Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield

Professional Boxer
Born: 1962

Evander Holyfield was born in Alabama and raised in Georgia, the youngest of 9 children. He started boxing at age 7 and was winning tournaments from the get-go. When Holyfield was 13, he qualified for the Junior Olympics and at age 15 he became the Southeast Regional Champion. Holyfield was a self-described late bloomer, only 5 feet 8 inches tall and 147 lbs. when he graduated from high school. In his early 20s, he got up to 6 feet 2 1/2 inches and 218 lbs. which was still light compared to his competition. Holyfield is the only boxer in history to be an undisputed champion in 2 weight classes, and also the only fighter to win the heavyweight title 4 times. (Muhammad Ali won 3 times.) Besides being known as ‘The Real Deal,’ Holyfield is also known for ‘The Bite Fight’ when in 1997 Mike Tyson bit part of Holyfield’s ear off during a match. Holyfield retired in 2014 and was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 2017. Although he is light on is feet in the ring, Holyfield’s appearance on season 14 of Dancing With The Starswas considered to be less than graceful. His private life has contained some missteps as well. Allegations of steroid use, married 3 times,he has 11 children by 6 different women, and despite earning hundreds of millions in his career, a combination of bad investments, divorce and overdue tax bills forced Holyfield to declare bankruptcy. Since retiring, he has started a promotion company called The Real Deal Boxing. He has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. Holyfield is 6 feet 2 1/2 inches tall and weighs about 220 lbs.

Known For:

Evander Holyfield’s Diet

Diet Summary

As a young man, Holyfield didn’t pay special attention to his diet, but like most athletes who want a long career, he eventually started to wise up. His diet includes a high-protein and complex carb breakfast before working out, and a second one after. Lunch is similarly high in protein and complex carbs including veggies for lunch, and then he would have a big piece of meat and more veggies for dinner. He likes his steak, but only has red meat twice a week, and he often does his own cooking because he prefers to know who has been touching his food.

Estimated Macros

  • Low-Medium Fat 25% 25%
  • Medium Carb 35% 35%
  • Medium-High Protein 50% 50%

Diet Details

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Fuel Up

When he was in training, Holyfield would eat 4-5 meals per day with an emphasis on protein and complex carbs early in the day, and meat and vegetables at dinner.

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Food Must Serve

For Holyfield, the food must offer fuel or else he won’t touch it.

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Bring On the Beef

Although he limits his intake of red meat, Holyfield loves steak and says it can power him for 6 hours, and that it helps maintain his muscle mass. He likes a broiled 12-oz. NY strip with a nice ring of fat around the edge to keep it tender while cooking.

What to Eat

R

Steak

R

Lamb

R

Pork

R

Fish

R

Chicken

R

Seafood

R

Salad greens

R

Complex carbs

What to Avoid

Q

Refined sugar

Q

Processed foods

Q

Soft drinks

Q

Artificial sweeteners

Q

Chemical additives

Q

Food with unknown ingredients

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Holyfield On Eating

‘I eat to live; some people get caught up in the decoration.’

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Holyfield On Meat

‘If your goal is losing weight and building muscle, meat is what you should be eating.’

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Holyfield On Meat, Take II

‘I’m a meat-eater…because I stay fuller with protein than with carbohydrates.’

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Holyfield On Eating Out

‘People make it seem like it’s better to eat out, when at home you can make sure all the utensils are nice, and you know who’s cooking the food, more so than somebody who doesn’t care.’

Evander Holyfield’s Fitness Routine

Weekly Workout Routine

Ballistic Training

Holyfield’s training program is 12 weeks long, broken into 4 3-week cycles with specific goals for each cycle, such as maximizing muscle gains, improving strength and increasing his anaerobic threshold.

Triple Threat

Holyfield had morning, afternoon and evening training sessions. Some things like his sparring are done daily while others such as plyometrics are done on alternate days.

Variety Doesn’t Begin to Cover It

Holyfield’s workouts while he was fighting were intense and varied. See the ‘Workout Style’ section for details.

Staying the Course

Even though he is now retired, Holyfield still runs 3 times a week and can squat 500 lbs.

Cycle One

Weeks 1-3 in Holyfield’s conditioning plan include gaining 10 lbs. of muscle mass while minimizing fat gains. He also worked on overall strength and fitness, and did light plyometrics along with anaerobic training.

Cycle Two

Weeks 4-6 of Holyfield’s training focus on strength, particularly in his legs; increasing anaerobic endurance; and recovery and working on weaknesses.

Cycle Three

Explosive strength is what Holyfield worked on here with specific event skills. He also did weighted plyometrics and running at an incline (hills or stairs), along with maximizing recovery.

Cycle Four

Building on his plyometric progression, Holyfield would emphasize ballistic strength, skills, agility and do ‘complex training’ rather than standard weight training.

