The truth is, the traditional fight camp is dead. Today, we’re here to discuss a groundbreaking shift in mindset that modern fighters are using in their approaching training, a shift that can take your performance to a whole new level.

It’s time to challenge the traditional fight camp mindset and embrace a continuous, progressive approach that will transform you into a different fighter within a year, and beyond.

by Don Heatrick

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The Limitations of the Traditional Fight Camp

In the world of Muay Thai, the traditional fight camp has long been the norm – and it’s served us well!

It’s an approach that largely views training in binary terms – either in fight camp, leading up to a specific fight date, or completely out of camp in a phase of physical recovery and maintenance, and in technical and tactical skill development.


However, this approach often results in stagnant athletic performance, with fighters merely striving to reach the same peak as their last fight.

It’s time to break this cycle! Picture this: a dynamic, progressive program that keeps us consistently improving both our skills AND athletic abilities.

No more spinning our wheels; just constant growth and development. When a fight date approaches, we’ll be ready to fine-tune what we’ve been working on, leading to peak performance with ease.

Changing The Fight Camp Mindset

Now, I know you might be wondering, “Why change? The old approach has worked so far.” But let me ask you this: have you ever considered looking beyond the next fight? Imagine where you want to be in five fights from now – stronger, faster, and more relentless than ever.

We often fall into the trap of “present bias” and “hyperbolic discounting,” favouring short-term rewards over long-term gains.

But, with a new perspective, we can achieve more significant victories.

Let’s step away from the tunnel vision of fight dates and view our training as a continuous journey of growth.

Training-Plan-boom-and-bust-training-vs-long-term-fight training

Yes, fights are crucial, but they should be milestones in our progress, not the sole focus of our efforts.

By understanding and countering our cognitive biases, we can temper our struggle with self-control and delayed gratification and optimise our training for long-term success, while punctuating with peak points that align with fight dates.

Ditch the “fight camp” attitude and consider your training a never-ending journey.

New Fight Camp Momentum

The key is to balance technical and tactical skill training with athletic performance training consistently between fights. By doing so, you’ll experience the power of compounding gains – both aspects of total performance will reinforce each other over time, killing stagnant cycles and leading to exponential growth.

Now, I know fight dates provide motivation and focus, but what happens in between?

Many fighters lose momentum during these periods, which hampers their overall progress. But here’s the secret: a well-planned, progressive training program.

Imagine this: after a fight, we give ourselves time for recovery before jumping back into training with a solid plan in hand. No more starting from scratch; instead, we build on our progress and climb higher into our full athletic potential.


Elastic & Plastic Fight Camp?

So, let’s get practical. How do we make this new approach work for us? In one word, “priorities”!

Prioritising different elements at different stages of your training ensures consistent progress and continuous growth in your athletic performance. By periodising your training like this, say goodbye to temporary peaks that come and go and embrace long-term increases in your baseline athletic ability.

So, let’s sum up this is the new fight camp approach using my own terminology…

First we have Elastic PEAKING; where we prioritise short-term fight preparation, temporarily boosting performance above your current baseline, while keeping an eye on the bigger picture.

Then there’s Plastic PROGRESS; A focus on long-term performance gains, building a strong foundation for lasting improvement that moves your baseline higher.

And finally, Plastic & Elastic PRACTICALITY; Finding the perfect blend of both approaches, shifting your performance baseline ever higher, while temporarily peaking where needed too, so you thrive in and out of the ring.

Reimagining the Future of Muay Thai Fighters

Remember, consistency is the key. Modern Muay Thai fighters are no longer confined to the boom-and-bust cycles of traditional fight camps. Instead, they prioritise continuous progress, ensuring that every step they take is towards becoming a completely different and improved fighter within a year, and beyond.

By adopting this new mindset, you’re not just training for the next fight – you’re investing in your future as a Muay Thai warrior.

Embracing a more openminded approach to the traditional fight camp unlocks more of a fighter’s true potential, and redefines what it means to be a Muay Thai fighter. The future of Muay Thai is waiting for us, and I can’t wait to see the incredible fighters you’ll become. Let’s embark on this journey together and show the world what we’re made of!

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.

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