If you're involved in the world of MMA, boxing, Muay Thai or any other combat sport, you've probably come across an athlete or fighter wearing a sauna suit. It's hard to miss - especially because most of the suits out there look like shiny garbage bags. You've also probably wondered what the point of a sauna suit is - is it for weight loss? Is the sauna suit to keep their muscles and joints warm? Does the sauna suit help fighter's cut weight?
All of the above. But there's more. We quickly went over it in our Fighter's Glossary, but it deserves a longer explanation. Keep reading to find out what a sauna suit is, what it's purpose is and where you can find the best sauna suit for MMA, boxing and weight loss.
WHAT IS A SAUNA SUIT?
A sauna suit for MMA and boxing is a set of pants and a shirt/jacket that is typically used to increase sweating, blood circulation and weight loss. It’s usually recommended that sauna suits are to be worn by professionals only, because there can be a risk of losing too much water, which can lead to a host of other issues.
Sauna suits are often worn by boxers, MMA fighters and athletes in other sports to lose the last bit of weight / water weight before a competition.
WHY DO FIGHTERS WEAR SAUNA SUITS?
Fighters try to weigh in at the lowest weight class physically possible for themselves to make, because it can then translate to an advantage during the fight. For example, let’s say that you walk around at 180lbs, but you fight in the 155lbs division. If you’re able to lose 25 lbs and weigh in at 155lbs, which typically involves dehydration, you can then regain some weight right before the fight. That extra weight during the fight can lead to a significant advantage over your opponent.
The problem is, some fighters take this to the extreme and lose an obscene amount of weight before a fight to try to get the biggest physical advantage possible during the fight. This has led to some pretty shocking moments at weigh ins where fighters either get lightheaded or look extremely unhealthy.
Take a look at the photos of Conor McGregor below. On the right, McGregor cut down to 145lbs to take on Dennis Siver. On the left, he cut down to a healthy weight of 155lbs to fight Dustin Poirier at UFC 257. Just comparing the two, there’s a pretty clear difference in how “healthy” he looks.
While this isn’t the worse case of weight cutting (there are a few instances where fighters were in danger), it shows just how far some athletes are willing to go to get that competitive weight advantage.
The discussion about extreme weight-cutting is one that rages on and continues to divide opinion amongst fighters, coaches, fans, and the media.
Of course, to lose weight, MMA fighters, boxers, wrestlers and other athletes follow strict exercise routines and diets. But that can only take you so far. When you walk around 25lbs over competition weight with a relatively lean physique, you usually have to push your body to it’s limits to make weight. Again, this often involves dehydration – salt baths, decreased water intake, decreased carbohydrate intake (carbohydrates hold onto water) and working out in sauna suits.
HOW DO SAUNA SUITS HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS?
Sauna suits aren’t very breathable and trap body heat. The best sauna suits effectively trap heat to make you sweat more. When you exercise, you typically wear breathable clothing – cotton, polyester blends and mesh. The purpose of breathable clothing is to keep you cool during your workouts. When you start sweating, that sweat begins to evaporate and cools you off in the process. With a rubberized sauna suit trapping all body heat inside and limiting exposure to the cool air, you don’t get that cooling effect, which increases body temperature and makes you sweat even harder.
By trapping body heat, a sauna suit increases body temperature and thermogenic activity. That’s just a fancy way of saying it’ll boost the amount of calories your body burns, increase blood circulation to and from your muscles and cause you to sweat like crazy. Fighters and athletes love this because it means that they can cut water weight before a fight easier than if they were to wear standard gym clothes.
You’ve probably also noticed that sweating pushes you to work even harder. When the sweat starts dripping, it’s a nice psychological motivator that you’re paying your dues and putting in the work, which pushes you to get in the zone and work even harder.
WHAT IS THE BEST SAUNA SUIT FOR MMA, BOXING AND WEIGHT LOSS?
The best sauna suits and sweat suits have a rubberized inside lining (rubber isn’t breathable, which increases body temperature and limits the cooling effect of sweating) and are made with a high quality polyester exterior shell. In our case, we’ve added some features to take the sauna suit to the next level – adjustable wrist straps, ankle straps, a drawstring waist and a cinched neck. These features prevent heat escape, which increases body temperature, boosts caloric burn and sweating. They also look pretty great – it doesn’t hurt to look good during your training. I personally don’t like extremely baggy clothing, so this is a nice combination of functionality and style.
As someone that loves MMA and trains regularly, I’ve tried everything on the market. 99% of the sauna suits on Amazon and other websites are total crap – they look like garbage bags and rip incredibly easily. That’s why we’ve spent the better part of a year developing the Contender Sauna Suit – the best sauna suit for MMA, boxing and weight loss - full stop.
We designed the Contender Sauna Suit alongside athletes and some of the world’s experts in athletic-wear manufacturing. Not only is it effective (makes you sweat.. a lot), but it’s also made with premium materials to ensure a lasting service. No more rips after one hard training session or an overextended roundhouse kick. It truly is the best sauna suit for MMA, boxing and weight loss out there.