Can you believe that Mike Tyson was only 20 when he became the youngest heavyweight champion in history?
That was back in November 1986, when he knocked out the 33-year-old Trevor Berbick, all in only five minutes and 35 seconds.
“I’m the youngest heavyweight boxing champion in history,” he told his manager, “and I’m going to be the oldest.”
He had just turned professional, too, in 1985.
Of all the 27 matches he had fought before facing Berbick, he had already knocked out 26 of them.
It was only in 1990 when he finally was beaten by Buster Douglas.
During his life as a boxer, he committed himself to a vegetarian diet, where he lost 100 pounds, saying that he had become vegan to give him the opportunity to live a healthy life.
He says all the bad stuff of his tough years of drug-taking and illness diminished with this lifestyle.
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Mike Tyson’s Workout Training Routine & Diet
Mike Tyson was without a doubt the most feared and ferocious fighter that many have witnessed.
This was a guy who worked 8-10 hours a day 6 days a week.
He believed in adding mental training to that as well; so well over 12 hours were dedicated to his craft.
He spent around 60 hours a week training and that’s more than some people spend at their office jobs!
All in all his day would look something like this:
- 4 am – wake up – go for 3-5 mile jog
- Sparring: 10-12 rounds
- Calisthenics: He would do push-ups, dips, sit-ups, and shrugs. He would also do 10 minutes of neck work
- Next would be 6 rounds of sparring, slip bag, bag work, pad work, jumping rope, and speed bag
- More calisthenics
- Shadowboxing to focus on technique
- More calisthenics
- Exercise bike for cooling down
- Watch footage on fights and training
His Training Methods
Mike was in a reform school when D’Amato noticed him. D’Amato went on to adopt Tyson when Tyson’s mother died.
He trained Tyson for several years, using the peek-a-boo style boxing training methods.
This would be where the boxer would make use of his hands in front of his face for more protection.
Tyson learned to prepare, visualize, and affirm victory through extremely tough training methods from his beloved trainer, Cus D’Amato.
Mike Tyson himself said “No one wants to get up at 4 and run in the pitch dark, but it has to be done.
The only reason why I do it so early is that I believe the other guy isn’t doing it and that gives me a little edge.”
It was this philosophy behind Mike’s career success.
After Gus D’Amato died, Kevin Rooney became Tyson’s trainer.
He incorporated The Slip Bag and Heavy Bag in Tyson’s training methods – this gets the fighter moving his head.
Rooney would drill into Tyson the habit of evading counters after throwing power punches.
Each punch had a number assigned to it by both Tyson and Rooney.
They followed the numbers system when hitting the mitts in fights.
Mike’s Workout Routine
Mike Tyson was devoted to mastering his craft. He would spend at least 8-10 hours a day working out. He would study upcoming fights, ensuring he followed a rigorous diet to fight his opponent.
- His day would start at 5 am. He would go for a 3-5 mile run to improve his stamina and lung capacity for the fight.
- He would return at 6 am, resting until 10, to start sparring practices.
- In the next few hours, Tyson would do Calisthenics –
- 2000 sit-ups
- 500-800 dips
- 500 press-ups
- 500 Shrugs with a 30kg barbell.
- At noon, he would do sparring, around 4-6 rounds, and more calisthenics. He would also do bag work, slip bag, jump rope for 10 minutes, Willie bag, focus mitts, and speed bag.
- He would include about 10 minutes of neck rolls. His neck strength drastically reduced the chances of him getting knocked out whilst fighting. Even though the neck roll is quite a common exercise in boxing, no boxer was known for it the way Mike Tyson was.
- He would end his workout with 30 minutes on a stationary exercise bike at 8 pm.
- He would go to sleep at around 10 to ensure he got a full 7 hours of sleep at night.
More of what Mike Tyson included in his workout routine:
Cus told Mike that shadow boxing was the most important exercise a fighter could partake in.
Mike would throw one punch for rounds on end to make sure it became perfect.
While shadow-boxing, he would move his head 2-3 times after each punch.
2) Heavy bag workout
This was a conditioning workout to work on form, power, and combinations. Mike would get feedback from Cus after each punch and combo. To trick and distract his opponents, Mike’s favorite combo included:
- Left hook to the body and left uppercut to the head
- Jab to the body with the right hand to the head
- Left and right hook to the body, left hook, and the right to the head
- Left hook to the body with a right hook to the head
- Right hand left hook
The older Tyson became, Cus would increase the weight of the bag. It was rumored that the maximum bag Tyson punched was a 300 lb. punching bag.
There was no practice sparring.
When Mike sparred, it was real fighting.
Seasoned heavyweight pros would be brought in to spar with Tyson.
Many didn’t want to stick around because they were so damaging to them, but Cus made sure every sparring session was like the real deal.
4) Defense training
Mike was an excellent counter puncher.
Read about his defense tactics.
