Muhammad Ali Workout and Diet
Professional Boxer (deceased)
Muhammad Ali is the chosen name of Kentucky-born Cassius Clay Jr. Ali was dyslexic which caused difficulties at school and throughout his life. At age 12, Ali became interested in boxing and worked with trainer Fred Stoner and Chuck Bodak. His amateur debut came in 1954, and ‘The Greatest’ went on to win 6 Kentucky Golden Gloves titles, 2 national Golden Gloves, the light heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 summer Olympics, and the world heavyweight when he was only 22, beating the heavily-favored Sonny Liston. Many of his matches were historic, including the Fight of the Century, the Thrilla in Manila and The Rumble in the Jungle. Ali holds numerous records and is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. He is one of the most celebrated people of the 20th century. Ali converted to Islam in 1961 and refused the draft as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam war. He also had a successful music career and received 2 Grammy nominations. Ali featured as an actor and wrote 2 autobiographies. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated 37 times, second only to Michael Jordan. Ali retired from boxing in 1981 and focused on philanthropy, religion, and activism. He went public with his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 1984. Ali was married 4 times and has 9 children including boxer Laila Ali. He passed away in 2016, but still has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. Ali was6 feet 3 inches tall and weighed about 230 lbs.
Muhammad Ali’s Diet
Ali was ahead of his time in a lot of ways, including diet. He mostly ate clean, wholesome foods including chicken, eggs, steak, vegetables, potatoes, rice, and fresh fruit. He was a big fan of orange juice, but also stayed hydrated by taking in plenty of water. He never smoked, drank or took drugs. He always treated his body like a temple, and felt that such things inflicted more damage than the temporary pleasure they provide.
- Medium Fat 30% 30%
- Medium Carb 40% 40%
- High Protein 50% 50%
Already at the top of the boxing world in his early 20s,Ali virtually always took especial care with his diet, long before there were many ways to supplement.
A K.I.S.S. Plan
Ali kept it simple: eggs, toast, and o.j. for breakfast; steak or chicken with veggies and potatoes for lunch and dinner. Snacks were fresh fruit.
Ali liked his juice, but also downed plenty of water to keep his body hydrated.
Ali never got into alcohol or cigarettes, in part due to his religious beliefs, but also because he knew they would do him more harm than good.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Ali on Making Something of Yourself
‘If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.’
Ali on Making Changes
‘It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief has become a deep conviction, things begin to happen.’
Ali on Perspective
‘A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.’
Ali on Age
‘Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.’
Ali on Motivation
‘What keeps me going is goals.’
Ali on Age
‘Old age is just a record of one’s whole life.’
Muhammad Ali’s Workout Routine
Ali went old-school with his boxing training. He didn’t really lift; he mostly relied on calisthenics like push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups.
Float Like a Butterfly
Ali was famous for his speed, which was measured as 25% faster than Sugar Ray Robinson even though Ali was 50 lbs heavier. His footwork even had a name: ‘the Ali shuffle.’
Ali always trained as though he were the challenger even when he was the champ, and he never underestimated the competition.
Ali worked out more or less every day, and always mixed up his routine. The basic format would include a 15-minute warm up, followed by shadowboxing, heavy bag, sparring, calisthenics, speed bag, and jump rope.
Sometimes Ali would train Rocky style: chop wood, swing sledgehammers, run in heavy boots, and the like.
Do It Anyway
Ali actually hated training, but he showed up anyway and put the work in because he wanted to be The Greatest.
A Muhammad Ali Routine
Change up your routine to keep it fresh & to keep challenging your body & mind.
Warm up: 15 min
Jump on toes to limber up
Shadow boxing: 5 x 3 min rounds, working on footwork and speed punching. 30 sec break between rounds.
Heavy bag: 6 x 3 min rounds, working on combos & stamina. 30 sec break between rounds
Sparring: build up to fight
Calisthenics: 15 min/300 total
Sit-ups w/ medicine ball
Speedbag: 9 min total
Jump rope: 20 min, always moving
More shadow boxing, moving
Ali on Training
‘I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’
Ali on How To Be a Champion
‘Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them—a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will, but the will must be stronger than the skill.’
Ali on Winning a Fight
‘The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses: behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.’
Ali on Flexibility
‘Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee.’
Ali on Anyone Thinking of Taking Him On
‘If you ever dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize.’
Muhammad Ali’s Supplements
We don’t know much about Ali’s supplement choices as he lived in a different time, before supplements became popular. So, below are supplements that can benefit anyone following a similar diet routine.
Diet alone would not have prevented Parkinson’s disease which he attributed to his fighting career, but certain supplements can help, like coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant that is used by cells to create energy.
vitamins C and E
Muhammad Ali’s Lifestyle
Sleep Is Important, and so Is Living
Ali said that while sleep matters, you must not waste the short time you’re given on this Earth.
Because of Ali’s refusal to be drafted for the Vietnam war, he was stripped of his boxing titles and faced 5 years in prison. He managed to stay out of jail and had his conviction overturned in 1971, but had lost 4 peak years of his career in the meantime.
Ahead of His Time
Ali became famous for his provocative, trash-talking style, and made up rhymes long before hip-hop was a thing.
Ali kept his attendance at Nation of Islam meetings quiet for years. He was initially refused entry to the NOI because he was a boxer, and then when his membership was disclosed publicly, his upcoming match was nearly cancelled.
One of Ali’s mentors was Malcolm X. Ali’s refusing the draft inspired Martin Luther King Jr. to address the Vietnam War.
Ali worked with many organizations and charities spreading peace and hope, including the Make-A-Wish foundation, the Special Olympics, the UN Special Committee against Apartheid, soup kitchens, and he hand-delivered food and medical supplies to hospitals, orphanages and street children in Africa and Asia. The Muhammad Ali Center opened in Louisville, KY in 2005 to offer educational opportunities to his hometown community.
Ali on Life
‘Life is not really long.’
Ali on Losing
‘I should be a postage stamp because that’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.’
Ali on Courage
‘He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.’
Ali on Big vs. Small Obstacles
‘It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.’
Ali on Being The Greatest
‘I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was.’
Ali on Possibilities
‘Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion.’
Ali on Serving Others
‘Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.’
Ali on Spreading the Love
‘I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.’