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4 Steps To A Body Of Steel With Thai Boxing

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

Long before there were treadmills, way before the Stairmaster was invented, prior to the opening of any trendy gym facilities, there was the grueling sport of Thai Boxing.

Phil Nurse In the '60s and '70s, the rage was Karate. By the '80s and early '90s, TaeKwon-Do was the next best thing. Fitness enthusiasts know the trend soon turned to the art of Kickboxing.

Well, as famous boxing announcer Michael Buffer, might ask in his booming baritone, "Ladies and gentlemen... are you ready to rumble... and are you ready to get into great shape while you do so?"

If so, then you are ready for the re-emergence of the centuries-old martial art of Muaythai or Thai Boxing, the national sport of Thailand.

If you’re imagining Rocky chasing chickens around the Buddhist kingdom of Thailand, you’re a bit off the beaten track. Picture instead a competition where ritual, spirituality and religion play major roles. Picture too a place where bouts are serenaded by the rhythmic sounds of the Thai oboe, cymbals and drum.

Now imagine barefoot fighters flailing away without protective headgear and using their entire body because just about anything goes -- kneeing, elbowing, punching and kicking! Barring a knockout, the heated action is non-stop over five 3-minute rounds.

Aside from catching the arbitrary Bruce Lee flick on a lazy Sunday afternoon, most of us haven’t had much exposure to the beautiful and deadly martial arts... and definitely not to Thai Boxing. But the sport has been slowly making a name for itself throughout the Western world over the last few years.

The Lugsitnarong Thai Boxing Gym in New York City has become a hot spot for enthusiasts. Owned and operated by 39-year-old Kru (a Thai term that means teacher) Phil Nurse, the boxing school has grown to 9 instructors and more than 500 clients.

Phil, a well-known Thai boxer, has been renting space in a Manhattan World Gym for the past 7 years. However, the current boom in Thai Boxing has necessitated plans for a larger stand-alone facility by year's end.

Why such interest in a mysterious Asian art? One look at Phil's physique should answer that question.

Pupils range in age from 7 to 92. Some students seek self-defense basics; others come seeking the fitness benefits from this highly aerobic activity. Phil says the intense training -- a combination of aerobic and toning exercises -- will jumpstart the metabolism of even the most sluggish dieter.

"You’re not building size so you won’t get much bigger," the 150-pound superman tells eDiets for this fitness exclusive. "You may get a little heavier because muscle weighs more than fat. The exercises are all lightweight because you are using only your body weight to lift around. Your muscles get toned but you don’t get bulkier."

If you choose to try Thai Boxing, be prepared to become addicted to the sport.

"For some people, it’s their dream to fight, to win, to be a champion," Phil explains. "Maybe their dream is only to fight once. I know what the feeling is to win. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re the best. That’s their dream and I can get them there. I believe anyone can compete if they want to. I tell them, 'if you believe in me, I believe in you!'"

EDITOR'S NOTE: The "flash" graphics accompanying this article represent a few of the simple yet effective exercises that can turn your flab into taut muscles... if you stick with the Thai Boxing workout plan.

Phil Nurse Push Up Phil is far from just a poster boy for a trendy new workout. Hes a world-class athlete -- and a darn good one at that. The champion Thai boxer has fine-tuned the skills closely linked the sport: fitness, strength, coordination, flexibility, posture, awareness and self-confidence. He currently holds THREE title belts: European Light Welterweight Champion, British Superlight Welterweight Champion and British All-Styles Superlight Welterweight Champion.

The British-born teacher admits his interest in becoming a fighter was spurred while watching slam-bang martial arts movies as a child. Phil can still remember running home crying after getting in one fight... and having his father send him back to the fray! It wasn’t long before he realized he liked to fight. Phil was 18 when he found his calling.

"I started training to fight," he recalls. "Then I started getting around, traveling to Hong Kong, Italy, Rome, Sweden... I wanted more things. I wanted to be a champion. I wanted to win."

Phil Nurse Sit Up Three title belts later, its obvious he's attained his goals! Phil has a new goal: to share his wisdom and make champions out of his trainees. Although his training process is rigorous it hardly compares to the regimen practiced in Thailand. There it's not unusual for fighters to sweat, grunt and punch as many as seven hours a day, six days a week!

Phil promises clients will notice fast results. The main areas of improvement include quicker reaction time, improved coordination and heightened awareness. And don't forget the improved physical fitness aspect.

Phil notes, "There’s a test I tell people about. You might be out having a drink or a meal and someone bangs the table. A bottle falls over. There probably would have been a time where you watched that bottle fall. But as you have been training, your reactions get faster and when that bottle falls, you’ll find yourself going to catch it... and you will. You become more aware of your reactions and a lot more keen."

Phil Nurse Squat As Thai Boxing becomes more popular throughout the U.S., Phil says its important to find instructors who truly teach the discipline of the original sport. While some martial arts take years to learn, let alone master, you can grasp the concepts of Thai Boxing in as little as three months.

Ok, so you're ready to give it a whirl but when you look in the Yellow Pages under "Thai" all you find are a few local restaurants. What to do? Well, for starters, don't fret -- Phil is ready to bring his time-tested training techniques to you!

He warns that unlike other workouts, the intensity level increases, not decreases, as you get further into his workout. Students do five "rounds" of four different exercises. Each succeeding round gets more difficult as you continue to push yourself. Phil encourages readers to adapt the regimen to their fitness level (so you may want to start out with three rounds).

Round One
Jump rope in place for three minutes. Do 8 pushups, then move on to 8 sit-ups. Immediately follow up with 8 squats.

Round Two
Jump rope for three minutes. Do 10 pushups. Move on to 10 sit-ups. Follow through with 10 squats.

Round Three
Jump rope for three minutes. Do 12 pushups. Move on to 12 sit-ups. Follow through with 12 squats.

As your strength and stamina improve, increase your repetitions to 10, 20 and 30 or hike the number of rounds.

For more information about Phil and the Lugsitnarong Thai Boxing Gym, click here.

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