5) Neck workout
Mike Tyson’s neck was between 20 and 22 inches, which is huge for someone his size. He achieved this neck with two exercises:
- Wrestler bridges
- Shoulder shrugs
He did shoulder shrugs with barbells and did about 500 reps throughout the day.
6) Leg workout
Mike would do 400 squats a day before school.
There was one fascinating squat workout that he did was when he was in prison.
It’s even called the “Tyson Squat Workout”.
There are no weights required here. It is all about cards and squatting to pick them up.
Every time he squats down he had to pick up one card – a pretty intense leg workout.
7) He had mental training too
Mike says that “everyone was in shape” but that is not what made the difference in the ring.
Cus worked very hard to ensure that Mike’s mind was trained in both character and IQ. Mike would watch a lot of tapes of legendary fighters.
His style was created by vicious repetition.
It wasn’t genetics that made Mike Tyson perform and look the way he did.
IT was all about sheer discipline and a very grueling work ethic.
If Mike had not put in the hard work and effort which were so integral to his victories, it is possible he might not have been the legend he is today.
Mike Tyson’s Diet
- Breakfast: Oatmeal, milk, vitamin supplements
- Lunch: Rice, chicken breast, orange juice
- Dinner: Pasta, steak, orange juice
It was purely thanks to Cus D’Amato that Mike took his diet seriously, eating stuff like chicken and steak for protein.
He would eat oatmeal and pasta for his energy requirements and drink fruit juice, but no sodas.
He drank plenty of water.
If he did take in a snack, it would be like protein powder with about 6 bananas.
He did adore ice cream and cereals too, and when he retired, he changed over to a vegan diet which helped him lose 100 lbs.
Going on the vegan diet, his high blood pressure and arthritis disappeared.
Today he has gone back to eating meat.
What Mike would eat
- Fruit juice
- Protein powder
What Mike would avoid
- Junk foods and fast foods
- Processed foods
- Soft drinks
- Artificial additives
In 2010, he turned vegan.
He stated, “The greatest gladiators, the greatest ones in Roman times, they were all vegan”.
He announced a comeback to boxing in 2020, but for this, he would again turn to meat products to bulk up.
Mike Tyson’s Supplements & Recommendations
As part of his training regime, Mike Tyson would take a vitamin supplement. He doesn’t reveal a whole lot when asked about his supplements, but this is what it is believed he takes:
- Protein: Protein is vital to any athlete’s regime because it builds muscle and bulk up the body.
- Beta-Alanine: Beta-alanine is an amino acid. It enhances lean body mass, strength, and muscular vitality.
- Creatine: Creatine is an amino acid. It provides energy so that workouts can be more intense. It also helps the muscles to recover faster and also boosts performance.
- Caffeine: Caffeine is a supplement for pre-working out amongst athletes. It boosts energy for training sessions.
- Vitamin D: The sunshine vitamin helps to make bones strong. It also helps in absorbing nutrients in the body, reducing inflammation after tough workouts.
1) Each day, practice affirmations
Mike says every day Cus would put him under hypnosis and tell him, Mike, that he was the most ferocious fighter that God had ever created.
He would say, ‘Day by day, in every way, I’m getting better, better, better.’”
Mike literally visualized himself into the ring, and repeated his affirmations a few times a day – then you can expect the results to flow in.
2) Be Adaptable
Mike says that when a reporter asked him one day if he was worried about the likes of Evander Holyfield’s fight plan he retorted “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
Adaptability helps you to learn from your experiences and develop new skills and make you stronger the next time around.
Everyone needs to be prepared to alter their plan if something untoward happens – be prepared.
3) Don’t waste precious time fretting about what others think of you
“It doesn’t matter what anyone says about me. I’m a totally different entity to what other people think”.
That’s what Mike recommends.
And you shouldn’t let the past interfere with your successes either – don’t be misguided by what other people tell you.
Mike says if you want to dream big, don’t let others’ narrow-mind opinions bring you down.
And remember, he says, not to ever let your work performance impact your personal life or your personal life on your work life.
4) Ditch the past
Mike says “The lowest form of conversation is ‘was.’”.
What good advice his friend once gave Mike!
He told Mike that it is pointless to dig into the past – don’t let your history keep you from moving forward.
Keep living in the present tense, are Mike’s recommendations.
Check the people around you; your habits and lifestyle, and ask yourself if they are aligned with your goals.
After all, he says, breaking up might be hard to do, but not if it leads to a better you.
6) “Adopt a fighter mindset”
If you want to be a good fighter, you have to have qualities to do it, like self-sacrifice, discipline, and the ability to absorb some mental, physical and emotional punishment.
When he was interviewed by Men’s Journal, Tyson said, “To make space for the things you want in life, you don’t have to be a fighter, but you’d be wise to have a fighter mindset. You may not end up with a gleaming belt around your waist, but you’ll have something more: the satisfaction of having entered the ring.”
Isn’t that awesome advice from the great Mike Tyson?
P.S.! Mike Tyson has already confirmed that in 2 months’ time, in September 2021; he will be taking on veteran Lennox Lewis.