One of the main reasons why our students fall in love with Muay Thai is because they realise working out doesn’t need to be a chore! There is so much misinformation floating around. For example, that to enjoy that burger, you need to put in hard gruelling unenjoyable work in a gym, that simply isn’t true. Muay Thai is simply one of the best workouts to lose weight.
Learning Muay Thai is everything exclusively lifting weights wishes it could be. While both of the activities will make you objectively stronger, Muay Thai transforms you into someone who can defend themselves while bodybuilding turns you into someone who looks like they can defend themselves. There are of course many many many more reasons why Muay Thai is so beloved and we will explore those today.
At times a session may be hard, it may even be gruelling once in a while but it will always be fun.
Let’s explore why Muay Thai is one of THE best workouts to lose weight.
1 Good warmups and Road work
Looking after your body
With any form of exercise, the primary goal should be to exert yourself while avoiding injury as best as possible. This is precisely why warmups are important before beginning a Muay Thai session or any other kind of high-intensity workout. A few examples of good warmups include:
Imagine that by doing a warmup you’re warming up your ‘engine’. It’s far from the most exciting part of working out. However, it is vitally important to ensure that you can keep working out long into the future.
Getting combat fit
Roadwork in layman’s terms is basically running the pavements (to Rocky everywhere is pavement). It is one of the most popular ways in which combat sports athletes ensure that they stay in good condition. We suggest running on a more forgiving surface i.e. grass if you’re concerned about joint issues. If you’re really against the idea of running, swimming and/or cycling would be your best alternatives.
2 Strength and Body Conditioning
Functional strength is king
Training Muay Thai gives you a type of strength that makes a direct impact on your everyday life. Not only is Muay one of the best workouts to lose weight, it gives you a certain type of strength called ‘functional strength’. This will allow you to perform your everyday tasks with more ease. Whether it be carrying your groceries, picking up your kids, enjoying hikes with your partner or any other physical activity. The functional strength gained from Muay Thai will be seen in many areas of your life.
Can you keep it up?
But what use is strength without the conditioning to maintain it over a prolonged period of time? Regularly attending Muay Thai classes will naturally improve your stamina. This means that getting out of breath becomes progressively less common the more you train. Want to keep up with your mates while playing footy? Frustrated with getting out of breath when you’ve had to go up a few flights of stairs? Muay Thai by its very nature makes you fitter.
3 Movement and Shadowboxing
Float like a butterfly
At its core, any martial art has one primary focus, to strike your opponent effectively without being struck. One of the most effective tools to allow this to take place is your ability to move well. Don’t worry if you currently have two left feet. The necessary ability is taught, practised and eventually mastered with fellow students in your Muay Thai classes. Your movement will allow you to set your strikes up while allowing you to evade the attacks coming your way.
Developing the connection
Shadowboxing is often overlooked by the layman. But, the benefits are well documented and respected by those involved with combat sports. Not only does shadowboxing provide an excellent cardiovascular exercise (aka SUPER FAT BURNER!), it strengthens the body-mind connection. This therefore allows you to move and strike more fluidly and with more purpose.
4 Punching the heavy bag
Your best friend, potentially.
The trusted heavy bag is a friend to both the beginner Muay Thai student and the world champion. It is hard to really put into words how important the heavy bag is to your progression and maintenance of ability. Although it has the potential to be a fantastic workout, the word potential needs to be repeated. The heavy bag will give you what you put in, for some it is a waste of time for others it can be a killer workout that allows some resistance for you to fine-tune your combinations and get that fat melting off!
5 Hitting pads
An opportunity for growth
When working with your trainer on the pads, you’ll find yourself being pushed just out of your comfort zone to get the most out of your time together. A skilled trainer will be able to gauge exactly where you’re at, not just in your ability but also your state-of-mind that day. This combination will ensure that your skills are improving while you’re burning calories like nobody’s business.
Activation of higher-level thinking
Additionally, hitting pads unlike hitting a bag activates more of the mind as you’ll need to be listening closely to your trainer’s instructions. Once you’re done with your pads session, it’s time to either get on the bag and put into practise what you just did with your trainer or spar.
Putting it into practise
You can burn a considerable amount of calories while sparring. Not only is it physically taxing when you’re against a partner that is of the same skill level or higher, it is also psychologically taxing. Both of which require a whole lot of fuel, getting you shredded! One of the most wonderful aspects of sparring is that it allows for a simulation of a real fight within a safe environment. This means that if a situation ever were to occur outside of the gym, you’re far more prepared to meet the danger with the necessary response as you’ve learned more than just movements in isolation but also how to use them.
7 Clinching and Stand Up Grappling
Developing grappling strength
Unlike traditional boxing, clinching i.e. holding onto your opponent is encouraged. There are a few reasons for this, both offensive and defensive. However, in either case, training your clinch and stand up grappling works wonders on your core strength among other areas. Not only will you be attempting to impose your will on your training partner, as they do the same, you will be looking to take their legs out from under them, which requires even more core work, on the one side to attempt it and the other to defend against it.
8 Stretch down
Maintaining your body
You’ll find that training Muay Thai regularly introduces you to a lot of good habits, these will benefit both your body and mind. Aside from the actual Muay Thai training itself, there is also a period of warming up and stretching down in each session. This is essential for injury prevention but can also work wonders for other reasons too such as stress reduction. Many of our students have reported that they have started using some of the stretches they learnt in our Muay Thai class to get rid of tension while working their day job or when taking a break from looking after the kids. Coming to Muay Thai classes regularly normalises the concept of stretching regularly and fundamentally looking after yourself.
9 Comradery and Spirit
Sense of community
The sense of community when training Muay Thai is something truly special. Aside from the benefits of doing one of the best workouts to lose weight, one of the most common responses we get from students who get started with us at TFC is “I feel so comfortable! I thought it would be the opposite.”, this isn’t an uncommon assumption. While there will be moments when you may feel uncomfortable, the “we’re all in this together” energy is unmistakable and brings students together to form a healthy, caring bond. This can seem quite the paradox for people that haven’t trained in a combat sport before.
Muay Thai is one of the best workouts to lose weight, without a shadow of a doubt.
Whilst not all of the above are covered in a single class, we aim to cover these different areas each week, giving our students the best complete workout. Watch head trainer and former WBC World Muay Thai champion Ben Johnston demonstrating a technique to get a feel for it here.
Beginners are always welcome. We have 16 classes a week along with Boxing and BJJ. Contact our team to book in a trial session.
If you haven’t read our complete guide to Muay Thai for beginners yet, click here.