Ready to hop into the world of Muay Thai? This incredible combat sport originating from Thailand has gained popularity all over the world, including as a form of fitness training.
If you're looking for an intense, full-body workout that combines strength and conditioning with self-defense techniques, then Muay Thai might just be the perfect fit for you.
You probably already know by now that Muay Thai makes for a darn good workout, but just what's the full extent of this? And just how good of a workout is it really?
In this article, we'll explore the reasons why Muay Thai is an effective and challenging workout that can help you achieve your fitness goals.
Muay Thai: A Quick Rundown
Muay Thai, also known as "the Art of Eight Limbs," combines punches, kicks, elbows, knee strikes, and especially clinching techniques, to create a full-body workout. More than just a workout though, Muay Thai also teaches discipline and self-defense skills.
Muay Thai has gained worldwide recognition since the late 20th century, especially when Thai practitioners started competing in kickboxing and mixed-rules matches, including those under Muay Thai rules.
The professional league is regulated by The Professional Boxing Association of Thailand (abbreviated as the PAT), which is sanctioned by The Sports Authority of Thailand (or the SAT).
It has roots in martial arts such as Musti-yuddha, Adimurai, Muay Chaiya, Muay Boran, Muay Lao, Lethwei, and Tomoi. Muay Thai practitioners are known as Nak Muay. Western practitioners who train in Thailand are often referred to as Nak Muay Farang, or "foreign boxers."
Is Muay Thai Good for Weight Loss?
Yes, and it's wonderful for weight loss. Anyone who's experienced a training session in Muay Thai knows what I mean. They know just how grueling each one-hour session can be.
It's a bit of an unrealistic expectation, but there definitely are instances of Nak Muays burning up to 1,000 calories in one session, depending on just how intense of a session it was. Let's delve deeper into why this is!
Muay Thai training includes a combination of strength and conditioning elements, as combat requires both a healthy heart as well as strong, lean, and flexible limbs. The workouts in Muay Thai, like many martial arts, encompass both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.
Aerobic exercise is oxygen-fueled, and involves controlled breathing to supply enough oxygen to the muscles for them to function. These exercises are usually low intensity and last for a minimum of two minutes.
Anaerobic training, on the other hand, involves working out with little oxygen and is much more intense, pushing your lungs and increasing your heart rate.
Muay Thai combines the best of both worlds, making it an effective way to boost your metabolism and burn calories for hours after your workout. You can expect to work up a heck of a sweat during training.
Does Muay Thai Build Muscle?
Yes, absolutely! Muay Thai is a highly physically demanding sport that can definitely help you build muscle. The constant striking and use of the entire body during training and fights leads to increased strength and muscle development.
Additionally, because Muay Thai requires constant movement and precision striking, it can provide an intense cardio workout. Overall, many people find that Muay Thai is an excellent way to stay fit, on top of learning practical self-defense skills.
Although, it's still worth noting that Muay Thai can be very physically demanding, and it requires proper form in order to avoid injury.
We're serious about it being physically demanding, by the way. I don't have experience with every single martial art out there, but from what I've trained in Muay Thai, it's one of the toughest martial arts out there, hands down.
You can expect to receive incredible conditioning in the sport, but I'd generally recommend that beginners be very careful about who they choose for their instructor. You want one who both knows their stuff, and knows your limits. Otherwise, you might just end up getting fatigued fast.
To get more benefit out of the discipline, many Muay Thai practitioners supplement their training with weight lifting. Naturally, this only further enhances the already impressive muscle growth they get from Muay Thai's excellent conditioning drills.
If your goal is to build muscle, Muay Thai alone may not be enough--but it'll do a lot for you nonetheless. Still, it's important to have a balanced training regimen that includes strength training, proper nutrition, and rest in addition to Muay Thai techniques.
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How Many Calories Can You Burn Doing Muay Thai?
Muay Thai is intense. Expect to burn quite a lot of calories in every single session. If you're looking to burn some serious calories and get a full-body workout, Muay Thai might just be the perfect solution for you.
During a typical session, you'll engage every muscle in your body and be sure to break a sweat. But just how many calories can you expect to burn?
Well, if you're an average-sized guy weighing in, let's say, 86 kilograms, you can expect to burn 650+ calories per 1-hour session. And if you're an average-sized woman weighing in at 71 kilograms, you can expect to burn 600+ calories per session.
Needless to say, that's quite a lot! That's a lot more than what you would burn even in a typical boxing class. And that's boxing! One of the best cardio exercises out there! If you ask me, Muay Thai's pretty underrated in this regard.
Of course, not everyone will be burning 600+ calories right off the get-go. An experienced practitioner will have much more intense sessions than a beginner. Let's try to get a more detailed look at things from this angle.
For beginner practitioners, a 30-minute Muay Thai session can burn approximately 200 to 300 calories. As you progress and become an intermediate practitioner with a higher level of fitness, you can expect to burn up to 500 calories during a 60-minute Muay Thai session.
For advanced practitioners who have both high fitness and experience, a 90-minute Muay Thai session can burn up to 750 calories. That's based on a body weight of 150 pounds and an intensity level of very vigorous.
Muay Thai isn't just any workout. It’s a complete physical and mental discipline that offers a wide range of health benefits.
From building lean muscle and improving cardiovascular health, to increasing your metabolism and burning calories for hours after your workout, Muay Thai offers a total body workout that will leave you feeling stronger, fitter, and more confident.
So if you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding workout that will push you to your limits, then Muay Thai is definitely worth giving a try. Just remember to start at your own pace, and of course, don’t forget to have fun along the way!
You've just learned a fair bit about Muay Thai... but what about Krav Maga? That's a pretty intense martial art too, after all. You can read more about that here!