A boxer’s diet will differ depending on the goals of the individual. For example, if you’re wanting to maintain weight for a fight then you’ll be eating less compared to if you needed to gain weight for a higher weight class.
Though, you will be eating similar foods from the core food groups on either diet. Then, it’s just up to you to reduce or increase the total number of calories.
If you want to become a professional boxer or just get better, you need to create a diet plan and stick to it over time. Training is important, but if you don’t give your muscles the right fuel, you’ll end up with longer recovery times and weaker performance.
We’re going to give you an overview of what boxers eat so you can replicate this in your day-to-day life.
- 1 Boxing Diet Plan Essentials
- 2 Protein
- 3 Fats
- 4 Water
- 5 How many times a day should a boxer eat?
- 6 What do boxers eat for breakfast?
- 7 What do boxers eat for lunch?
- 8 What do boxers eat for dinner?
- 9 What do boxers eat before a fight?
- 10 FAQs
Boxing Diet Plan Essentials
For a boxer that trains twice a day, you’ll need to be eating a high amount of carbohydrates. This is because carbs give the body energy to run on in the form of glycogen.
Without large quantities of carbohydrates in your diet, you’ll be running on empty soon after you’ve begun a workout.
The carbohydrate food group consists of foods such as pasta, rice, legumes, bread, potatoes, beans, and cereals. But, not all carbs are made the same.
There are simple and complex carbohydrates, the latter being classed as good carbs as they don’t make your blood sugar levels spike.
For example, you might want to eat wholewheat pasta instead of white pasta as your blood sugar levels won’t spike like they do with white pasta. This is the same for bread and rice too.
It’s good to understand where foods place on the glycemic index (GI) so you can only add good carbs to your diet. A low GI is considered to be 55 or lower so foods such as beans, fruits and vegetables, nuts, and low-processed grains fit into this category.
That said, you don’t have to restrict yourself from eating carbohydrates that are higher than 55 on the glycemic index. But it’s good to be aware and not overindulge in them.
Protein helps your body to repair and aids in building muscle which is why it’s important to get enough protein in your diet as a boxer.
You need to make sure you’re getting the right amount of protein for your body weight so that it can recover in time for the next training session.
The general rule of thumb on how many grams of protein you should get per pound of bodyweight ranges from 0.7 to 0.9 for a boxer.
The body uses protein as a secondary energy source too which is why you need to get enough otherwise your muscles won’t have enough protein to recover.
Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish are great sources of protein. This means vegetarian and vegan boxers can struggle to find foods to fulfill their daily protein requirements. Though, lentils and beans have a high protein count as well as nuts, brown rice, and wholewheat pasta and cereals. There’s also tofu that you can experiment with if you like the taste and texture.
Protein supplements have become popular over the last decade too. There are hundreds of brands including whey protein and vegan proteins such as hemp, rice, pea, and others.
Adding two protein shakes per day to your diet is an easy way to get your protein intake up if you struggle to get the right amount with food.
As a boxer, you shouldn’t be scared of fats especially as you’ll be burning thousands of calories per day. You don’t want to go overboard and when you do eat them aim to get good fats in your diet, not processed fats that you find in fast food chains.
Adding fatty fish to your diet like salmon is a great way to get healthy fats and protein into a meal. Other foods that contain good fats include avocado, nuts, seeds, and oils like extra virgin olive oil.
We know you don’t eat water, but it is vital for a boxer’s diet as your body can’t function without an adequate amount of water. Even if you find water boring to drink, you need to drink it anyway as your body is made up on average of 60% water!
You should aim to drink between 2 and 3 liters of water per day. On a training day you may consume more than this, but make sure not to drink over 6 liters as you can get health problems from drinking too much.
How many times a day should a boxer eat?
Before we get into what a typical diet looks like for a boxer, we want to mention the frequency of eating throughout the day. Boxers should have four to six smaller meals per day instead of three large meals.
This is because it’s a more efficient way to manage your energy throughout the day rather than feeling lethargic after a big meal.
The number of times you eat in a day will also depend on how many times you plan to train that day and how intense the sessions will be.
