Cutting Weight for Boxing
Professional boxers must compete in designated weight divisions to maintain safety standards in the ring. As a result, losing weight for boxing professionals is a critical aspect of their careers.
Before a boxer takes to the ring, they confirm their weight to ensure it is within the set range. However, many boxers weigh the same the day before the fight and become heavier the following night. This is because they lose a considerable amount of weight before weigh-ins and put it back before the fight.
In this regard, it will help boxers keep themselves as close as possible to their fighting weight throughout training camp. The fastest way to cut weight is by keeping up a restricted diet and nutrition plan to minimize your caloric intake.
Moreover, you should keep up with your road work and cardio. This helps your metabolism keep ticking at a higher rate and prevents you from gaining weight. You will learn more about boxing meal plans later in this comprehensive guide.
Is Losing Weight for Boxing Possible?
As a boxer, losing weight is not a cakewalk. However, that does not mean that it is all doom and gloom. So, is losing weight for boxing possible?
Yes! It is possible to lose weight by boxing. There are several vigorous exercises that boxers put their bodies through before hitting the scale.
A boxer has to shed around 10% of their body weight the week before the weigh-in and gain it all back 24 hours before the fight. To achieve this, they flush their bodies of water reduce salt and carbs intake. After that, they eat to gain it all back in a day.
For example, a few days before the weigh-ins, boxers usually perform weight-cutting exercises such as rapidly running on a treadmill in sweats. They also cycle in a sauna or perform sprints with trash bags on their bodies to retain body heat.
In this regard, extreme cutting of weight among boxers and other combat athletes has become one of the most prevalent issues. Boxers, coaches, and fans have different opinions regarding this weight-cutting routine.
But why is it necessary? The primary aim of the weight cutting process is to enable a fighter to weigh in at the lowest weight class physically possible for them to make.
Since the weigh-ins take place around thirty-six hours before the fight, boxers use this period to regain as much size, weight, and strength as possible. These gains give them an advantage over their opponent.
Additionally, the weight cuts come in different forms. For example, some fighters opt to lose a few pounds and fight in a division close to their average weight. On the other hand, some go for extreme weight loss losing up to 30 pounds (13.61 kilograms) to have a size advantage over their opponents in the ring.
Medical experts warn that it is dangerous for boxers to lose large amounts of weight in a short period. For instance, an MMA fighter lost her life due to extreme dehydration. Doctors revealed that her heart rate reached 180bpm in her attempt to hit the 141 pounds (64 kilograms) limit for her upcoming fight.
Therefore, doctors advise boxers to consider dehydrating two percent of their weight. According to the doctors, anything more than that is dangerous.
Besides that, the doctors also warn that the rehydration process is also dangerous. They claim that the fluid does not distribute itself normally within your body when water loading. As a result, it could end up going in the wrong places.
In this regard, please follow your doctor’s advice as you pursue your weight and boxing aspirations. It is best to adopt practices that do not endanger your overall health.
Is Boxing Cardio?
What comes to mind when you hear the term cardio? For many people, it is mind-numbing, lengthy, and not so effective. Or long runs, cycling, and hours and just hours of work with little results! As a result, many people dread cardio.
If this is you, today is your lucky day as you will discover something more interesting about cardio – cardio boxing. In case you didn’t know, cardio boxing is a full-body workout.
If you were wondering if you can use boxing to lose weight, it would interest you to know that you can burn up to 1000 calories a day with 45 minutes of workout. What’s more, you will have fun doing it.
One of the best ways to lose weight is using high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This kind of training integrates aerobic exercises with anaerobic exercises giving you a sustainable calorie burn even after the workout.
Cardio boxing puts you in an aerobic state for approximately one-third of the workout. Then the other two-thirds, you will be anaerobic, which allows you to increase your speed, strengthen muscles and burn extra calories.
You see, every hard-hitting punch you throw comes from your core and lower body hence adding cardio to it. Cardio boxing combines shadow boxing or hitting a punching bag with continuous cardio movements like burpees, pushups, and high knees.
These exercises increase your strength and teach you to control your heart rate. Moreover, when you push your muscles to grow in an anaerobic state, you condition them to build endurance. At the same time, they release lactic acid hence toning the shape of the muscle instead of bulking up.
In short, boxing is cardio. Furthermore, it does not just change your body by getting rid of the bulk. Instead, it also helps to increase your endurance and speed.
How do UFC Fighters Cut Weight?
