What differentiates a good boxer from an average one is often not the level of skill: that can be built over the years.
It is the level of discipline and commitment: you might have the best coaches and boxing equipment at your disposal, but without ironclad will and a set routine, you won’t be able to realise your true potential.
Nutrition is a large part of discipline: it takes a lot to plan meals, keep in fighting shape, and get ready for that weigh-in.
To be a professional boxer, you have to have a professional boxer’s diet to make sure you’re always ready for the ring. What does that diet look like? Like a lot of other aspects of boxing, its all about balance. Anything too restrictive will have an adverse effect on your muscle mass, while anything too indulgent will leave you lethargic.
Carbohydrates get a lot of bad press, but they are essential for a boxer to be able to keep up their energy level. Carbohydrates are sugars that occur naturally in starchy and fibrous foods, and are your body’s primary source of energy. Overindulging, however, is the culprit when it comes to weight gain: excess glucose produced the breakdown of carbs, when not used it food, can be stored as fat.
Carbs aren’t just bread: they feature in a lot of foods that are important for fibre intake and digestion, such as vegetables and fruits. Carbs aren’t a problem – what’s important to watch out for is whether those carbs are complex or simple. Complex carbs take longer to break down, whereas simple carbs such as sweets, doughnuts, chocolate and pasta give your body an immediate surge of sugar. Try to eat whats closest to its natural form, such as:
Proteins are broken down into amino acids, which are what help build up your muscle after it is exhausted during training. Lean protein is ideal for boxers, especially those on a cut: it is less fatty and has all the benefits of muscle repair without the downside of weight gain.
Some lean protein sources are:
Vegetarian and vegan boxers don’t have to miss out on protein: some plant-based protein sources are:
To get in your target protein according to your bodyweight and the level of exercise you do in a day, you can also use whey protein powders or hemp or pea plant-based powders as shakes or to bulk up your meals. As mentioned before, though, it’s all about balance. Too much protein can lead to a strain on your kidneys, so balance it out with plenty of fiber.
Fats are what your brain needs to function: cutting fat out of your diet in hopes that it’ll help you stay lean will be counterproductive and make your meals unfulfilling, making you feel like you have to cheat on your diet. Healthy fats are necessary for your body and mind, and are a good way to gain necessary weight in a heavyweight boxer’s diet.
The trans fats that are a part of fried foods and processed treats such as crisps are what you want to avoid. Try naturally occurring fat in healthy doses to keep your body in top shape. These include:
Keeping all this in mind, what should a day of eating look like?
Morning: Try a boxer’s breakfast of smoked salmon and boiled eggs with avocada on a whole-grain bagel. For a veg option, trade in the salmon and eggs for a tofu scramble and have a good helping of oatmeal on the side. Make your goal to get a balanced plate of protein, fibrous carbohydrates and fats
Post-workout snack: Grab a protein shake to keep your energy up, and throw in some low-sugar fruit such as berries.
Lunch: A lean protein source, mixed, colorful vegetables and whole grains such as brown rice can be your go-to formula for a healthy midday meal.
Snack: A handful of mixed nuts and some fresh fruit, or a quinoa bar
Dinner: A stir fry with lean protein and mixed crunchy vegetables is a quick dinner strategy, and served over grains such as barley is a power-packed plate that keep you full and healthy.
Combine these nutrition tips for boxers with a workout plan for optimum results: try these heavy bag workouts or these at-home workouts for the best results. You don’t even have to be a boxer to use this boxer’s diet to lose weight: just restrict your portions while keeping your foundations the same, and it’s a lifestyle that’s suited to everyone.