How to Avoid Getting Tired

June 2, 2012 June 2, 2012 by Johnny N Boxing Training, Boxing Workouts 106 Comments

how to avoid getting tired

The moment always comes at the worst time possible. You’re halfway through the 3rd round and next thing you know, you’re tired. It’s kinda like running out of bullets in Call-of-Duty. Entire championship fights were ultimately decided by endurance because fatigue cripples even the greatest athletes.

Sometimes it’s physical, sometimes it’s mental. It doesn’t matter what level fighter you are: beginner,amateur, or pro—fatigue will hurt your performance!

How much difference would it make if you NEVER got tired in the ring again?


The Importance of Endurance in Boxing

Endurance is critical in any sport. The ability to keep going often separates the winner from the loser. Entire championships were ultimately decided by endurance. Is it really a surprise that the greatest athletes usually have the best endurance?

Endurance is a bigger factor in boxing than most other sports because of the psychological factor involved. Fighting can make you nervous and feel tired faster than you. Getting in shape is the easy part. Train 5 days a week for a year straight and you’ll be on par with the average amateur boxer. Being in excellent shape is only the bare minimum standard of being a boxer. Knowing how to control and manage your fatigue is what makes you a great fighter!


1) Cardiovascular Endurance (oxygen intake)

Your cardiovascular endurance is your body’s aerobic capacity…which is its ability to absorb and convert oxygen into muscle energy. A person with good cardio will be able to absorb more oxygen and exert more before getting out of breath. A person with poor cardio will feel out of breath quickly. It’s definitely possible for someone to get tired prematurely because of an oxygen deficit rather than muscular fatigue.


QUICK FIX – avoid working beyond your oxygen intake capacity

The easiest way to avoid cardiovascular fatigue is not to work beyond your oxygen intake capacity. In other words, do not work harder than you can breathe! Find the rate at which you can move without getting completely out of breath. For one person this might be 2-3 hard punches and a step every 5 seconds. For another person, this might be 5 quick punches and lots of running.

Don’t work harder than you can breathe,
and you’ll never get out of breath.


How to Increase Cardiovascular Endurance

The first thing you must do is learn how to breathe more efficiently. Establish a breathing rhythm and learn to use good breathing technique (I’ll write a guide on this later). Efficient breathing technique will help you make the most of the oxygen going into your lungs. Doing endurance workouts will teach you how to practice good breathing…which brings me to my next suggestion.

Do lots of cardio exercise. Lots and lots of running, jumping rope, etc. Of course boxing itself is very good cardio, but you can always push your body with other kinds of cardio. Doing more cardio increases your body’s ability to absorb oxygen faster. Don’t just muscle your way through the workouts, but try to discover a natural breathing rhythm for your body. (If anything, your “fighting rhythm” is actually your “breathing rhythm”.)


2) Muscular Endurance (conditioning)

Your muscular endurance comes from your hard training in the gym. A person with good muscular endurance will be able to make repetitive motions for long periods without getting tired. A person with poor muscular endurance will feel their muscles getting tired quickly and easily get sore. I must add that stronger muscles will also help with endurance. Increase your strength so that the lighter loads become easier to do.


QUICK FIX – punch with your core

Bad technique is the main cause of muscles getting tired too quickly. If you’re punching with your arms, you are doing it wrong! Punching with anything other than the core will make you tire faster.

Some of you right now are like,

“What? I can’t punch with my arms? What about my chest? I can benchpress 500lbs and you’re telling me I can’t use that?!”

Yes, stop punching with your arms if you don’t want to get tired. You can MOVE your arms (and shoulders) and deliver power with your arms, but don’t try to generate power with the arms/shoulders. Try to generate all your power from the core. If your shoulders and arms are still getting tired quickly, the problem might actually be a weak core. It doesn’t seem like it, but sit-ups are far more important for punching power than push-ups.

The core is the strongest muscle in the body; you can work out the core 2-3 times a day if you wanted. If your core is properly trained, it can take thousands of repetitions before it tires out. All your limbs are connected to the core so try your best to generate power from there first. The more work done by the core, the more powerful you will be and the less tired your other muscles will get. When you punch with a strong core, the power transfers easily from your legs to your arms (allowing you to relax your arms for more speed). When you punch with a weak core, you don’t feel as much power from the legs and so your arms have to do more work for you to FEEL like you’re punching harder.

The best way to avoid arm fatigue,
is to avoid generating power with the arms.

Use your bigger muscles to generate power! I’m referring especially to your abdominals, back, and leg so that you don’t rely on the smaller muscles such as the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It is almost always the small muscles that get tired quickly and leave you feeling crippled. Some guys have arms so big their arms get tired from barely throwing any punches.

