Nutrition plans have come a long way in recent years as our understanding of nutritional science has evolved. Boxers, in particular, have woken up to the importance of diet in improving their performance in the ring.
As a result, nutritionists are now an essential part of a pro boxer’s team. So what do some of the world’s best boxers eat in the run up to their next fight? Here’s an insight into the nutrition plans of three top professional boxers: Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and Wladimir Klitschko.
Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao burns up to 7,000 calories a day during training and reportedly eats six meals a day to fuel his body. He wakes at 3am to sip on his first protein shake of the day. His favourite meals include Tinolang Manok, a typical Philippine chicken broth made with papaya, ginger and onions, and also beef Tapa, another traditional dish from the Philippines which is made from strips of steak, soy sauce and peppers and is served with white rice. His diet is also rich in vegetables, meat, fish and fruit.
British boxer Amir Khan told Coach Mag that he always starts his day with a protein shake before his morning run. After his running session, he has porridge with blueberries and strawberries. At 10:30am, Amir will have his second breakfast consisting of scrambled or poached eggs with coconut oil on toast with tomatoes and beans. Nothing fried.
Lunch is normally skipped, but Khan will consume energy or protein drinks. For his evening meal, the Bolton-born boxer will start with soup and then have potatoes with meat. If he was trying to drop his weight, Khan would opt for chicken or fish instead of red meat.
The Ukrainian heavyweight has a personal chef on his training camps who ensures that all food is made entirely from scratch. This also helps his team to stay in control of exactly how much salt, sugars and fat are going into every meal. According to Boxing Insider, although Klitschko also takes a ‘clean’ approach to eating, his fight day diet does differ somewhat from many other fighters. He limits his meat protein intake on fight days so that no chicken or beef passes his lips for at least 6-7 hours before the bout. Instead, he eats oatmeal with berries, plain pasta with a little olive oil and perhaps some parmesan cheese. And when it comes to fight day, garlic is another no-no.