THIS is often the go-to and most common question for professional fighters, especially from those that are starting out in the sport: ‘What do you eat?’ ‘How much do you eat?’ and ‘How often do you eat?’
High level fighters tend to be known as; ‘big for the weight’ – so naturally fans wonder how a competitor can be that size, whilst maintaining a specific weight.
To enlighten the casual fan; boxers will lose weight temporarily for the weigh in (usually 36hrs before the fight) and then re-hydrate and re-fuel like the proverbial sponge before actually stepping into the ring a much heavier and larger specimen.
Although you often hear about extreme cases where boxers or UFC fighters drop up to 20-30 lbs or 10-14kg in the week leading up to the weigh in, it is definitely not something I would recommend, it can be disastrous to performance and even more importantly detrimental to health.
A good way to approach a specific weight target is to eat clean, train hard and stay hydrated. Consistently. Once you have achieved a training weight where you feel, strong and fit during intense training and sparring. Your fighting weight should be around this mark, you can then lose up to 3-5% safely prior to your weigh in. This small drop from a fully hydrated and fuelled athlete will not be dangerous to health or performance.
It is important to eat a balanced diet as an athlete, as boxing is both strength and endurance it is important to have a good ratio of carbohydrates (to fuel your work), protein (to rebuild damaged muscle and tissue) and fats (also for energy as well as hormonal and brain function). A good starting point would be the following ratio; 45% Carbohydrates, 35% protein and 20% fats. Balance and variety is key and do not neglect vegetables, salads and fruits which contain all important vitamin and minerals. Note – different body types and training regimes will require different macro ratios. There are apps and websites available which allow you to track your diet showing the aforementioned macro ratios. One example is ‘My fitness pal.’
A typical daily diet plan for myself would be the following (I have not included quantities as this will vary depending on athlete size, sex, age and training routine):
Breakfast; Scrambled eggs on brown toast with avocado and side of spinach leaves and tomatoes.
Lunch; Chicken breast, sweet potato and mixed salad with olive oil.
Dinner; Salmon, brown rice and mixed vegetables.
Snacks; Fruit, Nuts, Protein/Recovery shake immediately post workout.
Water Intake; 1.2 litres for every 30kg of body weight. Increase to 1.5 if undertaking strenuous exercise or if in hot temperature.
Note; Caffeinated beverages, soft drinks and alcohol do not count towards this.
Former world title challenger Frank Buglioni will next box on Saturday on the Wembley Arena show featuring Nick Blackwell versus Chris Eubank Jnr