In case you are planning on practicing boxing, we recommend that you read our recent article about boxing gloves. You can check it out here!
Besides getting the right equipment which is, of course, very important, it would be good to also learn a thing or two about the sport you are about to discover. You should know that training alone will not offer you the best results. You should also have the proper diet, so knowing what to eat, how to eat, and when to eat is just as important.
Also, it is one thing to train a couple of times a week, and a very different one if you decide to go pro. In this article, we would like to discuss about diet, and how professional boxers lose weight. You will find out soon enough why this aspect needs to be addressed as well.
A Balanced Diet
A proper eating regime is vital for everybody in order to sustain good health and normal weight. However, when it comes to athletes, their case is a bit different than simply avoiding cholesterol, commercial sweets, saturated and trans-fats.
Boxers, particularly the professional ones, will not be able to properly function and perform by simply avoiding junk food and eating more vegetables and fruits. Just like most types of athletes, pugilists need to stick to a correct diet program.
They have to eat right in order to produce enough energy for optimal physical performance, get the necessary nutrients for fast muscle development and recovery, decrease excess body fat, as well as reduce sluggishness and tiredness during matches.
Therefore, a boxer’s diet should consist of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. They must also keep being hydrated, so drinking a lot of water is necessary for a good overall health.
Boxers often experience torn muscle ligaments which results in feeling exhausted and in relative body pain. Proteins have a vital role in regenerating the muscles, cells, and tissues, but also in increasing muscle mass, as well as preventing long-term muscle damage. They are also a great source of energy. For this reason, proteins are so important in any boxer’s diet.
Good sources of protein are lean chicken, eggs, lean beef, cheese and milk curd, beans, peanut butter, lentils, soy, hemp, or fish, especially salmon, tuna, cod, tilapia, and halibut.
When it comes to meat, it is recommended to opt for lean meats so that extra saturated fat and cholesterol can be avoided. Also, it is advisable to select a different cooking method than frying or breading.
Since boxing is an aerobic type of physical activity, it requires high energy levels, especially for 12, three-minute rounds. A pugilist should consume foods that provide the right proportion of power, strength, and body weight. These elements are best maintained with sources of high energy as well as low fat.
Carbohydrates gradually release energy over the course of the day, they increase stamina during training sessions and matches, and they also replenish the depleted glycogen levels.
Good carbs, meaning those that do not negatively affect the sugar levels, can be found in foods such as sweet potatoes, peas, beans, lentils, whole grain bread, rice, oats, honey, or fruits.
There are bad fats and there are good fats. People who do not know much about nutrition might find this a bit strange. However, good fats are actually necessary for a good functioning of the body, especially for people who make a lot of physical effort every day.
These beneficial fats have a key role in maintaining internal body functions like energy supplying, cell building, as well as mineral and vitamin absorption. There are also the essential fats that our bodies cannot produce, so they have to be obtained through nutrition. These are called Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
They can be found in foods like meat, especially fatty beef, pork, lamb, or poultry with skin, lard, butter, or cream and cheese. Also, even more recommended, you can find good fats in various types of seeds and fish like salmon or cod.
You should know that water is vital in maintaining optimal health and that it plays a very important role in any physical activity you might be planning. For a boxer, water is necessary in order to stay focused, energetic, and strong.
It is recommended to drink water a few hours before a training session or a match, during, and after these activities. Otherwise, dehydration is very likely to kick in.
How Do Professional Boxers Lose Weight?
Following a balanced diet and including all the elements mentioned above is essential when it comes to ensuring good overall health and for maintaining weight. Still, in the world of professional boxing, fighters often need to lose weight.
In combat sports, there is an area that pretty much all competitors must face and few look forward to. Cutting weight is a skill in itself and it is a part of a professional boxer’s job. Fighters who agree to compete in a particular weight class are expected to show up as well as to make weight.
To make things clear, cutting weight is a practice of rapid weight loss before a competition. Pugilists dehydrate themselves in order to be able to compete within their specific weight class. A boxer can lose up to 30 pounds within a 48-hour period. In a professional match, after the weigh-ins, fighters are given 24 hours to rehydrate themselves before the competition.
In other words, a fighter weighing in at 170 pounds on Friday could show up to the Saturday match weighing 190 or 200 pounds.
There are many techniques used to dehydrate the body. Most boxers have their own routine to lose weight. These methods can include low-intensity exercise while wearing a sauna suit, Epsom salt baths, sitting in a sauna, decreased water intake, laxatives, or diuretics.
The Reasons Behind Cutting Weight
Such weight loss can create a great advantage for a fighter and have a substantial effect on the outcome of the fight. When boxers cut weight, they do it to gain a size advantage over their rival. In the world of professional fighting, size really matters.
The bigger a fighter is, the harder he or she hits. The harder the hits, the more exhausted the opponent becomes. A pugilist who masters how to effectively cut weight will always have the upper hand.
No matter what technique is used, there are many risks that are linked to losing large amounts of weight in a short amount of time. Some of them are poor performance, increased blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and even increased risk of injury.
It is important to keep in mind that cutting weight should never be tried without medical supervision and an experienced coach.
Since our bodies are mostly made of water, when dehydration occurs, it puts the body in a massive state of shock. As a result, everything stops functioning the way it should, and weakness, tiredness, and brittleness start to kick in.
Even performing simple tasks becomes hard. Pugilists need to make sure they know exactly how much weight they can cut and put back in order to ensure optimal performance. It is a shame to see an experienced fighter cut too much weight and lose the match because of this.
Cutting weight becomes even more dangerous in amateur fighting. Amateur boxers are expected to make weight and fight within a few hours of weigh-ins.
Because of the short amount of time between the weigh-ins and the competition, these pugilists need to make sure they take every precaution they can in order to avoid cutting too much weight, for both health and performance purposes.
Practicing any sport on a professional level is both beautiful and terrible. Behind every victory and excellent performance, there is a lot of hard work, discipline, tears, and sweat involved.
Even though boxers can maintain their weight constant by having the right diet, they often need to lose weight before a match. Cutting weight is a skill itself and needs to be attempted with caution.