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TITLE Boxing Blog

From inside the gym to around the world of combat sports, the TITLE Boxing Blog keeps you up-to-date with the latest MMA and Boxing news, training tips and fighting techniques. This is the kind of info you need to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.

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  • Fighting: In the Ring and On the Scale

    Fighting: In the Ring and On the Scale

    By Chris Johnson

    At 6’0” and 245 lbs, I was grossly overweight. I had tried “the salad diet”, Atkins, intermittent fasting, juicing...heck even one I invented on my own now infamously dubbed “the burrito diet” (don’t ask). In the end, each attempt to lose the weight had a very brief positive effect while my motivation was a peak, followed by a loss of motivation and subsequent weight gain. I was what you’d call a “YoYo dieter."

    As I stepped on the scale in early December 2008 and read “245,” I realized something seriously needed to change. I needed something that would give me structure. I needed a target that would enable me to form habits rather than look up a quick fix on the internet.

    chris johnson weight loss journey 1

    Now was a better time than ever to pursue a lifelong goal I’d had of being a boxer. I’d always viewed boxers as the pinnacle of fitness, nutrition, skill and finesse. I admired the guts needed to get in the ring. Despite the skill and knowledge I lacked for the sport of boxing at the time, I recognized an even bigger fight was looming to get my weight under control.

    I found a boxing gym nearby called Front Range Boxing Academy and spoke at length with the head trainer and coach Dave before joining. On our first call he outlined the boxer’s basic regimen needed to be ready for a fight:

    Sprints (every single day), bag work (heavy bags, double end bags, speed bags), jumping rope and shadow boxing during each workout in the gym, daily calisthenics and sparring 2-3 times per week.

    At the time, I could tell this was a routine he had run several people through over the years. I wasn’t the first guy who wanted to lose weight through boxing and then fight, despite having zero experience.

    All things considered, I quickly dug in on the work outlined by my new coach. Every day started with running and sprinting at sunrise, capped by work in the gym on the bags and in the ring each night. All told I was surpassing 3 hours per day of training.

    The weight came off with the hard work- 245 to 225 in the first 2 months. As 5 months passed I came down to 200 which was fantastic progress, but not yet where I needed to land. My goal was to reach 177 pounds so I could box in the light heavyweight division of the Golden Gloves the upcoming spring. My weight dropped to 200 and stayed there. I wasn’t concerned when it stayed there at first, but as two months passed and I hadn’t lost another pound I became concerned.

    I sat down with my coach to talk about my concerns-- what was I doing wrong? I had followed the old school boxer’s workout regimen to the letter, and I had adhered to the boxer’s diet outlined in similar fashion. Since the old boxer’s workout routine had fueled such good early results, I hadn’t stopped to question my use of the diet method of old pro fighters. As I took a step back and looked at the “old school” boxer’s diet I’d been following the last 8 months, I realized there were some serious issues which were preventing me from losing more weight:

    No Calorie Restrictions, big meals, especially before sparring or fights (Steak and potatoes were a traditional fighter’s favorite pre-workout/fight meal), high fat, high carb and eating big after night workouts before bed (Dinner was the biggest meal and with late night training it often came right before bed).

    After researching how modern diet techniques were in stark contrast from these older diet “techniques” I made immediate changes to correct my diet:

    Cut the calories from liquids/drinks such as soda, no more late night snacks, no late-night carbs or big meals before bed, my meals got smaller over the course of the day: dinner being the smallest, I added poly-unsaturated fats to help me with hunger (almonds, spoonful of peanut butter), no more steak and potatoes—especially before sparring sessions (my only meats were fish or chicken) and still no calorie counting, but tried to watch portion sizes.

    After the changes were made, the weight loss picked up again almost immediately. As the weight dropped, new challenges emerged: I needed to learn how to move in the ring at a lower weight. Each time I sparred, the focus became taking advantage of the benefits of my lower weight. With two months leading up to my first fight, I focused exclusively on movement within the ring as it was quite awkward at 180 pounds compared to the near 200 I’d recently been stuck at.

    Having tried both the old school and modern diet techniques it was easy to contrast their impact on not only my weight, but also my boxing; I found I had more energy in the ring, and the sluggishness I previously felt (likely from the overloaded steak and potato meals) had vanished. I also noticed improvements in my recovery time between sessions. In short, the difference was day and night; I was a different athlete.chris johnson weight loss journey 4

    In the years since, I’ve worked with numerous clients as a personal trainer and boxing instructor. They see the appeal of boxing as a great weight loss tool, which it certainly is. I caution my new clients with my story. Weight loss through boxing has to be equal measures of hard work in the gym AND in the kitchen. When pairing boxing with a proper diet you’re hard pressed to find a better combo to lose weight, but without both in concert with each other you’ll likely only make it halfway to your goal.

