Boxing: Caloric Intake During Off-Training, Can Looks be Deceiving?
Eating out can be costly in more ways than one.
So what does this have to do with boxing?
As in most sports, nutrition plays an important role in boxing.
But unlike most other sports, a fighter (minus heavyweights) has weight restrictions based on the maximum weight allowed for each division.
Since most boxers aim to stay within 3-5 % of their ideal fighting weight in between bouts, it is crucial they watch their caloric intake, especially during off-training.
But how often do we hear stories about a fighter "blowing-up" in weight between bouts before ultimately having to struggle in training to take off the extra weight?
In 2013, 5'6" welterweight Timothy Bradley, who fights between 145-147 lbs, claimed to have ballooned to 185 lbs during his long layoff following his controversial points win over Manny Pacquiao the year prior.
Bradley struggled mightily against his opponent, Ruslan Provodnikov, eking out a narrow victory in a bout he could have easily lost.
So what's the problem with gaining a ton of access weight in-between fights?
The fighter, when he resumes training, must now focus on two enemies instead of one - His opponent AND the scale.
And sometimes, a fighter's entire focus on the days and weeks preceding a bout is making weight. As a result, what should be his primary focus (his opponent) becomes a secondary concern.
Calories, Calories, Calories...
So, can looks be deceiving?
Some foods have significantly more calories than others but what does the difference actually look like?
See more comparisons on WiseGeek.com
You're a fighter during off-training and haven't eaten much today. After all, its almost dinner time and all you've had the entire day was two Caramel Pecanbons and a medium orange juice this morning when you met your friends for breakfast.
A modest-sized Pecanbon does not look like a lot and limiting yourself to just two would be a far cry from gorging, right?
However, the buns and a 16oz orange can tally up to 2,380 calories - 380 more than the U.S. daily allowance for an entire day.
Now you're about to sit down for dinner and consume a relatively healthy meal containing about 800 calories and a second serving of orange juice (230 calories).
By day's end, even with skipping lunch and pre and post-meal snacks, you've consumed about 3,400 calories yet have eaten relatively modestly.
2,000 vs 2,350 vs 3,400
Even though the U.S recommends people consume roughly 2,000 calories daily, the "actual" benchmark is closer to 2,350, even by FDA standards.
Its believed the FDA proposed 2,000 because
1) its close to the recommended calorie requirement for postmenopausal women, the demographic most at-risk for obesity and
2) the number 2,000 is a reasonably rounded-down value and easier to remember than 2,350.
Everyone Should Treat Themselves on Occasion
Nevertheless, in the aforementioned example the fighter still consumed 1,000 calories more than the "unofficial" official recommended daily allowance - And keep in mind, that's without a lunch or snacking so the 3,400 calorie tally is pretty conservative.
Pro fighters work extremely hard and usually follow strict diet regimens during training and many would recommend they indulge in cinnamon buns and big, fat juicy hamburgers in-between trainings as long as its in moderation.
The keywords are "in moderation"
If you're a fighter in-between fights who isn't back in the gym yet but needs a junk food outlet, try 1) imiting your daily consumption of sweets and other foods high in calories, 2) replacing juice with good old fashioned H20, and 3) consuming smaller, healthier, more frequent meals throughout the day.
You'll be able to eat more while eating less (in calories) and are less likely to struggle to make weight for your next bout.
In the end, its the calories that matter most - not our overall consumption of food.
When it comes to food looks can, in fact, be deceiving.
What does 2,000 Calories Look Like? See the video below.