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Why this Victoria’s Secret model loves working out like a cage fighter


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Photo: Beast Mode

While Gisele and Gigi are working on their jabs and hooks in the boxing ring, their catwalking counterpart Gracie Carvalho is taking her fight stance into a slightly more badass environment (if that’s even possible): a cage.

The Brazilian model’s a major fan of Muay Thai, a martial-arts discipline that brings nearly every inch of your limbs—hands, elbows, knees, and feet—into play. (Regular boxing, by contrast, only allows you to strike with your gloves.) In the three years since she’s started, Carvalho credits the sport with stilling her mind and helping her find inner peace, despite the fact that the workout’s seriously intense.

Muay Thai’s not just about getting boxer abs and sculpted shoulders.

“I started taking self-defense classes, and my coach suggested that I [try] Muay Thai, as he practiced himself and was teaching me some techniques,” says the model, who also dabbles in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. “I really liked it, so I decided to go to Thailand to train. I fell in love with the culture, sport, and the spirituality real Muay Thai fighters have.”

The experience motivated her to begin conditioning four days a week at Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City and Los Angeles, where she says her full-body workouts usually involve practicing combinations with hold pads. Her trip also inspired her designs for a capsule collection of female fighting apparel with the athleisure brand Beast Mode this past spring. (The collab, unsurprisingly, was a total knockout that flew off shelves and is no longer available.)

But boxer abs, sculpted shoulders, and cute shorts aren’t the extent of Muay Thai’s appeal. The best part of all might just be its ability to teach you how to combat a seriously worthy opponent: brain fog. That’s according to Carvalho’s trainer, Rafael Natal. “It’s going to make you feel more confident, and it works your mind—you have to be very focused and concentrate,” he says. You can see what he means watching the video below of the catwalker-cum-cage fighter in action. BRB, while I find my hand wraps.

Model Mia Kang is also a Muay Thai addict—thanks to the body confidence it brings. And for more cool girl-approved workouts, check out Nina Agdal’s guide to wellness in NYC.