Anthony Joshua: ‘I've Changed My Training to Be More of an Endurance Athlete’

·5-min read
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Anthony Joshua Shares His Fitness Journeyunknown - Hearst Owned

October 5th 2023 will mark 10 years since Anthony Joshua's debut, but judging by his comprehensive points victory over Jermaine Franklin last month, he's showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. AJ confirmed as much when Men's Health sat down with the two-time world champion to talk about how his training, nutrition and personal growth have evolved over the years.

Turns out there are no 5am sessions, running in bin liners or Rocky-inspired training montages on his calendar. Instead, Joshua is methodical about his rest days, periodised programming and fuelling his body correctly. He also explains how mentality is what separates good fighters from great ones.

Men's Health: Compared to when you first went professional, how has your training changed?

Anthony Joshua: 'When I first started out, you start off [with] 400 metres, and that's like your 12 rounds. You start running 100 metres and you progress to 200 metres. So 100 metres, it's powerful and explosive. And then when we progress, I started realising, everyone's explosive but everyone's got endurance as well. I was like shit, I need to be explosive but I need to have endurance.'

'So I went through this massive phase of trying to figure out what's right, what's wrong. And I'm at a stage now where people want me to be explosive. But, I've realised I would rather be able to complete the 400 metres, and still come first. I've now changed my training to be more of a long endurance athlete, rather than just be explosive for 200 metres and then crash.'

MH: And do you have more or fewer rest days?

AJ: 'I used to do Monday to Friday, rest Saturday and Sunday. [Now it's] Monday to Wednesday, rest Thursday, Friday and Saturday, rest Sunday. Still two days but they're spread out differently.'

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MH: In terms of strength training during the sessions, has that changed?

AJ: 'I like low rep ranges, but it's all about phase training. So, I usually just try and do everything. I'll be in a strength session. I'm doing jumps, I'm doing heavy weights. I'm doing a bit of core and I'm running, so I'm not really specialising in anything. I'm getting a good workout, but certain trainers want to get bang for their buck. They don't have you for a long time. So what I've learned is to periodise my training. Like, 'let's get the most out of this three week or two week block and move on', rather than, 'let's just get the most out of this session'. Where do I want to be in two weeks? Or three weeks? But then I can measure my progression.'

MH: Do you get any niggles or do you do any injury management?

AJ: 'There's not so much niggles, it's actually injury management [with] previous injuries. I just have to manage it. I really benefit from stretching, and I benefit from deep tissue massage.'

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James Chance - Getty Images

MH: Sports nutrition has changed a lot in the last 10 years, are there any myths or fads that you used to follow that you don't anymore?

AJ: 'I just didn't take it as serious as I do now, nutrition is so important. I used to be in the gym after a session and we would chill out for maybe two more hours. But if you look at the time when I started training, the minute I finish, [so when] I hit my last punch, I haven't eaten all that time and I'm staying in the gym for another two hours after I've showered and had a chat with everyone. Probably about five hours that I've had no food. I used to lose a lot of weight.

'That's another thing, I used to associate losing weight with getting fit. So I used to cut out the benefits of nutrition. But if you wanna get fit, you have to feed your body and fuel your body. It's like a car. You can't expect it to go a long distance without fuel. I can't expect to be fit enough to go a long distance without the right fuel. So that was actually a myth that I had in my head where it's like, oh, because I'm lighter, I'm fitter. So, pushing myself and that [means] eating right. I believe in that.'

MH: Has your attitude towards the sport of boxing changed over the years?

AJ: 'Yeah, definitely. It's tougher. It's more brutal. I'm not. I realise it's not just a physical thing. I pray more and I understand that it's also a mental approach. Everyone's good, everyone's fit, everyone's strong. You start meeting people that are just as strong as you and just as fit as you. It is about your mentality, that's what separates the good from the great, the mentality.'

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unknown - Hearst Owned

We were speaking to AJ at the Launch of UA Next London, Under Armour’s new programme for young athletes and sports leaders of tomorrow, based at Under Armour’s new store in Battersea Power Station.

Those who are keen to apply to be part of the UA Next London programme can apply here.

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