Crucial Diet and Exercise Tips for Boxers

The quality and intensity of your boxing training sessions is highly dependent on your diet and conditioning. If you’re gassed out after the first round, there’s not much hope for you. To make the most out of your training sessions, you need plenty of fuel in the tank. What you put into your body dictates what you get out of it, in addition to your baseline conditioning levels. Sit tight, because we are going to cover both of these aspects right now. Let’s talk about some general tips regarding your eating habits and your training.

Stay Consistent

First off, in both your diet or your exercise program, always be consistent. You cannot expect “world-class” results by putting in a “weekend warrior” effort. If you really want to become great boxer, you will behave like a great boxer ALL of the time.

On the diet side, this means building a daily meal plan based on good food choices and proper nutritional guidelines. It means prioritizing and sticking to your proper diet consistently. And it means keeping alcohol intake to a minimum (or cutting it out altogether).

In regard to your training, consistency is pretty simple: Show up every day. Sure, you may have stubbed your toe on your way out the door. That extra five minutes you took while stuck in traffic really set your day back, but if you care about improving your boxing abilities, you will show up and give it your best shot. Every day. The difference between a good boxer and a great boxer is that great boxers live their goals.

DIET: Track Your Calories

Boxing and conditioning for boxing are both metabolically expensive activities. Rough estimates state that men can burn up to 500 calories per hour while performing boxing training, while women burn about 400 per hour. Unless you’re trying to cut weight for a competition, you should be tracking your calorie intake and your weight to get an idea for your basal metabolic rate, and then ensure that you’re eating at least as many calories as you’re expending in a day.

If you are losing weight and feel tired or sluggish during training, try increasing your calories a bit. But always consult with your doctor before making any significant adjustments to your diet, just to be safe.

DIET: Favor Natural Foods Over Processed Ones

Your body runs well on clean energy sources, which are foods that aren’t highly processed. A good rule of thumb is that if you cannot harvest it, hunt for it or fish for it — you should not be eating it. Stick with foods closest to their natural state, and no, pizza does not grow on trees. 

As you train vigorously and the sweat starts pouring, you start to lose nutrients. Minerals like calcium, sodium, magnesium, and potassium are all vital electrolytes that are lost in sweat while training. You need to replenish these after every workout to prevent cramps, dehydration, fatigue, weakness and a whole slew of other negative side effects. Sports drinks can help offset some of this effect, but they tend to do so in the form of sugary drinks that bring additional negative side effects. Whole foods, on the other hand, deliver those same electrolytes, without a bunch of added sugar, while also delivering other critical elements like fiber, protein, and good fats. Additionally, natural foods contain trace elements and micronutrients that are often lost during processing. By favoring natural foods, you can avoid micronutrient deficiencies that can hinder your athletic performance.


DIET: Avoid a Heavy Meal Right Before Training

Beginning your workout too soon after eating a heavy meal can slow you down significantly. As a general rule, it’s best to stay away from very heavy, slow-digesting foods like meats right before training.

After eating a meal, your digestive system will pull blood into your central organs to help them break down and digest your food for energy. If you attempt to train on a full stomach, chances are you are going to be more out of breath given that less oxygen-rich blood is available to supply to the muscles (because it’s all in the digestive system). You will feel sluggish and definitely won’t be able to put in your full effort. Stick with lighter foods before training and make sure to wait at least two hours after eating to start your workout.

TRAINING: Track Your Progress Closely

If you’re not making progress throughout your workout routine, then you are wasting your time; however, don’t expect to completely outdo yourself on every drill during each subsequent workout. You should continually strive to get a little better during each workout. Make sure to look out for even small increases in performance: one more rep, a few hundred more strides, a few seconds off of that mile time.

Any bit of progress that you make in your training is a significant one. Generally speaking, progress in one exercise or drill will carry over into other aspects of your training. The sum is greater than the parts, meaning that you should focus on improving the overall package without getting hung up in any specific area.

TRAINING: Don’t Skimp on Equipment

Just like in football or basketball, boxing can be a tough sport. While some wear and tear is inevitable, you can reduce it by using protective boxing gear. You would be crazy not to step into the ring without a groin protector, but aside from that, you cannot forget the essentials like a mouth guard, headgear, gloves and hand wraps. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

boxing gloves

TRAINING: Focus on the Fundamentals

When it comes to boxing, aim for substance over style. Learn the fundamentals and spend plenty of time drilling those aspects of the sport. Things like footwork, proper blocking technique, how to slip, how to throw a punch correctly (while maintaining your guard) — all these go a much longer way than trying to learn a few flashy combinations on day one. Spend extra time on your footwork, as good footwork creates offensive opportunities and helps you defend attacks.

In summary:

  • Be consistent.
  • Track what you eat.
  • Eat natural foods.
  • Don’t wait any less than two hours after eating to start your training.
  • Challenge yourself during each workout.
  • Buy quality boxing gear.
  • Focus on the basics.

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