Monday 4 September 2017

10 knockout fitness secrets from welterweight boxer Conor Benn!

Ahead of his fight with Kane Baker tonight, 20-year old welterweight boxer Conor Benn, the son of former world champion Nigel Benn, shares his training secrets – from aqua bags to early morning sprints  

1. Start punching some water

“We often use an aqua bag in training now. It has water in it so you don’t get as much impact on your joints when you punch. All the great fighters like Floyd Mayweather are on this aqua bag.
"I like training with the heavy bag too. You use that to sink your shots in because the bag doesn’t move. The floor to ceiling bag is more for accuracy, speed and timing."

2. Modify your carb intake

“On certain days I have carbs and on other days I don’t. You have to get a good balance. You can diet so hard and get so sick of it so I always make sure I have enough carbs, sugars and fats at the right time.
"This morning I had one slice of toast with a banana and some honey drizzled on it and three scrambled eggs. Then at 2pm, I will have some chicken with pasta or rice. For dinner, I won’t have any carbs, just protein like chicken with some vegetables like broccoli, carrots and spinach.
"I have carbs when my body needs them.”

3. Hit every work out extra hard

“I am more consistent in my training now. My training is not basic but it is always hard. I do six rounds on the bag and six rounds in sparring and six rounds of shadow boxing. Sometimes I have weights in my hands and throw punches or hit the speedball and that is me done, but each round is intense.
"When I train I try to take the bag off the hinges and the pads off the trainer’s hands. That’s why I train. But I admit I don’t skip. When I told my dad I don’t like skipping, he said: ‘Son, I never liked skipping either.”


4. Adapt your training music to your mood

“I can’t train without music. I get in the mood. It gets me going. I listen to garage, house, funky house, maybe some Drake, Kanye or Lil Wayne, depending on what mood I am in. I like rap when it’s cold because it feels more gritty. When the sun is out I listen to garage or house and chill out more.”

5. Stick to a strict routine

“There are different stages in my pre-fight camp and that is important for getting the balance right so I don’t burn out halfway through. Having a fixed routine really helps. We do a good balance of strength, cardio training and agility and boxing skills.
"On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I spar but I also do a 45-minute to one hour run at night for the first 2-3 weeks of camp. During the middle part of my camp that changes to an hour run before I spar.
"On Tuesday and Thursday I do sprints at 6am, then go home, sleep, go to the gym for 2pm and do some boxing training. I then go home and come back for some strength and conditioning.  
"On Saturday I do an hour’s run in the morning and on Sunday I rest.”

6. Quench your cravings with coffee

“For a snack I often have coffee. Coffee quenches my hunger. Out of camp I never drink coffee, I can’t stomach it, but in camp I am a coffee addict. I have two cups of coffee here right now.”

7. Study the science

“I am quite old-school but the main thing that is new and improved is my diet and training. You can lose weight by eating more but more of the right things, or by drinking eight litres of water a day. Back in the day boxers would just get told: get some steak and chips into you. Today it is all about correct nutrition.
"My dad always says he didn’t know about any of this. It’s a complete game-changer. He would spar for six rounds, do some road running, maybe lift some weights, and that was it. Now I know which exercises are the fat-burners – like sprints and back-to-back exercises - and which ones are for strength.”

Conor Benn knocks down Steve Backhouse in 2016 CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES EUROPE

8. Blow-outs get me back on track

“After a fight, I go all out. In fact, I go all out for a week. When you are young you need to live and realise you are not missing out. And after a week of eating rubbish, I can’t wait to get back on the diet again. I need a break so I can have that high and then have that dip and then peak again. You can’t peak for too long before you crash.
"In a week after a fight I might have a Nando’s with peri chips, some sweet mash, and I might throw a Five Guys in there, throw a ruby in there, and throw a Chinese in there. But then I can’t wait to get back on my diet and the weight strips off me.”

9. Punch your way to tighter abs

“Hitting the bag or twisting for shots with a broomstick on my back is really good for the core. Just by doing boxing and taking shots in sparring you are activating everything.
"Sometimes in training, I just get hit in the stomach with a small glove or a medicine ball on my abs.”

10. Always commit to your programme

“I popped my tyre the other day on my way to doing some morning sprints and I was trying to get hold of someone to help me. And Tone (Benn’s coach Tony Sims) drove past me and pulled up. I said: ‘Tone, I was hoping I could get out of the sprints and then you pull up behind me.’ That would have been my only opportunity for 16 weeks to get out of them and my coach pulled up behind me.
"But you mentally feel like you are cheating yourself if you miss something and can’t do it. I remember once I had to get up at 5 am to come and do some sprints and I missed my alarm. So I called Tony and said: ‘Sorry, I am going to do them now.’ So I got up at 5.30am and did them with an altitude mask on without anyone telling me to do that.
"You have got to have that built into you as a fighter because you can’t cheat. I live a luxury life and if there is someone out there hungrier than me and I start slipping or making mistakes it’s a problem.”

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