What’s the secret to winning in Muay Thai? Iman Barlow can shed some light!

In this episode, Iman Barlow shares valuable insight into what it really takes to take your childhood dreams all the way.

Part of the first generation of child nak Muay outside of Thailand, and with a competitive career spanning 25 years and counting, Iman knows a thing or two about what it takes to reach the top and stay there in arguably the most ferocious striking sport there is.

Few fighters start out as early as Iman Barlow, even fewer remain in the game as long she has, and fewer still achieve the kind of long-term success she has while she continues to grow!

She’s been incredibly successful, rarely losing. But here comes a paradox…

The greatest opportunities to level up are exposed when you fall short. And with fewer opportunities to learn this way, Iman has evolved a system of incremental gains designed to stay ahead of the competition.

At the heart of this is the open-mindedness to accept there are always things to improve, and even small things add up to make a huge difference. Adopting an incremental progress mindset means even fighting at the One Championship is Iman’s new normal!

The secret is not one thing, it’s constantly chasing the challenge level a little higher, having the eye to gleam small wins from every opportunity, and the mindset to see yourself as a continuous work in progress.

Child or adult, beginner or advanced, there’s a lot to learn from Iman Barlow’s journey so far. What are the small wins you’re taking away from this episode?

by Don Heatrick

Guest Links

You can follow Iman on Instagram @prettykiller3 https://www.instagram.com/prettykiller3/, and follow Assassins Muay Thai on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Assassins-Muay-Thai-131679950242442

Show notes for this episode with further references and resources below!

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Episode Timestamps

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 01:31 – Muay Thai is in Iman Barlow’s blood
  • 02:51 – Fighting from 4 years old
  • 04:03 – “Playing” at Muay Thai early on was key
  • 05:19 – More than purely Muay Thai – complimentary cross training! 
  • 08:41 – Keep moving, even when injured or uncomfortable 
  • 09:46 – Growing pains
  • 11:10 – Working around injuries, don’t stop 
  • 13:28 – Inspired by the family vibe and the challenge to win
  • 14:43 – As a kid, challenge chasing: Fighting boys, older girls, even adults
  • 16:21 – Taking on the right level of challenge to fast track progress
  • 17:07 – Finding opportunities to grow even when you keep winning
  • 19:07 – Developing a personality that takes critique on board
  • 20:11 – The global Muay Thai community… Crazy and beautiful at the same time!
  • 23:05 – Fighting since 4 years old, still going strong, and making up for lost (pandemic) time
  • 24:38 – Tasting life without Muay Thai, and coming back with a new personal drive
  • 27:04 – A strong mind maintains momentum. Momentum makes a champion
  • 29:11 – Understanding yourself. What’s right for you personally?
  • 31:55 – Juggling full-time work and training as a professional fighter
  • 32:52 – Recognising how stressors outside of training affect training too
  • 33:28 – Sleep… Not to be underestimated! 
  • 35:45 – Small incremental changes in training – continuous development
  • 36:36 – The small things, slipping through the cracks, become the big things
  • 37:23 – Elite fighters correct mistakes by drilling the hell out of it!
  • 39:55 – The more advanced you are, the harder making corrections becomes
  • 40:47 – Remain open minded, seek small personal gains over the long haul

Don Heatrick

Founder of Heatrick Strength and Conditioning

Don Heatrick is a family man from the UK, former mechanical design engineer, European Muay Thai silver medallist, former pro Thai boxer (ranked 4th in UK while aged 40-years), a Muay Thai coach, podcast host, and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.

Don helps ambitious fighters and coaches take their game to the next level by bridging the gap between Strength & Conditioning, Performance Science, and Muay Thai.

Follow Don Heatrick on Instagram:


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