Boxing is a sport that requires strength, stamina, and endurance at the same time. For every boxer having a full understanding of what to eat is equally important as training if not more.
A professional boxer’s diet is completely different from yours as they require great levels of energy throughout the day for sparring and performing other exercises.
The right nutrition and rigorous training are what enable the boxers to show spectacular performances and supreme skills in the ring.
Proper nutrition is what ensures that boxers are maximizing their gains throughout their training and getting the best out of every session.
Importance of Diet in Boxing
Boxers need a high amount of nutrients in their diet to fulfill their energy needs before a sparring session and post-workout for effective recovery to build muscles.
Boxers take effective measures to control their diet based on their goal of weight loss or weight gain to compete in specific categories.
They don’t have an aim to build an aesthetically pleasing body because a toned physique is complimentary due to their rigorous training.
Boxing is a sport that offers numerous benefits for your overall health. But due to ineffective nutrition and not tracking your diet, you could be undoing all those health benefits.
As a boxer, you must maintain sufficient energy levels to recharge the depleted glycogen levels and get ready for your upcoming training session.
What Foods to Avoid as a Boxer?
By giving up on some food items and substituting them with other healthy choices you can make a big impact on your performance.
Let’s have a look at some foods and drinks that you might be consuming daily but they have a bad impact on your health and performance in the ring.
You might consider juice a healthy drink because of the misconceptions caused by big companies selling processed and fresh juices.
Juice is a low fiber sugar due to which it can rapidly penetrate the blood causing a sudden increase in blood pressure.
This is also followed by a sudden spike in insulin levels that give you a rapid burst of energy. But, just in a matter of minutes, you lose energy and become lethargic.
In addition to this, you also have an increased risk of sugar cravings, and you already know the negative impacts of sugar on your health.
Alcohol and Sodas
So, you cut down on those scrumptious cakes and sweets because you know how bad sugar is for your health. But, do you know how many calories are in your drinks?
No matter if you have a few pints after work on a Friday night or a glass while watching football, it can destroy your healthy eating habits.
According to research, a large glass of wine has as many calories as a large bowl of ice cream.
Apart from this alcohol can have negative impacts on your training and recovery. Alcohol impacts the brain’s ability to process information rapidly for up to 24 hours.
This means that your training and performance can be greatly affected just for the sake of a few drinks.
It can also have negative impacts on muscle growth during the recovery phase, you might also cause cramps and strains.
The majority of chicken producers pump saline water into the chicken before freezing it to keep the chicken juicy and flavorful.
This type of chicken has more sodium per ounce. Due to the high sodium count, water retention is caused in people consuming plumped chicken.
Due to these problems like high blood pressure, the risk of heart failure arises. If a normal chicken breast is weighing 5 ounces, after plumping it would be near 8 ounces.
The remaining 3 ounces is just water and sodium, due to this the manufacturer makes more profits and provides consumers with chicken that is damaging their health.
Especially when this plumped poultry is consumed as fried, it can have some serious negative impacts on your body and performance.
Researches have shown the high consumption of fried foods with type 2 diabetes and heart problems.
Yes, you heard it right the hype of considering dairy products healthy and essential for growth have been created by dairy companies to sell their products.
Green vegetables are enriched with calcium. Most people believe that milk is the best source of calcium but it has been proven wrong.
Consuming dairy produces mucus which can disrupt the digestive system. Most people complain about bloating and gas after drinking milk.
The processed dairy products are acid-forming, they can lead to stomach pain, gas, and diarrhea.
Effective Diet for Boxers
An effective diet for the boxer begins with a few basic notions. That is, eating in the right amount, balancing the nutrients, and consuming a variety of foods.
It is necessary to fulfill your cravings for all kinds of food and avoid the temptation to cut out any food group completely.
Boxing Diet Plan: Carbs
Carbohydrates are the powerhouse for your body. When you eat carbs, they are stored in your body in the form of glycogen.
While training, this glycogen is converted into glucose to meet the energy requirements of your body.
The foods that contain carbs are rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. You cannot get these nutrients without eating carbohydrates.
If you are not consuming in the required amount then you won’t have enough energy in the ring and won’t make it as a boxer.
If you feel like you are performing well in the ring despite sticking with a healthy diet then it’s time to change your boxing gear to boost your performance.
