How Boxers Lose Weight Fast for a Fight

Portrait of man in fighting stance outdoors
A boxer exercising outside in an urban lot. (Image: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images)

To keep standards of safety inside the ring, amateur and professional boxers compete in designated weight divisions. Fighters weigh in for a fight 24 hours before they face off, and they must fall within a certain range on the scale. Although boxers weigh nearly the same amount the day before the fight, they are usually much larger the following night. This is because they lose a significant amount of weight before weigh-ins, then put it back on before they fight.

Maintaining Weight

Although most boxers must lose a few pounds the day of weigh-ins, the easiest way to ensure that you make weight is to keep yourself as close as you can to your fighting weight throughout training camp. You can do this by keeping up a restricted diet and nutrition plan that reduces your caloric intake. Additionally, keeping up with your road work and cardio helps to keep your metabolism ticking along at a quick pace and prevents you from gaining weight.

Caloric and Fluid Restriction

When it comes time to start the weight cutting process a day or two before you weigh in, boxers may need to restrict the number of calories they take in to avoid putting on weight. They will also restrict the amount of water they drink, since water weight is gained quickly. In extreme cases, boxers may not eat or drink for 24 hours before they weigh in for a fight. Fighters rehydrate and consume a high number of calories immediately after a weigh-in to replenish their energy.

Sweat it Out

Boxers cut the final few pounds before hitting the scale by exercising at a vigorous pace. Since the majority of your body weight comes from fluids, you can drop weight rapidly by running on a treadmill in sweats, cycling in a sauna or doing sprints with trash bags on your body to retain body heat. These methods are extreme and often leave fighters looking drawn-out and weak when they need to weigh in.

Risks

Although restricting your caloric intake isn't dangerous in the short term, it can result in serious complications to your metabolism and overall health if you're consistently limiting the number of calories you need to maintain a healthy body weight. Sweating out excessive amounts of water can be dangerous, and can even result in extreme cases of dehydration and organ failure. Ideally, boxers should not cut a significant amount of weight, since the health ramifications could be life-threatening.

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