|Boxing is divided up into many weight classes. The easiest
way to ensure that you make weight for your bouts is to follow a good nutritional
regime. However, proper nutrition also ensures that you are to perform optimally
and recovery properly during training and after bouts. What you put into
your body is what you get out of it. If you are eating nothing buy junk,
you can expect to perform at a poor level. Much of nutritional decisions
are based on the individual as well. Questions of what is available and
how much time you have to spend taking care of your nutritional needs are
dependent upon one's situation.
There have been many approaches to nutrition. The one I picked was to split up the day into 5-6 small feedings spaced roughly 3-4 hours apart. Protein consumption was determined by body weight. I ate slightly more than 1 gram per pound of body weight. There was a heavy emphasis on fruits and vegetables. I consumed 3-4 fruits a day and large helpings of vegetables during at least 3 meals. Large amounts of vegetables can be eaten because they are low in caloric value. They also contain a high amount of fiber and help to regulate your bodily functions. Therefore, eating a large amount of vegetables is very beneficial to maintaining or reducing your weight, as well as the nutritional benefits towards athletic performance. Certain vegetables, such as spinach, as help to counteract against the large amounts of acid built up in the muscles during work outs. This helps you to recover faster. Speedy recovery is essential during training because more than likely you will be training up to three times a day. My approach to nutrition focuses less on caloric intake and more on the types of food you consume. As long as you are eating good food, weight fluctuation should be easily controllable. Losing or gaining weight can easily be controlled by simply increasing or decreasing portion size at meals. What defines good foods? The general rule is anything that has not been processed (cooking something doesn't count). If you would not eat something before it got packaged, then leave it alone.
Nutritional guidelines change slightly the closer it comes to a bout. Unless you are moving up a weight class, you will likely need to modify your diet to ensure that you make weight on the following day. Boxers generally tend to dehydrate themselves slightly a few days preceding the weigh in because you only need to be under the weigh limit on the day of the weigh in. This allows larger fighters to make a lower weight class and then rehydrate at a later time. The amount of weight you can lose through dehydration varies from person to person. A good rule is to stay within 5 pounds of your fighting weight during competition times. You should also give yourself at least 2 weeks to lose the weight prior to a bout. During the first week, continue to eat normally but slowly decrease portion size as the week progresses. During the second week, slowly decrease water consumption and on the day preceding the weigh in drink maybe a small glass in the morning and nothing after. I would also eat nothing 24 hours prior to weighing in. This information is assuming that you are a bigger fighter trying to make a lower weight class. For myself, I fought in the 132 and 139 pound weight classes. Normally I walk around between 140-145 pounds. Depending on which weight class I was trying to make adjustments would need to be made to my preparation.
Following the weigh-in, a boxer must rehydrate and prepare for his bout. Collegiate boxing uses same day weigh-ins, meaning boxers will fight on the same day that they weigh in on. Sipping Gatorade until the match is a good way to re hydrate. Gatorade provides a means of re hydration as well as a form of simple carbohydrates. Simply chugging water will not re hydrate the body properly in the amount of time given. Three to four hours prior to a match is a good time for a well balanced meal. Replenishing Carbohydrate stores is key, and protein consumption is also important for readying the muscles. Come fight time, a boxer should be re hydrated and energized more than enough to compete.
You are what you eat, and this saying holds true for athletes as a whole. Nutrition plays a large role in sports containing weight classes. However, even if you do need to make weight, the benefits of proper nutrition are still extremely valuable.
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