Should fighters watch teammates competing ahead of their own fight? Coach Bryan Popejoy discusses the potential energy cost of doing so and the consequence in your own fight.

Your body is a holistic system, mobilising energy based on your brain’s perception of your environment.

The more emotionally invested you are, the greater the level of autonomic system arousal and the greater the energy cost, even if you physically do nothing… Your body is charged and ready to act, even if you deem yourself to be inactive!

For fighters yet to fight on that same show, watching your teammates is draining you.

Energy Cost

When I flew out to Thailand to compete at the amateur Muay Thai World Championships back in 2007, my corner team sat next to me, eagerly watching the new (at the time) Rocky Balboa in-flight movie.

Glancing across during a fight scene, I found my adrenaline levels going through the roof!

Because I was competing myself when we arrived in Thailand, the energy cost was just too much for me. I had to stop watching such emotive fight scenes.

This is an example of how draining even watching fights can be (if you’re emotionally invested).

In the end, I watched Rocky Balboa on the flight home again after the championships instead, and enjoyed it FAR more!

by Don Heatrick

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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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