Be smart, ok? Punch with your entire body, but let your core do the hard work. If you don’t know how to punch using your core, then you’ll have to learn how. For now: imagine that the core generates the power and the arms only have to whip out and touch the opponent. (I have a super helpful advanced punching guide on this coming out later.)


How to increase muscular endurance

This is where your conditioning steps in. You should have a proper strength and conditioning program that prioritizes developing your biggest and most important boxing muscles. But all the conditioning in the world can’t help you if you lack proper boxing technique. The difference in technique is the reason why a young beginner gets tired faster than an old experienced pro. Even an elite endurance athlete like a marathon runner will get tired in 3 rounds if he does not have proper fighting technique!

Here’s a quick reminder to keep in mind so you have an idea of technique-vs-strength:

  • One quick stomach contraction, used at the right time with the right technique,
    will give you more punching power than the effort of a 250lb bench press.

Sounds impossible, right? Don’t worry, it’s called technique. I will show it to you later. 🙂


3) Nutritional Endurance (diet)

Diet has a big part to do with your endurance. The right foods in the right portions at the right time will give you more energy for training, while the wrong foods/portions make you feel lethargic and tired. Your body gets its energy from food so what you put in makes a big difference in the performance you get out of it.


QUICK FIX – consume energy supplements

Well, the quick fix is drinking caffeine or eating something sugary right before your workout. Gatorade, energy drinks, energy supplements, etc. It won’t last forever, but it works if you need something right now.


How to increase nutritional endurance

Start by eating the right foods. Low glycemic carbs are the answer. They release sugar slowly into your system so you have a nice steady stream of energy for hours after the meal. Avoid high-glycemic carbs because they release sugar too quickly into your blood, which gives you that “food coma” effect where you feel like sleeping after a big meal.

Once you know what to eat, you’ll have to eat the right portions at the right times. I’m not going to explain the science of diet here so you’ll have to check out my common sense boxing diet guide.


4) Psychological Endurance

Are you the guy that hits the heavy bag for hours, but can’t last 3 rounds in the ring? Believe me, it happens to EVERYONE. I’m sure you’ve heard before that boxing is 90% mental and 10% physical. Fight conditioning is far more psychological than it is physical. The problem might have more to do with your fighting attitude than your physical endurance.

A confident/relaxed fighter
will outlast a scared/tense fighter.


QUICK FIX – avoid fighting beyond your confidence level

The pressure of fighting in the ring can affect anybody. The fear of getting hit, nervousness, over-analyzing, anxiety, all while trying to remember the new techniques you just learned–it can overwhelm anyone. The EASIEST way to avoid psychological fatigue is to fight at a pace where you don’t feel overwhelmed. If this means slow motion sparring, then so be it!

Easiest way to avoid psychological fatigue:
avoid fighting beyond your confidence level.

Oh, but Johnny, if we don’t train at full force we’ll never learn how to fight for real!

Listen, you have to spar slowly so you can learn comfortably. Once you know your stuff, there’s always plenty of time AND ENERGY (because you’re not getting prematurely tired) to brawl yourself to exhaustion. If you’re going to take punches for the sake of learning, at least give yourself a chance to drill the techniques first.

Personally, I think putting someone in the ring before he comfortably knows the techniques is silly. It’s like throwing someone into deep water so he can learn how to swim. I don’t know about you, but it sounds crazy to me. I don’t see how the fear of dying is going to teach anyone the breast-stroke!


How to increase psychological endurance

Avoiding psychological fatigue can be as easy as changing your approach to fighting. Many fighters come in with the wrong attitude of trying to save energy. They think to themselves, “Oh I only have this much energy, so I can only use this much so I don’t get tired.” It’s the wrong mindset because energy conservation wastes energy. You will be more defensive while your opponent is doing all the fighting. You will only get tired even faster because you were spending energy to save energy!

Don’t spend energy to save energy!
Spend energy to fight!

The right mentality is to think of how you can make the most of what you have. Instead of thinking, “How can I make this energy last forever?”, try thinking, “How can I do the most damage with the energy I have?” The focus is on being effective, not on being energy efficient. Getting tired is ok, c’mon—YOU’RE IN A FIGHT!

I promise you, if you use that energy correctly, you will NEVER run out of energy. Here’s why:

  • If you try to fight effectively, it will drain his energy.
  • If you try to save energy, your opponent will be draining yours.
  • ***BEGINNERS: focus on fighting SMART instead of fighting conservatively.


Getting Tired is Part of the Game

I wrote this guide for the guys that ask me the same question over and over. Personally, getting tired isn’t an issue anymore for me. I train the best I can and then let myself enjoy the fight. I understand fatigue as a natural part of the process. It’s about HOW you got tired, instead of how NOT to get tired. (Did you get tired from throwing beautiful combinations? Or did you get tired from running like a sissy?)

