Losing Weight With Muay Thai: A Practical Guide

I know losing weight can be difficult, but luckily for you, Muay Thai is a fantastic way to lose weight, and I’ve seen people at my gym shed the pounds after only training for a short while.

In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about losing weight with Muay Thai so you can fast track your progress to becoming a new you! Excited? Let’s get to it!

How To Lose Weight With Muay Thai

You Must Have A Good Diet

Even if you train 90 minutes every day 7 days a week if you’re eating more calories than you consume, you CANNOT lose weight so mastering your diet is key to effective weight loss.

Remember this is the key to achieving effective weight loss

The calories you eat must be less than the calories your body needs to keep the same weight

How To Lose Weight

Your body must use fewer calories than you eat eating to lose weight, it is simple as that. If you don’t know how many calories your body needs to maintain your weight, don’t worry you will find out shortly.

How To Calculate Your Bodies Maintenance Calories

We must understand how many calories your body needs to maintain it’s current weight, and aim to eat around 200-500 calories less than that number for fat loss.

If it all sounds confusing, don’t worry, I will go through the whole process with my weight so you can understand it.

Everyone’s body will be different, you can use a BMR(base metabolic rate) calculator located down below to get a rough estimate, but it will not be accurate as you need time to eat at those specific calories and see how your bodies adjust.

If you find you’re not losing weight at that number, simply reduce the calories if you find it’s too difficult then eat more than the number and THEN reduce the calories.

  1. Calculate your BMR(link to calculator)
  2. Look at the graph in the calculator and see what activity level you are
  3. Subtract 200-500 calories from that number
  4. Eat those calories for a week and see how your weight adjusts

For me, my age is 25 and I weigh 170 pounds, and my BMR which is the calories my body needs to function is 1,802 which is pretty accurate.

I exercise daily so my maintenance calories according to the calculator are 2793, and considering I eat 3000 calories a day to gain weight so far the calculator is accurate.

However, if I wanted to LOSE weight I would do 2793(calories based on my activities levels) and -500 calories giving the calories I need to lose weight to be 2293. Just do the same for yourself and you will have your rough estimated daily calories you need to lose weight!

Remember if you haven’t started to train Muay Thai yet, your BMR will be far higher when you start training as Muay Thai is such intense exercise.

You must increase your calories to match your activity level if you start training, as fewer calories aren’t better as your body can go catabolic and start eating itself; stay -500 calories of your BMR to lose weight in a sustainable healthy way

How To Count Your Meal Calories

Okay so you have your number, for me hypothetically it is 2293 so how do you go about calculating it? The best way is to use a precision kitchen scale such as this Nicewell Food Scale from Amazon(link to best price).

Weigh your foods than either search the food in a database like nutritionix(link) or the much easier way to use a food app like myfitnesspal and simply scan your foods bar code to add your calories automatically!

Watch the above video to get an easy tutorial on how to count your calories using a scale, the guy is using a cup measuring set, you can buy the U- taste cup set on Amazon right here.

I recommend getting a more quality set as they are fantastic for easily measuring out portions and I find the cheaper plastic sets break easily.

Now you can follow the easier option of counting your calories by guessing without measuring as this is what I do.

However, you need a lot of experience to understand how basic calorie counting works before you do this method.

Stick with the weighing method for at least a month before you start guessing as even being wrong about 100-200 calories a day could make you not lose weight! As underreporting calories is a big factor by overweight people who struggle to lost weight as seen in this study.

Meal Plan

Okay, so you know how many calories you need to lost weight, and how to measure your calories either by guessing or even better-tracking foods using a scale. Now, what?

Having a structured meal plan is the best way to lose weight, as your ensuring you are eating good calorie-dense foods that not only are very filling but are packed full of protein and other micronutrients your body needs to be healthy and lose weight, without sacrificing muscle.

Thai fighters typically eat the same food that most Thai people eat, usually a meal with rice with some protein, which could be beef, chicken, or fish with a lot of green veggies, nothing special; but this is exactly the meals you should be eating to lose weight.

