You’ve got to walk to the ring before you get in step by step and you’ve got train before you fight session by session. For those of you who are familiar with sport science in general you might think of ‘marginal gains’. A term coined by Sir Dave Brailsford of the British cycling team: “It means taking the 1 percent from everything you do; finding a 1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do. That’s what we try to do from the mechanics upwards.”

I think the term marginal gains has been taken out-of-context somewhere along the line and athletes are now looking for the 1 percents – the magic bullet that will transform their boxing fitness. There’s a time and place for that and it’s great for athletes at the top of their game like elite cyclists or pro boxers. I determine how boxers generate energy to move their limbs. Then I create training programmes using other data from their heart rate and blood. In boxing we’d consider this sort of stuff 1 or 2 percents. That stuff is great, but it’s not going to do you any good if you haven’t taken care of the 10 percents.

So what are the 10 percents of boxing fitness? Step forward the foundation level of our performance pyramid.

The foundation involves: fluid balance, sleep habits – quality and quantity, optimal energy balance, use of recovery methods, eating a range of high quality food, optimal body composition, regular morning and evening routine, consistent training and keeping a basic training diary.

After the foundation level comes testing, performance planning, training processes and goals and more. But these foundations should be your everyday basics. Your bread and butter, your meat and two veg and that’s not an overemphasis.

Simply – if you aspire to perform to the best of your ability you need to be world class in these areas. Everyday. You need to be accountable for your actions based upon how well you do these basics and you need to be consistent in your application.

If you’re not doing these, then you need to start right now. Because when you do, your boxing fitness will sky rocket.

Alan Ruddock is a physiologist at Sheffield Hallam university and co-founder of

*For training information and workouts from some of the biggest names in combat sport don’t miss the Fighting Fit: Train like the Stars special*