Weight loss is very important for boxers if they want to successfully make weight for an upcoming bout.
Although this is typically more important for boxers outside of the superheavyweight (amateur) and heavyweight (professional) divisions, Anthony Joshua’s recent success against Andy Ruiz was largely attributed to his ability to constantly move around the ring, which was almost certainly benefitted by the fact he had lost a considerable amount of body weight since their first fight six months prior.
For any boxer who needs to lose weight, there are two simple rules they need to follow:
Rule #1: You must be in a calorie deficit.
This is when you consume fewer calories than you burn each day. The most simple way to check if you’re in a deficit is to log food intake with food tracker (such as My Fitness Pal) so you can how much you’re consuming compared to how much you need to be eating according to body size, gender, age, and activity levels.
Rule #2 You must sustain a calorie deficit for an extended period of time.
Being unable to stick to a calorie deficit is where most people struggle.
A typical approach that a lot of boxers use is to simply reduce their food consumption down to the bare minimum. Although this is an effective way to be in a calorie deficit, it leaves energy levels extremely low and they will be unable to train and recover properly.
It’s crucial that the weight loss plan is sustainable and easy to stick to. With that having been said, here are my five principles of boxing weight loss nutrition.
Principle 1: Make the Plan Enjoyable
A very simple way to do this is to allow 10-15% of your calories to come from anything you want.
Remember, as long as you’re in a calorie deficit, you can actually eat anything you want and still lose weight. Another trick is to make your food tasty by using herbs, spices, seasonings etc.
Principle 2: Get the Protein In
You must be sure to eat 1.8-2g of protein per kg of body weight.
Along with helping you to recover properly from intense training, protein is exceptionally good for managing your hunger levels.
Protein is found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. Protein supplements are a good idea if you’re not eating a sufficient quantity of protein from other foods.
Principle 3: Focus on Vegetables and Fruit
To make this principle work, you will need to eat at least five different fruits and vegetables a day.
Fruits and vegetables contain very high levels of many nutrients, so the more nutrient-rich your diet is, the better energy you’ll have—and the better your hunger and appetite will be controlled.
Principle 4: Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Your body needs to rest and recover, so it is very important that you get 7+ hours of quality sleep each night.
A clear link has been established between sleep deprivation and elevated levels of hunger, and if your goal is weight loss, this is counterproductive to your goals. Also, getting enough sleep will ensure that you maintain good energy levels.
Principle 5: Use Re-Feed Days
A re-feed day is when you have an additional 500kcal a day. Ideally, these calories will come from carbs (500kcal = 125g of carbs). You can have up to two re-feed days a week.
Re-feed days can help to ensure that your hunger and energy levels are kept in check.
Put these five principles in place and I guarantee you’ll have a much easier time sticking to your nutrition plan and making weight without all the drama of starvation and low energy.