As mentioned previously, UFC fighters engage in weight cutting activities days before the weigh-ins. So what exactly do they do to lose weight? Here is how to cut weight for a fight:
- They eat less than 1.8 ounces (50 grams) of carbohydrates every day: You see, every ounce of carbohydrates you consume absorbs and holds over double its weight in water. As a result, it becomes more challenging to get rid of all that water weight. Therefore, UFC fighters cut their card consumption in the days leading to the weigh-in. Ideally, they continue reducing their carbs intake as the day of the fight draws near. Furthermore, they use different approaches to track their carbohydrate intake. They avoid foods rich in carbohydrates such as starches, sugars, and fruits.
- They load up on proteins and fats: The fighters also consume diets high in protein and fats. According to nutritionists, such foods give them energy without adding a lot of body weight in the short term. As a result, they mostly eat eggs, leafy greens, meat, and cruciferous vegetables. Any food they consume that they cannot pass contribute to their overall weight. Therefore, they opt for one or two smaller meals earlier in the day to keep their weight as low as possible. For example, they may eat a plain chicken breast and some broccoli early in the morning. Then later, they consume a small meal of cooked vegetables on the day of the weigh-in.
- They reduce their salt intake: Salt helps your body hold and conserve water. This is the last thing you want when attempting to cut weight quickly. However, you need a small amount of salt to survive. Therefore, they get rid of any foods high in salt and avoid adding salt to anything they eat to reduce their salt intake. The fighters also eat meats and vegetables that are not seasoned with salt because they are low in sodium. That sounds very bland, right? Well, that is the price they pay to cut weight. However, they use other spices and herbs to make the meals flavorful. Not so bad, after all. It is critical to note that your body requires 0.006 ounces (0.18 grams) of salt to function as it should. However, it is very challenging to consume this little amount of sodium. Therefore, the UFC fighters focus on cutting down the sodium in their diet as much as possible.
- They drink 2.1 US gallons (8 liters) of water daily: They do this to trick their body into getting rid of more water than they take in. This is how it works: when they consume this amount of water five days before the fight, they begin down-regulating aldosterone production. This causes their bodies to start flushing the water out. Aldosterone is the hormone that encourages your body to reabsorb water. So, when you drink more water than you need, your body stops producing as much of the hormone. Consequently, the amount of water your body gets rid of increases.
- They decrease their water consumption leading up to the fight: As the day of the weigh-in approaches, the fighters reduce their water intake. For example, they might start consuming around 1.1 US gallons (4 liters) of water for two days then halve it. The notion behind this move is that as they flush water from their bodies without replacing it, they become very dehydrated. However, this is very harmful to their kidneys, and it increases the chances of concussion and may result in a heat stroke.
- They sit in a hot bath or sauna: Additionally, the fighters sit in a sauna and take scorching baths to lose as much water as possible. They do this for 30 minutes in each of the two days leading to the weigh-in. They make the bath hot enough to cause moderate pain but not too hot to burn their bodies. In other instances, the athletes exercise in the sauna to increase the water loss rate. However, they are also cautious not to overheat their bodies as that could lead to faintness, and they may even pass out. Therefore, they ensure someone observes them prevent them from harming themselves. Besides that, they also wear warm clothes to help them sweat out excess water in the week before the fight. Note that forcing yourself to sweat and dehydrate is extremely dangerous to your health. Therefore, it will help to consult your doctor before attempting to do so.
How to Cut Weight in a Week?
Are you wondering how to cut weight fast? This sounds impossible, right? Nonetheless, it is practical to adopt the proper lifestyle and food habits.
Although this swift weight loss is unsustainable, it will give you the flying start you need in your weight loss journey. It is also important to note that the quick weight loss approach only helps you in cutting water weight and not fat.
Change Your Lifestyle Habits
Your habits play a crucial role in determining the quality of your life and health. Embrace the good ones and get rid of the bad ones, and you will be on your way to a healthy lifestyle.
So, how do you change your lifestyle habits?
- Set a reasonable goal: You need goals in your weight-cutting journey. However, the goals you set must be realistic. If you set unreasonable goals, they will deter you in your weight loss quest.
- Have a timeline: Mindful eating is an excellent way of losing weight. Therefore, learn to cherish the food you eat. Set a timer and spend each minute savoring your meal. This will help you to avoid overeating because your stomach has the time to tell your brain that you are full.
- Reduce your portions: Portion control is an excellent weight-loss practice that prevents you from consuming excessive energy. Consider cutting your portions in half and choosing the smaller portions.
- Turn off the television: Eating while watching the television leads to mindless eating. You end up concentrating on what is happening on the television, and you lose track of what you are consuming. Turn off the television and any other distractions during your meals.
