Today I’m giving a little talk to a group of young, up-and-coming boxers for the Institute of Sport. Boxing nutrition can be a dangerous game but gone are the days of boxers letting their weight shoot up between competitive bouts and paying little attention to their diet. As sports nutrition develops and athletes become more aware of the impact of their diet on performance, dangerous practices of dehydration and extreme weight loss for boxers is (hopefully) becoming a thing of the past.
Weight management is still an important aspect of boxing nutrition and there are a few important things I will be telling the young athletes today…
- don’t let weight go above 5% of the weight limit category – losing this in a short period of time through dehydration and dietary restriction can lead to a suppressed immune system and reduced muscle strength, agility and concentration
- dehydration strategies before a weigh-in should only be undertaken as a last ditch attempt and with a well-hydrated status beforehand
- keep metabolism up by eating small, regular meals
- stick to low GI carbs for weight management and time carb intake around training i.e. pre- and post-workout
- low fat
- moderate, high-quality protein intake for muscle recovery
- lots of fruit and vegetables
An athlete’s nutrition plan should be first and foremost about keeping a healthy body, strong immune system and avoiding illness and injury. After this, individual needs dictate how much the diet can be used to boost performance but practices should always be safe and achievable.
So you wanna be a boxer? Have a little listen to Bugsy Malone to see if you’ve got what it takes…..