A professional boxer's diet not only allows him to stand up to his opponents in the ring, it allows him to endure the constant training required to compete. A pro boxer's diet focuses on balancing strength, energy and stamina. Each boxer's diet will vary, as it needs to keep him within a 5 percent range of his ideal fighting weight, depending on his weight class.
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Protein is essential to a boxer's diet as it repairs torn muscle tissue, aids in muscle growth and provides energy for training and fighting. A fighter's diet focuses on lean protein, such as tuna fish, egg whites and easy-to-digest white meat low in saturated fat such as chicken and turkey. Other protein sources for boxers include milk and peanut butter in moderation; boxers aren't looking to gain unnecessary bulk. Ideally, protein composes 30 percent to 40 percent of a pro boxer's diet. Many boxers supplement their protein intake with protein powder and shakes, best taken only during focused training sessions.
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Carbohydrates allow professional boxers to maintain high levels of intense anaerobic activity in and out of the ring. When it comes to diet, complex carbohydrates serve as a great source of sustained energy. Whole wheat, grains, oatmeal, fruits, beans and yams all provide pro boxers with essential carbohydrates. Roughly 45 percent to 55 percent of a boxer's diet is often made up of carbohydrates.
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Every body needs Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats to produce healthy hormones and maintain necessary internal functions. Professional boxers are no exception, ideally consuming daily diets made up of about 15 percent fat. Conversely, pro trainer and boxer Johnny Nguyen recommends that boxers avoid fats five days per week, allowing one day of fat-consuming quickly burned off by training. Seafood, walnuts, olives, olive oil, seeds, avocados and flaxseed oil all contain essential omega fats, which — in moderation — help boxers absorb and retain helpful vitamins.
Like any athlete, a healthy boxer stays constantly hydrated, drinking eight to 10 glasses of water per day. Body builder Kerry Kayes recommends at least 4 litres of water per day to balance a high-protein intake. Eating five to six regularly-spaced meals a day helps maintain high metabolism and consistent muscle mass. During the lower-intensity offseason, boxers should maintain a 60-20-20 ratio of carbs, protein and fat in their diets. Just before the fight, boxers focus on easily digestible foods that help them maintain blood sugar and energy, such as fruits, brown breads and cereal. After the fight, high-protein foods, low-fibre food and fibrous drinks help produce new glycogen and repair muscles.
Foods to Avoid
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While complex carbohydrates replace glycogen stores to increase a boxer's energy and stamina in the ring, simple carbs and processed carbs — such as those found in white bread, pasta and snack foods — burn quickly, which may lead to fatigue. Similarly, sweets, foods high in saturated fats and fried food — all high in fat or refined sugar content — provide only short bursts of energy and ultimately result in gaining fat, losing speed and feeling drained of energy.