Either watch the above video by Jeremy Either on the best science-based diet for weight loss or read this article by Healthline on the best 20 foods for weight loss. But I list some of my personal best foods for losing weight.

Best Muay Thai Foods For Weight Loss

  • Lean Beef & Chicken
  • Fish(salmon, Tuna, Tilapia)
  • Cruciferous Vegetables(Cabbage, Broccoli, Kale, etc)
  • Whole Eggs
  • Whole Grains(Oats)
  • Boiled Potatoes
  • Nuts
  • Avocados

You need to set yourself up for success, and not buy highly processed foods like cookies or even orange juice. A general rule is the more processed food is the worse it is for your body.

Carbs are everyone’s worst enemy for weight loss, and I see this with my mom who has lost a lot of weight but is struggling now become of her high carb intake; things like bread, pasta, and baguettes are the worst offenders.

Look at several foods that you like in the above article or the above video, and make a daily meal plan out of those foods and try to get to your estimated calories.

Say, if you need 2000 calories to lose weight, fill those 2000 calories with healthy calorie-dense foods that you enjoy! Do not eat foods you don’t like, as this is difficult to stick to.

Don’t think of these changes as much as a “diet” as they are a life choice, you should be keeping up with this healthily eating forever for maximum benefits, so make sure its sustainable by eating foods you look forward to eating!

How To Track Weight Loss Progress

Every day eat just under your maintenance calories that you found out using the above calculator to measure progress weigh yourself every day and keep a track of that weight, then divide all your weekly measurements by 7 to get an average weight for the week.

I will give you an example, these are my weekly numbers when I weighed myself 168.4,169.9,,169,170.3,169.4, I add all these numbers together and then divide by 7 which gives me 169.4(my weekly weight).

If you do this every week you will see your weekly weight and if you need to increase or decrease calories, you should stick between 1-2 pounds of weekly fat loss for optimal results. I wish you luck!

Notes On Muay Thai Weight Loss

  • 3500 calories= 1pound of fat loss, if you are in a -500 calorie deficit you will lose 1 pound of fat a week!500×7)
  • You should lose roughly 4 pounds in one day after dropping calories, don’t worry as this is all water weight!
  • The more body fat you have, the easier losing fat is, the leaner you are the more difficult fat loss is
  • You should lose between 1-2 pounds, depending on how much fat you are
  • If you don’t lose weight after 1 week reduce your calories by 100-200 and try again, make sure you’re adding your calories up properly and include sauces!
  • Lifting weights or doing Muay Thai strength training will help retain your muscle if you don’t strength train some of your weight loss will be muscle as well as fat.

Muay Thai Training To Lose Weight

Now if you haven’t joined a Muay Thai gym please do as you cannot truly learn by yourself. Check out my post here on the 12 ways Muay Thai gets you into shape if you need more reasons to train, but if you really want to learn Muay Thai by yourself check out my post on the topic here.

Assuming your already training Muay Thai at least 2 times a week, the following tips will help you take your fat-melting Muay Thai routine to the next level!

Train With High Intensity

Muay Thai burns calories like no other martial art, burning roughly 600 calories per hour!

But this is only if you’re giving the class 100% of your power, are you guilty of talking during your training session or being late, and skipping the early warm-up(I’m guilty of this) then you won’t be burning as many calories as you should be.

Everything from your stamina and your Muay Thai performance will increase if you really go all out in your training, every time you feel you can’t push harder really ask yourself can I do more? I’m sure your body is capable of a lot more than you think it is.

Remember you will only burn 600 calories per hour if you put in the right intensity, if your not part of a Muay Thai gym and still want a fantastic Muay Thai workout, check out the above conditioning video.

Do Light Cardio 2-4 Times A Week

I have written about the 12 reasons why Muay Thai gets you into shape and doing low-intensity cardio like jumping rope or running is excellent for improving your heart function(aerobic system)but also for burning calories!