It’s better to be tired from punching,
than to be tired from defending.

In the moments that I gas out (and they DO happen), I do what I can to finish the round. I might become more defensive or throw less punches, but someway somehow, I make it out alive. Getting tired is not really a big deal when you enjoy fighting because you have the skills and confidence to do so.

It also helps to STAY WITHIN YOUR LIMITS and not get into gym brawls to feed your ego. If you’re scared to death of getting tired, it might be because you’re fighting beyond your level. Trying to avoid getting tired while fighting is like trying to avoid getting tired while playing your favorite video game. It’s like you don’t really enjoy boxing or that you don’t really enjoy the challenge of fighting.


Getting tired in the ring is half the excitement!

I’ve had crazy moments where I’m like, “OH SH*T! There’s 90 seconds left on the clock and this dude wants to take my head off!!! COME GET ME, YOU BASTARD!” Can you imagine how boring the marathon would be if everybody ran 26 miles and nobody got tired?


Other guides on fighting endurance:

boxing ebook Advanced Boxing Techniques 30 Day Fighter's Diet Advanced Boxing Footwork Drills
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Mac June 2, 2012 at 3:43 pm

What does it mean if I feel like im gonna puke sometimes when I spar really hard. I dont get why either, because i dont really get hit often or hard, and im never out of breath or build up lactic acid and its really annoying because i have good cardio, its just sometimes i feel sick. Would it be because of when and what im eating before sparring?


Johnny N June 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Try sparring with less stuff in your stomach. Less water, or liquids, or food. Having something in your stomach during an intense exercise can upset the stomach.


starr June 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm

anything on the “feeling out process”?


Johnny N June 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Not yet, starr.


ben July 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I have a question in regard to what you said about muscular endurance and lactic acid build up

A person with poor muscular endurance will feel their muscles getting tired quickly and easily get sore. I must add that stronger muscles will also help with endurance.( Increase your strength so that the lighter loads become easier to do. )

When you say INCREASE YOUR STRENGTH exactly what kind of strength do you mean or are you saying work on your strength as a whole like core and endurance because they’re tedious workouts to begin with and you should have a good acquired overall strength from doing them?


Johnny N July 30, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Increasing your strength makes the lighter loads easier but doesn’t guarantee you will have more endurance! And when I say strength, I might be talking about all around conditioning…or maybe core strength. Depends on where I said it.


Pete June 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Proper breathing and staying relaxed is critical for me.
When I find myself starting to gas, it’s always because I’m not breathing properly and I’m not relaxing.
Lately I’ve been able to catch myself before it’s too far gone.
When it happens, I start breathing out with each punch again, and I’m always surprised at how quickly my energy comes back to me. Usually in less than 10 seconds.


usarmy6440 June 2, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Good article as always. Getting tired is definitely alot mental. Once your mentally ready everything else falls into place with good conditioning of course.


curtis June 3, 2012 at 1:13 am

how to build resilant willpower on he iq matrix i hink is a 7 star exsample of pycological endurance. look i up you wont be disserpointed.


J June 3, 2012 at 1:40 am

Your mind will get tired before the body does


AzBoxerVictor June 3, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Good article, I agree with a lot, how do you feel about heart muscle, I sparred a while back and got gassed big time, and I told my trainer I got “no lungs” and he said it aint your lungs, its your heart beating too fast slow it down while fighting! man opened my eyes cause i could breathe and talk normal soon as i was out of ring


Johnny N June 4, 2012 at 10:53 am

Well yeah, if you’re panicking you will get tired faster.


J June 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm

victor you might want to be careful buddy, the way you were explaining it may cause cardiac arrest, johnny said you were panicking because you werent panicking but your body was its called a panic attack its important to stick to the concept of “train how you fight” and “warm up how you fight” what your doing is basically walking without warming up or stretching and doing fifteen 50 yard wind sprints your body doesnt realize whats going on


Guilherme Nanini June 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I tired much faster when I’m eating punches then when I’´m throwing them…


Alejandro June 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Congratulations on this great page, ive only been boxing for 1 month but the things you put out here have been really helpful, thanks a lot bro.
Greetings from México 🙂


AzBoxerVictor June 5, 2012 at 8:49 am

Come on johnny how you gonna do me like that! Lol, man I ain’t panicking in the ring I just try to do too much in the ring! I train for 2-3 punch combos, thenI get to my fight and throw a 9 punch combo and am blue in the face! But like you said stay within your punch limits, good tip


Johnny N June 5, 2012 at 10:17 am

OHHHHHH ok. Working hard in the ring is ok, but try to be smart. Keep it up Victor!


