Boxing Nutrition: Types of Carbohydrates


Have you heard of the phrase a carb is a carb or flexible dieting ?

Yes that’s right many people now think that eating 50g of carbs in the form of coco cola is the same as eating 50g of carbs from a sweet potato. However, carbohydrates are commonly scaled on glycaemic index (GI), this determines how quickly carbohydrates are absorbed and transformed into glycogen.

A boxers performance and weight loss program can be improved by appropriately structuring low and high GI food intake.

In Brief

  • A boxer should carefully choose the timing and quantity of foods of different GI status, High vs. Low.
  • Fruit, grains, beans and wholemeal products are Low GI foods that are released at a slower rate
  • White bread, pasta and potatoes are High GI foods that are released at a higher rate.

Why Low GI?

During dieting it is highly important than you have no micronutrient deficiency’s which can lead to impaired immunity and reduced physical performance.

Whole food sources of carbohydrates consisting of potatoes, rice, oats, fruit and whole wheat products contain high amounts of micronutrients as well as being high in fibre.

Carbohydrates containing dietary fibre minimize surges in blood glucose which will result in less of an insulin spike compared to low fibre processed starches.

  • Low GI Examples – Potato/ Oats eaten the night before or 3-4 hours prior to high intensity interval training will allow you sustained energy throughout the session whilst still allowing a high rate of fatty acid mobilization.

Why High GI?

Although low GI foods are preferred when ‘making weight’, some periods of a training camp require the use of high GI carbohydrates for example after a weigh in with a few hours before a fight.

Due to the low fibre content of the high GI carbohydrates this will result in less gastric distress whilst fighting compared to low GI carbohydrates.

  • High GI Examples – Potato/Pasta prior to intense sparring or competition are more likely to be more appropriate to give you fast release energy without risking gastric stress.

Nutrient Timing

So we have gone through planning and the type of Carbohydrates, now its all about the TIMING. We have briefly touched on some Low and High GI examples, check out more information by clicking HERE.


Lee Rickards

Lee Rickards is a nutrition consultant and sport scientist currently working at Sheffield United Football Club and with professional combat sport athletes competing for regional, national and commonwealth titles. Lee is an UKSCA accredited strength and conditioning coach (ASCC) and an accredited body composition analyst by The International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK).

Lee was awarded his Bachelor of Science in Sport Science for Performance Coaching in 2012 and will be completing Master of Science, Sport and Exercise Science at Sheffield Hallam University in 2015. Lee is currently undergoing his research project, which will investigate strength exercise selection on gluteus maximus activity in order to reduce injury incidence and increase hip extension to aid sports performance.

Lee believes in evidence based nutrition practices to improve performance whilst debunking myths surrounding making weight. Lee will be sharing his nutrition knowledge through a series of articles relating to Boxing performance.

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