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Muhammad Ali regarded by many as the greatest boxer of all time. Throughout his career he fought some of the best boxers of his time including George Foreman, Joe Fraizer, Sonny Liston, Ken Norton and many, many more. Ali was a very fast boxer for a heavyweight and had great amounts of speed and stamina.

To become a champion, Ali knew he had to train like one. As soon as he was introduced to boxing as a teenager Ali knew he wanted to become the greatest boxer ever and for that he was willing to be the work in and become the best.

Angelo Dundee who was Muhammad Ali’s trainer said when Ali couldn’t get a ride to the gym he would run to the gym and when he had finished he would run all the way back home as well. His house to the gym was  7 miles and he would do this regularly.

When interviewed on his what he usually does he said he that he wakes up at 5.30am and did some light stretching followed by a 6 mile run which he would usually be done in 40 minutes. That’s just over 6 minutes a mile, something even Mo Farah would be proud of! He usually ran in heavy Army style boots which makes it even more impressive.


Muhammad Ali was ahead of his time in terms of his training and his diet. His diet usually consisted of clean, healthy and natural food that was high protein. He would eat wholesome and nutritious food. So he would eat food like Chicken, rice, steak, vegetables, potatoes and fruits.

For breakfast for example he ate eggs, wholesome toast and drank orange juice.

Lunch and dinner, he would either have chicken steak with potatoes or vegetables. He would often snack on fruit throughout the day as well as keep hydrated by drinking tons of water and drinking juice.

Ali never smoke or drank at all. He believed in taking care of his body and mind and felt that they were more damaging than good. Ali was 100% right in having these views.

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Training Routine

When it came to training Ali adapted an old school style of boxing training. He didn’t really lift weights and relied on calisthenic training like push ups, sit ups and pull ups.


At times he would do old school Rocky IV style training, like chop wood, Hit sledgehammers on tyres and run while wearing heavy boots.


His speed for a heavyweight was blistering fast and he would be able to evade oncoming punches with ease. Ali was known for his footwork as well coining the ‘Ali shuffle’, something that helped him confuse his opposition.


He never had a set routine and at different parts of his boxing career he had different routines but his routine that he usually did was like the below:


Warm up:
– side to sides
– torso swivels
– jumping around on toes to limber up
(15 minutes in total)

Shadow boxing: 5 X 3 minutes rounds, working on footwork and speed punching (30 second break)

Heavy bag: 6 X 3 minute rounds, working on combinations and stamina (30 second break)

Sparring: built up sparring as camp progressed

Floor exercises:
– 15 minutes (300 in total)
– bicycle crunches
– sit ups with medicine ball
– leg raises

Speedball: 9 minutes (1 minute break)

Skipping: 20 minutes (Ali always moved around while skipping, never staying in the same spot)

Shadow boxing: 1 minute, walking around with light shadow boxing

To be the best you have to train like the best. Muhammad Ali knew this and that is why he trained so hard.

He usually did trash talk to his opponents and would often insult the person he would be fighting. However after all this trash talking he would never underestimate his opposition.

He would train just as hard as he would and would train as if he was a challenger even though he was the champion. That is the mindset to have.

Have the mindset of a champion but have the hunger of a challenger.

Ali inspired a whole lot generation of people to become better and become boxers. A lot of boxers such as Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis as well as many other boxers. But he didn’t just serve as inspiration to boxers, he served as inspiration to millions of people from all walks of life.

What he stood for and what he believed in made him The Greatest. He wasn’t just the greatest in the ring but outside as well.

We’ll leave you with a legendary quote from the greatest, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”