In their book, The Edge, the Weider brothers (the world renowned founders of the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding contest as well as the fitness magazines Muscle & Fitness, Flex, Men’s Fitness, and Shape) say, “When you train for a particular sport, you are conditioning your muscles to produce strength and contractions, which generate motion specific to your sport objectives.”1 Similarly, and because of this, athletes of different sports need to modify their dietary intake to be specific to the demands of their particular sport.
Boxing is an anaerobic sport that requires explosive strength and movement. As a result, boxers require higher protein intake in order to help repair the fast-twitch muscle fibers that are trained. For these “immediate energy sports”, the Weider brothers suggest a calorie intake that is roughly broken into 15% fat, 30% protein, and 55% carbohydrates. As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, elite boxers go beyond the conditioning levels required of other anaerobic sport athletes. For this reason, in addition to setting up plans for food intake, fighters often also take supplements to help with muscle endurance or recovery time. Some of the modern day boxing greats use conditioning and nutrition experts to help them maximize their athletic potential. Roy Jones Jr. called upon Mackie Shilstone in preparation for his eventually successful invasion of the heavyweight division while Manny Pacquiao relies upon Alex Ariza’s expertise in keeping his speed while rising through the weight classes.
In this section, I will do my best to distill the knowledge from many different sources to explain boxing best practices when it comes to nutrition and supplementation.
1. Weider, Ben, and Joe Weider. The Edge. New York: Avery, 2003.