If you are into boxing, you might be interested in reading more about this sport and what it involves. Before starting and looking for the appropriate pair of gloves, we recommend that you read our recent post about this product category. It will probably help you with your decision.
Practicing any sport requires a lot of involvement on your end, and not only during the training sessions. Each person who decides to start practicing a sport does it for a different kind of reason. Some people simply want to keep being in shape, others do this as part of a healthy lifestyle, or for fun, but there are also individuals who make this their lives.
The last category is represented by professionals. Among all the people who decided to go pro, and make a living out of a sport, there are also the ones who chose boxing. If you think that professional boxers achieve results just by training a lot, you are very wrong.
Besides countless hours of training, they must maintain a very disciplined lifestyle and have to be very careful about what they eat.
What Should a Professional Boxer Eat?
Boxers must keep a consistently healthy diet in order to perform to their highest potential. Actually, this is true for most types of athletes. Contrary to what you may think if you watched the movie Rocky, you should know that drinking raw eggs is not required.
One of the major differences between boxers and other athletes is that they have to maintain their weight within a certain division to be able to compete. The only exception is the heavyweight category as there is no top weight cap.
There are three major components that make up the standard diet of a boxer: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
This category is crucial in order to maintain sufficient energy levels. Energy is released over the course of a day by eating the correct types of carbohydrates. Also, these increase stamina for workouts and competitions and replenish depleted glycogen levels as well.
You might have heard negative things about carbs in the diet and fitness world, but they are actually vital for a number of things including processing protein. We will discuss this category a bit later, but you should know that, usually, the body requires a 2 to 1 carb to protein ratio in order to process protein adequately.
Moreover, knowing your carbs is very important. There are good carbs and bad carbs, and they are distinguished by their effect on blood sugar levels.
Bad or simple carbs cause major fluctuations in blood glucose. That is why they are considered high glycemic. What happens when you eat bad carbs is that they assimilate too fast, and this floods the body with excessive amounts of sugar.
As a result, insulin is released in order to regulate the sugar, and this triggers a tired feeling also known as food coma. Going to lay down or sleep instead of burning off that sugar will result in it being stored as fat. Anything with a white or wheat flour base, pastries, or white bread, contains bad carbs.
Good or complex carbohydrates are low on the glycemic index. This is because they have a little immediate effect on glucose and insulin levels. They take much longer to absorb and, as a result, they provide long-lasting energy.
Complex carbs also help reduce cravings. They help in weight loss and maintenance as well. Another important characteristic of complex carbs is that they reduce the chance of diabetes and heart issues.
A few examples of foods that contain good carbs are sweet potatoes, beans, lentils, honey, fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread, or oats and rice.
Vegetarians and vegans might disagree, but protein is essential to the foundation, construction, and care of muscles. This is not important only for training and competition, but also for functioning in the day to day life.
Boxers particularly put a lot of effort on their bodies. Muscle fatigue, occasional pain, and injuries are often a big factor in their overall health. Proteins come to the rescue by preventing long-term muscle damage as they help with cell and tissue regeneration.
Still, do not be fooled that by eating protein you will get big, bulky, and veiny. That takes a whole new level of nutrition and training. Generally, nutritionists advise boxers to consume between 35 to 60% of their daily intake as protein.
The large variation is mainly because the body fat percentage a boxer needs to intake should be in accordance with his or her specific weight division.
Another essential thing is how the meat is prepared. It is important to avoid frying or breading so that the best results can be achieved. It is also necessary to have the appropriate carbohydrates, fiber, as well as hydration levels when eating higher amounts of protein.
Here are some examples of foods that contain protein and that should also be included in a boxer’s diet: lean chicken, fish, eggs, shrimp, lean beef, peanut and almond butter, beans, dairy such as cheese, cottage cheese, or Greek yogurt, as well as protein supplements like Casein, Whey, Pea, Hemp, or Rice.
As strange as it may seem, fats are also important in the diet of a boxer. That is because not all fats are created equal, and good fats should definitely be in the diet. These fats assist the body in maintaining energy, promoting cell building functions, and absorbing vitamins and minerals.
These good fats are also called unsaturated fats. There is also a category of essential fats that cannot be produced by our bodies like Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and can only be obtained through proper nutrition. These are also important in simulating brain health.
Competitive boxers take frequent punches in the head, so these essential fats are a crucial part of the diet. Anyway, even good fats need to be consumed with moderation. Seafood, olives, avocado, almonds, walnuts, and flaxseed, all contain good fats. The same goes for some oils, like Coconut, Macadamia, or Canola, and for fish oil or Flax oil supplements.
Often, water is not considered to be part of a diet. However, it is absolutely essential to a boxer’s overall health, performance, energy levels, weight loss, and so much more.
The specific hydration requirements are dependent on the person’s energy exertion and size, even though it can be quite difficult to drink too much water.
It is recommended to carry a water bottle with you as often as possible, and this does not refer only to boxers. It is common advice for the general population.
What to Eat and When to Eat
As mentioned above, the diet of a professional boxer should include carbs, protein, and fats. Also, a high level of hydration should be maintained. Still, if you think that this is it, you are, again, very wrong!
Knowing when to eat is just as important as knowing what to eat. For example, many nutritionists recommend the three meals per day plan which is not a good way to do things. The pause between one meal and another is too big and starvation kicks in. For a boxer, or for any sports practitioner for that matter, this method is a major no-no.
Just imagine training hard on an empty stomach when all you feel is hunger. Do you believe you could perform well in such conditions? Obviously, not! The six meals a day plan is more appropriate. You get to eat three main meals and three snacks.
This way, you will never overeat, you will never feel hungry, and you will be able to stay focused and perform well during your training sessions, and even in competitions.