CB: How do boxers get so lean, and what lessons can us average folk take from their regimens?
RP: I know this point is redundantly made but it’s true.
People spend to much time training with cardio equipment. I have seen people train on cardio equipment, and their body’s still look the same months later!
When the average person has had enough of walking around in their body they are in they usually think of hitting the pavement running. Or people will train with the typical cardio circuit of elliptical and treadmills etc…Training for long and very casual intensities. Raising cortisol levels, preserving fat, etc…
People who perform a boxing workout get lean from the intense anaerobic way they train. Boxers fight and train in rounds lasting from 2 minutes to 3 minutes in duration. The training done for that duration is generally at a higher intensity. The training equipment also demands you get lean by the way the bags have to be worked.
Put it this way to maximally work and move the heavy bag in the right manner burns allot of calories and takes allot of effort to do. Your body then takes the lean shape from the aftermath of this demand of it to put forth the work. Same thing for the punch mitts when used correctly your whole body is moving and working and in a more anaerobic and intense manner than aerobic training.
Many times people who cross train or want to learn boxing for self defense are amazed at how sore they are in different areas of their body from the workout. They are waking and working muscles that have been dormant for some time in a unison intense manner.
Metabolically speaking, as stated several times above since the training is predominantly anaerobic and because we use allot of intervals our metabolic rates are greatly increased.
Unlike the aerobic way people train where they only burn calories for the duration of their aerobic activity or training. With anaerobic interval work your metabolic rate is increased for hours even after training is complete as you obviously know.
CB: What’s the role of slow cardio in stripping fat from a boxer’s body?
RP: Not much at all….
We condition using sprints, sled work, sledge strikes, change of direction runs, sprint and run drills, but really speaking from a fighters perspective, nothing beats intense sparring to get in shape. We also perform intervals of heavy and fast punching on the bags and punch mitts.
As far as the average client, I’ll never forget when I was working in Syracuse NY I was training an older guy named Tom. Tom couldn’t lose any more weight in a satisfying way. He was on a plateau.
He was training aerobically only for the last 2 years playing musical chairs with the cardio equipment. He was very frustrated and bored that he couldn’t drop and shed any more fat.
So upon working with him. I had him jumping rope, working the punch mitts, working the heavy bag and VERY easily he lost 14 pounds in 6 weeks! Not bad for previously being on a plateau! The pounds literally melted off. Because of the intense anaerobic way he trained and the muscles and movements he was using in training this way.
Fortunately for me communicating with the best strength and conditioning coaches and constantly reading and studying the best books keeps me abreast of what methods work best.
CB: How do you and other boxers get lean for fights in terms of nutrition?
RP: We start cleaning house!
Or should I say cleaning the fridge, freezer and cupboards. I have them get rid of the processed boxed, package, frozen packaged, canned foods. I have them stop eating then sugary cereals, soda, sugary juices, white breads, refined carbs, margarine, just garbage food period! This goes along way with improving performance, vitality, and weight loss obviously.
I then have them start to eat real whole foods. Foods that actually have a life source and will deliver nutrients and vitality to them.
So for weight loss having them eliminate the garbage foods and drinks and having them eating smaller meals frequently throughout the day works big time for weight loss on top of the kick butt training their doing.
It still amazes me on how many people skip breakfast. Or if they do have it, the typical sugar water called orange juice with a pop tart doesn’t do it. I have them eat a better breakfast and make sure their dinner isn’t the biggest meal of the day as their stomachs would suggest if it is.
My point is, typically people skip breakfast, eat a rather large lunch, and when they get home have a feast for dinner. That’s obviously insane if you want to drop weight and get lean!
Don’t eat less meals. Eat more meals frequently with less food for weight loss. Their blood sugar levels are more balanced and their moods and energy levels are far more enhanced by eating more frequently, like 5-6 times per day if possible.
I also have them drink half their body weight in ounces of water per day. (Many people are dehydrated) and I have them consume fish oils at their meals.
I also keep critiquing their eating habits and food choices for weight loss as needed…
CB: Do you use boxer’s training techniques in your client’s workouts? If so, what could I do to speed my fat loss?
RP: Boxing workouts are BIG in my clients workouts.
It’s no wonder that the most popular classes in commercial gyms are martial arts classes.
Unfortunately many of those are watered down. By getting your eating habits under control and cleaned up and by jumping rope, shadow boxing, working the punch mitts, heavy bag, double end bag and speed bag you literally melt that fat off your body in a quick manner.
That’s why I like to use boxing training techniques. Boxing training gets results.
People can get bored with the cardio equipment. You can be totally uncoordinated and not improve upon before or after getting on the bike or stair master.
Not when you jump rope and perform the rest of a boxing workout. That’s why it delivers so much in one workout. All those bio-motor abilities you improve on top of shredding the fat from your body.
CB: What methods of strength training do you prefer? Do you use free weights or a lot of body weight exercises?
RP: Strength training methods will depend on the persons training age, background, weaknesses, needs, goals, and were we are from a fight.
So I have a lot of tools in the tool box I can use depending on the above scenarios.
Generally I start off with body weight exercises. I totally agree with what Alwyn Cosgrove says, “If we cannot stabilize and move our own body weight, we have no reason to use external resistance”
Once a person can handle there own body weight we use different strength exercises. We use squats, I’m particularly fond of front squats since we can work the often times weak thoracic extensors while also strengthening our legs. A boxer that has been at it for a while will will have an increased kyphotic posture along with pronated shoulders. So we need to correct this if we want to improve performance.
We also use dead-lifts, single leg work, posterior chain work, core strengthen with more transverse plain exercises, but we also perform reverse crunches they are a great abdominal strengthening exercise that also help in improving posture.
A lot of unilateral work. Also presses, split stance single arm pushes, pulls, rows, chins, pull ups, you name.
We use equipment ranging from db’s, barbells, med balls, sand bags, kegs, sled, sledge hammer, I’m going to start using kettle bells more. Once again, these are all great tools we use depending on the situation.
Corrective exercises are used to keep the fighters muscle imbalances and posture in check.
I will say that generally fighters are bloody weak! So I like to improve and focus on maximal strength training. Hypertrophy training can be used if I have a fighter that wants to move up a weight class or needs a little more muscle.
For our dynamic training, I like to used med balls and other plyometric exercise for explosive power.
That pretty much sums it up as our training is ALWAYS evolving and improving as I continue to study and learn and as we progress in our own training.
CB: Do the boxing workouts require any special equipment?
RP: Yes the workout uses special equipment that is very affordable and can be purchased at sporting stores, or boxing equipment magazines.
You will need hand wraps, a jump rope, gloves, punch mitts, a heavy bag, double end bag, speed bag and a small timer that you can by at any store. You don’t have to get all the bags at once you can still burn allot of fat with the jump rope and heavy bag alone. The other equipment just really speeds the results.