    I was lucky enough to win my fight with weight loss and even luckier to win some great fights in the ring as well. Luckily, in the 9 years since I started, I never had to look down at the scale again thinking “something has to change." Both in the ring and outside of it, I keep fighting in hopes to never stop improving and to never return to where I started.

    Bio:chris johnson weight loss journey author pic

    Chris Johnson is a Golden Gloves boxer, CPT and boxing instructor from Boulder, CO. After spending the last 8 years working with both professional and amateur athletes he started his business, Cerus Fitness. It's an online site for people who want to work out and lose weight at home.

  • Change Encourages Growth

    Change Encourages Growth

    By Douglas Ward

    How to Change Up Your Boxing Workout Routine

    Although there are aspects of training that are repetitious and actually require doing a movement or exercise over and over, so that it becomes second nature, it doesn't mean that some change isn't good. In fact, change is necessary and extremely beneficial in boxing.

    The human mind and body are highly attuned to routine and after a while they figure out a way to adapt and, at that point, they take the easy path and growth stops. Your body learns how to adjust and what it is being asked to do becomes easy. To keep them (muscle memory and your neuro-pathways) off-balance and guessing about "what's next" puts more demand on your central nervous system. Most people hate the word "change," but it is the only way you adapt, get challenged, and then learn and grow.

    Adaptive Training is the same principle that is used in many other sports, like; cross fit, bodybuilding and especially "chaos training." It focuses on the importance of changing your routine constantly, session-to-session, weekly or every three-four weeks. That doesn't necessarily mean completely different exercises every workout, but the order you do them in, the duration and intensity can consistently be varied.  Keep it fresh and make it constantly inconsistent. Your workouts should almost always leave fighters feeling like they were challenged and that they progressed.

    Let's be honest. It’s easy for coaches and fighters to shift it into automatic and just do "the usual" routine. It requires less planning, effort and execution, but it won't get you where you need to go. Change it up and you'll become a better boxer, a more adaptable fighter who can deal with anything you're faced with, even if it’s something a little different than what you've seen before. By training differently, you will have conditioned your brain to think in the ring, not just fly on autopilot.

    Change doesn't mean buying into the latest, greatest fitness routine, fad or fancy gadget. It’s more about getting creative with what works. Don't get caught-up in getting too cute, but simply change-up the variety and keep your fighter guessing about what's coming next.

    Sometimes coaches, fighters and strength and conditioning experts push the boundaries of practicality by inventing new methods of training and tricky machines that supposedly help you improve. Although there are some gadgets that can add new dynamics to your workout, what works best are the tried-and-true methods. The right combination of bag work, mitts, technique-driven drills, sparring and a good mix of strength and conditioning exercises is crucial to creating a well-rounded fighter. How you attack your workout and approach the session is more important than any new invention.

    It’s always been said that survival is mandatory, but change is necessary. The best way to prepare for that is by how you operate in training. Change it up regularly and you'll reap the rewards of being conditioned to adapt.

    Douglas Ward is the Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing.

  • Buying the Right Speed Bag

    Buying the Right Speed Bag

    What Size Speed Bag Should I Use?

    The type and style of speed bag you should hang depends on two factors. First, how new you are to boxing and working a speed bag and, second, what you’re wanting to accomplish.

    If you're just beginning, you may want to start with a larger bag. As you progress and become more skilled at it, you’ll want to graduate to a smaller and more difficult target. The smaller the bag, the faster it moves. A smaller bag is obviously more difficult to hit and harder to control. A smaller bag helps develop greater hand speed and demands greater focus.  Both are beneficial to you in the ring.

    If, however, you want to have a more substantial target, expend more effort and develop stronger shoulders, you should choose a larger bag. The bigger bag requires more force to hit and keep it moving. It helps enhance hand-eye coordination and speed just like a smaller bag, just not to quite the same degree.

    You should also consider experiencing the best of both worlds by switching between several different size speed bags. The variety and changing demands is good for mixing it up and making you more adaptable. It forces you to change-up the amount of force you have to use to keep the bag moving and keep improving. Keeping your mind and body guessing and forcing it to constantly think, will better prepare you for the unpredictability you may face in the boxing ring.

    Get your speed bags here.

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