When you look in the mirror are you happy with your body? Unfortunately, only about 21% of adults feel satisfied with the way they look. This image of the body begins in the early stages of childhood and is often affected by family, friends, social pressure and the media. 

Body image and self-esteem directly influence each other and this is why I love training in Muay Thai. Martial arts is a positive tool for improving body image as it is a discipline that teaches you to respect and value your body for more than what it looks like. After a warm up of jumping jacks, pushups, sit ups and burpees I am tired, but I am also fired up and ready to push my limits to see how hard I can strike the bag, test the strength of my swing kicks, and see what my body is able to do. It is this feeling that builds my body image and not whether I measure up to the fitness models in Women’s Health Magazine. 

Professional fighters are some of the most fit athletes in the world as a result of the long hours put in training and conditioning, but even if you are fighting recreationally, it is still one of the most effective fat-burning workouts. Each session of authentic Muay Thai training works the whole body and easily burns around 600 – 700 calories in an hour (depending on your metabolic rate) making this a great choice of exercise to lose weight and tone your body.

There is a saying that “abs are built in the kitchen”. Along with a regular fitness routine, what you eat plays the most important part in how your body looks and feels. Incorporating a well-balanced diet into your lifestyle with lean protein, good carbs, fats and loads of vegetables will improve your performance, provide you with energy, and help build muscle.

Your body is an important vessel. Be sure to nourish it with good food and appreciate it for what it does and not always what it looks like.