Nutrition for Boxing Training
Boxing is no longer just for athletes as anyone regardless of their age can perform boxing as an exercise routine to improve their physical condition. However, boxing training is still considered as one of the hardest forms of training. It is a combat sport characterized by high pace and high intensity that includes both aerobic and anaerobic fitness as well as considerable skills.
Typically, boxers aim to have low body weight in order to have an advantage over their opponents since they are categorized according to their body mass. Unfortunately, many boxers falsely try to reduce their weight via extreme rapid weight loss practices which can negatively affect performance and compromise health.
Professional boxers should reach their weight target with steady and guided consultation with an Accredited Dietitian in order to maximize their performance.
Athletes as well as coaches need to understand that reducing weight in the long term involves body fat loss and can be achieved through a reduction in total energy intake. However, during this time it is important to follow a plan that will also satisfy hunger, fuels training and promote recovery.
Fruits & Vegetables
A boxer’s diet should include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to provide all the required vitamins and minerals to prevent illness and promote good health and recovery.
Since boxing is a high intensity sport, consuming adequate carbohydrate containing foods (breads, grains, cereals) is critical, especially before and after training sessions to provide fuel and promote recovery. Carbohydrate intake before exercise can help to restore sub-optimal glycogen stores, which is critical for prolonged periods of exercise.
Snack ideas (before training):
-Homemade granola bar
-A slice of bread with a tablespoon of honey
-Porridge with apple slices
Protein intake (meat, fish, meat alternatives, beans, dairy) should always be a part of a balanced diet in an athlete’s schedule and should be spread over the day in snacks and main meals to best facilitate recovery and growth (rather than only served in main meals).
Ideas to add protein to your meals:
- Omelette or salad with eggs
- Tuna sandwich or tuna salad
- Yogurt with nuts and fruits
- Black beans and quinoa burger
Many athletes in a desperate attempt to reduce their weight, reduce their fluid intake or even worse they do not replace sweat losses following training.
However, dehydration can be detrimental and harmful – particularly losses greater than 2-3% of body weight.
Dehydration in athletes can cause:
- Reduced aerobic/anaerobic capacity
- Decreased power output
- Impaired reaction time
- Affect cognitive performance
- Can worsen the consequences of concussion or head injury
- Athletes should drink fluids with all meals and snacks and drink during training.
- Any attempt to manipulate fluid intake should be done under the advice of an Accredited Dietitian.
Clinical Dietitian- Nutritionist, MSc
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Morton, J., Robertson, C., Sutton, L. and M, D. (2010). Making the Weight: A Case Study from Professional Boxing. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 20(1), pp.80-85.
Pettersson, S. (2013). Nutrition in olympic combat sports. Göteborg: Acta universitatis Gothoburgensis.
Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA). (2018). Boxing – Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA). [online] Available at: https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/factsheets/food-for-your-sport/boxing/ [Accessed 26 Jan. 2018].
Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA). (2018). Make Weight for Competition the Right Way – Sports Dietitians Australia. [online] Available at: https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/sda-blog/make-weight-competition/ [Accessed 26 Jan. 2018].