- Eat cautiously: This involves eating before you feel too hungry and stopping before you are full. You see, when you wait until you are starving, you will end up eating more than you actually should. Therefore, don’t starve yourself to lose weight; you will gain more.
- Sleep: If you didn’t know, your sleeping patterns affect your weight. If you don’t get enough sleep, you will gain weight. For example, a study revealed that people who sleep less than five and a half hours consume more carbohydrate-rich snacks than people who sleep seven hours or more.
- Consider the 80/20 rule: According to this rule, eat nutritious food 80% the remaining 20% you can indulge in your favorite foods. This approach allows you to binge less and be in control when you feel like binging.
- Have a positive attitude: Maintain a positive attitude in your weight loss journey. Reduce stress and learn not to treat everything very seriously.
Change Your Food Habits
You have heard the adage; you are what you eat. You are also what you don’t eat. What you eat plays a crucial role in keeping your body fit and healthy. It will help you lose weight in a week.
Here are healthy food habits to adopt:
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables: Fruits are critical in weight management and overall health. They have fewer calories but are rich in water and fiber, making you feel full. As a result, it discourages you from overeating.
- Drink soup regularly: When you drink soup before your meal, it curbs your appetite; hence you will eat less. Additionally, soups are also highly nutritious but have low calories. Studies have confirmed that consuming low-energy-dense soup helps to decrease your calorie intake and boost weight loss.
- Consume whole grains: Whole grains are undoubtedly the healthiest foods. The body digests them slowly, making you feel full for longer. Therefore, you decrease body weight and visceral fat when consuming whole grains.
- Eliminate sugar intake: Sugar has more harmful effects than fat. Sugar-sweetened beverages and carbonated drinks are the most significant contributors to weight gain.
- Avoid bacon: Bacon contains plenty of fat. 68% of the total calories your body gets from bacon come from fat. Additionally, around half of the fat is saturated.
- Drink green tea: Health experts globally encourage people to drink green tea for its health benefits. Studies have confirmed that green tea boosts your body’s calorie-burning mechanism. It contains a lot of antioxidants that boost your metabolism and reduce body fat.
- Go for healthy snacks: This is challenging, especially when losing weight. But, if you consume snacks rich in high protein and fiber, they help curb hunger, impart satiety, and help in weight loss.
- Avoid crispy, creamy, and cheesy stuff: Avoid sauces, fried foods, and high-calorie eats. Skip the cheese when you have your sandwich.
- Consume good fats: When you consume good fats, it nourishes your cells and keeps your body functioning at optimum levels. Consider foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts, avocados, and a mixture of seeds.
- Take vitamin C: Vitamin C is an excellent source of nutrients for weight loss. Fruits rich in vitamin C such as grapes, oranges, and Kiwis keep your body healthy and stop you from binging. They also make you feel full without consuming excess calories.
- Drink a lot of water: Drinking a glass of water before a meal prevents you from overeating, and after a meal helps with digestion.
Change Your Exercise Habits
Your weight loss program is not complete without changing your exercise habits. Here are some straightforward tips:
- Do yoga: Yoga benefits your whole body. If you do it regularly, it will help you to lose weight and get back in shape. Yoga enables you to establish a solid mind-body connection. As a result, you become aware of what you consume and know when you are full; hence you’ll practice mindful eating.
- Burn excess calories: Perform quick and easy exercises to help burn a few calories. You can walk a mile daily within 20 minutes or any other activity that will help burn calories.
- Do some exercises in the morning: It helps you control your appetite and prevent you from taking excess calories when you exercise in the morning. As a result, it becomes effective in helping you lose weight. It also improves the quality of your sleep.
- Lift more weights: Lifting weight is a smart way of losing body fat. It helps you build lean muscles. With more muscles, your metabolism is quicker, which is essential in weight loss.
As you can see, losing weight is not very challenging if you stay focused and disciplined. You can lose weight at home by complementing them with your lifestyle within a week with these tips.
Punching Bag Workouts to Lose Weight
Please perform the punching bag workouts to cut weight according to the suggested time intervals. After completing each exercise, rest for a minute and repeat the series a second time. This will last for 20 minutes, which may not seem significant, but it is effective. Let’s get into it:
Before you begin the exercise, it is crucial to warm up. Perform each of the following exercises for 30 seconds:
- Jog on the spot.
- Jumping jacks.
- Air squats.
- High plank to downward dog.
Jab, Cross, Squat
Time: 45 seconds work; 15 seconds rest
- Stand facing the punching bag in a boxing stance. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and staggered with one foot in front of the other.
- Raise your hands, putting them like you are ready to punch. Remember to protect your face with one of your hands.
