Recovery is a key aspect for any boxer if they expect to perform at the highest level. As a boxer myself, I know fine well how intense some boxing sessions can be.
As there are no seasons in boxing it’s important that you plan your rest days, but find a way to aid your recovery so you can hit the gym even stronger next time. The last thing you want to happen is to get injured!
In this blog, I wanted to go over as many key tips and ideas to help you recover quicker after boxing training. Some of these points below are fairly obvious but important to take them up consistently. I have also added some potentially new ideas for you to consider.
How these tips are organised
To avoid confusion in this list the 16 tips below will be organized into the following factors.
- Things to avoid
Read through or scroll down to the topic you wish to know more about.
So let’s get right into it!
If you are boxing training in any way, you will hopefully be trying to eat as good nutritious food as possible. Sometimes we can all get lazy and decide to grab a slice of pizza or cake. However, after training or even before you need to make sure you are fueling yourself with the correct foods. This in turn will very much help in your recovery and give you more energy.
1. Protein pre and post workout
When you are boxing training or working out the muscle fibers in your body are going to break down. Hence why you feel sore after training or the next day after. Consuming protein before and after your boxing workout it can help give you the initial nutrients to help your muscles repair.
I would say overall it is more important post-workout as that is when your muscles will need more protein to increase muscle protein synthesis.
2. Carbohydrates post-workout
As your muscles store carbs in the form of glycogen for its energy. It’s really important that you combine some carbohydrates within your post workout meal alongside protein to aid recovery.
The glycogen is a primary source of energy for your muscles that you will use when boxing training.
Smoothies are one delicious way for boxers to get their calorie and nutrient intake for recovery and maintaining your performance. As someone who has been boxing for a while, smoothies have been a brilliant way to keep on top of my weight and also a great snack alternative!
Whether you want to create a fruit or vegetable smoothie, this will impact your recovery and will definitely help give you a boost of energy!
Check out my 4 delicious knockout smoothies for boxers here.
Probably one of the most obvious on this list and is to keep hydrated. There is in fact a very good reason for doing this, however. By exercising your muscles you will become stronger first by breaking down and then rebuilding through protein synthesis. (as mentioned above).
This however requires that the muscles are hydrated first. If you are too dehydrated after training, the protein synthesis will slow down and therefore your recovery after your exercise will take longer.
I highly recommend you also check out the following nutrition plans books created specifically for fighters which I have found very useful to use in past:
- 30-Day Fighter’s Diet by Expert Boxing
- Chris Algeiri’s The Fighter’s Kitchen
- Combat Sports Nutrition eBook
Much like the above points on nutrition, supplements are a brilliant and quick way to get the right minerals into your body.
This will in turn aid in your recovery quicker and body results after boxing training. Check out my article on top supplements for boxing training here.
5. Protein shake
Another fairly obvious point on this list, but I truly believe this to be one of the most important to help with getting a quicker recovery. From my own personal experience, if you are going to be training a lot for boxing or in any sport, protein supplements will help build your muscle strength. But most importantly it will aid in rebuilding and repairing your muscles after a hard training session.
Creatine is great for increasing your muscle mass and strength performance. It does this by increasing phosphocreatine stores within your muscles which helps them to grow and improve your overall strength.
According to PubMed Central, creatine has been found to help athletes recover from muscle damage, and inflammation and even restore glycogen levels to give them more energy.
7. CBD oil
With WADA (world anti-doping agency) lifting the ban on CBD oil for those in sports, it is quickly becoming a go-to product to help with performance and recovery for many boxers and athletes.
CBD is short for cannabidiol. But, unlike with marijuana, it does not have any psychoactive properties that get you high. This supplement comes in a whole host of different forms including oil, creams, gummies, capsules and many more.
There are many benefits to these helping boxers in recovery including:
- Reducing pain and inflammation
- Improving sleep
- Nutrition value
For more information on CBD oil, you can check out the articles below which also include a Youtube video of myself covering the topic.
Equipment and gear
There is also a whole range of equipment and gear that you can use to help aid your recovery after boxing training.
8. Massage Gun
Massage guns have recently really become very popular in recent years. However, there is an initial investment you have to make if you are planning on better muscle recovery. It basically helps to target deep tissue in your muscles by repeatedly moving in and out.
A massage gun also aims to reduce inflammation by flushing extracellular fluids such as lactic acid in the muscle tissue. This is great for boxers as it can quickly reduce muscle soreness, relax tight muscles and ease tension.
From personal use, I have found the Massage gun great if you have tightness in one area. You can also quickly use lots of areas for 2-3 mins to help you feel a difference. I have personally used the Pulseroll Mini Massage Gun, OPOVE Massage Gun and MuscleGun which all come with lots of different massage heads to use. There are also other popular options such as Threagun you can see on Amazon here or check out more vibration products on Pulseroll’s website here.
9. Foam Roller
Much like the above massage gun, foam rollers are a much cheaper alternative to targeting deep tissue muscle. However, the main difference is that you use roll techniques to concentrate on certain muscle groups.
