6 Best Supplements for Boxing & Other Martial Arts (2024)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: June 20, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
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As a professional MMA fighter, I grasp the immense demands of boxing. Discipline and training are crucial, but not enough on their own.

Optimal nutrition and the right supplements are key to peak performance. These specialized aids can transform good performance into exceptional results.

However, their efficacy depends on the ingredients and brand. Leveraging my experience and insights from dietitians, I'll guide you through the best supplements for boxers, their benefits, and how to use them effectively.

Quick Summary

  • Boxers should enhance their rigorous training and recovery with key supplements like whey protein, creatine, multivitamins, fish oil, caffeine, and CBD oil.
  • Whey protein, essential for muscle repair, is particularly effective post-workout, with its rapid absorption aiding in quick recovery, which is crucial for boxers' daily training and performance.
  • Creatine, containing glycine, L-arginine, and L-methionine, increases muscle mass and improves strength and performance by 5–15% in demanding sports like boxing, as reported by Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry.
  • As a professional MMA fighter, I advocate for these supplements to enhance performance, energy, and recovery, but I emphasize consulting a professional for personalized advice and avoiding harmful or illegal substances.

What Supplements Should Boxers Take?

Man drinking protein drink

Boxers need supplements to replenish nutrients, build muscle, and enhance strength and energy amidst rigorous training.

These supplements not only boost stamina and endurance but also elevate performance and facilitate recovery, countering the fatigue, pain, and stress common in high-intensity combat sports.

The supplements boxers should take include:

  • Whey protein
  • Creatine
  • Multivitamin
  • Fish Oil
  • Caffeine
  • CBD Oil

Here’s how a boxer can benefit from each of these supplements and what particular products our expert team members highly recommend.

Whey Protein Supplements

whey protein

Protein is essential for combat athletes like boxers and MMA fighters for muscle growth, recovery, and strength. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends up to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight daily for boxers [1].

Due to intense training, supplementing with whey protein is key. A quick post-workout intake of 20–30 grams of high-quality whey protein powder within 20–30 minutes helps with rapid muscle repair.

It's effective, cost-efficient, and absorbs quickly, as per the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [2].

Boxers should tailor their protein intake to match their training intensity, especially during heavy training phases.

Creatine Supplements

Creatine Supplements

Creatine, composed of glycine, L-arginine, and L-methionine, not only boosts muscle mass but also enhances strength and performance by 5–15% in intense sports like boxing, according to Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry research [3].

It enhances muscle phosphocreatine and ATP production, aiding growth, strength, and post-workout recovery. Boxers taking 0.03 grams of creatine monohydrate per kilogram of body weight post-meal and workout can enhance endurance and maintain strength during strenuous training and bouts.

When combined with beta-alanine, it further increases strength and endurance. However, athletes in weight classes should monitor dosage, as creatine can slightly increase body weight.

Multivitamin Supplements

Multivitamin Supplements

A lack of vitamins, like vitamin D, can increase fracture risks and weaken immunity, severely affecting a boxer's performance and career. Multivitamin supplements support a healthy immune system, boost energy, and enhance metabolism.

Exercise-induced oxidative stress produces harmful free radicals, but multivitamins rich in zinc, selenium, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, C, and E combat this, protecting cells and preventing illness.

Choose a multivitamin packed with these nutrients and antioxidants, preferably sourced from whole foods, to ensure holistic benefits without synthetic additives.

Fish Oil Supplements

Fish Oil Supplements

Based on my rigorous training routine, I highly recommend fish oil to fellow boxers for its extensive benefits for heart, joint, and overall health. It boosts immunity, fights free radicals, and, as per the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, aids in losing fat and building muscle [4].

Fish oil enhances cardiovascular function and aerobic performance by improving oxygen consumption during workouts.

Crucial for boxers, it strengthens bone density, reduces inflammation, and lessens muscle damage, relieving joint pain and aiding recovery, especially after intense training, as noted in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism [5].

Related: Best Omega-3 Supplements

Caffeine Supplements

coffee beans

Boxing's intense, twice-daily training regimen benefits greatly from caffeine supplements. In my competitive MMA fights, I've found that caffeine indeed elevates energy, focus, and overall performance, a finding backed by extensive research.

Ideal as a pre-workout boost, boxers should take caffeine 30 minutes before training for enhanced energy and focus. It's the extra push needed on exhausting training days or during weight-cutting.

However, if you suspect caffeine sensitivity, consult a physician to plan your diet and manage your intake of stimulants like coffee.

CBD Oil Supplements

cbd oil

CBD oil, derived from non-psychoactive hemp plant parts, is a popular supplement among boxers for nutrition, sleep, and overall wellness.

Ensure you choose a THC-free formula to avoid drug test issues.

This vegan, gluten-free option, available in various natural flavors, can be mixed with food or drinks. It effectively manages stress, reduces pre-competition anxiety, alleviates pain and inflammation, and aids in post-exercise recovery.

What Supplements Should Boxers Avoid?

Boxer with supplements

In my career, I've learned the importance of avoiding supplements with harmful additives (fillers, contaminants, and bovine gelatin) and illegal substances (anabolic steroids, human growth hormone (HGH), and hormone products) to maintain health and uphold integrity in the sport.

Avoid weight-loss products from untrusted brands or those lacking transparent ingredient doses. The Mayo Clinic advises against performance-enhancing drugs, as they can harm health and reputation [6].

“Many supplements on the market have not been rigorously tested. Very few supplements have shown to be of benefit, and many carry unsubstantiated health claims. More is not necessarily better when it comes to micronutrient supplements.”

- JoAnn E. Manson, DrPH, MD

Remember, supplements can interact with other medications. For comprehensive guidance on dietary supplements, including risks and benefits, check the National Institute of Health website [7][8].

Always consult a doctor or nutritionist for personalized advice on supplement use and avoidance.


References

  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/297695609_Nutrition_and_Athletic_Performance
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17684208/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12701815/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2958879/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16234304/
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/performance-enhancing-drugs/art-20046134
  7. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WYNTK-Consumer/
  8. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-Botanicals/
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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