Bodybuilding vs Boxing – Which is superior and who triumphs?

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: July 11, 2023
Bodybuilding vs Boxing

Boxers and bodybuilders both represent the pinnacle of athletic excellence. Dedicated and highly trained, they seek to optimize their endurance, strength, and coordination through rigorous workouts and careful attention to diet.

These two sports share some fundamentals, but also diverge in important ways: boxers hone their speed and agility while bodybuilders focus on precise sculpting of their musculature.

Although there is a crosstraining between the two sports, each one demands specialized training methods attuned to its performance criteria.

For the athlete who wishes to become truly exceptional in either field, it is important to understand these unique requirements for success.

A comparison of bodybuilding Vs boxing

Primary GoalTo improve agility, strength, and endurance for fights.To increase muscle mass and definition.
TrainingFocuses on cardio, strength training, and technical skills.Primarily involves resistance and strength training.
NutritionBalanced diet to maintain energy levels and lean physique.High-protein diet to support muscle growth and recovery.
PhysiqueLean and muscular with emphasis on functional strength.Highly muscular with emphasis on symmetry and aesthetics.
CompetitionsBoxing matches judged on technical skill, power, and endurance.Bodybuilding shows judged on muscle size, symmetry, and definition.
RisksRisk of injuries such as concussions and fractures from fights.Risk of injuries from heavy lifting and potential health issues from extreme diets.

What is Bodybuilding?

Bodybuilders are a special breed of athletes motivated by their need for the thrill of competition and achievement.

The gym is more than a second home to them; it’s an arena where they can test their limits and constantly find new challenges to conquer.

As dedicated as they are, some bodybuilders will often push themselves to extremes when reaching for that next level from intense training regimens to strict diets all in the name of taking their physiques to heights beyond what many people can even imagine.

But at the end of the day, nothing drives them like striving towards victory over other bodybuilders, demonstrating their strength and mastery over several fitness disciplines.

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It’s this ultimately that provides the foundation upon which they build their greatest success.

What is Boxing?

Boxing is a timeless sport renowned for its physical and mental health benefits. It builds muscle, increases endurance, and strengthens cardiovascular health.

Additionally, it has been proven to improve mental resilience by fostering self-discipline and healthy coping mechanisms.

Although the activity has evolved to become more dynamic over time ranging from traditional boxing to bare-knuckle boxing and kickboxing at its core it remains true to its origin: two people facing each other in an athletic engagement of skill requiring superlative physical conditioning through strategy and technique.

This dynamic combination helps explain why boxing as a combat sport has survived for centuries. As for its contribution to modern-day fitness, boxing is a safe and enjoyable form of exercise that packs power and promise into every punch!

Which is more difficult, bodybuilding or boxing?

Many people assume that bodybuilding is the easier option when it comes to fitness competitions, but this couldn’t be further from the truth!

The term ‘harder’ is not used in science as it doesn’t have a metric to be measured in, so people can only draw conclusions based on their own experiences.

In actual competition, boxing could be argued to be more difficult than bodybuilding; although people know that a boxer needs physical agility and strength, few realize just how brutal cutting and bulking for bodybuilding can be!

Many bodybuilders push themselves physically, regardless of the discomfort they may experience when sculpting their physique for competition purposes. The true champions go above and beyond!

Can a Bodybuilder Beat a Boxer?

Despite both sports being devoted to physical fitness and mental strength, boxing and bodybuilding are entirely different beasts.

Boxing has been people’s go-to form of hand-to-hand combat for thousands of years, with evidence of the sport existing as far back as 3000 BC.

In comparison, bodybuilding emerged much later in 1901 and is essentially about building muscle mass and achieving a specific physique making it much less dynamic than boxing.

This difference is further accentuated by boxers being trained in reflexes and agility, using the opponent’s features against them to deliver quick jabs or hooks till they score a knockout victory while bodybuilders lack this type of cardiovascular fitness needed for such combative action.

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Regardless, both have provided great physical opportunities that have allowed participants to improve their mental discipline, physical prowess, and overall health.


Can Boxing Help You Gain Muscle?

When it comes to getting fit, boxing is a great way to build muscle. Not only are you burning calories and sculpting your muscles, but you’re also achieving great benefits for your overall health.

When building muscle through boxing, one must ensure that the muscle is properly stressed so that it will properly transform with enough rest and nourishment.

These changes result in an improved immune system and better regulation of one’s cholesterol, blood pressure, and mental health. With boxing as a form of exercise, you get the added benefit of building up strength at the same time. 

Can you combine bodybuilding and boxing?

When it comes to juggling multiple sports, Sonny Bill Williams is a great example. He has successfully managed to combine professional rugby with competitive boxing a feat many athletes struggle to do without succumbing to physical exhaustion and injury.

However, it is not advisable for any athlete to bodybuild and box simultaneously due to the discrepancies between the goals of each sport; while bodybuilding promotes the growth of muscle tissue regardless of cost, boxing puts its focus on agility and fitness.

Thus athletes must pick one discipline and dedicate themselves fully to adequately enhance their body’s strengths effectively.

Are Bodybuilders Good at Fighting?

Being fit and active is the first line of defense in any potentially hostile situation. Working out can be much more than just looking good; having a certain level of physical fitness can give you a boost in confidence and the ability to protect yourself when needed.

Even though bodybuilders may look strong and intimidating, that does not necessarily make them great fighters, as many skills have to be developed to properly train oneself defensively.

The truth is, sometimes all we have on our side is ourselves in scenarios, so knowing how to stay calm while being able to anticipate an attack and react appropriately can mean the difference between a successful escape or being hurt.

It’s important to remember that cops cannot always make it on time, so being able to protect ourselves is key.

Bodybuilding vs. Boxing for Fat Loss

Recent studies show that calorie restriction is the most important factor when it comes to fat loss.

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To get the best results, you need to be eating fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight.

Additionally, resistance-based gym training is great for stimulating muscle mass and preserving it while losing weight.

At the same time, sports like boxing require a lot of energy but don’t activate all muscles in the body.

So, if you pair cardio-intensive exercises like boxing with strength training in the gym, you can develop an effective fat-loss program that will leave you stronger and healthier.

Will Boxing Cause Muscle Loss?

When it comes to boxing, you want to make sure your diet and recovery regimen is on point to avoid muscle loss.

Consuming a balanced diet rich in protein and carbohydrates is key for getting the most out of your training session and appropriately feeding those hardworking muscles.

Additionally, getting enough sleep each evening helps with muscle repair so cut yourself some slack after those late-night sparring sessions and catch up on some z’s.

Last but not least, make sure you’re actively managing any or all stressors in your life to ensure that cortisol doesn’t start taking its toll on valuable muscle tissue.

Doing these things will not only ensure you can strut into the ring looking and feeling your best but having top performance too!


Bodybuilding and boxing are two entirely different sports that can both help you get fit, however, they will give you very individualized results.

If strength and rock-hard muscles are what you’re aiming for, bodybuilding is the way to go.

On the other hand, if toning and agility is your main goal, opting for boxercise classes would be far more beneficial.

Whichever sport you decide to take on, remember that consistent workouts and a healthy diet are key when it comes to seeing visible outcomes. So lace up your trainers and start smashing those goals!

Dave Moffat
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Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.