High Carb Foods
Now, keep in mind that there are two types of carbs:
- Good carbs are the ones that are complex and have a low glycemic index.
Some of the food that contains good carbs are:
- Whole grains like corn, brown rice, and oats.
- Fruits like bananas, oranges, and blueberries
- Vegetables including sweet potatoes, corn, beets, and peas
- Nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts
- Bad carbs are the ones that have a high glycemic index. You should avoid taking them, some common examples are white bread, white rice, and cereals.
When to Eat
Try to consume carbs earlier in the day like in breakfast and lunch. Eat the carbs before your training session so you have energy through the training.
If you are planning to eat before hitting the ring then eat your meal before 2-3 hours.
Boxing Diet Plan: Lean Proteins
Consuming the right amount of protein is very important for boxers due to their demanding training schedule.
Protein is essential for effective recovery after a sparring session, without the required protein intake your muscles won’t repair and grow properly.
Especially if you are following a low carb diet then the consumption of protein is very important for maintaining the energy levels in your body.
Not eating enough protein will surely lead to muscle loss and a drop in your boxing performance.
Typically, a boxer needs to take in more protein than normal people. It is recommended for boxers to take around 1.6 to 1.8 grams of protein per kg of their weight daily.
High Protein Foods
Some of the high protein sources to include in your diet are:
- Whole eggs
- Lean beef
- Tuna with water
- Chicken Breast
- Fat-free Greek yogurt
When to Eat
Consuming protein within 30-45 mins after a training session is very important, if your protein intake is not fulfilled then your muscles won’t be able to repair themselves.
And, also make sure to eat high protein foods for breakfast. It will help you in providing energy throughout the day as well as make your stomach feel full.
Boxing Diet Plan: Good Fats
Essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 are important for maintaining the health of bones and joints.
Just like carbs and proteins, fats are also used by your body to supply energy for a long time.
Fat acts as fuel for your muscles during training. They can be used by the body for long periods and supply energy gradually.
Good fats help in the internal body functions such as cell building, supply of energy, and mineral absorption.
The bad fats are the ones that are saturated, they are found in fast food, lamb, and milk products. You need to avoid them in order to stay fit.
Foods to Eat
- Canola oil
- Coconut oil
- Peanut Butter
When to Eat
They can be eaten any time of day, combine these foods with your normal meals for breakfast, and lunch.
The fibre intake comes automatically through your regular meals. It is a type of carbohydrate, you don’t have to worry about consuming fibre specifically if you are sticking to a nutritious diet already.
It helps you with digestion and maintaining bowel movements. A fast metabolism is crucial to take benefits of your meals.
If you are eating a strictly healthy diet but your digestion system is not strong then it would be of no benefit.
Suggestions for meals
As a boxer, eating to gain muscle or lose fat is not your concern. All you need is a balanced diet that supports your training and keeps your body healthy.
Everyone could tell you that you should avoid junk food, and eat healthily but what makes the difference is at what time you should eat.
Your body utilizes constant energy throughout the day. But as you step in the ring, the energy demand is increased immediately.
Should Boxers take 3 Meals a Day or 6 Meals a Day?
You might consider that eating 3 meals a day is a lot healthier than consuming 6 meals as you don’t want to be overweight by eating in high quantities.
But surprisingly eating 6 meals per day is healthy for your body and also supports your training.
Eating 3 large meals a day will cause overeating as you will be starving. This will cause the storage of fat cells in your body.
A boxer needs to eat only 2 big meals, one as breakfast and the other one about 2 hours before training.
The remaining 4 meals will be consumed in less quantity only to prevent starvation and to maintain the constant supply of energy.
Cheat Meals for Boxers
By banning the foods, you love, you are altogether increasing the craving to want them even more.
It’s impossible to keep yourself away from foods that you have been eating for a long time and you love them.
So, plan a cheat day once a month. It will help you to stay motivated to follow your diet for the rest of the week.
For boosting your boxing performance and to train effectively you need to have full control over your diet.
The time you spend recovering from training sessions and as a pre-workout is equally important as the time spent in the ring.
You might think that it’s very hard to give up on your favorite foods but once you notice the positive changes in your body when you start eating healthy, you will be motivated to stick with it for the rest of your life.