Deepak Menon June 5, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Your articles are simply superb. Been reading them and they are helping me alot in training & sparring 🙂


AzBoxerVictor June 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Hey J man you are dead on about the warming up thing, I never warm up, I always tell myself I will get loose in the ring, but man your right that is no joke, yeah I need to take stretches& warm up more serious,


J June 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm

yes sir! the more advanced and the higher you rise the more time you need to use to take to prepare your body, the body cant tell the difference from competition or practice for all it knows its performing, years ago i had a potential state qualifier in wrestling this dude slept literally until ten minutes before his match, lets just say he probably ruined his shot at state due to the fact he got some screwy ranking in the section tournament, johnny said it and it made sense elite athletes spend at least an hour to an hour and half stretching alone! my buddy did track and field for college, most of practice was warming up, the warm up was longer than the actual work out! it will avoid pulled muscles, and prevents your body from going into cardiovascular rest, please victor learn from my mistake, i been out the gym from a groin injury because i didnt warm up properly or prepare for the after work out exercise, by not giving my body the chance to get the feel for the task ahead, now look at me im out the gym because of an injury 🙁 it hurts too but lesson learned


anand June 6, 2012 at 9:53 am

you are great johnny…


Ian June 7, 2012 at 10:05 am

I’m a big believer in playing the psychological game. I believe it was one of Johnny’s articles that reminded us to mask our tiredness. When i’m dead tired, I try not to slouch in my corner – I pace my breathing and try not to hunch my shoulders up too high when I take a deep breath (dead giveaway that you’re gassed). Then when the round starts, i’ll bounce around (very briefly) and face my opponent or sparring partner, like i’m eager to get it on (even though I might be dreading the bell). And when I eventually see them get tired and discouraged, I get a second wind and I gain momentum in the round. I believe it would be a different story if they actually knew how gassed I was. But that’s how I sometimes win the mental aspect of getting tired. A lot of these guys don’t realize they have a natural advantage over me, being 37 and competing in a 19+ division.


Steve Jabs June 4, 2015 at 5:39 am

… so true Ian. I am 44 yo and doing hard sparring with guys half my age. When I am tired, punching is hard but moving, for some reason, is easier. So I try to move freely around the ring on the tips of my toes to make my opponent think that I still have plenty of energy.


Troy June 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm

#2 and avoiding generating power with your arms just goes right back to what you talked about in your power punching post the other day


Joe June 8, 2012 at 10:27 am

Would you recommend clinching when you gas out? Because when I get tired i try to slip his next punch, move in and hold on to him, it usually works because i get a few seconds to catch my breath but my friend told me that i shouldn’t clinch when i’m tired because i could take a wild power shot while i’m trying to clinch or as soon as i’m out of the clinch. what do you think?


J June 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm

you can always look at johnnys article “how to fight tired” JOE


Johnny N June 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Your friend is right. I would say do what works. Sometimes you gotta fight back, sometimes you gotta clinch. All skills are necessary.


Steve Jabs June 4, 2015 at 5:51 am

… everybody does it Joe and it seems like it is part of the game (see any V Klitschko fight). But for some reason trainers seem to be reluctant to include it as a part of the fight plan. They seem to think that you should be punching not clinching.


curtis c June 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

how did bradley beat pacquio ?


Vato Loco June 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm

It happens all the time in boxing curtis c. It’s called crooked judges. Obviously the “fix” was in. Boxing is like horse racing it’s all about the moolah. That’ s why “I’ll Have Another” all of sudden came up lame for the Belmont Stakes ese.


Vato Loco June 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Also I might add amigo that this sets up another big money rematch with an ex-champion returning to get back his title that he lost in a controversial decision. This scenario has been going on for years almost making boxing like a male soap opera. And boxing wonders why it is a dying third tier sport. Go figure.


J June 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm

pacman and bradley both are arums fighters, arum wil blow up his fighters saying how great they are and once they leave their not that great their boring, things like that, bradley just signed with top rank, and pacquaio is attempting to leave arum. arum is controlling boxing like don king was in his time


Vato Loco June 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Arum has been around just as long as Don King. I believe they both co-promoted the first Leonard-Duran bout in 1980. Boxing is dead because of sheet like the Bradley-Pacquio bout. It used to be a Heavyweight Championship Bout was on par with the World Series and maybe just a notch below the Super Bowl. Boxing is now on the same level with sports like tennis or golf. Won’t be much longer and it will be in the same category as sports like bowling, lacrosse, or field hockey thanks to decisions like the Bradley-Pacman bout.


J June 12, 2012 at 1:19 am

i feel that it may lose popularity in america there are countries like mexico that love their boxing


Vato Loco June 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm

That’s because Mexico doesn’t have anything else other than maybe soccer and some baseball. It’s like people in Green Bay love the Packers because the Packers are the only game in town. Mexicans generally are smaller and are well represented in the lighter weight classes, but face it unless you’re a diehard boxing fan most people in the general public could care less who the World Bantamweight Champion is of whatever alphabet organization. People who aren’t infatuated with boxing only care about who the Heavyweight Champion, is and only then when there is only one Heavyweight Champion and not 3-4. It’s not that boxing “may lose popularity,” it already has with everyone except the diehard fans of the sport. Guarantee you more people in the general public will watch MMA over boxing and can probably name more or just as many MMA fighters than boxers.


