A boxer's journey isn't complete without the weigh-ins, and sometimes, the scale is more dreadful than the opponent.
Having the ideal weight is the first essential step in conquering the ring. This article will discuss how to cut weight in boxing if you're planning to make this a profession, too.
How Do Fighters Cut Weight?
Boxers exert a conscious effort in cutting down weight for their upcoming fight. This is because they have to comply with the ideal weight for the division they are set to compete in. Otherwise, they risk losing the boxing title.
Traditionally, there were only eight weight divisions for men's boxing. However, as times passed, more divisions were included.
Today, professional governing bodies recognize 17 total weight classes. Click here to read more about the list of the 17 weight divisions and their corresponding weight limit.
To meet their desired weight requirements for their designated weight divisions, boxers usually take steps to cut down their weight prior to their match.
To do this, they must follow a restricted nutrition and diet plan and reduce their caloric intake.
Losing weight doesn’t necessarily mean having diet restrictions.
As a fighter, you also need to keep up with your cardio and road work to keep your metabolism going.
These vigorous physical activities will help prevent weight gain.
Aside from strict diet and vigorous workouts, you also need to keep up with your training routine. This is the final component in your weight loss.
A fighter’s training may include bent rows, military press, upright rows, good mornings, deadlifts, and squats.
This type of training will help burn calories, develop lean muscles, and maintain weight loss.
A boxer’s training requires a lot of discipline, effort, and self-confidence. If you want to pursue boxing as a career, you need to regularly exercise at a gym and look for a trainer.
However, if you are still a beginner and cannot afford a trainer yet, you can start training yourself.
Generally, a boxer is expected to train for three to five hours, three to five times per week.
Since your training is essential to your weight loss, you need to have the diligence to follow your routine.
Typically, there are three components to your training. To prepare you for your upcoming fight, you need to train your hands, feet, and muscles before you step in the ring.
Your hands play an important role in your chosen sport. Obviously, they are your tools for great punches. An efficient punch has both ease and grace.
While speed and endurance are priorities, a great technique is what makes a good boxer.
Because of this, you need to put the focus on your punching technique as this will help improve your endurance and power.
You also need to focus on smooth bag drills to develop consistent rhythm and strong punches.
If you’ve seen the movie ‘Rocky’, you are probably familiar with the classic long runs. Today, these are still considered a great training for boxing.
Boxing involves short but sustained bursts of energy, and interval training is the best way to do this.
To train your feet for the upcoming fight, there are certain training activities that you need to do, which will also help you lose weight.
These include interval training – a combination of long runs, short sprints, and shadow boxing during non-interval days – and slow distance runs per week.
Not only will these activities prepare you for your fight, they will also help you cut down weight due to the pounds of sweat you will be able to shed while executing them.
Training for the Fight
Before stepping into the ring, you need to make sure you are well-prepared to meet your opponent.
While hand and feet training will help you throw efficient punches and improve your speed and endurance, it is still all about your overall condition.
To make sure you are ready for the fight, you need to keep your diet rich with healthy foods, shadowbox yourself in a ring, do chin ups and pull ups to build arm and back strength, and build a strong core.
Keeping up with your training activities will help develop your strength, power, speed, and endurance.
Most of all, it will make you sweat a lot, which is significant for your weight loss to meet the requirement for your weigh in.
How to Cut Weight in 24 Hours
Weigh-in events are arranged by boxing tournaments 24 hours prior to the fight to put boxers in their designated weight classes.
However, boxers usually strategize in losing and regaining their weight before and after they face the weighing scale.
While this may sound illegal, this move is justified by the use of risky and dangerous techniques.
Cutting weight for boxing in 24 hours is very tiresome, and sometimes, this practice may threaten your health, too.
However, this becomes a necessity for some fighters who need to meet the required weight limit before the weigh-in.
Below is a list of activities you can do if you want to cut weight in 24 hours:
Limit Water and Fluid Intake
You probably already know that the human body is composed of 70 percent of water. The weight contributed by water is known as the fluid weight.
Obviously, cutting down on fluid intake will help you lose weight. However, this may also lead to dehydration.
So what’s the safest way to lose weight by fluid intake reduction?
This method is usually strictly monitored by a coach.
Fighters commonly drink about two gallons of water on the fifth day before the weigh-in and lessen the amount proportionally as the weigh-in schedule draws near.
On the day prior to the weigh-in, boxers typically consume only 1/8 of what they had on the first day of their crash diet, which translates to 0.25 gallons. On the weigh-in day, they drink nothing.
This helps maintain a healthy balance between water intake and sodium levels.
But while this may be effective, boxers need to redeem the fluid they lost.
If this practice is done for a long period of time, it may cause acidosis, injury, and kidney failure. This explains why a coach needs to monitor this practice.
Restrict Carbohydrate Intake
Consuming only up to 50 grams a day is common among boxers as this helps prevent water formation and break down glycogen in muscles.
