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This Is What Preparing For a Muay Thai Fight Looks Like

Discipline and sacrifice.

“Mistakes are always forgivable if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee


Competing in a combat sport is a serious endeavor that takes both discipline and sacrifice to prepare for. Let’s take a look at exactly what makes up a “fight camp.”

Length of a Camp

The length of a fight camp typically runs between 4-10 weeks but depends greatly on how far in advance a fighter gets matched with an opponent, and can be shorter or longer depending on the fighter’s physical condition.


During camp the fighter and their coach(es) focus on 3 main things:

  1. Strategy/technique: Sharpening the tools that they believe will work against their opponent via padwork, drilling, sparring, etc.

  2. Cardio, strength, and conditioning: Reaching peak overall conditioning through cardio work (sprinting, steady state cardio, etc.) and functional weight training

  3. Weight cut: Losing body fat and cutting water (see below) to make fight weight

Fighters must simultaneously balance more intense training sessions (often more than just 1 session daily) with a modified diet and calorie deficit, depending on how much weight they need to lose.


The intensity of the workouts generally ramps up at the beginning of camp with the most intense sessions taking place in the middle and leading up to the end. During the final week of camp the workouts will be less intense to allow the fighter to fully recover from the weeks of hard training.


Proper tools for recovery are essential during a training camp in order to tackle the tough sessions day after day, week after week, and avoid injury. Fighters will typically take a rest day each week and utilize treatments such as, ice baths, sauna, massage, sports medicine, etc. Proper sleep is imperative during camp both for muscle recovery, as well as weight loss.

Water Cutting

Water cutting is the practice of quickly and temporarily shedding water weight for weigh-ins, in order to maintain a heavier actual weight (and in theory be more powerful) for the day of the fight. Water cutting, done in conjunction with fasting, can be achieved through active dehydration methods such as jogging, shadowboxing, and light padwork or through passive methods such as sauna or hot bath.

Essential to a successful water cut is prioritizing the rehydration process following. This involves fluids – Pedialyte, coconut water, and anything else that will replenish electrolytes quicky – as well as lots of carbs to gain back energy after fasting.

Water cutting is a common practice but can be extremely dangerous if done incorrectly or irresponsibly. A bad water cut can result in a negative effect on the fighter’s cardio, strength, and the ability to take damage. Some fight organizations are trying to minimize the practice of water cutting with hydration testing, although currently these tests are still not cheat proof.

In Summary

Fight training camp, by design, is an arduous process that not everyone is cut out for. It is meant to prepare you both physically and mentally for the stress of being in a ring or cage. Some will say that the camp is harder than the fight itself. So, what do you think – do you have what it takes to be a fighter?



Amy Duke is a professional Muay Thai fighter based in New York city. She recently won the WBC North American Muay Ying Prestige title, was a contestant on The Challenger: Battleground Season 2 and represented Team USA in the 2023 IMFA World Championships. We had the chance to chat with Amy and here’s what she had to say:

On her recent win and the road ahead…

What have you been up to since winning the North American Muay Ying Prestige title? How does it feel to be the title holder?
I’ve been trying to be a normal person for a bit; trying to relax my lifestyle because it’s so regimented in fight camp. Just chillin’ and eating. Winning the title feels good – I feel like I’m helping to show the other fighters a way to go. Everyone’s journey is different, but it feels good to show them a way

What’s next for you?
I don’t have anything planned at the moment. I’ve been looking for a fight in December.

What’s your ultimate goal for fighting?
I want to be a world champion and fight the best in the world.

On strategy and getting into the zone…

You fight southpaw, but you’re right-handed. Do you think being southpaw is an advantage?
I think it definitely can be an advantage. I obviously have good control over it so I can play with the guard and throw heavy shots with my lead hand. But I definitely rely on my cross for my power shots so maybe I am making a mistake.

What’s your routine look like on fight day?
I basically meditate the entire day trying to keep myself calm. Joe [my fiancé] and I sometimes move around a bit to shake out some nerves. We go to the botanical garden. I do some movement and yoga… more meditation.

And what do you like to do in the warm-up room?
I listened to a podcast about how you can “load your working memory” before a fight. I like to create the best scenario for doing stuff without thinking, so I always practice the game plan and the positions that we think I’ll end up in. Joe always will move with me and act like my opponent. I try to just rep the things I practiced in camp is the short answer.

What kind of advice do you like to get in the corner?
I always like to know if my corner thinks I’m up or down, I like to be told what’s working and what’s not, and if I am doing something stupid like leaving an obvious opening.

What do you like to do after you fight (when you’re not getting stitched up)?
Honestly, a lot of the time I just want to go home and hang with Joe and Bum [a ridiculously cute low-rider, senior dog]. Fight night can be so over-stimulating, so mostly I just want to chill at home on the couch.

Rapid fire…

Pads or sparring
In fight camp, pads, outside of fight camp, sparring

Guacamole or salsa

Toilet paper: Over or Under
Over, like in a hotel right?

Friday night or Saturday morning
Saturday morning

Choose 1 for the rest of your life: crocs or chicken sandwiches



Muay Thai is made up of various fighting styles, each focusing on specific weapons and strategies, ranging from "all-out aggression" to "masterful calculation."

Muay Khao style fighters are knee-striking whizzes who have an arsenal of techniques that can work their magic at various distances. Yes, knees aren't just for wobbly legs; they can deliver fight-ending blows!

But that's not all - Muay Khao champs are the kings and queens of clinching. They get up close and personal, throwing knees to the body with the finesse of a chef creating a five-star meal. It's like hugging your opponent while sneakily attacking their midsection. The catch? It takes as much finesse as cooking and the stamina of a marathon runner.

Their secret weapon? Wearing down opponents in a clinch-a-thon and scoring points with those sneaky body shots. So, in a sense, they're the ultimate huggers in the ring – just with a lot more action.

Today, Muay Khao fighters reign supreme, and they've helped create a bunch of stadium champions in Thailand. Who would've thought that knee strikes and bear hugs could be this entertaining?