J June 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Cage fighting isnt even an olympic sport, there are many other countries that have boxing mexico was just one of them, the superbowl is big right? but its an american game its not as publicized as soccer games around the world


Vato Loco June 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Granted soccer is the most popular sport in the world so I can’t argue with you on that, but MMA is far more popular with the general public than boxing. At one time boxing and baseball were the two biggest sports in America, but both have fallen in popularity over the years. Baseball is still big in the Northeast in places like Boston, Philly, New York, and Baltimore but not so big everywhere else, while boxing has really fallen on hard times. Boxing is looking to be a sport of the past and MMA is the new combat sport of the future. The only thing boxing has on MMA is a rich colorful history, but soon MMA will have its own history. Just as football eventually overtook baseball, MMA has overtook boxing. That’s life in the fast lane skippy.


J June 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Mixed Martial Arts isnt even an olympic sport man!

J June 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Cage fighting iks frowned upon in the martial arts community

Johnny N June 19, 2012 at 11:29 am

Pay-per-view will never be as exciting as seeing your own friend’s sweat and blood fly out of the ring. It doesn’t matter how much boxing dies as a mainstream sport. It will always be popular to me.

Besides, real boxing fans go watch it in the gym. 😉


Vato Loco June 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Wooohoooo relax cuz. Track and field and gymnastics are Olympic sports, hell ping pong was or is an Olympic sport. Just because something is an Olympic sport doesn’t mean it’s popular or even more popular than a non-Olympic sport. I highly respect track and field athletes and gymnast, matter of fact I think the Decathlon athlete and gymnast are the best PURE athletes in the world, but unfortunately the only time these two athletes get any kind of recognition or attention from the general public is only every 4 years when the Olympics are broadcast. Denying the truth doesn’t make it go away, and the simple truth is MMA is more popular than boxing. I’m not saying I’m pro MMA or anti-boxing I’m just stating FACTS. Boxing is a shadow of what it once was say back in the 50’s-70’s or even during Tyson’s prime. If you went up to the average person on the street and asked them who the Heavyweight Champion was they wouldn’t have a clue, but it’s a shame because I think both of the Klitschkos are extremely underrated and eventually they will be ranked as all-time greats. Once again it taint a diss to boxing but truth be known boxing IS a dying sport.


Elton Thabane June 15, 2012 at 7:13 am

i like this page bro i think what makes a powerful boxer is speed,power,endurance and accuracy boxing is exciting but training is something else but u,v got 2 adjust u cant feed a small infant potatoes u have 2 go step by step as an amateur boxer myself i think u hve got 2 train yo mind b4 u train yo body.


AzBoxerVictor June 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I think boxing got more hype than people think, everywhere I go people that don’t even like boxing or don’t know a lot about talk about mayweather or pacqaiuo. I see more the average fight fan get bored more often with mma matches because of a lot of ground game and jujitsu


K June 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm

How about putting an article about fighting with an injury. Are you going to put out a james toney video, and bernard hopkins video similar to the floyd and pacman videos? I really like a southpaw video with pernell, and winky wright.


Johnny N June 22, 2012 at 3:09 am

I have plans for that in the future. I’m focused on other things at the moment.


Frank W June 22, 2012 at 11:49 am

“Punching with anything other than the core will make you tire faster” What do you mean with “the core”?


Johnny N June 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm

It means using the core to generate the most power and effort as opposed to anywhere else in your body.


AzBoxerVictor June 21, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Hey J, I just wanted to tell you thanks for opening my eyes about my health, I got some tests done and found out I had really low red blood cell count that gave me anemia! Crazy, I am taking iron to get it back my stamina, I had really bad fatigue before, but just wanted to say good lookin


J June 22, 2012 at 9:08 pm

are you eating and drinking healthy? i been involved in sports activity since i was about 4 im 23 now, so i can get away with some things, hopefully all goes well dont forget what you put in your body you get out like my old wrestling coach used to say “you can not put regular gas in a Ferrari and expect it to run like it should”


J June 22, 2012 at 9:10 pm

stay positive az dont let your mind take over and your welcome man, thats what this site is for helping others out, thats what makes this site so great even if johnny cant answer all of everyones questions there are others than been in your situation or understand your situation similar and can help


vishaal July 2, 2012 at 11:49 pm

amazing article johnny. thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


J July 5, 2012 at 6:29 am

How is it when i throw light fast punches i dont get winded that quick but once i start throwing multiple power shots one after another, i get tired quickly? how can i condition myself to throw more power shots with out getting too winded?