However, this practice may lead to a reduced blood sugar, which can make boxers feel dizzy on the day of the weigh-in.
If carbohydrate intake is restricted, you need to have a well-maintained diet.
Since boxers do not drink or eat anything the day prior to their time of weigh-in, they typically consume a potentially unlimited amount of carb-rich food after they face the scale to replace their lost muscles and weight.
Limit Salt Consumption
Aside from water and fluid and carbohydrate, you also need to move away from all types of salt. This is because salt absorbs water and counteracts with your ability to get rid of the remaining water.
This may be a difficult challenge for ordinary people, but fighters such as boxers have to deal with this often, especially when they are trying to lose weight quickly.
Boxers, for example, usually over-exercise or sit in a sauna for quicker dehydration.
They also sprint or run on the treadmill to sweat a lot.
However, this practice may cause heart attack under serious circumstances. You have to make sure you are under a careful watch of a coach or a trainer before doing these vigorous activities.
Using laxatives is another sure way to lose weight. Laxatives remove all the solid body waste from your digestive tract.
But while this is an effective method especially if you need immediate results, it may lead to organ inflammation, too.
It is highly advised to redeem what you’ve lost immediately after your weigh-in.
Cutting Weight Diet Plan
To become a fit and lean boxer, you have to align four basic nutrition principles.
These include the frequency of your eating, consumption of nutrients, balancing of macronutrients, and the total of your caloric intake.
All these components will give you the energy that you need for your training and will help you recover fast.
If you are able to follow these basic principles, you can likewise increase your body’s metabolism and encourage it to burn fat.
To stabilize your blood sugar and maintain your high energy levels all day long, you need to eat five to eight times a day.
This frequency will aid in keeping your glycogen stores. The glycogen is for your body’s energy.
For a typical boxer, this high eating frequency begins with breakfast and ends with dinner. It can also possibly include a recovery fuel before bedtime.
The recovery fuel will help in muscle repair to keep you powered up for your workout session the following day.
Before proceeding with your early-morning workout, you have to take a complex carbohydrate like whole wheat toast or oatmeal.
This will help your training session become more productive and facilitate fat burning.
During your training session, you can also sip on sports drinks to replace electrolytes and calories to avoid muscle cramping.
After your workout, take a recovery fuel source, which is rich with carbohydrates and some protein to recover glycogen stores.
This helps boxers gain more productive trainings day after day.
Carbohydrates will be a mainstay in your diet plan. The ideal carbohydrate intake for you is around 50 to 65 percent of your total consumed calories daily.
Carbohydrates are able to burn fat, which is why carbohydrate intake makes boxers extremely lean.
Consume complex carbohydrates such as pasta, whole grain bread, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and brown rice.
Fat and Protein
Your ideal daily calories must consist of approximately 20 to 30 percent protein. The amino acids, which are the protein building blocks present in protein sources, assist in the repair of muscles.
You can take in protein-rich sources such as fish, egg whites, chicken, beef, and protein supplements.
Dietary fat, which is your third macronutrient, needs to have 20 to 30 percent of your daily caloric consumption. You can take dietary fat from sources including flax, nuts, and nut butter.
Antioxidants and Total Calories
Antioxidants are beneficial for preventing free radical damage. You can consume antioxidants from vegetables, fruits, and multivitamins.
You can take a multivitamin every morning and eat vegetables and fruits with your meals and snacks.
You have to remember, though, that your total daily caloric intake must depend on your weight goals.
If you want to maintain your weight, identify your basal metabolic rate (BMR) with the help of a BMR calculator.
If your BMR is 2,000 calories, you need to take 2,000 to 2,200 calories each day and consume an additional 350 to 650 calories per training hour.
Twice-a-Day Training Daily Nutrition
If you are planning to train twice a day, here is what your daily diet plan will look like:
- Prior to your early morning training, you need to consume a pre-training supplement, which has 60 to 70 percent carbohydrate. During your workout, sip on one to two bottles of a fluid replacement drink. After your training session, take a recovery fuel, which consists of 70 to 80 percent carbohydrate.
- For breakfast, eat a banana, a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, and six egg whites.
- For the mid-morning snack, consume an apple, almonds, a can of vegetable juice, and a protein drink.
- For lunch, eat a 12-inch turkey sub on a whole wheat bread with cheese and vegetables.
- For dinner, eat a grilled chicken breast, vegetables, salad, and whole wheat pasta with sauce. Then, consume protein drink one hour prior to bed.
Cutting Weight Tips
To summarize, cutting weight for boxing requires physical workout and diet changes. However, before dealing with several new practices, make sure that you have a coach or trainer supervising you.
While all activities stated above gained positive results when it comes to weight loss, they come with risks, too.
Make sure to have someone watch you. More importantly, it is best to redeem the excessive amount of nutrients you have lost before weigh-in.
Also, keeping up with a strict diet plan can be beneficial for you before you face the scale. However, remember to consume quality food that will help you lose weight. If you must, consult a professional dietary expert.