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Why are Muay Thai fighters skinny?

Updated: Feb 5, 2022

Why are Muay Thai fighters skinny?

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Muay Thai also called, Thai Boxing, is a fast-paced martial arts that involves boxing and kicking, fighters may incorporate the use of knees and elbows. Muay Thai. Muay Thai training is extremely rigorous and intense. Most fighters even train twice daily, around 6-7 days a week. Some fighters, whether amateur or professional, only take a week off after a fight, then it's off to training once again.

Keep in mind that a training session lasts for about 2 to 3 hours, depending on if it is competition season. Each Muay Thai session burns over 1000 calories or more.

What is the reason that Muay Thai fighters are skinny?

Muay Thai fighters are very strong, no doubt about it, but they are also quite skinny. Muay Thai, just like many different types of mixed martial arts, trains rigorously to focus on or optimize speed and power. Training often targets endurance and muscle strengthening, but not to increase muscle size and bulk. Additionally, the bulkier you get, the less optimized your body is for speed and power. In theory, this can prove to be a disadvantage, especially when fatigue sets in. The fighter will have to carry the weight of the bulky muscle for the whole fight. The more muscle a fighter carries, the more they will weigh, which in turn can make them slower in a fight.

Having a lot of muscle mass like a bodybuilder does not automatically mean that you are strong. Their training rarely focuses on lifting but is more of a combination of bodyweight training, agility drills, cardio, and sparring. Besides, Muay Thai fighters are strong for their size. Contrary to the apparent term for calling out Muay Thai fighters "skinny," is not accurate since fighters may have low body fat due to intense training. This makes them lean but not skinny. Physiologically speaking, some fighters may appear skinny because of their natural Southeast Asian body build.

Do you have to be skinny to do Muay Thai?

Being skinny has its advantages in combat sports, for sure, but Muay Thai wasn't designed for a specific body type. Weight or body type doesn't matter at all in the sport. Remember that it will take some time before you could actually fight in a ring, so there is plenty of time to get in shape, you are also going to be training in a supportive group environment similar to what you can see in a group HIIT session or CrossFit classes.

Don't be anxious about attending a Muay Thai training session because of your body build. You will be surprised at how many men and women of all shapes and sizes go to the gym for training. Learning the sport will not just help you achieve your goal of becoming fit, but you could also pick up additional benefits such as enhancing your self-discipline and providing yourself with a new way to relieve stress.

Muay Thai is an excellent way to introduce someone who is out of shape to a type of workout that involves burning a vast number of calories in a very short span of time. Not to mention that the sport itself is good and friendly for beginners.

Literally, anyone who doesn't have physical limitations can learn the sport right away, no matter what body type you have. So, stop thinking about being out of shape or not being skinny before starting Muay Thai. The combat sport itself will get you in shape, it's not called "the art of eight limbs" for no reason. Give the sport a try. Find a gym that is easily accessible for you. Muay Thai's techniques may look hard at first especially for someone who is uncoordinated, but put your trust in your coaches and in yourself, it is simple enough for anyone to learn.

Will Muay Thai make me skinny?

Being that Muay Thai is a very competitive sport, its training makes it one of the most intense and engaging workouts there is. Muay Thai combines strength and conditioning as well as cardiovascular endurance in their training, which makes it a great workout to remove excess fat and gain leaner muscle mass.

As mentioned earlier, a person would typically burn 1000 calories in a training session, which would typically last for an hour or two. So, the answer is yes, Muay Thai can indeed make you skinny, if that is your goal at least.

Muay Thai's intensive cardiovascular activity burns the most calories as it speeds up your heart rate, which then burns fat as the body needs it for additional energy. Since the combat sport calls for constant motion, the training will involve a lot of continuous punching, kicking, and endurance drills that would guarantee weight loss and an elevated heart rate.

Another contributor to weight loss is that Muay Thai sessions are considered to be a form of HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is basically a type of workout that involves periods of high-intensity work followed by an interval of rest. HIIT often shows results in 6 to 8 weeks, but according to Edward Lane from Men's Health, it would only take 2 weeks to notice results from HIIT.


Going back to the main question, "Why are Muay Thai fighters skinny?" involves numerous aspects, from physiological factors to the nature of the training itself. Muay Thai is that kind of combat sport with intense cardiovascular activity. The sport requires constant movement, which would then require the muscles to work. This is something that is good to hear for people who are planning to learn the sport for weight loss.

Being skinny is not a disadvantage, as skinny fighters tend to have a longer reach and are faster than most people in their respective weight divisions. Skinny and lean fighters also strike faster and have greater endurance since the heart doesn't have to work harder as compared to a bulkier opponent. Also, bulk doesn't equate to strength. Remember, you don't have to be in perfect shape to learn Muay Thai; the sport itself is in-charge of that.

While Muay Thai can help you lose excess fat, it is still possible to gain weight while training. Additional effort must be made into planning your diet, though as you will be burning tons of calories during training, so you will need the right nutritional plan depending on your goals. Learning Muay Thai has numerous advantages you can benefit from. If you're planning to learn the sport, don't have any second thoughts or doubts. Just know that you're in for a fun experience!

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