Following the right boxing diet plan is just as important as your workout. The right nutrition helps you burn fat, gain muscle and fight harder.
The key to any successful diet is avoiding the temptation to cut out any food group completely, but instead focusing on balance and moderation. Following our healthy diet plan for boxers can improve your performance and speed up your recovery time. Read on for awesome nutrition tips to help you feast like a fighter and become the best boxer you can be!
Consuming food and drink that helps your body, rather than hinders it, is just as important as working out. The right nutrition allows you to burn fat, gain muscle and train harder for longer. The key to any successful boxing diet is avoiding the temptation to cut out certain food groups altogether. Instead, focus on balance and moderation.
Keep reading to learn more about healthy diet plans for boxers and how they can improve performance, strength, speed and recovery time. Below, you’ll learn all you need to know about nutrition for optimal performance and how it helps you become a better boxer.
The Boxing Diet Plan Nutrition Basics
A boxing diet differs from a typical diet because you need to plan meals and eating times around your workouts. Athletes require more focused nutrition than the average person, so it’s key to eat more while being careful not to overeat. Knowing when and how much to eat is just as important as knowing what to eat.
Your body uses energy all the time, which increases massively during workouts and training sessions. To ensure your energy levels stay up, you need to eat regularly, but it’s also essential to stop eating when full. Our advice is to eat smaller meals to keep your metabolism high while avoiding overeating.
We recommend eating smaller meals to keep your metabolism high whilst avoiding overeating. Aim for 5-6 meals a day, with each meal being every 2-3 hours. Your two biggest meals should be breakfast and the meal before your workout. If your main workout is in the morning, one big meal can be enough, as long as you eat small meals regularly.
There are certain nutrients you need to include in a boxing diet, some in higher quantities and others in slightly smaller amounts. The nutrients you need in large quantities are:
- Water: vital for keeping you hydrated. Water helps digestion, and blood pressure and is great for your heart.
- Carbs: a significant source of energy in your diet that helps store energy for when you need it — when you work out, for example.
- Protein: helps build muscle and speed up recovery after exercise or injuries.
- Fats: vital for organs and in absorbing nutrients. Useful for storing energy.
In smaller amounts, you need:
- Vitamins & minerals: keeps your bones strong, help to reduce stress and anxiety, and ensure your muscles and heart are working properly.
Fibre: keeps your digestive system running smoothly while making sure you feel full and reduces constipation.
New to boxing? Then read the Boxing Diet Plan for Beginners
What do boxers eat for breakfast?
‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.’ A common piece of advice and something to keep in mind for your boxing diet.
Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and provides you with the nutrients for your day. It’s an effective way to help your body store energy for training while increasing alertness. This will contribute to your reaction times, give you more focus and get you in the right headspace.
A good choice is a high-fibre breakfast such as porridge or wheat-based cereals with added fruit, nuts and seed. Eggs on wholemeal toast is another great option for an energising breakfast. Apart from breakfast, the other crucial meal is the pre-workout meal during the day. We advise eating this meal about two hours before your workout.
If you have time, it’s best to go for a run in the morning and eat breakfast after. Running on an empty stomach means you will be burning off stored fat and it also energises you for the day ahead.
Apart from breakfast, the other crucial meal during the day is the pre-workout meal. We advise eating this meal about two hours before your workout. But what should you eat for this meal?
Well, tucking into a big steak is probably not the best idea! Meat usually takes 4 hours to digest completely, which might slow you down or give you cramps. The meals that you eat later in the day should be kept to small portions so that you’re not going to bed starving, but also not sleeping with unused calories. Try to eat your evening meal at least 4 hours before going to bed too. This accommodates your metabolism slowing down in preparation for sleep, gives your body time to digest food and it may even prevent insomnia!
Boxing diet plan food list
There are certain nutrients you need a lot of and some you need slightly smaller quantities of. The nutrients you need in large quantities are:
- Water – vital to living and keeping you hydrated. It aids digestion, helps your blood pressure and is good for your heart.
- Carbs – a big source of energy in your diet which is perfect to store so you can have enough energy for training
- Protein – helps to build muscle as well as speeding up recovery after exercise or an injury
- Fats – vital to organs and in absorbing nutrients. Useful for storing energy.
Also, in smaller amounts, you need:
- Vitamins & minerals – keeps your bones strong, reduces stress and anxiety and keeps your muscles and heart working properly.
- Fibre – keeps your digestive system running smoothly, helps you to feel full and reduces constipation.
A healthy boxing diet, or any healthy diet, needs to include lots of water. When you train regularly, you sweat a lot, and it’s vital to replace the fluids you expel. Boxers and other athletes should regularly drink water throughout the day and increase their intake during training sessions when they sweat profusely.
You should aim to drink a bare minimum of three pints of water on rest days and increase this amount on a training day. Staying hydrated helps improve your mood and increase brain power while keeping your joints lubricated. This reduces joint pain and maintains ease of movement, which is vital for the active lifestyle of a boxer.
Carbohydrates are an essential item in any boxing diet. Your body stores carbohydrates in the form of muscle glycogen, which is converted to glucose when your body requires extra energy.
You should never underestimate the necessity for sufficient reserves during training to prevent fatigue. Healthy carbohydrate choices include whole-grain bread, cereal and pasta, legumes, beans and starchy vegetables like potatoes. Without carbs, you won’t have any energy and will find strenuous activities such as boxing more difficult. However, you should avoid eating too many of the wrong carbs because this will increase your body fat.
If weight control is a problem for you, fibre is a great solution. Fibre is a type of carbohydrate in whole grains, nuts, wheat bran, vegetables, oats, citrus fruits, apples, barley, beans, etc.
