WHAT HE DOES
Bethesda Magazine HEALTH | January/February 2014 225
WORKS IT OUT
Steel performs strength exercises for 45 minutes four to six times a week. He
works on his legs one day, his back and biceps another day, and then his chest,
shoulders and triceps.
He does 60 minutes of cardio daily, including shadow boxing and either jumping
rope or running 2 to 3 miles.
He pummels heavy and lighter boxing bags for an hour several times each week.
The Payoff: The exercises help strengthen Steel’s muscles so he can deliver a
powerful punch and stay upright after being hit. The cardio work builds endurance.
“If you’re tired in the ring, you die,” he says. The shadow boxing also helps Steel
improve his rhythm, form and execution of punch combinations. The bag work
increases the power of his punches and improves timing, rhythm, reflexes, head
movement, hand-eye coordination and hand speed.
At least three times each week, Steel’s boxing coach watches while he spars
against an opponent for five, three-minute rounds, with 30-second rest breaks.
Steel repeatedly reviews fight films of professional boxers.
The Payoff: Sparring puts Steel’s training to the test, preparing him to control
any situation and helping to perfect his punch combinations. Those combos often
include the jab, a favorite that he uses to help reposition his opponent and provide
an opening to throw a more powerful punch. “Boxing is like a chess game,” he says.
Watching films of professional fighter Sugar Ray Leonard reminds Steel how to use
his head, and watching Mike Tyson reminds him to “become savage” in the ring.
STAYS FUELED AND LIGHT
Steel eats four to six low-sodium, protein-rich meals daily (preferably chicken
breast or salmon with lots of greens, such as spinach), aiming for a total of 125 to
175 grams of protein, and drinks at least a gallon of water.
He uses techniques that cause him to perspire heavily, such as wearing a sauna
suit (a sort of waterproof tracksuit) for about 45 minutes during workouts, several
days before a fight or after a rare weekend of unhealthy eating.
The Payoff: Steel’s diet provides energy and aids muscle development. Perspiring
helps “flush…excess sodium from my system,” he says. Having less sodium in
his body means he carries less water weight, ensuring that he remains in his
competitive weight class, Steel says.
PAMPERS HIS BODY
He gets a weekly massage and practices yoga for about two hours twice weekly.
Steel either ices sore muscles or vibrates them with a TENS unit, a device that
emits electric currents.
The Payoff: He feels loose, less sore—and he hasn’t suffered another major injury.
MAINTAINS MENTAL STRENGTH
Steel enlists friends and family to attend his competitions. He also reassures himself repeatedly and pictures himself winning his fights.
The Payoff: Seeing familiar faces in the crowd makes Steel feel stronger. And his
positive self-talk encourages the possibility of success. “I’ve already won that fight
when I walk into the ring,” he says. ■
Leah Ariniello of Bethesda frequently writes about health. To comment on this story
or suggest subjects, email email@example.com.
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