Johnny N July 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm

It’s part cardio and part technique! Also, everything takes less effort if you have great technique.


J July 6, 2012 at 3:32 am

Can you please give me some advice to overcome this johnny? Great articles by the way and on a Personal Note:i like looking back at your older articles pretty cool going back and learning something new i read a couple times already 🙂


vvtill July 8, 2012 at 4:58 am

after my heavy bag work out. I feel a bit muscle pain in external abdominal oblique on the next day. May i know is it normal as i’m using core deliver and generating power for punching?


Johnny N July 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm

It’s normal if you’re not a properly conditioned boxer. Muscle pains can happen anywhere in the body if you exercise it vigorously.


vvtill July 22, 2012 at 3:45 am

my muay thai coach told me that shadow boxing could improve our stamina. Every time we feel out of gas and exhausted, we should push us to limited until we can’t anymore, for i.e if we can only shadow boxing for 2 min in max but we try to push our self into 2.30 min and later until 5 min per round. Just would like to check with you whether pushing our limited will really improve our stamina?


Johnny N July 23, 2012 at 10:17 am

Yes of course.


Dave August 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Just wanted to throw in my two cents. Good article, good read, as usual. However, it’s been determined the lactic acid build-up is not what makes your muscles tired or sore. Lactic acid is actually what your muscles use for energy. I don’t know very much about the subject, but it’s a recent finding that puts all the old bro-science to shame. I don’t want to sound harsh, but if someone reads this article, knowing this, they may shrug you off as incompetent :/


Johnny N August 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Thanks for the science update, my friend! I updated it in all of 5 seconds and removed the now outdated reference to lactic acid.


Gil August 29, 2012 at 9:02 am

One thing I’m learning each day while training is to relax. This was very problematic for me at first and I would burn unecessary energy. I practice relaxing even when running, skipping, shadowboxing, etc. Makes a world of difference.


Jon C August 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Hi Johnny – from following links from other boxing sites, I landed on yours, and I must say the content here is awesome. My question pertains to the psychological aspect; how would you handle if the coach of a gym asks you (in front of everybody) if you want to spar with a certain guy, but in your mind you are hesitant because you know this guy will knock your block off. How do you decline with grace and not look like you’re scared (which I probably am)? Do you just accept the challenge or decline and look like a chicken in front of everyone? Sorry if this question is off topic but I do really respect your opinion.


Johnny N September 4, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Here are some things I would probably say (with a funny attitude):
– No thanks, that guy looks dangerous. Let me spar a little girl instead.
– THAT GUY?! I’ll get in there only if you tie his arms behind his back.
– No! I’d rather fight someone closer to my level.
– No thanks, I don’t feel like getting hurt today.
– ACTUALLY, I just got a cramp.

If you want to be graceful. Tell everyone flat out you’re not comfortable with your skills and don’t feel like getting hurt for no reason. Tell them you’ll be more than happy to get in there once you feel ready and have the same experience and skills he has. This is your body and you owe it to no one.

You could also be honest and admit that you’re scared. It’s the truth. And you have to deal with yourself.


Eddie Swissy Boxing September 24, 2012 at 10:39 am

Hey Johnny I love your website I find it very helpful. I just like you felt like my boxing dreams were over when I became an official boxing trainer. Mine were crushed when I started to feel like sparring and the little few fights I had in the amateurs was taking a toll on my back and neck. This was because of the moving around and rolling shots I do to avoid getting hit. Now reason why it was really affecting me because I was stubborn. As a kid I had spine surgery and I still got into boxing. You know the passion is what drives us to do what we do. So I get entrigued when I see people like yourself share knowledge out there especially like you do. I want to ask since I’m all the way in New York. If you travel outside of LA to do workshops. Which is something I would love to attend and I will be purchasing DVD’s from you and I love your conditioning program. Very helpful keep up the great work’


Johnny N October 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Hi Eddie,

I definitely want to do larger workshops and travel more. As soon as I figure out the logistics and get some support organizing it at a big gym, I’ll be traveling.


Boxer Mctavish October 8, 2012 at 6:26 am

Hi Johnny,

ive been training for a year and just started to spar im easily one of the fittest outside the ring however my first sparring session seen me gassed after minute and a half, apart from being stressed about the sparring i feel the mouth guard really restricted my breathing which stopped me performing better is this a common problem ?

Im training tonight and i plan on training with mouth guard in to get used to it before sparring.




Johnny N October 11, 2012 at 10:27 am

1 – You’re not as fit as you thought. Boxing requires a different level of fitness that has more to do with efficiency than simply plain raw athleticism. Your technique needs work. Also if you’re sparring with guys beyond your skill level, that’s another reason for it.