Workout Style

Z

An Evander Holyfield Routine

Cycle 1
AM Workout
Boxing: Daily
Exercycle: Mon, Wed, Fri
Upper Body Exercycle: Tues, Thurs, Sat
Versaball: Mon, Wed, Fri. Right & left jabs; between legs; overhead; chest pass.
Midday Workout
3-min. Drill: 4-6 sets Mon, Wed, Fri. Warm up by jogging/step-ups then do not stop as you do the following: 40-yd sprint. Sprint backward. Jump in place 10x. Push-up position, lift legs. Run forward, backward, left & right on hands. Jump up & down on hands 10x. Get up & carioca left 40 yds. Repeat to right. Skip 40 yds forward, then backward.
Plyometrics: Tues, Thurs, Sat. Warm up with jogging/step-ups. Do easy jumps, hops, skips, then 40 yds skips. Hop like kangaroo. Repeat backward. 1-legged hops for 30 yds. Hop on hands 30 yds. Repeat backward, to left & right.
PM Workout:
Weight Training: Mon-Fri. Holyfield had 3 different strength training options for each exercise based on how well he was able to recuperate. ‘A’ is the easiest. ‘C’ is the hardest.
Chest
A: Bench press
B: Bench press + dumbbells (DB)
C: Incline DB bench press
Shoulders
A: Seated DB press
B: Add frontal raises
C: Add lateral raises
Back
A: Bent rows, back extensions
B: Add modified pull-ups
C: Add pull-downs
Arms
A: EZ curls, pushdowns
B: add high, moderate and low rep system
C: Add DB curls, dips
Legs
A: Safety squats, keystone deadlifts
B: Add lunge walking, glute-ham raises
C: Add twisting squats, leg curls
Midsection
A: Russian twists
B: Add pre-stretched crunches
C: Add side bends

Cycle 2
AM Workout
Sparring: Daily
Impulse/Inertial Machine: 2x/week
Exercycle: Mon, Wed, Fri
Upper Body Exercycle: Tues, Thurs, Sat
Versaball: Mon, Wed, Fri
Midday Workout
3-min. Drill: 7-9 sets Mon, Wed, Fri
Shock Plyometrics: Tues, Thurs, Sat. Repeat exercises from cycle 1 with weighted vest.
PM Workout:
Explosive Weight Training: Mon-Fri

Cycle 3
AM Workout
Sparring: Daily
Exercycle: Mon, Wed, Fri
Upper Body Exercycle: Tues, Thurs, Sat
Versaball: Mon, Wed, Fri
Midday Workout
3-min. Drill: 10-12 sets Mon, Wed, Fri
Shock Plyometrics: Tues, Thurs. Incorporate bench hops x 10 reps. + 40 yds of twisting skips, forward & back.
PM Workout:
Complex Training: Mon-Fri. Exercises are performed back-to-back and include jumps, bar exercises and depth jumps.

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Holyfield’s Tip On How To Box

‘Stay on your toes and always move forward.’

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Holyfield On Being A Winner

‘A champion shows who he is by what he does when he’s tested.’

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Holyfield On The Mental Aspect Of Boxing

‘It’s not the size of the man but the size of his heart that matters.’

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Holyfield On Bruce Lee

‘He was a little guy…He was able to go against the biggest guy, regardless of who he was.’

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Holyfield On Attaining Your Goals

‘The only reason you don’t reach goals is because you quit.’

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Holyfield On Steroids

‘When I think of steroids, I think of an image. You have the advantage over someone, which is a form of cheating…Reason it’s not legal for everybody is because it can hurt people seriously.’

Evander Holyfield’s Supplements

Whey Protein

Whey Protein

Holyfield doesn’t talk about the vitamins or supplements he takes, but boxing requires a lot of stamina and muscle, and so a protein supplement such as whey protein is essential, both to stave off fatigue and to build muscle.

Creatine

Creatine

Holyfield was a late bloomer, and may have taken creatine to increase muscle mass, strength and performance.

Caffeine

Caffeine

Endurance is also important and a caffeine supplement can help reduce fatigue during intense workouts.

Post-Workout Recovery

Post-Workout Recovery

Recovery for is key for all athletes, and boxers often take a post-workout recovery formula with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) to speed repair and help reduce muscle breakdown.

vitamins A

vitamins A, C and E

Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E repair damage from free radicals which are sometimes created during a grueling workout.

Fish Oil

Fish Oil

The omega-3s in fish oil help reduce inflammation and are important for brain health.

Multivitamin

Multivitamin

A multivitamin is always a good choice to fill any nutritional gaps.

Evander Holyfield’s Lifestyle

All On the Block

Holyfield’s 109-room mansion along with his boxing memorabilia went on the auction block to help pay his tax bills, legal fees and overdue child support.

Determined Dignity

Despite all the hits he’s taken to his financials, Holyfield believes that he can earn it all back again.

Listen to What Momma Said

Although Holyfield’s father wasn’t in the picture while he was growing up, he says his mother did an amazing job raising him and his 8 siblings.

The Legacy Continues

In 2019, Holyfield’s son Evan won his debut pro boxing match in under a minute. Meanwhile, Holyfield’s son Elijah plays in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers.

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Holyfield on his mother

‘She was the real “Real Deal.”’

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Holyfield on mom’s advice

‘My momma said, “No excuses. You determine your own destiny by what you choose to believe and what you choose to say.”’

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Holyfield’s advice to his kids

‘I know all of them want to be champions, but I tell them they got to pay the price.’

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Holyfield on success

‘People who become champions are the ones who say, “This is what I’m gonna do”.

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Holyfield on self-reliance

‘Ain’t nobody can do something better than you can do it yourself.’

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Holyfield on bouncing back

‘Losing everything was hard. The only way I got through it was to think, “God allowed me to have that house; he’ll allow me to have another one.”’

Recommended Products

Coca-cola

Coca-cola

Boxing Gloves

Boxing Gloves

The Holyfield Way

The Holyfield Way

Holyfield: The Humble Warrior

Holyfield: The Humble Warrior

Champs

Champs

Real Deal t-shirt

Real Deal t-shirt

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