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Weight Cutting Tips for Muay Thai Fighters

Last Updated: 16.05.22


While looking for a pair of gym shorts for MMA, you have noticed that there are many different types, and finding the proper one is not that easy. Also, if you need more information on how to choose the right mma punching bag, you should check out this post. And, if you are planning to go far in Muay Thai, you might have to cut weight at some point.

That is why we have decided to offer you some tips that will help you cut weight without affecting your health. There are people who misunderstand diets, and they think that they need to starve themselves in order to reach a certain weight. Well, this is not true at all because there are healthy ways to cut weight, and starving yourself is not one of them.


Start with a test weight

When you decide to cut weight you need to take some important aspects into consideration, and the most important one is that you still need to have the energy to be able to train hard. Every single body is different and it reacts differently to various external factors, and that is why how much weight you can cut depends on certain characteristics.

Your gender, for example, will determine how much weight you can cut – women can cut less than men. Also, your current weight is another decisive factor because if you are heavier the chances to cut more are higher. And, if you have a lower body fat percentage you will be able to cut more weight. Strange right?

The explanation behind that is that muscles contain water while fat doesn’t contain as much as lean tissues. This means that it only makes sense for a guy who has 20% body fat to lose more weight than one who has 30%. And, another important factor that will play a huge role in your weight cutting efforts is your genetics – some people can cut weight easier than others.

All of these factors strongly encourage every fighter to do a test weight cut before starting their weight cutting diet. The results of the test will let you know where you stand and how much weight you can actually cut in a certain amount of time.  



High water intake to a low water intake

The human adult body is up to 60% water and we lose some of it constantly through breathing, sweating, or urinating. Increasing water intake and then reducing it, can actually help you cut body weight – on weigh-in day you should only have minimal sips. Fighters should not ignore their body’s reactions if they decide to follow the water restricted diet.

Let’s understand how this diet works and how this can contribute to cutting weight. By drinking more water at the beginning and then reducing the intake, you manipulate the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). The name might seem complicated, but the process is quite easy – this hormone system regulates blood pressure and fluid balance.

What we are doing is practically manipulating two hormones, aldosterone and antidiuretic hormone (ADH). The first causes an increase in both sodium and water reabsorption while the latter has the role to reduce sodium concentration by increasing water reabsorption. When you start drinking a lot of water, your body will respond by down-regulating the aldosterone.

Aldosterone is in charge of conserving sodium, and when its action is suppressed you end up losing sodium by urinating it out of your body. When you stop drinking water, the body will not up-regulate aldosterone again immediately, which means that you will still eliminate water as frequently as before, even if you’ve stopped the water intake.


Reduce carbohydrate intake

In order to be able to notice a weight cut, on the week of the fight you have to eliminate starchy foods like pasta, rice, or bread from your diet. Also, you should avoid fruits and sugar. One week before your weigh-in, it is recommended that you lower the carb intake to almost half of your normal one.

You shouldn’t give up carbs all together because you will need to fill up your glycogen stores by the time you fight. Any Muay Thai fighter needs a lot of energy in order to do well in the ring, and a high percentage of the energy usually comes from glucose.

So, if you choose a zero carb diet you might not have enough energy on the day you fight. Refilling glycogen stores takes some time, and that is why you have to pay maximum attention to how many carbs you are consuming.

For every gram of carb you consume, you add extra three grams of water weight to your body so eating less carb will definitely help you cut water weight fast. But, eating less than half of what your body is used to is not a good idea.



Stay away from salt (not entirely)

You might be a bit confused because you have heard people saying that if the body gets too much sodium, it will retain water and if it doesn’t get any – you are right! – it will retain water. So, you might wonder how it actually works. Well, the answer is simple – just listen to your body, pay attention to how it reacts when it comes to salt intake and go from there.

So, you can start by trying to limit salt in your diet – this should help your body get rid of the water much easier and faster. What most fighters do in order to avoid sodium interfering with their diet, is to keep it low and they start to reduce it the closer they get to their fight. Also, some fighters say that they cut out salt entirely from their diet in the last 2 days.

But, like we have already mentioned, everybody is different and you need to understand how your body works. We have seen how important it is to reduce your carb intake, and in order to stimulate the fluid losses from your body, your salt intake should also be monitored.



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