2 – Mouth guards will feel like they restrict your breathing if your’e new to them. I recommend you go running with your mouth guard or walk around an entire day with a mouth guard in. That will help you get adjusted fast. Maybe you can buy a mouth guard with a hole in the middle of it.


brett October 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm

hey im 17 and i cant find a place to train for boxing i really wanna get into it but i cant find a place im from canada and i cant find any places in my town they usually want ppl that have experience or some other requirment i really wanna get into it but i cant find the right place.


Johnny N October 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm

You’ll have to find another place or move somewhere else. Or train at home.


Brian November 26, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Brett, in the meanwhile while you’re searching for a gym. Run daily and shadow box. If you’re not sure about technique use this website and youtube there are tons of videos that illustrate the correct way to punch. Running daily and shadow boxing can actually do alot of good for you my friend. 🙂


random November 17, 2012 at 9:17 pm

im a female boxer and i fine my self scared when i fight with somone bigger then me im in the feather wieght (and i cant spell lol ) i dont find myself tired after i read all this and tryed it i fine i can go farther and getting tired im not afriad of no more ,but having the fear of getting bet in a fight i havnt got bet yet and im afriad i will and im gonna let my couch down idk how to get over being scared of tht when i step in the ring i find myself losing though of the fight and thinking of other stuff basically getting to what can i do to help my thoughs not wonder as much please respond if you still cheack this and feel free to messge me threw my email bc i might forget to cheack bak lol random ([email protected]) :))


random November 17, 2012 at 9:22 pm

forgive me i lost twice and when i did my couch was mad at me lol some how alot of my words got cut off lol forgive me


random November 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm
Brian November 22, 2012 at 10:54 am

I wish I would have read this article prior to my last bout ( My conditioning was the difference between an easy win and a loss.


Johnny N November 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Very nice fight, Brian. Good skill from both guys.


Brian November 22, 2012 at 10:57 am

“Being in excellent shape is only the bare minimum standard of being a boxer. Knowing how to control and manage your fatigue is what makes you a great fighter!”

This is something that we need to keep in mind when our muscles are burning in the gym.


Brian November 26, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Thanks, I learned alot from that bout.


rajeev November 28, 2012 at 12:17 am

hello..,.. My question is how to get more endurace on the ring and control breathing and by the way is creatine a good suplement for energy boosting?


Johnny N December 2, 2012 at 8:22 am

Please read my other guides on fighting endurance.


Tracey Patching January 23, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Hi, I have just signed up for a charity boxing match in 12 weeks time. I am quite unfit with a little boxing skill.
I start with a trainer in a couple of weeks but is there any advice/tips you can give me on getting the best training/knowledge/skills in the next few weeks so I can feel confident getting into the ring and knowing I can put up a decent fight.


Johnny N January 28, 2013 at 10:41 am

Hey Tracey,

Start training! Check out the guides on my site and the videos on my Youtube channel. Listen to everything your trainer says.


shone July 14, 2013 at 12:22 am

Thanks when I do roadwork n run 10 km easy without getting tired do bagwork etc if mesured my bp now and its 44bpm I’m really fit I don’t get a lot of sparring I was a very good amateur in the freestate but like I say my bpm is 44 and when I go for sparring I can’t really do 2 rounds of sparring and then I’m tired what must I do any advice why its like that I’m training a lot but I’m not getting a lot of sparring because I’m from rustenburg and I am fit but when I get in the ring I’m getting tired so what can I do ? N what do you think can be the problem again thanks


Johnny N July 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm

As explained in the article, fighting endurance is more than simply physical conditioning. You have to improve everything else in your game (skills, mental relaxation, etc).


John joe September 9, 2013 at 12:31 am

Am an aerobic instructor,an i can punch ten minutes per round on d heavy bag,but its just wierd i get tired in d third round of boxing.anyone wit an advice


Johnny N September 26, 2013 at 3:25 pm

More sparring and shadowboxing and mittwork, less bagwork.


Howard November 9, 2013 at 8:08 am

Thank you so much for these tips


Michael November 28, 2013 at 10:30 am

How many lengths do you need to swim to get cardio equivalent to running 6-8 miles


Johnny N December 4, 2013 at 10:00 am

I don’t know the answer to this. But perhaps you can try 30 minutes of vigorous swimming.


Jyotim November 29, 2013 at 5:44 am

I want to improve my stimina any tips


Johnny N December 4, 2013 at 10:01 am

How about better conditioning?


Erik December 19, 2013 at 7:53 pm

I have important question ! Can I please get a answer
I’m curious about a routine I do wondering if it’s too much & I’m over doing it & just burning myself out


Johnny N January 8, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Instead of asking for permission to ask a question, maybe you can simply ask the question in the first place.