Jump rope, in particular, is phenomenal for losing weight, a 200-pound person jumping rope for 10 minutes will burn 196 calories! Check out this article here on the benefits and my recommend jump ropes here on Amazon.

In Thailand, the jump rope is stable for conditioning and cardio and it isn’t hard to see why!

Now cardio is not enough for weight loss as 80% of your results will come from your diet, but what cardio does, is it gives you a buffer and allows you to overeat and enjoy more foods than if you were super strict with your diet and have to count every calorie to lose weight.

I recommend jumping rope for your cardio or running as you can do them both anywhere and jumping rope also works your footwork which is key for Muay Thai.

Even if you jump rope for 20 minutes 3-4 times a week this will have a big impact on maintaining a negative caloric state combined with a good high protein diet with good healthy fats and unrefined carbs.

I believe anywhere from 2-3 times a week or more is ideal to lose weight with cardio, depending on your diet, fitness goals, and your Muay Thai training regime.

Someone preparing for a fight will have a very different cardio schedule than an obese person who is trying to lose weight, so everyone’s cardio regime is different.

If you train in Thailand expect to run twice a day a rough estimate being one 3 miles (4.8K) run in the morning and another 3 miles (4.8) run in the evening. You will notice most Thai fighters are super lean with no extra fat on them, and this is partly due to they’re intensive training.

I think the Thai style of running might be a bit too much but the point is it’s important to regulate your weight and improve your cardio but also strengthening the mind doing something you don’t want to do.

I have lost a lot of fat exclusively to diet but on a recent cut I lost fat at a far quicker pace without counting calories by doing HIIT(high-intensity interval training) with a jump rope 4 times a week and it made a big difference on how much fat I lost in even less time!

Do HIIT(High-Intensity Interval Training)

For the most effective weight loss possible, there is no substitute for HIIT training, check out this study on why it is so effective.

A typical HIIT workout will have you working from 30 seconds to 3 minutes of anything between 80-100% of your maximum heart rate with a short rest period usually the same as your working set that decreases the better your cardio. So if you skip for 30 seconds as hard as you can, rest for 30 seconds.

Click here for a heathline article on the 7 benefits of HIIT training but the article stated the following about a study on HIIT and fat loss.

a study found that people performing HIIT three times per week for 20 minutes per session lost 4.4 pounds, or 2 kgs, of body fat in 12 weeks — without any dietary changes


If your short on time I think HIIT is fantastic for weight loss in Muay Thai, check out the video above of Jump Rope Dudes for a fantastic workout that burns a whopping 700 calories!

Fighters will do HIIT style cardio such as hill sprints, circuit work, sprints for increased performance. Whilst you could argue traditional low-intensity cardio like jogging will burn more calories in the long run as you could run for 60 minutes plus, I think HIIT is a far more effective use of your time if you’re trying to lose weight with a busy schedule.

Start Strength Training

Strength training using weights or your own body weight(calisthenics) as resistant training is good for losing weight as it will not only increase your muscle and your strength but also help you burn more calories.

The more muscle tissue you have you more your body burns calories as your BMR will be a lot higher naturally, you naturally you can eat more and still lose weight!

Think if you have two individuals and they both weigh 190 pounds but one is 10% body fat and the other is 25%, the BMR of the person with 10% body fat will be higher than the other person as he simply has a lot more muscle.

Check this study here on how weight training during caloric restrictions makes maintaining a lean body mass that much easier.

For Muay Thai you should train functional movements that will benefit specific parts of your Muay Thai game. Pull-ups will be fantastic for Muay Thai with high carry over to the clinch, whilst bicep curls? Not so much.

Weight training helps prevent muscle and strength loss during a fat loss phase and will help you to build a lean healthily sculpted physique.

The issue with just losing weight is you must just become skinny fat(skinny with a belly) but with weight training, you will look and feel a lot better after your weight loss.

