Interval Training: Burn Fat w/out Losing Muscle

Not only is this subject a primary concern for boxers, this question by far is one of the most common asked questions. If you do too much cardio and if it is done at too high of an intensity, you risk not only losing muscle but also strength, only to become a smaller version of yourself. Your body will soften up (loose muscles/skin), resulting in more muscle tone loss over time.The key is INTERVAL TRAINING! 

Interval training to describe it best in layman’s terms, are short bursts of all out power, it is pushing your body to the max for seconds at a time. Interval training is also key to conquering burning fat while also increasing your endurance. The best time of day for interval training is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, reason being; your metabolism will burn fat more efficiently, and if you cannot workout in the morning, then do so 3 hours after your last meal. Training will be over the course of 4 days, 3 of the days will consist of interval training, the 4th day is distance training day. Example days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

For the boxer, without proper endurance training, they could not last any great length of time in the ring, but yet, they need to burn away the fat, commonly they lose muscle mass in trying to do so.

Interval training and weight training should be done on the same day. Do not include either on your boxing training day. Boxing training should be only boxing and of course ab work and push-ups. Distance running can be done on boxing days (2 to 3 miles), reason being, it’s a paced exercise. If it’s difficult for you to give up the idea of no intervals with boxing, then do only short sprints (40 yard dashes).

Boxing training 3 to 4 times a week, weight train 2 to 3 times a week, and interval train on the weekend.


The following are two types of Interval Training:

#1 Stationary Bike or Treadmill or #2 Sprinting. You can choose either to do the bike or do your training outside, personally I like to mix it up and alternate back and forth from week to week. One week I’ll do the bike, or even do bike for 2 weeks worth, then switch over to outdoor sprinting. #2 can also be performed on a treadmill. You will need to purchase a timer or stop watch.

Days 1, 2, 3  (Mon, Wed, Fri)

#1 Stationary Bike Interval Training:
3-5 minute warm up, then for 30 seconds increase to level 10 or higher (gasping for air type level), then coast for 90 seconds (coasting should be at a level 5). Repeat this order for a total of 15 times with a 90 second coasting in between the high levels. Total time is approx. 30-35 minutes, ending with a 3-5 minute cool down. Total workout time 30-35 minutes.

#2 Sprinting Interval Training:
Warm up first, then 1 round of running or jogging for 1 minute, followed by 1 round of sprints for 30 seconds, at the end of 6 times/rounds, cool down with walking. When this workout becomes easy, bump it up to 12 times (12 rounds). Eventually you want to get to 20 rounds for real hardcore training.

I hope you get the idea of what interval training is about, I usually refer to it as pain training. You must surpass the pain threshold and train through it, honestly, you will be amazed how quickly results will occur, saying good-bye to those love handles and any of those other hidden fat pockets!

Day 4 is the distance day, 3 options:
(1) 45 minute bike ride or (2) 3-5 mile run/jog or (3) 45 minute to 1 hour walk.
Too much distance could be costly to muscle mass, but there is still a need for distance in order to be a great boxer that can last in the ring. This is why distance is only done 1 out of the 4 days and not done everyday like old school. Old school boxers would run  everyday, with science and technology boxers have become educated on interval training, their body doesn’t become broken down and they maintain size/muscle.

IMPORTANT: Remember to eat complex carbs 20-30 minutes after aerobic training to help replace glycogen in the muscles.


Train hard and good luck!  Joe Leinhauser

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