IF you look at some of the top fighters, their weight fluctuates minimally around their fight weight; look at Carl Froch for the perfect example. Keeping weight in check and not having to drop too much weight will make camps much less of a chore and will help with the following factors that can often be compromised when cutting weight rapidly:

  • Maintaining immunity.
  • Maintaining training intensity.
  • Improving morale and mood.
  • Helping maintain lean muscle and improve power:weight ratio.
  • Reducing risk of injury.

Professional boxers towards the top of the sport have the luxury of eight-10 weeks to drop any excess weight they may be carrying. However, if you are an amateur fighter, timescales may not be in your favour, many of you have probably received a call from a coach asking if you can fight at a week’s notice, sometimes even a few days’ notice. This will then involve cutting weight drastically or having to turn down the fight if your weight loss will not be achievable.


To avoid having to cut drastic weight, the best approach would be to maintain your weight as close to fight weight as possible. A good weight to aim for professional boxers would be five per cent over fight weight and then drop 0.5 per cent per week for 10 weeks. With amateurs, a good maximal weight to aim for would be two per cent above fight weight due to the short notice periods often given.


Below is a chart with rough guidelines for macronutrient intake for each of the amateur boxing categories. The intakes are based on two grammes per kg bodyweight of protein, three-four grammes per kg bodyweight of carbohydrate and 1.2g per kg bodyweight of fat. Find your weight category and try out the macronutrient intakes outlined with each weight category as a baseline for weight maintenance.

Weight class Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) Fat (g) Total calories
Light-fly 96 192-240 57 1670-1862
Fly 102 204-255 61 1774-1978
Bantam 108 216-270 64 1872-2088
Feather 114 228-285 68 1980-2208
Light 120 240-300 72 2088-2328
Light-welter 128 256-320 77 2229-2485
Welter 138 276-345 83 2403-2679
Middle 150 300-375 90 2610-2910
Light-heavy 162 324-405 97 2817-3141
Heavy 182 364-455 109 3166-3529
Super-heavy 182+ 455+ 91+ 3539+

The above intakes are based on amateur boxers whose training regime is, for example, a 30-minute run in the morning and a one-hour technical pad work/circuit training/sparring session in the evening and who have a static, low-activity job. Training schedules and job activity vary from boxer to boxer so, if you are losing weight, increase carbohydrate intake slightly, and, if gaining weight, reduce carbohydrate intake, but try and keep protein and fat intake the same.


If you have taken on a fight and have to drop weight quickly, a great way to do this effectively and safely is to cut carbohydrate to a minimum for threefour days. The body stores carbohydrate as glycogen in both the muscles and the liver with the body storing up to 800g of this (depending on body size and training experience). Three grammes of water is bound to each gramme of glycogen. As an average, let’s say a boxer has 400g of stored glycogen on a moderate carbohydrate intake. This means the boxer has 400g of glycogen plus 1200g of water to lose, totalling 1600g (1.6 kg/3.5 lb). Eating minimal carbohydrate (less than 30g per day) whilst still training will deplete carbohydrate stores, allowing the boxer to drop in theory 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) without dehydrating or reducing calorie intake in any way.

For this to work you will need to have been eating a moderate carbohydrate intake for several weeks before, if you are eating a low carbohydrate diet, you will not have the required glycogen stores to remove to allow you to lose the associated weight.

To achieve this weight loss, focus intake around protein, vegetables and fats and avoid carbohydrates including bread, pasta, rice, noodles, beans, chickpeas, fruit (apart from berries), root vegetables, potatoes, sweet potatoes. etc.


  • Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and asparagus.
  • Mackerel with spinach.
  • Poached eggs with wilted spinach and garlic butter.
  • Full English – turkey sausages, trimmed bacon, scrambled eggs and grilled tomatoes (no beans or bread).


Mainly meat with vegetables like:

  • Chilli with mixed vegetables (no rice).
  • Fajitas (using lettuce instead of tortilla).
  • Steak with spinach and broccoli.
  • Thai green curry with oriental veg (no rice or noodles).
  • Grilled salmon teriyaki stir fry (no rice or noodles). Snacks
  • Whey protein shakes.
  • Beef jerky.
  • Meat-based bites (e.g. chicken, beef, prawns) with a dip (small amount of bbq sauce, sweet chilli sauce, small amount of hummus).
  • Handful of nuts and/or seeds.
  • Cottage cheese with blueberries.

After the weigh-in you should consume a highcarbohydrate meal and carbohydrate-based drinks to replenish carbohydrate content and regain some of the weight lost.


  • Try to keep within two per cent of fight weight.
  • Focus carbohydrate intake four hours before training and immediately after.
  • Reduce carbohydrates on rest days and keep fat and protein intake the same.
  • Weigh yourself twice a week (in the morning, after going to the toilet); if weight has dropped, increase carbohydrate intake, if weight has increased, reduce carbohydrate content.
  • If overweight and fighting soon you should cut carbohydrates out of the diet to drop weight quickly without dehydrating.

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*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*