David January 12, 2014 at 7:08 am

Johnny, i’m a martial artist but i think i will benefit greatly from your advice. it all makes good sense. I’m especially interested in the tips to increase stamina. Thanks for sharing this information, Sir!


Pete Berwick May 2, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Good stuff, Johnny, yes, my main problem is running out of gas, often limiting my sparring to two rounds. Much of the problem is there are only a few guys to spar with in the gym who are not beginners, and they are all above my level. (Also, I’m 56, so you can imagine what I am up against as far as age difference.) And every guy I spar with his much taller than me or outweighs me by 30 pounds, so much of my sparring is with a “stay alive and don’t get hurt mentality” instead of being relaxed and creative. I know it is my nerves and nervousness that is tuckering me out, and has me sucking gas after two rounds. Still, I have been running two-four miles a day, hiking 6 when weather permits, and doing ten rounds rope, training at the gym every other day, including sparring. I’m pretty strong and well built, but hell yes, I am that guy who can pound on the heavy bag all day and night and run outta steam in the ring. It really irritates me, for I know I would be more aggressive and do so much better if not for getting winded so soon when sparring and the fear that sets in when that happens. Thanks for all you do on this excellent website, I have learned so much from you, Johnny.


Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 7:37 pm

It’s a common feeling, Pete, and I feel for you in every way. We’ve all been there. You’re an inspiration to the “old guys” everywhere. Keep up the good fight. 🙂


Angela8338 June 1, 2014 at 10:04 am

You have no idea how much better this has made me feel! I’m the only woman in my gym and i’m one of the guys when it comes to the ring. We have a great conditioning routine and I have my first fight in August and man oh man is the pressure on. My biggest obsticle is that my mind will go blank around round 5, Its weird, I can defend but I have a hard time getting the message from my brain to my body, Its almost like I stop processing.
I am a 6-8 times a day eater and the one of the things I will change from reading your arrticles is my pre training meal. I was usually having whole wheat toast and PB2 with honey and a protein shake, and wonder if maybe my sugar is just tanking.
Thank you again for this website, It amazes me that we work so hard to become these healthy machines and most of our “gyms” don’t have a person to guide you us in our nutrition other than the advice of the trainer and what worked for them. Believe me what works for a young man doesnt work on a grown woman…apples and oranges.


Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Happy for you, Angela. Keep doing your thing.


abhishek datta roy June 11, 2014 at 2:38 am

hi, i am not a trained boxer,i have never been inside a boxing ring,but i have a punch bag at home and i used to practice my punches on it,from the age of 14 till i was 27.i broke my two fingers of my right hand and now i find it difficult and painful whenever i punch the bag……i have consulted few doctor and they all have said stop throwing punches……but i feel sad about it…..need some guideline ….please reply


Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 7:58 pm

You have to wait until the injury heals.


Malds September 16, 2014 at 7:10 am

Hey johnny, greetings from the Philippines and great article :). Found this page while looking up ways to improve my muscle endurance.

Been boxing for a while now but not as regular as I should be, I’m working on that now tho. My problem has always been muscle endurance. Was a weightlifter for a couple of years before I got into martial arts and boxing, so my arms are a bit heavy i guess. Took me a while to learn how to throw a proper punch to be honest since I was so used to controlled movements.

Anyway, currently working on not dropping my hands after the second round of mitts lol. I can normally get through a good round of mitt hitting but on the second one my shoulders just give out after 1 or 2 minutes. I end up having to drop my arms for a couple of seconds to let it recover before I can start throwing punches again.

I’m gonna be working on technique and generating power from the core like you said. Hopefully that helps out. I think I might be guilty of punching with my arms a little too much. I’ll have to check myself when I train so I don’t keep doing that.

Anyway, thanks for the post and will def be reading more of your stuff from now on.


Joe December 25, 2015 at 11:05 am

In it’s purest form boxing was and still could be the ultimate self defense art.
Will a twice weekly workout of 10 total rounds spread out over shadow boxing, mitss, and sparring suffice for self defense?
Of course, other days devoted to calisthenics 3 days, and stretching 1 with all workouts 30 non stop minutes total.
Input appreciated.


Yvonne March 16, 2016 at 7:50 am

Hi looking for advice my son Has been boxing for four years got his confidence knocked in his last fight but know he is being sick during the round on his last fight think it’s his nerves what advice would you give


Johnny N March 16, 2016 at 10:29 am

Hi Yvonne, I have a new article coming up to address that!


Farzad June 24, 2016 at 9:33 am

Hi im from iran
I’m 18 and i just started boxing
The reality is i love it but unfortunately i masturbated about 2 years daily ..after that i started fitness about 5 months.. i m lack of energy … i have a bony body ..i mean im about 65 kilos with 180 cm height ….
Help me, tnx


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