Why Are Muay Thai Fighters So Skinny?
Have you ever wondered why Muay Thai fighters are so skinny? Here’s the reason behind their skinny shape:
Muay Thai fighters are incredibly lean and skinny as it helps them become quick and durable. Therefore, all Muay Thai fighters strive to maintain a low body fat percentage instead of focusing on muscle gain.
Although they are skinny, it doesn’t mean they have low strength.
In this article, I’ll explain the reasons why Muay Thai fighters are skinny, can they gain weight, and if you can start Muay Thai as a skinny guy.
Read on to find out!
5 Reasons Why Muay Thai Fighters Are Skinny
Here are 5 reasons why Muay Thai fighters are skinny:
#1 Muay Thai Training Sessions
Muay Thai is an intense and physically demanding martial art that uses punches, kicks, elbows, and knees to defeat your opponent. Because of this, the fighters are incredibly lean – almost TOO lean in some cases!
Professional Muay Thai fighters train twice a day for around two to three hours, taking only a day off (12 sessions per week). They are simply burning more calories than they intake.
Here’s a breakdown of a typical Muay Thai fighter’s training session:
- Shadowboxing warm-up
- Heavy bag training
- Multiple rounds of pad work
- Group run
- Skip Ropes
After these heavy training sessions, fighters are barely left with any energy to weight train.
These sessions burn over 1000 calories making it almost impossible for a fighter to gain muscle mass (unless he’s on a heavy diet). Some hardcore training sessions may even burn up to 2000 calories a day, averaging about 9000 to 15,000 calorie burnout. If a Muay Thai fighter wants to keep up with his weight, he would have to eat tons of fruits, vegetables, and meat.
#2 More Muscle Mass Is Bad For Muay Thai Fighters
More muscle mass means less endurance and less speed. Lean bodies help fighters win because it would tilt the odds in their favor and increase their chances of winning fights.
Some people confuse strength with weight. Power is actually a product of weight and velocity. So, even if a fighter’s weight is low, he or she can hit the punch harder with more velocity due to the lean body structure.
You see athletes who weigh less gain an edge on other competitors or show off their boxing speed. Unlike bodybuilding, Muay Thai fighting requires less weight so the fighters can respond quickly in critical moments of the fight.
In Muay Thai, weight is not only unnecessary but also an excessive burden on the fighter. A fighter’s weight can cause serious injury if he or she falls to the ground while fighting.
Therefore, all Muay Thai fighters strive to maintain a low body fat percentage by avoiding sugary drinks and processed foods.
#3 Inaccessibility of Gym Equipment
Thailand’s gyms are more focused on technique and conditioning instead of weights. Thai training centers are quite different from western gyms — They rarely have weights. Instead, there would be several punching bags, mitts, skipping ropes, etc.
Since most weight equipment are made in the US, it’s difficult for Thai gyms to import it. They also lack professional strength trainers.
Thai training is traditional and they haven’t acquainted themselves with the latest training standards.
Thailand’s economy isn’t good enough to bear the shipment and delivery costs associated. Even if they do buy gym equipment, there isn’t enough space in their weight room to hoist heavyweights.
#4 Hot Climate in Thailand
Because of the tropical climate, Thailand is generally hot all around the year. Hence, fighters burn calories faster. They burn more calories in a short period of time in summers.
Due to intense training sessions and improper diet, fighters tend to lose more weight as they practice in hot environments.
They also consume large volumes of water each day to help flush out toxins from their systems. This also contributes to weight loss and maintaining a skinny shape.
#5 Lack of Nutritious Food and Muay Diet
Due to a lack of food sources, Muay Thai fighters are naturally skinny. Their diet hardly contains meat and milky products.
Most of Thailand’s training centers don’t offer nutrition packages to boost muscle mass-building effects.
It’s also quite difficult for a fighter to buy food supplements since most Thai families aren’t rich enough. Fighters rarely get any sponsors.
Because of this, bodybuilding supplements are rarely sold and consumed by Thai athletes. Hence, it’s almost impossible to find a fat fighter in Thailand.
Finally, they avoid eating fatty foods because excess fat will slow down the metabolism — a big no-no when it comes to training hard!
#6 To Maintain Weight Class Divisions
Ring fighters must pay close attention to their weight loss as it can eliminate them from their current division. Since most fighters prepare and train for their current divisions, they don’t want their body to meet the qualifying criteria.
This also explains why they never gain muscle mass despite heavy training; as well as prevents body fat from building up.
Can You Start Muay Thai as a Skinny Guy?
You can start off your Muay Thai fighting journey as a skinny guy without a problem. Muay Thai sport is for everyone of all shapes and sizes and you can enjoy Muay Thai even if you are a skinny guy.
If you’re worried about getting thinner after joining Muay Thai, you’re just seeing one side of the picture. Although you’ll be burning more calories, you’ll also be consuming much more than you do currently.
Your appetite increases as you undergo intense workouts and it balances the number of calories.
You might also think that you may not be fit/strong enough for this sport, but in reality, everyone can join Muay Thai — either with big muscles, or skinny shape.
With every training session, you’ll feel stronger and more confident.
In Muay Thai, your height does not matter either.
In Thailand, where Muay Thai originated, many gyms offer classes specifically for skinny people.
How to Gain Weight While Training Muay Thai?
To gain weight while training Muay Thai, you would need more calorie intake than the calorie burnout in training sessions. Strengthening exercises such as weight lifting or sandbag training may also help increase weight as a Muay Thai fighter.
If you’re planning to gain weight while training Muay Thai, make sure that the fat loss is not slowing down your progress (because muscle mass can’t be gained if the muscle cannot build).
You not only need to eat MORE but also eat the RIGHT kind of food. Here are some recommended foods:
- Peanut Butter
Does Muay Thai Give Abs?
When training for Muay Thai, you’ll get well-toned abs. Muay Thai is a sport that involves twisting, kicking, and making full use of your knees and shins, therefore it’s only natural that you’ll strengthen your abdominal muscles.
With every training session, your abs will be more toned with muscle growth happening at the same time. Along with strength training, you can speed up the process of making abs and biceps.
Little do you know, Muay Thai is also effective in street fights.