The main difference between good carbs and bad carbs is their impact on your blood sugar levels.
Good carbs = complex Carbs (Low GI)
Bad carbs = simple Carbs (High GI)
Stick to eating the Low GI carbs (complex carbs), and you will enjoy benefits such as:
- Reduced hunger, keeping you fuller for longer
- Eat less to lose or maintain weight
- Improve blood cholesterol levels
- Prolong physical endurance
- Reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease
Carbs with a low GI include:
- Beans (black, pinto, kidney, chickpeas)
- Walnuts & Cashew nuts
- Seeds (sunflower, hemp, pumpkin, poppy, sesame, hemp)
- Wheat, millet, oat, rye, rice, barley
- Peaches, strawberries, mangos
- Most other veggies
Carbs with a medium GI:
- White sugar
- Pita bread
- Basmati rice
- Sweet potato
- Raisins & prunes
Carbs with a high GI:
- Processed white bread
- White rice
- White potatoes
- Cornflakes and most other breakfast cereals
Protein is a very powerful food source. Foods with lots of protein grow and repair muscles, cells, and tissues. This helps you recover after a fight or when dealing with injuries from training sessions, making it a crucial element of a boxing diet. As the body can’t store proteins, it’s essential to eat protein every day to replenish them. Protein is a great secondary source of energy if implemented effectively into your diet.
The best types of protein to eat are lean meats, seafood, nuts, wheat cereal, brown rice, corn, beans, and dairy. Baking, broiling, roasting, and grilling are good low-fat cooking techniques that help preserve the health benefits of lean meat, helping you get the most out of every meal.
Believe it or not, not all fats are bad for you! Some give you energy, protect your organs and help you absorb vitamins, acting as an insulating barrier. Fats help fill you up quicker for longer, so you don’t overeat, and the energy supplied by the foods can be easily burned off. This gives you the ability to train for longer through increased stamina levels during training sessions. Also, healthy fats can reduce your risk of health concerns such as heart problems.
Unsaturated fats in oils such as:
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Safflower oil
- Sunflower oil
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
Foods such as:
- The usual suspects: processed foods, junk foods and fast food
- Also, try keeping animal fat to a minimum by cutting the fat off meat and choosing lean poultry and fish.
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are a cornerstone of all diets, and you can find them in many foods. They provide many great health benefits such as healing muscle strains, reinforcing your immune system and helping your body produce energy. All of which are crucial for athletes hoping to remain in peak condition with optimal performance.
Do you keep getting injuries? Maybe you’re not warming up enough! See if this blog post helps.
A balanced diet including nuts, whole grains, fruits and vegetables provides plenty of vitamins and minerals. The more colourful the food on your plate, the better. Colourful foods are high in vitamins and low in calories. These foods help to maintain good health, keep your energy levels high and prevent chronic diseases.
Boxing diet plan no no’s
Right, so that’s all the good foods covered. But what food and drink do you need to avoid?
Cookies, chocolates, crisps, sweets, alcohol and fizzy drinks are full of sugar, bad fats, bad carbs, or toxic preservatives. It is essential to know what types of food can affect the healthiness of your diet as you strive to be in peak physical condition.
As a general rule, if the food feels heavy in your stomach, takes a long time to digest, or gives you a sugar high — it’s probably best to avoid it if you’re serious about improving your boxing techniques and fitness.
Finally, it’s important to remember that everyone is different, and we all have different metabolisms and tolerances. With this in mind, it’s worth taking advice from a health professional, nutritionist and your boxing trainer to get the best diet for your personal needs and requirements.
Are you ready to feast like a fighter? Cutting out the bad stuff and focusing on a healthy balanced diet that will improve your physical and mental performance, the hardest part is actually doing it. Everyone has cheat days, but discipline and diligence are crucial for success.
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The boxing meal plan
Follow the rule of thirds:
Divide your plate into 3 equal portions of:
- Porridge with fruit and nuts
- Poached eggs & spinach on wholemeal toast
- Chicken or fish with vegetables & quinoa
The rules of a healthy diet plan for boxers
- Munch in 5-6 small meals per day, eating regularly (every 2-3 hours)
- Drinks lots of water to stay hydrated
- Never skip breakfast, in fact it should be one of your biggest meals of the day
- Eat your second big meal of the day 2 hours before your main workout
- Eat before you get too hungry, but stop before you get full.
- You don’t need supplements if you have a balanced diet
- Balance your nutrients (carbs/proteins/fats)
Sticking to the pro boxer diet plan
It’s important to try to maintain weight across the long term (stay within 4-5% of the competition weight). Therefore, don’t attempt to lose weight too quickly as this is dangerous and wouldn’t be good for your health or your performance. This can lead to problems with muscle loss and increased fatigue which can affect your performance in the ring. Don’t do anything drastic!
A boxer’s diet should be similar to the Paleo diet or the low glycaemic diet and should include protein in every meal, such as red meat, eggs, poultry or oily fish, plus healthy fats like avocado and nuts, fruit and vegetables for fibre, vitamins and nutrients and slow-release carbs such as whole grains or oats.
Finally, remember that everyone is different and we all have different metabolisms and tolerances, so it’s worth taking advice from a health professional and your boxing trainer in order to get the best diet for your personal needs and requirements.
Ready to feast like a fighter? Cut out the bad stuff and focus on a healthy balanced diet that will improve your physical and mental performance and we reckon you’ll be fighting fit in no time!
Find all the training and protective gear you need for an amazing boxing workout in our Cleto Reyes training equipment range.