- Throw two punches in quick succession. Jab with your left arm first, then cross with your right.
- Perform a squat, return to the starting position, and continue the jab-cross-squat sequence.
- After 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds.
Cross Punches (Dominant and Non-Dominant Side)
Time: 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest
Cross punches will help your shoulders and arms.
- Set up a boxing stance with your left foot forward if you are right-handed. Your weight should be mainly on your back foot to slightly shift your center of gravity away from the bag. If you are left-handed, set up in reverse.
- Take a punch across your body with your dominant arm as you shift your weight forward. Use the force of your weight to propel your fist to the bag.
- When you complete the punch, ensure your hand returns to its position in front of your face. Don’t swing it downward.
- Shift your weight back to the starting position to set up the next powerful cross.
- Complete the same exercise focusing on the non-dominant side.
Side Kick Punch Combos
Time: 90 seconds work, 30 seconds rest
Set your timer for 90 seconds and complete as many rounds as you can. Here is the four-move series:
- Make ten repetitions of the right side-kicks.
- Perform 30 straight punches.
- Perform ten repetitions of left side-kicks.
- Perform 30 straight punches.
Lunge, Kick and Jab, Cross
Time: 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest
- Begin by facing your punching bag so that you are a leg’s-length away.
- Step back using your right foot to perform a reverse lunge.
- Powerfully thrust up from the bottom of the lunge as you shift your weight to your left foot as you go back to the standing position.
- In the process, swing your right knee up in front of your body to perform a front kick as you powerfully extend your right leg to kick your right heel into the punching bag.
- Bring your right foot down into a boxing stance.
Hooks (Dominant and Non-Dominant Side)
This exercise requires fast, powerful cross-body movements to fire up your core, shoulders, and hips.
- Start in a boxing stance keeping your dominant foot staggered back. (If you are right-handed, keep your right foot back).
- Turn your front foot around 45 degrees and center your weight between your legs.
- Lift your back heel from the ground bringing your hands up to your face.
- Perform straight hook punches using your dominant hand by twisting your hip forward. As you do it, pivot on your back foot using your core power to swing your dominant hand up and across your body to punch the bag at an angle.
- This ensures your forearm ends parallel to the ground before your face.
- Pivot back to the start position and keep going as fast as you can.
- Repeat on your non-dominant side.
Burpee With Pushup, Straight Punches, And Hooks
Time: 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest
Stand around an arm’s length away from your punching bag. Keep your feet hip-distance apart, and knees bent slightly, and do a burpee:
- Squat down and place your hands flat on the floor under your shoulders. Step your feet back to keep your body in a high plank position, keeping your core tight. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels.
- Perform a pushup by bending your elbows to lower your chest toward the floor. Then press back to the high plank position.
- Step your feet back as you move toward your hands.
- Thrust upward as you jump straight into the air.
- Land gently as you bend your knees and hips slightly.
Performing these boxing transformation exercises will help you lose weight more enjoyably.
The UFC Diet – Boxing Meal Plans
A UFC diet is a low-calorie diet designed to burn fat healthily, decrease body fat and retain enough energy for physical activities and muscle development.
The foods that boxers eat contain various proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Here is a breakdown of each of the foods:
Your body contains different proteins. Therefore, athletes make protein their primary source of food. It helps to retain lean body mass and lose fat. Types of proteins to eat include:
- Cottage cheese
- Nuts, legumes, and seeds
- Dark meat occasionally
- White meats like chicken and turkey
There is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to fats. However, there are healthy fats that these athletes are aware of. For example, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are rich in vitamins A, D, and E.
Healthy sources of fats include:
- Peanut butter
- All unsalted and unprocessed nuts
- Non-processed cheese
- Oily fish
- Chia seeds
Carbohydrates are dispensable macronutrients. You can consume less because your body can produce glucose with protein and fat. Scientists confirmed that cutting down on carbs and increasing protein and fat consumption effectively burns fat.
Nonetheless, carbs are an essential part of your nutrition plan because they produce glycogen and glucose. Moreover, they fuel your workouts more than protein and fats on their own.
As a result, carbs are an essential part of any athlete’s diet. Examples of great complex carbohydrates include:
- Wholemeal bread
- Wholemeal pasta
- Sweet potatoes
These are the main foods that weight-cutting MMA athletes include in their meals. Therefore, you can also emulate them if you are on a weight loss program. However, if you are not sure about anything, please consult your doctor or nutritionist.
Boxing weight loss exercises are not only effective but also fun to perform. Moreover, besides losing weight, the exercises also help you to strengthen your body muscles. First-timers can consider boxing workouts for beginners weight loss exercises.