The Weighting Game

In the sport of boxing, diet and nutrition are a critical component to a fighters success. His body is his weapon and keeping it in top physical condition is essential. However, when most people talk about nutrition and boxing in the same discussion, more often than not, it tends to center around the subject of weight loss.

In boxing, even more than most other sports, competing at your ideal or perfect weight is incredibly important. Doing whatever you can to reach and maintain that weight is an ongoing goal of most fighters. You can find dozens of health “gurus” and “experts” out there giving away their secret tips on how you can lose those excess pounds fast.  They typically involve fat burning pills, potions, lotions or some extreme weight loss program, but unfortunately, they seldom work as well as promised… if at all. The reason why is simple…because there is no “one size fits all” remedy when it comes to weight loss. Each of us are individuals and our bodies will respond to different influencers. As a fighter, it’s part of your job to find the things that work for you and then work them to your advantage. There are various tricks out there that can be useful and effective when it comes to losing those last few pounds fast. Everyone is going to give you a different answer, but these are some things I have found as a fighter myself that work most effectively.

 

First of all, I firmly believe that your training shouldn’t be a “fat camp”. The goal of training is to work on technique, formulate a game plan, and get into top physical shape. Spending your training time losing the 20 lbs of fat you’ve accumulated, due to your 5 month hiatus from the gym, is not the way to maximize your training. Keeping in good physical shape for your body type at all times is necessary for your training to be effective and efficient. You will undoubtedly lose weight during training camp, but that shouldn’t be the main goal. Entering camp or the period of time you start training for an upcoming fight, you should be no more than 10 lbs from your fighting weight.  This approach assumes you will lose approximately 5 lbs once your into a few weeks of training camp and then you will only be left with four or five pounds to sweat out a day or two right before the fight. That is when you can then implement some of the following tips.

Liquid Diet-

It takes a tremendous amount of energy and time for your body to digest solid food. Going on a liquid diet can give your body a break and it will help food move through your system much quicker. The faster is moves through you, the less weight is added to the scale. Foods like green drinks and smoothies or protein shakes are good choices because they will provide your body with nutrients so you stay healthy, but will not stay in your system for long periods of time. All you need is a blender, protein powder, some fruits and vegetables, and you can make a variety of blended drinks to fill your stomach.

Colon Cleanse-

As mentioned before, the less that is in your body, the lower the number on the scale is going to be. To most people’s amazement, many people carry around more waste in them than they would like to know. Doing a colon cleanse to rid your body of any excess waste you might be carrying is a great way to lose a couple extra LB’s. Purchasing an herbal colon cleanse from your local health food store, getting a colonic, or even high doses of magnesium can break up whatever undigested fecal matter that is in your digestive tract.  This waste is weighing you down and adding pounds to the scale.

Sauna Suit-

In a previous article I discussed the benefits and drawbacks to sauna suits. The main point is that they must not be overused. Wearing one every day during training, weeks before a fight, is not necessary and really provides no benefit because you are just draining your body of water. Water it needs in order to cool itself down.  However, the day before weigh-ins can be a great time to slip one on and sweat out those final few, stubborn pounds. Putting on a sauna suit and jumping in the dry sauna, going for a run, or any kind of exercise with one on will help to increase sweat production.

Diuretics-

Diuretics can increase your body’s urine output and help you lose water weight that isn’t necessary the day before the fight. Over-the-counter diuretics are prohibited by most athletic commissions and are just plain unhealthy.  But a safe, easy and healthy alternative can be found in using herbals teas. Any herbal teas will do, including Milk Thistle and Dandelion Root. Just drink them regularly a few days before weigh-ins to increase urination. They are safe and have additional health benefits.

As a fighter, it is your responsibility to take all aspects of your job seriously and make sure that you are in control. It is no one else’s job to baby-sit you, make sure you’re eating right or that you are properly maintaining your weight. Diet, nutrition and weight control are just as important to your training as the hours you put in the gym. Making those hard choices now that lead to easier weight management later is just one of the many sacrifices you’ll be asked to make as a fighter. If you want to know when the best time to start managing your weight is…how does NOW sound?

Spencer Ward is a Nutritionist with the Acupuncture Center in Overland Park KS.