How Do Boxers Utilize Sports Nutrition?
Proper sports nutrition, which can be defined as a careful balance of good nutritional intake and exercise, is an important part of any athlete’s life. Many people, however, underestimate its importance for a boxer. In this highly demanding and often physically exhausting sport, good sports nutrition plays a key role. Without it, boxers will not be able to perform to the fullness of their athletic abilities, and their stamina and skill levels will suffer.
Every boxer needs to be eating a diet that promotes endurance, a healthy weight, and that replenishes lost electrolytes and glycogen stores. The American Dietetics Association suggests that those who participate in boxing regularly, whether professionally or as a hobby or a form of exercise, should receive fifty-five to fifty-eight percent of their caloric intake from carbohydrates, twelve to fifteen percent from protein, and twenty five to thirty percent from healthy fats. The needs of any specific individual, however, may differ slightly from these norms. This is why it is so important for boxers to not go through the sports nutrition process alone.
Enlisting the help of a doctor, a nutritionist, or a personal trainer is extremely important. These professionals will be able to assess an individual’s current health and boxing related goals and then put into place a proper eating plan. Any diet will also need to be altered according to a boxer’s physical changes, advancing age, and to whether it is currently boxing season, pre-season, or off-season.
There may also come a time when boxers need to increase their strength or their muscle building capabilities. This is especially true during the pre-season training phase when many boxers tend to get out of practice or to fall away from their healthy eating regimens. Most boxers hoping to gain muscle will benefit from consuming up to twenty grams of whey protein and thirty to forty grams of carbohydrates before each hour long exercise session. Again, it is important to mention that these needs and requirements may vary from boxer to boxer, so it is always important to seek the help and advice of a professional.
Finally, every serious boxer will have to deal with weigh-ins. These can be a real challenge for every boxer – even those who are following a proper sports nutrition program. Boxers should remember to avoid excessive salt intake, which can cause bloating and water weight gain, at all times, but especially in the two to three days prior to a competition or weigh-in. Eating those foods that do not contain a lot of bulk and that help to push out excess waste can also be extremely helpful around competition and weigh in time. Good examples of these foods include cereal or oatmeal that is low in fiber, white bread, natural jelly, pure honey, pure juice, low fat or skim milk, sports drinks such as Gatorade, fruit, clear soups or broths, white pasta or rice, tomato based sauces or soups, and liquid meal replacement shakes. These, of course, are just a few of the ways in which sports nutrition plays a role in a boxer’s life. For the serious-minded professional or amateur boxer, the practice of proper sports nutrition will always play a major role.