The name on everybody’s lips today is Anthony Joshua. Ahead of the biggest fight of his life against Wladimir Klitschko, the heavyweight champion’s training regime stepped up a notch – and we spoke to his trainer and the man himself to get the lowdown on just what it takes to become a world beater.
It takes a lot of fuel to power a frame like AJ’s. While the standard calorie intake for a man is 2,500 calories, Joshua regularly consumes up to 5,000 a day – a choice he credits with his physique.
“My diet helped me add power. Before, I didn’t really eat enough, I’d just eat normally. But I’m burning so much, the body needs more fuel. It’s just common sense. Today, I’ve already eaten twice and it’s not even lunchtime.”
Fasting doesn’t always require whole days of your life. AJ’s strength and conditioning coach Jamie Reynolds sees him do it in the gym every day. “He does fasted cardio before breakfast. It helps build his fitness and burn fat, without the risk of food hampering his development. We start really early, so it would be hard for him to eat breakfast beforehand – and you should always leave a decent amount of time between eating and training.”
Live The Life
You don’t become the best by slacking off, and Joshua’s dedication to his training is serious. “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I always go to bed early. Put a camera on me for 24 hours a day and you’d see how dedicated I am. I really do live the life.”
Reynolds confirms this: “He gets up at 6.30am and finishes training at 8pm. Then he goes to bed to allow his muscles to repair. It’s the way it has to be to see the results he’s seen.”
Feel The Burn
All pain, all gain is the name of the game when training as intensely as Joshua. “I’ve gone past the stage of pain in the gym. It’s a mental barrier, rather than a physical one. You have to push yourself to think ‘how can I improve from yesterday?’, and use the pain as a motivation.”
Winners Are Made
While it might seem that Joshua is superhuman, his transformation from teen football player to heavyweight champion is more than just divine intervention. “AJ’s shown that with dedication, everyone can be great,” says Reynolds.
“We’re all born the same. We all have the same potential. There’s nothing to say you can’t achieve what the next man can, whatever field you’re in.”
Boxers are made in the gym, champions are made at home – or so says Joshua, whose schedule is built on the premise that you have to give your body what it needs, rather than constantly pushing yourself to the edge.
“I always aim for seven hours sleep a night, plus resting in the day. It’s so important to ensure you’re getting enough sleep, even if you have to have siesta or a nap. Sleeping is like meditation – it’s good for the body and the mind.”
“You need to train for the game you’re going to play,” says Reynolds. For Joshua, that means ensuring workouts in the gym accurately reflect what he’s trying to achieve in the ring, even when he’s just doing circuits.
“Based on the three-minute round, one-minute rest ratio of boxing, AJ will do a 900m run in three minutes followed by a minute’s rest to more accurately simulate the demands of a fight.”
Joshua’s footballing past still creeps through in his training regime, though. “I often go to the sandpit and do my training there. It’s how Brazilian footballers learn to play, so if you look at players like Pele and Ronaldinho, they use the sand to build up strength and stability in the legs, which is helpful for me too.”
Reynolds is also a fan of the technique: “It really helps with explosive agility.”
Boost It Up
Cardio, strength and boxing training makes up the bulk of Joshua’s regime – all of which cause him to lose electrolytes at a pace that the body just cannot replace them at. The answer? “Supplements,” says Reynolds. “People don’t realise how important electrolytes are, but it’s been scientifically proven.”
Joshua takes hydration tablets that replenish the electrolytes in his system better – and faster – than water alone.
As an ambassador for Beats by Dre, it’s no surprise Joshua’s big into music to get him through his training. Jay Z and Kanye West’s ‘Who Gon Stop Me’ is a firm AJ favourite, chosen for three of his knockout ring walks to date.
If you’re looking to soundtrack your workout – AJ-style – he’s created a playlist that spans every genre, which you can listen to below.