I would have quit my gym earlier if it weren’t for the attached boxing gym complete with a ring, bags, treadmill, gloves, jump rope, kettlebells…the works. There was a lot of open gym time, so I would drive to the gym right after work and try to train as much as possible until one of there out of shape instructors showed up and started his “classes.”
Boxing is my favorite form of cardio. Take a look at the physiques of Tim Bradley, Floyd Mayweather, and David Haye. They are cut and shredded. Any dude would love to have such a physique. In fact with so many more people looking to lose fat and get cut, it would seem that there is more to learn from a boxer then their is from a bodybuilder.
So what gives? What is so special about boxing that produces such great physiques?
Physique vs Performance
Boxers, and most athletes, go after one thing: performance.
Bodybuilding on the other hand is all about aesthetics.
Boxers don’t train for aesthetics. They train to knock out an opponent, to last in the ring, and to “move like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” That’s not to say that a boxer wouldn’t have a good starting point if he ever wanted to transition into bodybuilding. The base would certainly be good. A boxer would have not problem getting their physique to dramatically showcase mass gains through bodybuilding training.
There average joes fail is that they are constantly sold and bombarded with images and workout plans of professional bodybuilders and models selling the idea that they are the image of a perfect male physique. This is absolutely not true.
Foxhound Studio actually published a great study on the ideal male physique according to women. According to the article, 72.5% of women prefer Brad Pitt’s Fight Club physique compared to just 1% of women preferring Frank Zane’s 3-time Olympia physique. The majority of guys are after Frank Zane’s measurements when all we really need to do is diet down, do some cardio, train arms, and call it a day.
Most athletes actually look very average on paper compared to the stats of a bodybuilder. But does the everyday guy just looking to lose a few pounds or improve their physique really need to worry about the stats of bodybuilder?
…and what about Gymnasts and Sprinters?
Two other groups of athletes that train for performance over physique, but certainly deliver good in the physique category are gymnasts and sprinters. Gymnasts tend to develop powerful arms, back, and chest which look larger due to their cut physiques. Sprinters too have a lean physique with long, powerful legs and a ripped midsection, giving them a look that most men would only dream of.
So what gives? Would it be better to just engage in boxing, gymnastics, or sprinting as opposed to weight lifting?
For many of you the answer is certainly a yes. I can tell you that 7 years of Karate has given me a much better athletic base then 7 years of resistance training. That is not to say that bodybuilding won’t produce in you good qualities. It will only work if you pursue bodybuilding as a sport.
And that is the problem here. Most men take up bodybuilding only to improve their physiques. They start off thinking it’s easy to look like the dude in the magazine. It certainly is not easy, especially if you engage in an activity you don’t actually enjoy.
Is it the training or the diet?
You may have heard stories of Michael Phelps’ 4,000 calorie breakfast or the fact that Georges St. Pierre can eat burgers and still remain lean. Most of these stories are untrue, half-truths, or exaggerated. In fact, St. Pierre followed a strict diet when it came to training for a fight. If you’re an elite athlete, you will certainly seek out a competitive edge over you opponent, including improvements to your diet.
However, these three disciplines do help build an impressive physique and dramatically improve fitness levels as compared to a strict bodybuilding approach. GSP seems to agree, as he stated the following in an interview on the Joe Rogan Podcast: “I would say George, stop that silly bodybuilding and instead do track and field.”
So yes, the training approach is plays a big role. In the next article, we will go over the impressive training programs of successful boxers. What you will notice is that most boxers overtrain. Overtraining in bodybuilding is a big no-no. But when it comes to nearly every sport, the more you train, the better (sort of).
Why are Boxers so Cut?
- Because they train, train, train, and train.
- 95% of their training is cardio by definition.
- And…they need to make weight
And #4…because it’s fun to hit a heavy bag, skip rope, and do footwork drills for cardio rather then jog on a treadmill or sit on a stationary bike.