From training at home to the benefits of boxing, one pro boxer shares his fitness advice.
Sohail Ahmad is a British-Afghan Pro boxer who’s set his sights on a world title, and he’s not letting anyone or anything get in his way.
The show-stopping light welterweight has defied all the odds to fight his way to the top and he has every intention of staying there.
After arriving from Afghanistan as a refugee, aged just 12 and with no family with him, Sohail sought refuge in London and grew up in various shelters and foster homes.
This experience sparked a desire to succeed from an early age and his battle against adversity is belied by his showmanship in the ring. He started boxing at the age of 17 as an amateur, turning pro in 2015 at age 25.
With steely determination he focussed on his education and training, gaining a place at London Metropolitan University and a degree in sports science. His record now stands at 16 wins and one loss from 17 fights.
In between fights, Sohail finds time to work as a boxing coach and personal trainer. He trains at the Secret Boxing Gym in London Bridge with his head trainer, Richard Williams, and specialises in functional training as well as boxing training to lose weight, led a healthy lifestyle and achieve confidence.
He is also a TCA Sportswear ambassador, an East London technical sportswear brand that features the best fabrics and technologies and is consciously designed for performance, not posing.
Below, Sohail answers a few questions on how to get fit, from boxing to diet.
Any general fitness tips for those short on time?
Try to avoid too much cardio as it can be damaging and stressful on your body. For better skin and leaner muscles try interval training, whether it’s sprints or weights in a circuit format. This can be shorter but more regular training.
As we age we tend to lose muscle mass and it becomes harder to replace. Doing strength training from early on can help keep us healthy and give us a firm body as we age.
What about tips for someone looking to start boxing?
Go for it. You have to give everything in life a shot. You might never look back. Try two to three boxing sessions per week. If you do this, within a month you will see and feel a difference. Of course, it has to be followed up with a good nutritional plan and seven to eight hours of sleep and a minimum of two litres of water a day.
Are there fitness benefits to non-competitive boxing?
You don’t need to be a fighter or compete to learn how to box – it can simply be a hobby or learning a new martial arts. It teaches you discipline, focus and self control.
Boxing was looked at as a violent sport and had a bad rap, but recently people have found that it’s one of the hardest exercises to do and one the best and fun ways to get fit and burn fat fast!
On an average boxing session, you can burn up 600 to 800kcal per session. This will include skipping, pad work and bag work and also core or ground exercises at the end of the session.
What are some good ways to train at home?
To work on your abs you can plank, if full ones are hard, you can start with your knees on the floor and try to hold for 20 secs with 10 secs off for two minutes.
To work on your chest at home do some press-ups. They are great at burning off calories and also work both arms, chest and abs. Try sets of 10 to start. As you get strong you can try different ones, for example put your hands in the shape of a diamond, move your hands wider apart, close your hands or even try one-handed ones.
To work on your bum, if you have no access to weights, you can always do walking lunges take four steps and then four steps coming back on yourself. Followed by 15 squats. Followed by 20 secs squat hold.
Check out more specific exercise routines on @showstarboxer.
What are your dietary for trying to get fit?
Eating is more important than training as it’s crucial to put the right fuel in our engines to push ourselves to achieve our goals.
Eat fewer or no simple carbohydrates (for example, baked treats and breakfast cereals), choose more complex carbohydrates (for example, whole grains and fibre-rich fruits). Try to eat plenty of vegetables and stay away from red meat if it can be avoided.
Do you have any funny training stories?
The funniest part about training is hearing what a client wants to achieve. They often say that they want to shape and change a specific part of their body but they want everything else to stay the same. I suggest a surgeon for this – I aims to improve all parts of the body and make it more functional. To have abs you need to reduce overall body fat!
For more info on Sohail Ahmad visit showstarboxer.com.