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He was the only boxer in history to become two time undisputed champion in two different weight classes. Holyfield defeated some of the best boxers in his era including Mike Tyson, George Foreman and Hasim Rehman.

Holyfield started off as his journey in the light heavyweight division and moving himself onto heavyweight. He ultimately became a four time heavyweight champion

During Evander Holyfield’s illustrious career he never had a set training routine all throughout his career. For example, he had a different training routine when he was a light heavyweight compared to when he was a heavyweight.

The below training routine is a similar training routine Holyfield used when he was a heavyweight boxer and in the fights leading up to Buster Douglas and Mike Tyson.

This specific training routine is split into four mesocycles of three week duration. Each three week period had specific goals and each 3 week period built upon what he had established in the weeks before. 

For example the first three weeks would be to maximise muscle mass and improve general strength and fitness. Basically, to build a strong foundation. The following three weeks would introudce boxing specific training and increase anaerobic strength endurance while putting an emphasis on building muscle in his legs. 

The final six weeks would be maximizing explosive strength and going all out on boxing specific training like sparring and bagwork. He would also do plyometrics and sharpen up his skills.

Evander Holyfield’s Training Routine


 Mesocycle One
Session Training Mode Frequency
Morning workouts Boxing Skills Daily
  Lower Body Exercises Mon, Wed, Fri
  Upper Body Exercises Tues, Thurs, Sat
  Versaball Mon, Wed, Fri
Noon workouts 3 Minute Drill (4-6 sets) Mon, Wed, Fri
  Plyometrics Tues, Thurs, Sat
Evening workouts Weight Training Mon-Fri
Mesocycle Two
Session Training Mode Frequency
Morning workouts Sparring/IE Daily/twice weekly
  Lower Body Exercises Mon, Wed, Fri
  Upper Body Exercises Tues, Thurs, Sat
  Versaball Mon, Wed, Fri
Noon workouts 3 Minute Drill (7-9 sets) Mon, Wed, Fri
  Weighted plyometrics Tues, Thurs, Sat
Evening workouts Explosive weight training Mon-Fri
Mesocycle Three
Session Training Mode Frequency
Morning workouts Sparring Daily
  Lower Body Exercises Mon, Wed, Fri
  Upper Body Exercises Tues, Thurs, Sat
  Versaball Mon, Wed, Fri
Noon workouts 3 Minute Drill (10-12 sets) Mon, Wed, Fri
  Shock plyometrics Tues, Thurs
Evening workouts complex training Mon-Fri

For his weight training program in the first few weeks of his training, Holyfield followed a bodybuilding program using a split format. He would switch between A, B and C workouts. A being easy, B being difficult and C offering high intensity.

VersaBall exercises were variations of medicine ball exercises. He would usually switch up different throws in different positions.

Evander Holyfied’s Variable Split Exercise Listing

The precise schedule of when to do an A, B or C workout was matched to Evander’s recuperative abilities.

Chest A workout bench press
  B workout add dumbbell bench press
  C workout add incline dumbbell bench press
Shoulders A workout seated dumbbell presses
  B workout add frontal dumbbell raises
  C workout add lateral raises
Back A workout bent rows, back extensions
  B workout add modified pull-ups
  C workout add pull-downs
Arms A workout EZ curls, pushdowns
  B workout add hi, moderate and low rep system
  C workout add dumbbell curls, dips
Legs A workout safety squats, keystone deadlifts
  B workout add lunge walking, glute-ham raises
  C workout add twisting squats, leg curls
Midsection A workout Russian twists
  B workout add pre-stretched crunches
  C workout add sidebends

Plyometrics is a fantastic way of improving explosive strength and overall balance. Evander would do the following for his plyometrics workout.

The Plyometrics Routine

  1. jog or do stepups to warm up
    2. easy (not “all-out”) jumps, hops, skips, and then
    3. do 20 yards of skips
    4. again
    5. hops like a kangaroo
    6. again
    7. repeat 3, 4, 5, and 6 backwards
    8. one-legged hops 30 yards (both feet)
    9. hops on hands 10 yards
    10. repeat 9 backwards
    11. repeat 9 left and right

During the second mesocycle he would do all of the above but with a weighted vest. In the third mesocycle he would add in bench hops and add twisting skips 40 yards.

Diet Plan

Throughout Holyfield’s long career he had varied diet plans but the most consistent thing he did all throughout his career was eat meat. He likes to eat all kind of meat including beef, lamb, chicken, fish and seafood.

Holyfield prefers eating meat because of the amount of protein it provides and it can keep him fuller for longer. He usually does eat around 4-5 meals a day to fuel and grow his body while also adding vegetables for the added benefits they provide.

Evander liked to eat a diet high in protein mixed with carbohydrates so his body could get the required fuel that it needed. He saw food as fuel and instead of the taste of food saw it for its nutritional value.

Evander avoided foods high in sugar and processed foods as he believed his body should get pure food with good nutrition for him to build his body. 

While there is no official diet plan of Holyfield’s released, we have used the information available to create a sample diet plan that Holyfield might have ate on a daily basis:



Salmon, scrambled eggs, piece of fruit, fruit juice


Steak, steamed vegetables, potatoes, water


Grilled Chicken


Beef or Steak, pasta & fruit juice


Evander Holyfield is a man who accomplished a lot in the sport. But to accomplish that he consistently trained hard, stayed disciplined and had a vision. 

Holyfield was a brought in a crime struck part of Georgia and although the odds were stacked against him, he went on to become one of the greatest boxers of all time. As Holyfield once said “If you quit every time things don’t go your way, then you’ll be quitting all through your life.”