Training & Diet for a Boxer
Boxing requires explosive force repeatedly over a long period of time. This makes the training and diet demands for a boxer quite strict if he wants to perform well against an opponent. While any diet and training program needs to be adapted specifically to the physiological needs of the specific boxer, there are general guidelines that can act as a starting point for an effective training program.
The strength-training program of a boxer needs to build both strength endurance and explosive power. In “The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Boxing,” author Robert G. Price advocates four-week training cycles in which the first and third weeks build strength endurance and the second and fourth weeks focus on explosive power. During the strength-endurance phases, a boxer’s exercises must have heavy weight with only one to eight repetitions per set. During the power weeks, the weight is decreased and eight to 15 quick repetitions per set are performed to improve the contraction time of fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Boxing requires the right mix of agility, power and speed in the ring. According to former heavyweight world champion Floyd Patterson, the best tools for a boxer to train his sport-specific needs are punching bags, jump ropes and a good sparring partner. Punching a speed bag improves hand quickness and dexterity, while a heavy bag can be used to work on power combinations and footwork. Though it is challenging for some boxers, Patterson advises working heavily on skipping rope sessions that are six to nine minutes long, as they improve a boxer’s footwork and endurance. As a training camp moves closer to a fight, the boxer must train with a sparring partner to work on his plan of attack and defense against an upcoming opponent.
According to the authors of “Combat Sports Medicine,” a boxer should eat approximately 70 to 75 calories per kilogram of body weight daily when in training. These calories should be divided into 60 percent to 65 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent to 30 percent fats and 15 percent to 20 percent proteins. A reduction in calories may be necessary if the boxer is trying to drop weight. He should always stay hydrated by drinking 15 ml to 30 ml of water for every kilogram of body weight.
A boxer needs to keep his performance high throughout a fight, and needs a good pre-fight meal to fuel his body. The specifics of the meal are the boxer’s choice, but it should be eaten no later than two or three hours before the fight. Low-glycemic foods such as whole grains and cereals are a good choice. Avoid foods that can make the boxer gassy or that he has never eaten before.
- Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images