“We usually say that, as a fighter, you have two battles to fight you have a fight coming up. The main one is with the opponent you’ll be facing in the ring on fight day, but for some, the hardest one is the one before the fight: The diet, weight loss and the discipline.”
(Anthony Yigit, former super lightweight European champion)
The struggle that some boxers have when it comes to making weight is well-known.
On the day of the weigh-in, no boxer wants to come in overweight.
In a best-case-scenario, the boxer will simply just have the extra stress of having to get those last few pounds off within a short time frame.
Worst-case-scenario, it could mean a hefty fine, the fight being cancelled and/or goodbye to a big title opportunity or pay-day.
You want to know one of the simple ways to ensure that making weight is as stress-free as possible?
Make sure you don’t have too much weight to lose at the last minute.
This essentially means that you need a nice and steady decline in bodyweight during fight camp, which is achieved by following a solid nutrition plan…
…and if bodyweight isn’t where it needs to be, then nutrition needs to be adjusted immediately.
If you continue to carry on as you are, the scales won’t suddenly change.
And even if they do, it may only be temporary.
I’ve seen before people who weigh themselves every day and fail to see any change in the scales…until they make the right adjustments to their nutrition.
Even if you train more, it doesn’t guarantee any change in bodyweight.
This is because an increase in training volume may be met with a corresponding increase in hunger, so you’ll eat more (without realising) and end up the same bodyweight.
I’ve mentioned before about the importance of being in a ‘calorie deficit’ for weight loss –
A state when you’re consuming fewer calories than you burn each day.
Well, maintaining a calorie deficit can be tricky.
Especially when you’re training intensely and on a regular basis.
You see, boxing training, along with any supplemental strength and conditioning training, is can be very hard on the body, and the more you expose the body to this type of training, the more it breaks down.
When the body is in a damaged and fatigued state, it desperately wants to recover, which can mean it wants you to eat more food than normal in order to supply it with nutrients.
If you’re not carefully paying attention to what you eat, this can easily lead to weight gain.
So, how do you go about ensuring that you eat enough to recover from training, whilst staying in a calorie deficit and lose weight?
The answer is simple.
It’s the first thing I teach all my clients.
I tell them not to worry about anything else, until they’ve got this locked-in –
Eat enough protein.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the majority of boxers’ nutrition is woefully deficient in protein – it’s rarely seen as a priority.
Not only does this make weight loss harder, but it also means recovery from training won’t be optimal.
Protein is very good at controlling hunger levels, which means that on a ‘gram-for-gram’ basis, it will fill you up considerably more compared to both fat and carbs.
Also, due to it’s highly satisfying and filling nature, it’s very hard to overeat…but even if you DID overeat it, it’s very unlikely that you’ll store it as body fat.
It turns out that protein is so complex for the body to convert to fat, that it’s more likely to just burn it off instead.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat carbs or fats, because you absolutely should do, it’s just they are easier to overeat, so if you’re struggling to lose bodyweight, you should cut carb and/or fat intake and not protein.
So how much protein should a boxer eat?
Well, there will be some degree of personal preference, but around 1.8-2.2g of protein per kg of bodyweight should be enough for most boxers i.e. it helps to keep them full and sufficiently recover from training.
This means that a 75kg boxer should eat somewhere between 135-165g of protein per day.
I know what you’re thinking –
That’s a lot of protein, how can I eat that much?
If that is the case, then here is an old blog post I wrote that should help you.
Don’t be too surprised if your bodyweight starts to drop just from making an effort to eat more protein.
Or if you’re less hungry during the day.
Or if you feel like you have more energy in training.
Or that you’re less sore after training.
This all normal.
And a strong indication that your protein intake is about right.
If you have any questions then please feel free to let me know in the comments below.
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