by Don Heatrick

For a Muay Thai newbie, gains are quick, and therefore motivation is high. But inevitably, progress slows and only those that continue to feel progress will keep at it.

In this video I show you practical strategies to remain “on it” even if you don’t have a fight coming up…


For many fighters in Thailand, their next fight is their only motivation… in reality, for Thais the money they earn for themselves and their family is the primary motivation…

The basic needs according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

But Western fighter’s needs can afford to be higher up this pyramid.

To remain motivated, Western fighters need something else. Something more.

Understanding this, and speaking to your needs will motivate you to keep getting better – when others fall by the wayside.

Anyone who’s trained in Thailand for extended periods will have experienced training monotony.

A long run of unchanging days ahead, with little variation in activities, and usually, little in the way of progressive, structured training intensity.

In this situation, the next fight date serves as a fighter’s main motivation.

But when a fight isn’t planned, motivation, along with progress can slip.

It’s often said that where motivation fails, discipline must take over. And although this is true… It’s possible to be motivated by your training, not just an imminent fight date.

This kind of intrinsic motivation separates the truly successful from the moderately successful… regardless of competitive level.

“Success” is improving yourself, getting better – not just winning championship titles.

Personal growth is success, and that’s relative.

I train many “Thai boxers” that haven’t fought yet – some never intend too. And others are now done fighting and just want to remain active and move better in their Muay Thai training – to either keep up with, or better the youngsters coming into the sport.

Personal progress is motivation.

In fact, Harvard’s Teresa Amabile‘s research found that nothing is more motivating than progress.

You don’t always need a fight date to achieve progress…

I’d go as far as to say that unless you’re relatively new to Muay Thai, too many fights, packed too closely together will hamper athletic progress…

You can be in a constant state of licking your wounds, and heading out to repeat your next fight with the same physical foundation as last time, rather than improving it.

In fact, many find their physical foundation deteriorates rather than improves!

This isn’t sustainable, and many Thai boxers find this out the hard way.

Sustainable training is the key to not only realising your potential in Muay Thai, but also your long-term enjoyment of it.

When you’re training is sustainable, you get real long-term results and genuine motivation.


You enjoy things you’re getting better at, even if it’s hard task. We’re addicted to progress.

The more difficult something is to do, and the better you become at it, the more you tend to enjoy it! Muay Thai attracts characters like this – we love the buzz!

But progress over the long-term doesn’t happen by accident…

Rule 1 – Choose to work on things that matter

Set meaningful monthly training goals that progress with you.

Get help from your coaches to do this if you need to… the quality of your goals hugely affects your progress.

As well as technical and tactical Muay Thai goals (such as getting 15 mins of clinch practice with larger training partners every session…

Or finish two sessions per week with 5 rounds of counter kicking drills with an aggressive medium range Muay Mat style training partner) …

Also break down your athletic goals, such as mobility, stability, strength, power, speed or endurance…

For example, adding an adductors-muscle release, open and anchor exercise routine to your warm up at least three times per week to open up your groin & hips for better kicking…

Or performing 3 sets of 5 reps of barbell loaded squat jumps with appropriate load every week, to improve explosive power.

Rule 2 – Get together everything you need

You must give yourself the resources to get these tasks done!

Make sure you have access to training partners, coaching expertise, and to the training facilities and the equipment you need too.

And this also includes investing the time needed for these priority tasks as well.

Making do will choke your progress… Be realistic, but if you can, go all in.

Rule 3 – Form a team

Work with encouraging individuals and teams to support you.

Sharing your goals with a support team will help you really get stuck in and complete them. This support team can also help remove any obstacles so you can work at your peak level.

Genuine encouragement and enthusiasm is infectious. Surround yourself with the right people and you’ll go further, faster.

Rule 4 – Stick to the plan

Remain focused on your goals and be careful not to become distracted, wasting time and effort heading in the wrong direction.

Don’t change or re-prioritise your goals part way through. Finish what you started each month.

Rule 5 – Show progress

If you and your coach set good goals, you should be able to quantify if you completed them or not, and they should improve your Muay Thai performance.

