A boxer’s diet plays a critical role in their performance and adaptability to training and maintaining healthy body function. Protein intake is an essential nutritional need for boxers due to their demanding training schedule. It’s key for a boxer to regularly consume a high-protein diet to build their muscle mass and promote muscle gain and repair. If you want to learn more about eating a protein rich diet, read on for information on different kinds of protein and the recommended amounts for your training regimen.
Words by: Jenna Thompson
Different Kinds of Protein
Protein can be found in a variety of foods in varying amounts. It’s important to include a range of protein sources in your diet in order to obtain a sufficient amount of different amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Some of the best protein-rich foods that a boxer should regularly eat include lean white meats, red meats, and eggs.
Lean White Meats
White meats provide a rich source of protein for a boxer’s diet. These types of meats contain fewer calories and lower saturated fat content when compared to other meats. A chicken breast contains approximately 20-30g of protein and essential amino acids, like leucine, that play an important role in muscle growth stimulation. Lean meats like chicken and turkey contain essential minerals, vitamins, and other nutritional properties that prevent muscle damage.
Red meat, like beef and lamb, are another source of rich protein for boxers. 100g of red meat can contain approximately 20-30g of protein, as well as essential amino acids. It also comes packed with vitamins like B6, B12, zinc, and iron. For boxers, red meat is a must-have for their diet, as it’s the richest natural source of creatine.
Since some types of red meats may have high saturated fat content, boxers are advised to consume red meat only two or three times a week, depending on their training schedule and weight requirements.
Eggs and Dairy Products
Eggs have long been one of the most effective sources of protein for performance athletes, including boxers. One egg contains at least 6g of protein. If you’re looking to include a daily intake of protein in your boxing diet, add one egg into your protein-rich breakfast for highly beneficial results.
Dairy products are also an excellent source of protein. Cottage cheese and milk contain casein proteins that are a good way to boost to a boxer’s diet. Considering that the body absorbs these proteins much slower than other proteins, they should be eaten just before going to bed to prevent or minimize muscle breakdown.
Fish, like salmon, tuna, cod, tilapia, and halibut, are quality sources of protein. Boxers should include oily fish in their diet to ensure they enjoy the benefits of various nutrients including vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and selenium. A 100g serving of wild salmon contains around 25g of rich protein.
Vegetarian Protein Sources
In case you’re a vegetarian, or want to include other non-meat sources of protein into your diet, you should consider including foods like lentils, beans, hemp, buckwheat, and peanut butter. A 50g serving of soybeans contains approximately 18g of protein. Boxers should regularly include a palm-sized serving of seeds and nuts in smoothies, salads, and other simple snacks.
Foods to Avoid
A boxer’s diet should not include:
High-sugary foods (chocolates, sweets, soft drinks, and pastries)
Although maintaining a strict boxing diet is highly recommended, everyone enjoys some cheat meals that are not part of the regular diet. You should not restrict yourself entirely to certain foods, but approach your diet more cautiously, especially if you’re serious about your boxing fitness exercises. Alcohol must also be avoided at all costs if you’re aiming at being a pro-level boxer.
Boxer Diet Recommendations
To ensure that your overall diet provides the right nutrients and energy that you need, consider these simple recommendations:
Eat smaller meals every day and space them at regular intervals (every 2-3 hours).
Opt for foods with as much nutritional value as possible, such as vegetables, fruits, and brown rice, to allow effective body function.Include starchy foods, like yams, whole grain cereal, and wheat pasta, in your diet to maintain optimum energy and health levels.
Ensure intake of the recommended amount of healthy fats.
Balance your diet with a variety of foods, while maintaining the correct ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Include a multi-vitamin in your diet to ensure your body is receiving the necessary vitamins needed for optimum performance.
Drink enough water, at least 8 glasses daily to avoid dehydration.
A Well Rounded Diet
While protein intake is one of the key nutrition rules for boxers, proteins alone can’t make up a full boxer’s diet. Boxers must also include a healthy balance of carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins and minerals into their daily meals. Combine the right diet and professional training to improve your performance, body function, weight, and health today.
Jenna Thompson is a professional boxing training coach working with young women boxers in Los Angeles, California. She takes pride in nurturing boxers to gain pro-skills in one of the leading boxing training facilities in California. Apart from training boxers, she also runs a performance training fitness center and takes time off from work to spend some time with her family.