What's Your Ideal Weight Class?
Is the boxing weight class you are currently in, the one you should be in?
A few people have asked me if they are in the right weight class. So, here's how you find out what your ideal natural weight class is.
Boxers have pretty small amounts of body fat on their bodies. This makes perfect sense since it is their muscle that helps them perform better, not fat. There simply is no good reason to be carrying more fat on your body than what it needs unless you plan on living somewhere really really cold where the extra insulation might come in handy.
Ultimately, you want a level of body fat that is very close to what you would have if you are competing. Limiting your body fat to this level year round also prevents the drastic changes and punishment some boxers go through to make weight for a fight. If you stay in shape all the time, not only can you fight on short notice, but you will also show up in peak condition - not messed up from your weight cutting efforts.
The Weigh In
Photo by World Series Boxing
For men, that body fat level is 9-10% and women 18-19%.
It's not easy hitting that level of body fat, but when you do, your muscles pop out all over the place and things get so much easier to do. Achieving that level may seem like an impossible task right now, especially if you have a lot more fat than that - say 28-30%, but I guarantee it is totally doable with enough consistent time and the proper nutrition plan.
You have to remember that you didn't put on all that fat overnight. You didn't eat some huge meal, go to sleep, and wake up fat. So, it is not going to come off overnight either. It takes a consistent effort over a period of time. Luckily, that period of time is generally shorter than it took to get fat in the first place.
Notice I said nutrition plan?
So many people think that they are going to get on a treadmill and run off pounds of fat all while still eating the refined sugars, flours, sweets, deep fried death and other crap all day. If this is your plan, don't bother going to the gym at all - you're doomed to be fat forever.
Calculating Your Ideal Natural Weight Class
Anyways, back to figuring out your ideal weight class.
2. Figure out your lean body mass. Again, your progress report will tell you (LBM) - otherwise you take your current total weight and subtract the amount of fat you have on your body:
LBM = Total Weight-(Total Weight * bodyfat %)
3. Add the appropriate amount of fat back on to your LBM.
For Men: LBM * 1.1 (adds 10% bodyfat)
For Women = LBM *1.19 (adds 19% bodyfat)
4. Look up your new weight in the boxing weight class chart - that's your ideal natural weight class.
Your Action Plan
Your first goal should be to achieve your ideal natural weight class. For most people that means cutting some fat off your body. Once you've achieved your natural weight class, you may find that you'd like to change the look of your body and add some muscle to move up in weight classes. Moving up should be the result of adding muscle, not fat to your body.
Some people make the mistake of trying to maximize fat loss and muscle gain at the same time. While it can be done, primarily with people who are new to training, they really aren't meant to happen at the same time. Losing fat is the result of a caloric deficit. Gaining muscle requires a caloric surplus. You can't have a deficit and a surplus at the same time.
Approx 9 weeks of body weight and boxing...
That said, there is a spot, and it is different for everyone, where you can add muscle and burn fat. I recently did it over the past ten weeks simply with body weight exercises and some boxing and running - see the results. I added about 12lbs of muscle and cut about 2.5% body fat (I was starting to get a little flabby...) Had I concentrated specifically on losing fat, I probably could have cut off a lot more, but it may have been at the expense of losing muscle mass which I didn't want to do.
Ideally, your goal is to at least maintain your current level of LBM while the fat is burned off. If your LBM starts to fall, you need to eat more (good food) and ensure you are still doing some strength training.
So there you go, now you know what to aim for. Boxon.