You know that feeling? We’ve all been there. It is two to three hours before official weigh-in and you’re still a few pounds over. You jump on a bike with your rubber suit on and ride till you drop. You’ll do just about anything to lose those last few pounds. The moment of truth is here. You walk into the weigh-ins exhausted and almost pass out. You make weight then run for the nearest steak house for a nice T-bone and mashed potatoes. Now its fight time and you walk into the ring. The round starts and you get knocked right out. Was that worth all the pain and suffering?
Your fighting weight is something you should focus in on during training. You should start when your last fight is over or when you’re starting to training for your first fight. There are several things you should factor into your fighting weight and training. These include, body fat percentage, nutrition, and hydration.
Your ability to lose weight should be based on lean mass versus fat mass. As a boxer you should keep your body fat around 8-12% ( you may start seeing performance declines if you’re under 8%, and medical issues may arise if you’re under 3%). This is something you can have measured at the beginning of training camp and checked periodically until the day of weigh-ins. The gold standard of body fat measurement is hydrostatic weighing. This is when you’re put on a huge scale and weighed under water. This is complicated and time consuming, but well worth the accuracy. This is usually done at a sports science center by exercise physiologist. The next best measure is skin fold measurements. Special calipers are used to measure the surface fat over several muscles. Skin fold caliper measurements are taken by a personal trainer. When done by an experienced trainer this can be as accurate as hydrostatic weighing. Next, you have bioelectrical impedance. The units are usually easy to use electric devices which send an electrical impulse through your body. Body fat percentage is taken based on the speed that electricity passed through your body. These devices are the cheapest and easiest way to keep track of your body fat but, do not give you the accuracy of hydrostatic weighing. With all of these methods of body fat analysis it is important to be well hydrated. The use of a urine dip stick test is always a good idea to enforce the integrity and accuracy of the exam.
Nutrition is always an important part of keeping your body fat and even total weight down. The body has many places in which it stores unwanted waste and fluid. The colon seems to be a big spot for the unwanted waste. Food such as red meat, and pasta and drinks like cola can irritating the gut or even sticking to it. You can easily lose 10 to 20 pounds with a good colon detoxification diet. This diet is always good to do after a fight or before training camp. The diet tends to make you weak and tired for the first few days until the body gets adjusted to the new clean energy source. Foods such as fish, chicken, brown rice and greens are great in helping relieve the body of this unwanted waste as well as shed some unwanted water weight. I also like adding green tea, or tropical fruit juice made of goji berries, acai berries or pomegranate. Just like a great sports car your body needs premium fuel.
The last part of the puzzle is hydration. Simply put “Your body is largely made of water.” Muscles, blood, and organs all have a high percentage of water. Starving yourself of the precious nutrient will just lead you onto a road to ruin. We all remember this year Olympics and Gary Russell Jr. Cramps, fainting, shock, increased blood pressure, even heart attacks are all possibilities when you’re dehydrated. So, while you like the heat and pump you get from a rubber suit workout, do you really want the complications. I remember taking naps in a sauna with a plastic bag and 4 layers of clothes on just to lose weight. Not a smart idea. Stay hydrated. Drink at least 2 glassed of water 15 minutes before a workout. 1/2 every 15 minutes while you workout. Your more then welcome to add carb drinks if you’re going for a hard workout that will last longer then an hour. After your workout is done be sure to drink 1-2 cups of water for ever pound you lost during your workout. Stay hydrated, be smart.
To sum things up. Get your body fat checked. Stay around 8-12 % body fat as a goal for your weight class. Growth spurts will affect this in younger boxers. Everybody has a weight they feel the strongest in, so learn to fine tune your weight and listen to your trainer. They can tell you what class you look crisp in. After a fight don’t go crazy. You can put on 5-10% of your total body weight just so you can recover. This will help make it easy to get back to weight for the next fight. Always remember to watch what you eat during training. Like the saying goes “ You are what you eat.” If you eat junk you will fight like junk. Eat like a champ and you will be a champ. Always stay hydrated and I don’t mean drink a bottle of vodka every night. Water is key! Add some carbs, in the form of pure high antioxidant fruit and vegetable drinks. Following these suggesting will help lead you to making weight with no complications. No more stress and you will feel better when you fight. Always remember you can have that T-bone and potatoes with a glass of wine for your victory dinner.
Dr. Pietro Baio DC
Performance Edge Chiropractic, P.C.
7315 Ave U
Brooklyn, NY 11234