The (not so secret) secret every boxer knows about losing weight
Probably the most renowned professional boxer for putting on weight and then losing it again is that of Tyson Fury. Tyson Fury had to lose an astonishing 9 stone (131 pounds) in 2 years to be ready for his comeback fight! So how did he do it? What is the secret he knows?
The secret is incredibly simple and we’ll get to it but first you need to know about lean muscle mass.
Boxing weight categories have a range of weight that they can be to fit into a particular category. For example middleweight boxers are between 70 – 73kg (154-160LB’s).
It is not good enough for a middleweight to weigh in at 70kg’s. Doing that means they are missing at least 3kg’s of muscle, 3kg’s their opponent could be carrying. If you add body fat into the mix, then the actual muscle differences between two opponents could be very high – this is a comparison of the lean body mass.
Not only that boxers often have a limited time scale in which to make their set weight category.
Very often a training camp will be around 12 weeks which means their weight loss has to be spot on.
Lean muscle mass
Everyone carries fat around on their bodies. Recent studies have suggested that any fat cells you obtain before you are 20 years old are with you for the rest of your life. (remember that young people the next time you put that ice cream in your mouth). Fat cells are highly elastic, so fortunately for those of us who decided to bring a few fat cells along for the ride after age 20, they can be shrunk really really really small to the point where they are basically cells without fat in them.
Everyone has a specific amount of fat (approx 2-5% for men and 10-13% for women due to child bearing and hormonal differences) that is essential. This is the fat that is padding your organs, used in metabolic functions, etc… The science doesn’t matter, what matters is that those numbers are your lowest possible threshold. For a boxer, any fat they are carrying above and beyond the minimum essential amount is stealing weight that could be replaced by muscle that makes them more effective in the ring. That is one very big reason why boxer’s physiques are so ripped. They are trying to jam as much muscle as possible into their weight category and to do that something has to disappear – fat.
Therefore, it really doesn’t matter what your bathroom scale tells you. What you really want to be concerned about is lean body mass.
Formula for lean body mass
Lean Body Mass = Total Weight * (1-(bodyfat % *100)
Another important reason to want to increase lean body mass is because muscle eats fat. You don’t have to look like a bodybuilder, but adding some extra muscle will allow you to eat more if you wish and still maintain your weight. More muscle will give you better fine tune control over the amount of fat on your body.
Boxing and water weight/ dehydration
There is another element to boxers making weight and that is the one of hydration (the amount of water being held in the body). Generally you can safely dehydrate around 2-3kg of water before you suffer dangers to your health. Boxers will generally get down to around 2-3kg above the required weight limit before dehydrating the additional weight before the weigh in. Once the weigh in is done they will then re hydrate again. So they actually come in above their required fight weight. Also this method bares no relevance to losing body fat. Hydration levels are an important factor to take into account when monitoring progress. A similar factor applies to how much food being digested you may have in your body too. So it is important to make sure you weigh yourself in the morning before you have eaten to get the most accurate indication progress.
Alright – so you understand your goal is to increase – or at least maintain your lean body mass – and decrease fat.
How Do You Do That?
Is that all it takes, what else do boxers know? Click on the link below to find out more…
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