If you don’t have access to a gym? No problem as bodyweight exercises such as pushups, squats, burpees, and many other exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home, is more than enough to promote good muscle growth.

How Many Calories Do You Burn In A Muay Thai Class?

Muay Thai burns around 600 calories per hour, if an average Muay Thai class is 90 minutes you will burn 900 calories per class. However, is this accurate? Many variables need to be considered.

What Affects Calorie Burn In Muay Thai Class

  • How much you weigh
  • Your sex(men burn more calories than women)
  • Lean Mass Vs Fat mass
  • Your fitness levels(as you become better at specific workouts your body becomes more efficient so you burn fewer calories)
  • Level of intensity(from light, medium to heavy)

There is no way to know as all these factors will have a big impact on how many calories you burn, and each class will be different. The best way would be to use a fitness tracker like a Fitbit (you can view one here on Amazon).

Track your average calorie burn and make an average to get a rough idea of how many calories you burnt. Or you use a heart rate monitor like this Polar H10 on Amazon to understand how many calories you burn.

Even better use both fitness track and the Polar H10 to get the most accurate reading you can.

Can You Lose Weight In A Muay Thai Vacation?

Muay Thai vacations are a popular way to lose weight if you see Tiger Muay Thai articles here one man lost 100KG(220 pounds) in only one year at Tiger Muay Thai!

You will pay a premium but gyms like Tiger Muay Thai are some of Asia’s finest first-class weight loss destinations, every Muay Thai vacation you go to will have teams of dedicated professionals who will help you to get rid of that unwanted fat and make you the best shape you have ever been.

Do you NEED to go to Thailand to lose weight with Muay Thai? Of course not but there is no doubt being surrounded by excellent trainers and people just like you who are trying to lose weight, will provide excellent fuel and motivation for your success on your weight loss journey.

According to Tiger Muay website, this will be your typical day in a weight loss camp in Thailand, I think this routine will be quite common for most places you will go to.

Tiger Muay Thai Weight Loss Camp Schedule

  • 7 Am Vinyasa Flow Yoga
  • 30-minute break
  • 2 hours of BodyFit class(a mixture of running, bodyweight exercise and exercise using various fitness equipment
  • 2-3 hours off with a relaxing swim and a visit to the steam room
  • Eat lunch
  • Join a Cross-Training(weights) or Strength and conditioning session

The best part about these vacations is the expert coaches who no matter what body type or fitness level will make sure you can participate and get the maximum benefits from your training.

You will also get access to the exclusive Tiger Muay Thai martial art classes from:

  • Muay Thai
  • MMA
  • Western boxing
  • BJJ
  • Self-defense
  • Krabi Krabong
  • Muay Boran

If you want to see many testimonials from Tiger Muay Thai weight loss, check out this article here Weightloss Thailand or watch the above video of the inspiring story of Robert Orphanides who lost 110lbs in Tiger Muay Thai!

Now do I think it’s worth it? It depends on if you ever been to Thailand and how much money you have. I believe it’s around 32000 baht/$1015.36 for one month of training and accommodation not including food or flights.

Do I think you need to go to Thailand? to lose weight with Muay Thai? No of course not, all you need to lose weight is eat fewer calories than you consume and d a few sessions of cardio a week.

Do I think it would be beneficial to go?

Why not? Tiger Muay Thai is a world-class gym with superb coaches with tons of experience of helping people achieve their fitness goals regardless of what they are.

If you have the cash I don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t go, for a fantastic new experience with meeting tons of interesting new people in Thailand and possibly forming friendships that could last a lifetime!

Interested in Muay Thai? Check Out My Recommendations

Looking For Gear To Use When You Train?
If you are interested in training Muay Thai, here is some of the gear I recommend:
Best Mouth Guard
Best Gloves
Best Shorts
Best Shin Guards
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CoachTube has online training videos for Boxing, Karate, MMA and more. And best part is you can do it all from your home allowing you to go at your own pace. Check them out here.
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