Don’t focus on negatives. Instead remove obstacles, design out any struggles to produce more consistent progress in the future.

However small, celebrate successfully completing all milestone tasks along the way to a bigger target. Each and every step in the right direction really adds up when you remain consistent.

When you approach your training in this way, progress goes up, motivation goes up, enjoyment goes up!

When fighters are well supported and finally structure their training in a meaningful way, you begin to hear comments like, “I now look forward to getting to the gym.” and “I’m having the most fun right now.”

For training to be sustainable you must enjoy the journey…

Swerve monotony. Have fun developing that fight engine along with drilling the skills.

And to help you understand what goes into developing an effective fight engine, whatever your level of training or competition, I’ve put together a free Optimal Fight Camp Blueprint for you to download – and a supporting video series “The Science of Building Champions”.

There’s a link with this video.

And if you liked this video, please hit like button below, share with your friends and be sure to subscribe.

And I would love to hear your feedback. So leave me some comments below and let me know what you thought of these tips and if you are going to use them.

Thank you, and I’ll catch you next time.

Every so often, an opportunity emerges that can redefine how we train, fight, and thrive.

Today marks one such epic day! The coveted Heavy Hitters Barebones program is swinging its doors open – a golden chance that surfaces just twice a year.

Heavy Hitters Barebones

Doors Remain Open For…


If you purchased either the S&C Accelerator or Minimum Equipment Program (or both) in the past, here’s the deal:

Email me with your login username (email address), and I’ll send you a coupon code to take that amount off of your Heavy Hitters purchase. Commitment has its rewards!

Why does this matter for every western Muay Thai enthusiast, fighter, or coach?

Why Heavy Hitters is Different:

  • Streamlined Efficiency: The life of a Muay Thai enthusiast, coach, or fighter, especially in the West, is brimming with demands. Heavy Hitters understands that. No need for endless hours. You need potent, impactful hours. This program is your answer.

  • Real-world Results: From enthusiasts in Australia to champions in the USA, the feedback is unanimous – Heavy Hitters changes the game. Take it from Paul Banasiak:

     “From broke and broken to moving and competing better than ever. Since working with Don 3 years ago, I haven’t had a single major issue. Don gave me the confidence that has translated itself into three straight knockout wins and a WBC title.”

  • Holistic Training: It’s not merely about more power in your punches or lasting longer. It’s about cultivating a body that’s nimble, powerful, and resistant to injuries.

  • Be Part of Something Greater: Beyond the program lies a fraternity, a global assembly of like-minded souls, all driven by the singular passion to redefine their Muay Thai boundaries.

If tales of triumph intrigue you, delve deeper into Jonathan Lane’s saga – from grappling with an ACL recovery amid fatherhood to clinching the MTA NSW State Title. His secret weapon? The Heavy Hitters program.

Seize your golden chance to level up your Muay Thai journey. Remember, the doors to Heavy Hitters Barebones will shut on midnight 31st May and won’t swing open again until November 2024…

But here’s the silver lining – even if you’re not geared up to start immediately, you can reserve your spot in this cohort and start your training whenever you’re ready.

Discover Everything About Heavy Hitters Here!

Don Heatrick

Founder of Heatrick Strength and Conditioning

Don Heatrick is a family man from the UK, former mechanical design engineer, European Muay Thai silver medallist, former pro Thai boxer (ranked 4th in UK while aged 40-years), a Muay Thai coach, podcast host, and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.

Don helps ambitious fighters and coaches take their game to the next level by bridging the gap between Strength & Conditioning, Performance Science, and Muay Thai.

Follow Don Heatrick on Instagram:

Want to help us invest even more in providing free content? …You can donate here


The Science of Building Champions video series
The science of building a Muay Thai champion’s strength & conditioning, which results in…
  • Fastest possible short-term progress
  • Maximum long-term progress
  • More efficient movement patterns
  • Better technique
  • Relentless endurance (never gas out)
  • Reaching athletic potential as quickly and efficiently as possible (without wasting time on things that aren’t worth doing)
  • Free up more time for technical training AND life!
  • The Optimum 12-Week Fight Camp