Why Muay Thai Is More Than A Weight Loss Tool

·5-min read
PHOTO: Evolve MMA
PHOTO: Evolve MMA

Throwing kicks and punches uses up a lot of energy, and fitness experts have caught on to that reality. That’s one of the reasons why you see all sorts of cardio kickboxing and boxing classes starting up all over the place.

Learning a real striking art, like Muay Thai, uses up even more energy, and it’s an effective way to manage your weight. You burn up to 1,000 calories for every hour spent on the mat, which gives you more leeway as far as your diet is concerned. The average person only needs about 2000 calories daily, so burning half of that during an hour-long training session allows for a less restrictive diet. Some people are even able to stay in excellent shape by only training and not worrying much about what they eat.

Other reasons to try Muay Thai besides weight loss

Muay Thai is more than an effective way to burn calories and lose weight. Also known as the ‘Art of Eight Limbs’, it’s arguably the most effective striking art ever developed, and Muay Thai fighters have enjoyed lots of success in mixed martial arts.

So, what are the other benefits of training Muay Thai, you ask? Let’s take a look at some of the other rewards you get to enjoy when you give Muay Thai a try:

1) Builds bigger, stronger muscles

The physical benefits of Muay Thai go way past helping you to get rid of excess fat. The art of eight limbs also gives you a full-body workout. All the muscles in your body are engaged as you kick, punch, elbow, and knee your way through each practice session.

Over time, your muscles become a lot stronger than they were when you started training and more toned. Take a look at anyone who has dedicated their lives to Muay Thai, and you’ll notice their impressive muscle tone. Many of these people don’t even lift weights as part of their training. Their muscle definition often comes from making Muay Thai their lifestyle.

2) Increased confidence

Increased confidence is one of the benefits you get from training Muay Thai or many other martial arts. Everyone starts as a novice, and you’ll likely find many techniques too complicated when you first start out.

Even simple things like dodging an attack or leaning out of the way can seem like quite the challenge when you first start. Over time, your arsenal of techniques will grow, and techniques that once seemed impossible become part of your muscle memory.

Suddenly, countering attacks, checking kicks, and moving around without losing your balance becomes second nature to you. It serves as a reminder that you can accomplish any goals you set your sights on. You realise you can do the same thing you did with your Muay Thai training in other aspects of your life.

3) Practical self-defence skills

As we mentioned earlier, the effectiveness of Muay Thai has been tested and proven globally. Muay Thai fighters tend to get the best of strikers from other arts like karate and Kung Fu in competitive settings, and it gives you a considerable advantage against untrained fighters – most people. Even a few months of training gives you a considerable edge over most people.

Knowing you can defend yourself if necessary makes you less anxious and more confident as a person too.

4) Excellent stress relief

Yes, punching and kicking things can provide stress relief. You might have heard about people breaking plates or something along those lines as therapy for stress. It’s called destructive therapy, and Muay Thai provides a similar outlet.

During your training sessions, you get to punch, kick, elbow, and knee all your problems away. Just imagine whatever is bothering you is the heavy bag you’re using and go to work. By the time you’re done training, any pent-up frustration in you should have dissipated, and the workout leads to feel-good hormones like dopamine being released in your brain. These hormones also elevate your mood and lead to better sleep at night.

5) Widens your social circle

Training Muay Thai allows you to socialise with incredible people from all walks of life. The passion you share for Muay Thai serves as a solid foundation for friendships and even romantic relationships. The bond you develop with your training partners will grow with every class you attend, and some might end up becoming life-long buddies.

While it might not be the first thing to come to your mind when it comes to socialising, learning martial arts like Muay Thai is an excellent way to make new friends.

6) Improved health

PHOTO: Evolve MMA
PHOTO: Evolve MMA

Muay Thai gives you a great cardiovascular workout that protects you from some of the leading causes of premature death, like heart disease or high blood pressure. These conditions increase your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Exercise goes a long way when it comes to your cardiovascular health, which is why doctors often recommend getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Muay Thai gives you a healthy mix of anaerobic and aerobic exercises and drills that help to bring your heart rate down while strengthening your heart.

7) Builds mental toughness

Learning a martial art like Muay Thai helps to increase your mental toughness. Your training will often push your body and mind to their limits, but you’ll be having fun and learning so much, you’ll keep pushing forward.

You’ll be greatly rewarded for your perseverance as your physique improves, and you’ll become better as a Muay Thai fighter with each class. The mental toughness you learn from training will carry over into other aspects of your life as you find yourself looking forward to challenges rather than running away or avoiding them.

This article, "Why Muay Thai Is More Than A Weight Loss Tool", originally appeared on Evolve MMA, Asia’s No. 1 martial arts organisation.

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