How Do Boxers Lose Weight? (Weight Cut EXPLAINED)

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Whether an aspiring MMA fighter or a pro boxer, weigh-ins before the fight determine what weight division you’ll be competing in.

While some trainers and athletes advocate for the benefits of cutting weight, others see it as a dangerous endeavor that can affect overall health. 

The primary purpose of losing weight is to keep the body within a certain weight bracket before a weigh-in or to get down to a fighting weight before a fight. 

It can be dangerous when done too quickly or for the wrong reasons, but keeping trim will keep you sharp and agile.

In this article, I’ll share the training regimens of seasoned boxers and all the relevant information needed to lose weight effectively.

Training regimens to lose weight

First, let’s look at some primary ways boxers lose weight for an upcoming fight.


To keep the body in good shape, I’ve found that running is still one of the best ways to burn calories and improve cardiovascular endurance.

Running aids in energy metabolism and doesn’t require specific workout gear except for a decent pair of running shoes. 

During training sessions, boxers run for miles in a day when their goal is to cut weight.    

Training twice a day

Most athletes train once a day, but have you noticed how boxers get into shape in little time?

The answer to their fantastic body transformation is that they work out more than once daily. 

Boxers and fighters call this method two-a-days, where a boxer trains early in the morning before starting their day and goes for a second session during the evening.

The workouts they follow aren’t long and are limited to 45 minutes or an hour. 

Each workout aims to improve attributes like strength, conditioning, strategy, and boxing skills. 

Eating clean

You won’t lose weight if you don’t eat a balanced and nutritious diet.

Boxers stick to a wholesome, organic, fresh food diet instead of processed meals and takeaways.

They are keeping caloric intake adequate according to their training regimen and body requirements.

Where they are allowed to do so, some boxers will use supplements that aid in fat loss alongside their training and diet regimen.

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Just make sure its ingredients fit within the rules for your bout.

Boxers will always pay close attention to the number of macronutrients they intake.

Most trainers recommend breaking down the clean diet into 20% fats, 30% proteins, and 50% carbohydrates for optimum results. Good food will aid in cutting down weight. 

Getting good rest

Besides focusing on training and diet, boxers know the benefits of ample rest—it’s the key to recovery.

After exhausting training sessions, the body reaches its limits. Resting for an ample amount of time allows the body time to recover. 

Trainers recommend sleeping 8 to 10 hours regularly to keep fatigue at bay. 

Why do boxers lose weight?

Boxing is a competitive sport, and athletes always look for an edge over their competitors, especially before a fight. Weight cut has been practiced by boxers, UFC fighters, and other disciplines of combat sport for decades, aiming to fit into the lowest weight class. 

Fighters have been doing it for so long that it’s a mandatory practice. Minor weight differences in combat sports like boxing make a huge difference. 

Some boxers aim for a few pounds, while others can even go to extremes, like cutting their body weight by up to 10%. Sometimes even more (at significant risk to their health).

Boxers push themselves to the limit to achieve effective results.

How much weight do boxers aim to cut?

Most boxers aim for a 5% decrease in body weight and up to a maximum of 8%. Most of these categories have an upper and lower weight limit except the heavyweight class, where there is no upper weight limit. 

There are a lot of weight categories in boxing, with a difference of 6-7 pounds between some of them.

The International boxing federation has stringent rules regarding cutting down weight and rehydrating. 

The weight cut varies for each fighter, depending on their requirements.

However, in MMA, there’s an upper limit for heavy weights. 

How do boxers cut weight instantly?

The weight-cut routine for boxers starts early in the fight camp, where the body is prepared to endure the stress the body faces when the final weight cut is made. A well-balanced diet is incorporated into the mix early to decrease any issues.

You might wonder how losing fat and body weight in several hours is possible.

The simple answer is cutting weight usually involves manipulating water and sodium levels to decrease the amount of water in the body, resulting in quick weight loss.

Here’s a step-by-step overview of the process…

Hydration load

On the first day of the fight week, boxers consume 6 to 8 liters of water, keeping their body hydrated at optimum levels. 

Cutting down water intake

In the coming days, the amount of water and carbs in the diet is decreased. 

Work out and sweat

A day before the weigh-in, the boxers stop taking fluids and aim to sweat out the body fluids.

Low-intensity exercises and a sauna are common ways boxers sweat out until the day of the weigh-in. 

Water intake is limited to only a few sips to prevent the mouth from drying. 

After weigh-ins

Once the weigh-in concludes, the boxer transitions to the process of rehydration and regaining the lost weight as fluids.

The average consumption of the fighter ups to 1 liter of water per hour alongside meals to replenish the depleted energy and achieve optimum performance results.  

Final word on how boxers lose weight

The weight reduction process requires endurance, persistence, and determination to achieve the selected goals.

It’s a tricky process that can be detrimental to health and even life-threatening when not executed correctly. 

If you plan to cut weight as a boxer, it is best first to understand your requirements.

Knowing what you want to achieve after losing weight can aid in setting up a plan with practical outcomes. Boxers should work with a certified professional to help you make a suitable plan to follow. 

This will ensure you experience weight loss safely and effectively, making you ready for the fight.

Lastly, when following a special diet for a fighter, avoid distractions and keep yourself focused on the set goals, as unhealthy influences only put a limit on your abilities.

Stay healthy no matter your weight, and always aim to lose weight gradually unless you are slimming down for a weigh-in.

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