Boxing is an incredibly challenging sport. It pushes you to your physical and mental limits whether or not you ever decide to enter the ring.
Dedication, hard work, and persistence, are what it takes to become good at boxing. But even if boxing is your passion, there are times when hauling your ass to the gym requires you to scrape the bottom of the willpower barrel.
But sometimes motivation struggles aren’t what’s holding us back, and tiredness and the aches and niggles we feel can leave us questioning whether training is a good idea.
Do Boxers Take Supplements?
You’ve probably seen other athletes take supplements to boost their performance and help with recovery, and maybe you take protein shakes when you lift weights.
But, are supplements for fighters a wise move, and if so, what supplements should you be taking?
In a nutshell… YES.
Boxing training is extremely taxing on the body and will deplete your energy stores and vital nutrients.
Boxers, therefore, pay careful attention to their diet, and eat energy rich foods high in protein and packed with vitamins and minerals. Depending on the intensity and how often you train, the nutrients you get from your diet may be enough to reenergise the body and replenish nutrients.
However, by adding the right supplements to your diet, you can boost your energy, train for longer, and provide your body with the optimal amount of nutrients it needs to recover.
If you want to take your training to the next level, it’s wise to consider adding supplements to your diet.
But there’s one problem; with so many supplements to choose from, it can difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff and decide what you actually need.
Lucky for you, our boxing supplements guide gives you the rundown on which supplements you should consider taking and why. Let's take a look!
Our Pick – The 5 Best Supplements for Boxing
1. Caffeine Supplements
If you’re like me, you’ll need several cups of Old Joe to push you through your working day. However, caffeine isn’t only useful for seeing out the nine-till-five slog, and it also has numerous benefits for athletes.
The greatest benefit is the one you're already familiar with: an energy boost. Yeahh!!!
Caffeine supplements typically hold as much caffeine as 2-4 cups of coffee. On days when you need a little kick to get going, caffeine supplements can give you a boost and even lead to you POWERING through two-hour long workouts when you weren’t ‘feeling it’ before.
They are an excellent pre workout supplement for boxing as they don’t leave you jittery or with heart palpations the way other supplements do – not a good idea when you're about to jack your heart rate in excess of 140 bpm.
If you only use them on the days you are extremely tired, then you won’t build up a tolerance to caffeine, and you’ll still feel like a rocket ship when you take them.
Recent research also suggests that caffeine may help you control your appetite, and it may even boost your metabolism throughout the day. Good news for anyone that uses boxing training for weight loss.
Look for a supplement with at least 200mgs of caffeine for best results.
The Top 3 Caffeine Supplements
2. Amino Acid Capsules
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are essential for maintaining and growing muscle tissue.
While there are many different sources of amino acids in our foods, the free-floating amino acids found in supplements are more easily absorbed into your cells and repair muscles more efficiently.
The amino acids most commonly supplemented by bodybuilders and boxers are Lysene, L-Glutamine and BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids).
If you want to improve your boxing skills, then you’re going to have to train on consecutive days. Supplementing with the above amino acids regularly will help you recover faster so you’re ready next time padwork rolls around.
The Best Amino Acid Supplements
Amino Acid Supplements
3. Antioxidant Supplements
Regular exercise does a myriad of wonderful things for our body and mind. However, over training can also cause oxidative stress - a condition which produces free radicals associated with a range of illnesses and diseases.
Taking a supplement rich in antioxidants will stop harmful free radicals from reacting with the cells in our bodies. Look for supplements with plenty of vitamin A, C and E and avoid those with fillers, additives or bovine gelatin
But be warned, you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to vitamins and minerals, and overdosing is possible.
You may only want to take antioxidant supplements on training days, or you may wish to avoid them altogether if you already take a multivitamin. Consult with your doctor if you’re unsure if you need to add more vitamins and minerals to your diet.
The Best Antioxidant Supplements
4. Recovery Supplements
Boxing isn’t a sport you can practice once a week – if you want to get half decent at it anyway – and more than likely, you’ll be spending countless hours at the gym day after day.
The frequency and high intensity of the training put an enormous demand on your muscles. Proper rest and nutrition is therefore vital if you plan on training five or six days a week.
If your muscles aren’t fully recovered, not only will your training session be more difficult, but you also put yourself at risk of injury. However, full muscle recovery isn’t always possible with consecutive training days. More often than not, you will be training with slightly fatigued and torn muscle tissue.
Taking a recovery supplement with your after-workout meal will ensure you’ve got the right nutrients for an optimal recovery. It’s not a miracle cure, and you might still be sore the next day, but your body will feel better than if you didn’t take any action.
Choose recovery supplements that contain both carbohydrates and protein.
A 2008 study published in the "Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition" found that supplements with a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is the most effective for a speedy recovery.
The Top 3 Recovery Supplements
Are protein shakes for boxers a good idea?
ABSOLUTELY! When you’re boxing training several times a week, you’re going to need extra protein in your diet for muscle repair.
However, there are many protein products available, each one containing different types of protein, as well as a blend of other macronutrients and vitamins and minerals.
Most of them contain whey protein which has the advantage of being absorbed quickly, and for that reason, should be consumed straight after a workout. Many also include a mix of slower digesting proteins, such as casein and soy, that make protein readily available for repair long after drinking the shake.
Also, each protein powder is usually designed with a specific goal in mind.
If you’re looking to cut weight, opt for lean protein that has a high percentage of whey protein and very little (or no) carbohydrates.
If you have an ectomorph body type and find it difficult to gain (or even sustain) weight, a mass gainer that has a greater proportion of carbohydrates is a better solution.
No matter which protein you choose, make sure that there is 20-30g of protein per serving.