Stepping into the ring and touching gloves with an opponent. It’s what every fighter dreams of when they first decide to take up the sport. But that moment is the culmination of years of hard work and preparation. Obviously, athletes put in countless hours of boxing training to be ready to perform and endure on fight night. Behind the scenes, however, there’s another aspect to training that often gets overlooked. A strategic, disciplined diet forms the building blocks upon which successful training and success in the ring are built.
To get better insight into the nutrition plans of top boxers, here’s a look at the nutrition plans of five of the best. These guys do a lot of planning, and then follow said plan, to have their goal number pop up on the scale at the weigh-in.
These Top 5 Boxers Nutrition Plans:
#1. Manny Pacquiao
- 60-7-2 as a professional, with 39 wins by knockout
- Named “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000s by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), WBC, and WBO
- First boxer to win lineal championships in five different weight classes
- Starts the day at 3 a.m. with a protein shake (Don’t we all?)
- Eats six meals a day as fuel for a training routine that burns upward of 7,000 calories per day
- Eats a diet rich in vegetables, meat, fish, and fruit, with traditional Filipino dishes ranking among his favorite meals
#2. Amir Khan
- 33-4 as a professional, with 20 wins by knockout
- Unified light-welterweight world champion from 2009-12
- Britain’s youngest-ever boxing Olympic medalist, winning silver at age 17 at 2004 Olympics
- Starts the day with a protein shake (Not sure if it’s at 3 a.m., but we’re betting it’s early.)
- Eats two breakfasts, with the second coming at 10:30 a.m. after training
- Normally eats soup, potatoes, and meat for dinner
#3. Wladimir Klitschko
- 64-5 as a professional, with 53 wins by knockout
- Two-time world heavyweight champion
- Won a gold medal in the super-heavyweight division while representing Ukraine at 1996 Olympics
- Has personal chef that makes everything from scratch
- Strict about fight day diet, making sure he doesn’t eat beef or chicken for at least 6-7 hours beforehand
- In place of meat, eats oatmeal with berries and plain pasta with olive oil and parmesan cheese before stepping into the ring.
#4. Floyd Mayweather
- 50-0 (that’s undefeated) as a professional, with 27 wins by knockout
- Achieved world titles in five different weight classes
- Regarded by many as the best-ever defensive boxer
- Eats plenty of fibrous fruit and vegetables
- Eats a paleo-style diet that also takes into account blood sugar levels and slow release carbohydrates
- Former nutritionist lets on he’s maybe not as disciplined as you’d imagine, with fried hot dogs ranking high on his list of guilty pleasures; to balance out such cheat meals, he enjoys juices of pineapples, oranges, strawberries, red peppers, red pears and even carrots
#5. Shawn Porter
- 29-2 as a professional, with 17 wins by knockout
- Two-time welterweight champion
- Known for aggressive, pressure fighting style
- For hardest training sessions, he eats a combo of brown rice, tuna, and garlic; he believes the latter helps regulate his heart, while the two former items provide energy without being too heavy
- Always prepares meals a day before to make sure he stays on schedule, and strongly advises amateur athletes follow suit to realize their goals
- Enjoys yogurt, trail mix, and Jello for snacks
General Diet Tips
Now that you’ve gotten a taste (Ha!) of the nutrition plans of five stellar boxers, here are some other general guidelines that could prove helpful. Remember, a strong diet only goes so far. In combination with an exercise regimen high on use of cardio training, kickboxing bags, heavy bags, and everything else of the sort, a consistent diet can help you perform to your greatest capability.
- Meat: Chicken, turkey, fish, and other white meats are ideal since they’re easier to digest than red meat, which you should eat in moderation if at all.
- Other Proteins: Milk, eggs, tuna, and peanut butter are good additional sources of protein. Just don’t overdo it. You want mass, but not more than you can carry and still move around effectively.
- Fruits and Veggies: Consume a wide variety of both to get vitamins that will help keep you healthy.
- Liquids: Water—and lots of it. Experts suggest two to three gallons a day as a target for anyone engaging in hard workouts. Alcohol is a no-no, as it will slow you down and cause you to add weight and be more likely to stray from all those good habits.
- Fats: Do your best to stay away from unhealthy fats at least five days a week. Unless you’re on a level compatible with the five guys discussed above, don’t worry about indulging every once in a while. Enjoy it and move on.
It’s important to remember that no article out there should be a substitute for a solid relationship with your doctor, coach, and nutritionist. Ask for help developing a meal plan tailored to your goals and watch your training improve because of it.