In a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, they suggested that using a foam roller after your workout will help reduce and delay muscle soreness and this, therefore, helps improve performance in future workouts.
I have personally found foam rollers to be very useful for targeting my leg muscles and also my back in areas that are hard to massage or reach.
Here are some foam roller options on Amazon you can check out here or check out Pulseroll’s vibrating foam roller.
10. Compression therapy
This is one of the newest trends out there that a lot of the top fighters are starting to use to help aid recovery. Most out there are mainly for your legs, but you can get upper-body versions.
According to Healthline, compression therapy basically controls pressure to increase blood flow in your legs, whilst improving blood flow and supporting your veins and decreasing swelling.
There is still limited research in terms of it helping recovery, but for the most part, most believe that it does help recovery quicker.
Sometimes it is our lifestyle choices that can play an impact on our recovery after training. There are plenty of simple recovery choices we can make each day and some of these are just extra ideas you can use to help alongside some more obvious ones.
11. Ice Bath / Cold therapy
For the average person, this can be quite a nuisance to do. But if you are really serious about your recovery, this can be one of the most effective ways to help your muscles recover quickly after a hard boxing session.
Ice baths or cold therapy are one of the best ways to help reduce inflammation and increase the way blood and other fluids like lactic acid flow through the body.
Basically, when your muscles sit in cold water, the blood vessels compress and then once you get out they open up again. This helps to remove metabolic waste in the muscles that cause fatigue and weakness. (Read Men’s Health for more detail)
Other options for cold therapy include cryotherapy or even going to the sea or lake.
12. Heat therapy
This is obviously very much the opposite of the above. Heat therapy improves blood circulation in particular areas because of the increased temperature.
This helps to relax and soothe damaged muscle tissue, which in turn speeds up your recovery. (Read more on Healthline) You can do this through things such as a warm bath, sauna room, sports heat cream, heat pad, or compression therapy.
Getting a massage can be extremely useful for recovery as they are able to get specific spots that you can’t reach. Especially to target those back muscles that get used so often in boxing training and even in daily life.
Research published in the American College of Sports Medicine showed that a massage can actually delay muscle soreness after working out.
If you have a budget for this and are training often, this might be something worth investing in.
Meditation is something that doesn’t get talked about enough and is something I think all fighters should consider trying. If it doesn’t work for you, then that’s fine. But if you are someone who gets quite anxious or stressed, meditation can be a great way to clear the mind and chill you out.
Adopting meditation as a part of your routine can make you a better fighter and bring tranquility to your mind. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health for your recovery.
Now, this is a fairly obvious one, but actually taking the time off to rest your body will aid your recovery! Put your feet up for once, stick on a film, watch some Netflix or play a video game. There are plenty of things you can do to distract yourself from exercising.
I highly recommend you check out my article on what boxers should do on their rest day here.
This is a fairly obvious one, but sleep is when your body is repairing itself the most. When you are sleeping this is the primary time when your muscles will be recovering through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release. (Sports Lab NYC)
It’s worth trying to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep to maximize your recovery. This in turn will make you feel well-rested and ready to take on the day ahead!
Things to avoid
Now it’s important that you avoid these things after your boxing training. These are fairly obvious but are definitely the worst thing you can do, otherwise, it will affect your recovery potential.
All of these can reduce the chance of replenishing glycogen in the muscles along with reducing protein synthesis to get maximum recovery.
- Eating Fatty Foods
In terms of myself, I have used almost all of the above at some point in time and they all do help in recovery. First and foremost I think getting things like your nutrition in check should be one of the first things you consider. Protein shakes, I think, are a big bonus for me in the recovery phase. I have personally found CBD oil and using the massage gun has really helped aid me in my recovery.
Boxing is one of the hardest sports in the world to participate in, whatever level you are at, I can’t stress enough how important recovery is for longevity.
As boxers and fighters, we pride ourselves on being hard-working for the most part. That’s why I believe you need to take your recovery just as seriously. This is how you will be able to perform at the highest level.
I highly recommend you also check my other related article on this topic below.
- 10 Effective Tips To Help Muscle Recovery After Boxing Training
- Rest Day For Boxing | What Should You Do?
- Boxing Psychology | Master Your Mind
- Boxing And Meditation | How It Can Help You
- 10 Proven Reasons Why Boxers Should Take Up Yoga
- 5 Most Common Boxing Injuries You Should Know About
- Boxing Workouts While Traveling | Tips To Stay Active
Thanks for reading
PLEASE NOTE* All the above are just my suggestions from personal boxing training and competing over the years. Always ask your coach or a health professional to get advice for more detail on any of the above to help with your recovery. Especially if you are injured.
Stephen Fulton's Cool Boy nickname typifies his boxing style in the ring. He is a fighter who has all the slick boxing skills in the game to have a successful career and potentially be one of the...
The shoulder roll is a very popular defensive move in boxing that uses the lead shoulder to deflect incoming punches. Many boxers use it occasionally, but then there are those who center their entire...