and pushing them to the brink of exhaustion. It was like a scene out of a boot camp movie. Needless to say, I didn't stick around for long.

No emphasis on proper warm-ups or cool-downs

Proper warm-ups and cool-downs are essential for preventing injuries and promoting recovery. If the gym doesn't emphasize the importance of stretching and warming up before training, it's a sign that they may not prioritize the safety and well-being of their students.

High-pressure sales tactics

If the gym puts pressure on you to sign up for a membership or buy expensive equipment, it's a sign that their priorities may lie more in making money than providing a quality kickboxing experience. A reputable gym will allow you to take a trial class before committing to a membership.

Lack of diversity

Kickboxing is a sport that should be accessible to people of all ages, genders, and fitness levels. If the gym only caters to a specific demographic or has an unwelcoming atmosphere, it's a sign that they may not prioritize inclusivity and diversity.

At the end, you should understand what are you looking for. If you are just looking to lose weight and get in shape, you want to go for gyms with less fighting emphasis but if you are looking for fight training, you want to be in a gym with fighters and keep in mind a good gym should have both, beginners and only technique classes and sparring and fight training classes so you can test yourself when you feel ready. 

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