Will I lose muscle doing Muay Thai?
Updated: Feb 4
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If your a bodybuilder who has stacked on some muscle, or you've been going to the gym and lifting weights and your finally happy with the physique you've achieved, you may be looking for a new challenge like training in Muay Thai.
The main question we always hear from someone who has a lot of muscle mass before they start training Muay Thai is, will I lose muscle doing Muay Thai? The simple answer is: no, as long as your calories are matched, your body will burn fat but not your muscle.
The average Muay Thai class burns up to 600 calories per hour, to ensure you don't burn muscle mass from the cardio intensive sessions, you need to ensure your adding this calorie count onto your daily calorie intake.
If you haven't eaten enough during the day then training Muay Thai may put you into a calorie deficit for the day. If your body is in a calorie deficit then this leaves no calories for your muscles, and it will result in muscle loss.
What is a calorie deficit?
Calories are the units of energy that you get from foods and beverages, and when you consume fewer calories than you burn, you achieve a calorie deficit.
Consistently being in a calorie deficit for long periods of time will result in weight loss, and on the other hand, consistently providing your body with more calories that it needs will result in gaining weight.
If your unsure of how many calories that you need, then there are some great calorie calculators online to help you with this.
Can Muay Thai help gain weight?
If your simply looking to gain weight, then it's less about the training your doing and more to do with the calories that your feeding your body. Without proper nutrition and a calorie intake, your body will be in a calorie deficit and you'll loose weight, not gain weight.
There are several things you can do to help yourself gain weight when training Muay Thai. Checkout our tips below.
Ensure your eating enough
It's impossible to gain weight if your not eating enough. Ensure your eating frequently (we recommend at least 4 meals per day) to force calories into your body. If your not eating enough, you'll loose weight and burn muscle.
Mix your training with weight lifting
Muscle weights more than fat, so the muscle you'll build the more weight you'll gain. Weight lifting is a great way to build muscle, strength and gain weight. Ensure that your lifting weights at least twice per week.
Get plenty of rest
Muscles only grow when the body rests. Ensure that your getting the right amount of sleep for your body as this is when your body repairs itself, and it repairs your muscles, building them bigger and stronger.
Overworking will result in muscle wastage and the potential to loose weight, not gain weight. Ensure that your getting at least 2 full days of rest per week.
Should I train Muay Thai if I am a bodybuilder?
The average cardio session isn't the most fun, simply walking on the treadmill or climbing on the stair machine doesn't necessarily engage the mind massively or provide a lot of entertainment. Due to this, you may be a bodybuilder who's looking to mix up their cardio sessions and get a little more excitement from them.
Muay Thai can be a great way to help mix your cardio sessions up if you are a bodybuilder, however there are some things that you need to consider before you start training Muay Thai.
If training Muay Thai, try to avoid other high-impact exercises during your sessions such as running, jumping or high-knees. High-impact cardio can hinder your recovery which will slow your muscle growth.
Also find a trainer who understands your goals in Muay Thai, it's not about being the best in the gym, it's simply about finding a way to make your cardio sessions more fun and less of a burden on your training schedule.
Foods to help you gain weight in Muay Thai
Eggs are cheap, tasty and packed with 13g of high quality protein! Perfect to help you build muscle and gain weight.
We recommend 2 poached eggs and 2 slices of toasts as a great lunch to keep you full and provide the right nutrition.
Nuts are the perfect snack if your trying to gain weight. They are extremely calorie dense and a cup of mixed nuts contains about 520 calories, 20g of protein, 56g of fats and other nutrients.
Brown rice is not only great at helping you gain weight, but its packed with carbohydrates which will help provide the energy you'll need to get through your intensive Muay Thai training sessions.
Adequate intake of carbs helps to prevent the body from utilising the protein supply as energy. Remember that you need the protein for muscle recovery and growth.
You can gain weight and train Muay Thai at the same time. Understand your goals, track your calories and ensure your getting plenty of rest and you'll be sure to build muscle and add weight.