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Boxing & Females making fight weight

Posted by Helene Jafine on

Woman boxer in Girls Just Wanna Box tshirt smiling

In order to fight and compete as boxers we are required to weigh in before the fight and compete within a certain body weight range. Especially as a female boxer, I think this can be harmful in regards to body image and/or the possibility of memories of a former (or current) emotional and/or physical eating disorder.

Food is very important as a boxer and an athlete. You eat to fuel your body before a training session and replenish with food after a training session. Food is used to help you perform at your best.

I personally found being on my prescribed meal plan for my fight training camp to be difficult, not because it wasn’t easy to follow but because there were lots of carbs and a lot more daily food intake than I would’ve normally eaten. Yes I fell into the trap from a young age that carbs will make you fat; so I avoided them at all costs. I also jumped on the ‘do lots of cardio and don’t eat too much’ train as well. So my knowledge prior to this was already incorrect and unhealthy.

I won’t lie and say that eating that amount of food and carbs didn’t ‘scare me.’ However I trusted my coaches to know that this plan was set up by an amazing nutritionist (Coach JVB) who worked with coach Kristina over years to create our ‘Fight Weight’ programs to ensure it worked for boxers specifically and had been successful with hundreds before me. Moments of doubt definitely went through my mind, but then I slowly started to realize the difference in my energy levels while training. As I said prior to this I was eating very little carbs (before and after training), which certainly hindered my recovery and ability to really push through a training session. When I was eating the proper amount for my body and good carbs – I started to notice a difference in my ability to last longer in my training sessions and push myself a little bit more. The food that I thought was a lot ending up not being a lot because I was doing a combination of: boxing, strength training and runs; between all of those my body was asking for food! In the end, I started to better understand what is considered a protein, fat, and carb, what each of these do for my body and how they can help me enhance my training performance and make me stronger.

It helped me create a better relationship with food because I understood its importance and the myths that I was told. Not only was this healthy for my body, but it also tapped into my mental game as well. I was less stressed about the food I was eating and less worried about the amount of food I was eating (or at the time lack there of). Lastly, I was able to make my fight weight by 1 week out and this gave me extra time to focus on my boxing and my strategy rather than making weight.

As athletes we need to put as much effort into our eating and foods as we do our training, as it is just as important. I now have a better understanding of my food, I am able to make better choices, fear (certain) foods less, and maintain a healthy body weight.

Making weight (whether gaining or losing) should not feel impossible– it should be done within a safe timeframe and with a proper nutritionally balanced and packed meal plan. If you are looking for a program that will help get you understand your optimal fight weight and how to get there safe and effectively– please visit our programs page to request a consultation.

Lastly, one item that makes boxing so special is that there are 11 women's boxing weight classes (in amateurs). Beginning with light Flyweight weight (up to 106 lbs) to Super Heavyweight (over 201 lbs). There is room for all shapes and sizes and this cannot be said for all sports.

 

Few questions to ask yourself and/or comment below if you would like to share your experience:

  • Have you struggled with trying to make fight weight?
  • If you have had either an emotional or physical eating disorder - have you found making weight reminds you of those days?
  • Has boxing improved your relationship with food?
  • Have you been able to find a lifestyle in which your walk around weight is 5-10lbs from your fight weight?
  • Has boxing and reaching your ‘fight weight’ helped you with your fear of the scale and numbers?
A woman's before and after fight weight transformation
  • Tags: strategy

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2 comments


  • Thank you for sharing your story on this Mark. It is definitely something to question in the old school views on just drop weight – and the lower is always the better? Is it? Perhaps thats the next blog topic!? Also thank you for noting as an adult you can learn to walk around 10lbs from your ‘Fight Weight’ when not training as hard by eating healthy. I have also heard you are a Heavy Weight VEGAN nowadays. Would love to know your thoughts on what you think life as an olympic level Heavy Weight boxer could have been like if you were VEGAN then? Again what we feel athletes tend to forget is more of the right food = more fuel and the extreme training that is being done as a boxer needs to be supported nutritionally. The problem is we need to educate coaches on that more as well, I was told to eat dry tuna and spinach when I was attempting to drop weight. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I obviously sought my own advice after that. 🤓🤪 Coach Kris

    Coach Kris on

  • Enjoyed your post!
    Personally, I never struggled to make my fight weight, but my philosophy is quite different from many in the boxing world. I started boxing at the age of 6 and boxed in every weight division except Super Heavyweight.
    From my experience over the years, I watched coaches put far too much emphasis on a boxers weight class, instead of focusing on the skills and art of boxing. If a young fighter lost in a tournament, often the solution was to drop down a weight class, but this often wasn’t the answer needed. If more coaches worked with their boxers to be more effective in the ring as opposed to the scale, I believe those same boxers would eventually see success, instead of feeling weak and tired when they stepped in the ring at that lower weight class.
    I never made myself make weight, I simply moved up to the next weight class. Sure, at times I felt like my opponent was stronger, like the time I weighed in 158lbs in the 165lbs weight class at Nationals after eating breakfast.
    I still remember the Boxing Canada official asking me why I didn’t go down to the 156lbs weight class (When there were 12 weight divisions in men’s boxing). I was 18 years old and my answer was, ‘I’m young and still growing’. I ended up with a Silver medal at Nationals that year, not bad for someone that could have easily boxed in the 156lbs weight class, but if coached by another coach, I might have been pushed to make 147lbs.
    Diet is certainly important, but because we burn off so much energy with the boxing training, running, and weight training, I always pretty much ate what I wanted, knowing that I’d burn it off.
    I made it to the Olympic Games, so something I was doing was right, but even at the Olympics, I walked around at 203lbs in the 201lbs weight class. A quick jog and I was on weight.
    In final I’ll say this, I have weighed myself probably just 1 or 2X in the last 5-10 years and I still weigh only about 10lbs over my fight weight. If you don’t have to, I’d say, the scale means nothing, it’s all how you feel in your body, just eat right and stay as healthy as you can.

    Mark on

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