An average boxing diet plan would look like this:
- Meal 1 – pre-workout
- Meal 2 – breakfast/post-workout
- Meal 3 – Snack before lunch
- Meal 4 – lunch
- Meal 5 – pre-workout snack
- Meal 6 – dinner
This isn’t set in stone and you should do what feels best for your body. That’s why it’s so important to experiment with eating times and foods until you feel like you’ve found the perfect fit.
What do boxers eat for breakfast?
A boxers breakfast will include foods that cover the three main groups that we’ve explained above. One example would be scrambled eggs on toasted wholewheat bread. Plus some fruits after to finish.
Personally, I don’t like eating eggs every day so some days I’ll eat overnight oats with fruits and no fat greek yogurt. If you don’t like yogurt you can even get protein and fat calories from nut butter like peanut or almond butter.
Both breakfasts include carbohydrates, protein, and fats making them excellent as the first meal of the day.
What do boxers eat for lunch?
As a boxer, you’ll want a decent lunchtime meal even with snacks between as you need the energy to keep going. A typical lunch for Anthony Joshua included two large chicken breasts, vegetables, and brown pasta or rice.
Depending on the number of daily calories you need for your size, you can reduce or increase the servings of this example lunch.
Mark Ellison is Joshua’s nutritionist and he spoke to The Times a few years ago explaining his diet plan. As Joshua’s budget increased, organic food was introduced instead of non-organic produce.
You don’t have to do this, but you’ll notice the difference in taste quality.
What do boxers eat for dinner?
A high-calorie diet is key for boxers and this is why you’ll often see them eating fatty fish for dinner like salmon. Salmon is full of protein and healthy fats so it is a great option to eat after an evening workout.
It’s best to have the fish with brown rice and vegetables to make it a complete meal. You don’t have to eat this every day and we suggest trying other types of fish so you don’t get sick of eating salmon.
What do boxers eat before a fight?
What to eat before a fight depends on when the weigh-in is. Amateur boxers generally have their weigh-in on the day of the fight so there isn’t lots of time to eat a lot before.
If you have less than 3 hours before the fight then try eating Greek yogurt, fruits such as bananas, and apples. Or, even some peanut butter with the fruits if you feel like the extra fats that come with it.
Boxers that have their weigh-in the day before have more time to replenish. You’ll want to replace the water weight that you lost, first of all, and then introduce some carbohydrates with foods such as oats or bagels.
Then, for dinner eat lean meat such as chicken or turkey with vegetables and carbohydrates, either sweet potato or brown rice/pasta.
On the day of the fight, have the same as above, Greek yogurt and fresh fruits or even a smoothie if you prefer them in liquid form.
What foods should boxers avoid?
There are some foods that boxers should avoid and most of these are quite obvious. You shouldn’t have spicy foods or acidic foods as they are much harder to digest.
You can forget about drinking alcohol too as it dehydrates your body. So, stick to water, fruit smoothies, and juices. Also, carbonated drinks are a no go so no Coke, Sprite, and so on.
Finally, it’s best to eat fresh food when you can and avoid but no heavily processed foods at all costs. Stay away from cured meats, processed cheeses, and anything else that isn’t natural like chocolate bars and sweets.
Healthy snacks for boxers?
The best healthy snacks for boxers are fruits, Greek yogurt, nuts, and nut butters. You can spread some peanut or almond butter on a bagel as a snack or even eat these with a banana.
If you prefer to have your fruits blended then you can do that and even add some oats for extra carbohydrates.
Is the keto diet good for boxers?
A keto diet isn’t good for boxers as it is a low-carb diet, but with a high protein and fat intake. The only carbohydrates that you get with a keto diet are from low-carb vegetables so no potatoes are allowed.
With vigorous training, your body needs more carbohydrates than a keto diet can provide.
Do boxers eat carbs?
Yes, boxers eat carbs as in one training session they’ll likely burn thousands of calories. Complex carbohydrates are high in good calories so it’s good to include them in a boxing diet plan.
So, make sure to eat sweet potatoes, brown rice and pasta, and even vegetables to get those good carbs.
Do boxers eat low carbs?
No, as boxers need a high-calorie diet, you won’t see them eating a low amount of carbs. In fact, 40-60% of a boxer’s calories should come from carbohydrates depending on the individual.