August 31, 2017
[00:00] Introduction/The Money Fights
[8:10] What Tony Thinks about the Upcoming Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather Fight
[13:50] TBIs and Concussion Repair
[21:20] Training Regimen of a Professional Boxer
[33:00] The Physiological Requirements of Boxing
[36:15] Box n' Burn Sessions
[43:00] Amateur Boxing
[47:10] How Tony Started with Boxing
[48:10] Tony as an Undefeated Professional Boxer
[52:33] Box N’ Burn Academy
[54:35] End of Podcast
Ben: “The Money Fights” is coming up. That’s right. This is Ben Greenfield. There's this thing called “The Money Fights.” It’s gonna be the biggest fight, I think, of the freakin’ century. It’s at T-Mobile Arena in Nevada and it is a professional boxing match between undefeated, 11-time, five-division Professional Boxing World Champion, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and the current UFC Lightweight Champion, Conor McGregor. It's gonna rock. If you’re a boxing fan, heck, even if you're not a boxing fan, if you’re just like, I don't know, history fan, who just like to watch cool stuff, you can't miss this. This podcast episode might get you kind of pumped up for it though because it's all about how to use boxing, and sparring, and fighting to turn your body into the ultimate fitness weapon.
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In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“I remember when I was 15, 16 years old, this will blow your mind, and I’m fighting in the national championship final or even in the tournament, after my win, the day of the fight, the trainers would say, “You’re gonna eat anywhere you want. So let’s go to McDonald’s. We have McDonald’s if we have a fight. “So now you’re seeing fighters, young boys getting cut in the eyes, in the face. You’re not gonna put your son in a spot like that, but with head guards on, you might. So I think a long time taking the head guards out of the boxing, it’s gonna damage this boy.”
Ben: So, Tony, what do you think about the workout, man?
Tony: I loved it. It was something completely different to what, I think, I’ve done before.
Ben: To clarify, running around the trees like little boys.
Tony: Yeah. It makes it fun. It takes the chore out of working out and it was good.
Ben: Yeah. I mean it's a lot different than when I come down to visit you and we’re inside the gym there in Santa Monica, bouncing around in your, what do you call them? What do you call the facilities? Is it basically just like “the ring”? Is that what you call it when you're…?
Tony: In the gym, in the boxing ring, the boxing gym, and boxing burn. We’ve got two boxing facilities…
Ben: Boxing burn.
Tony: Boxing burn in Santa Monica and one in Brentwood.
Ben: And it does burn. I mean, I don’t know if anybody listening in has boxed before, but like I'm in good shape. We ran around the obstacle course just now then I run around this thing like once a week. I go hit it for 60 to 90 minutes doing the rope climb and the log weave and the walls and everything. So I have a gas tank, but dude, boxing is a whole different ballgame physiologically.
Tony: Yeah, as well, like I can do boxing all day long, but I do with a couple lapse and your young boys are beating me around here. It’s kind of what you get used to, but yeah, boxing is a great workout. It’s a full body workout.
Ben: Well part of it, I think, too is when you’re boxing, and this is what I feel, my hands are up. I feel like my diaphragm is contracted. Some of my inspiratory and expiratory muscles are maybe a little bit more restricted. It's almost like if you're going out for a run but you have like your shoulders elevated and your hands up the whole time. It's a little bit different cardio when you have your hands up versus your hands down. It sounds stupid but…
Tony: Yeah. I mean it doesn't. It's great for endurance in your shoulders because, like you said, you’ve got your hands up and right when you're throwing the punches as well, your arms are getting exhausted, but you’ve gotta keep your hands up because you know what happens when you drop your hands?
Tony: You get a clip around the ear.
Ben: Yeah, in the face.
Tony: Yeah, you get hit in the face. So yeah, I mean it’s a great workout and as well what a lot of people don't realize is how much it works out your brain.
Ben: Your brain?
Tony: Your brain. It works out your brain.
Ben: It’s like mental chess.
Tony: It is and you’re thinking all the time, like I said, if you drop your hands, you’re gonna get hit. You’ve got to think about the numbers that I’m calling out; the “1-2, 1-2-hook, 1-2-raw.” when raw, you’ve got to bend your legs, you’ve got to move your feet.
Ben: It’s essentially like, more or less for beginners, six different hits or six different punches, right? One-two-three-four-five-six?
Tony: Well, it's one-two-hook, two-uppercut. So, it’s part of the five punches, but then you’ve got your footwork as well and then your hands up and you’re thinking about your defense…
Ben: That's what I like about it because I come from a background of tennis which is kinda like, you might think this is silly, but it's almost like boxing across a net because you’re anticipating the opponent's move, you're responding to it, you're watching them and then you’re responding with either defense or offense.
Ben: Granted you’re not gonna get hit in the face is a little bit more less pressure.
Tony: What it is, is that like hand and eye coordination with your foot coordination as well. You’ve got to be fast on your feet with tennis and we’ve trained quite a few tennis players who says boxing really improves their tennis when their doing that. Same with football, same with most sports. I think boxing kinda, if you do boxing for fitness and you’re not getting punched in the head, I think that’s really gonna help improve whatever sport you’re doing.
Ben: I have a ton of questions for you about how you structure the workouts and a little more about the physiological and mental requirements of boxing, but the first thing, million dollar question, Conor McGregor’s trained on your place, right?
Ben: Down in Santa Monica?
Ben: Alright. So fill me in, dude, because this podcast is gonna come out, I think, before he fights Floyd Mayweather.
Ben: What are your thoughts on that fight? Seeing his butt kicked [8:23] ______ sayin’?
Tony: Yeah, he’s gonna get his butt kicked.
Ben: Are you allowed to delve into this?
Tony: Yeah, I am. Yeah, he’s gonna get his butt kicked, but I think it’s fantastic. It’s a great fight. It’s very exciting. And like you said, he comes to the gym and every time he comes to training in Los Angeles, he comes and trains in our boxing burn in either location. We’ve got a great…
Ben: So you got one in Santa Monica, where’s the other one?
Ben: In Brentwood? Okay.
Tony: Yeah, in Brentwood and he comes to either gym and you know he's a great fella and I really hope that it does well, but I just can’t see it. He’s fighting one of the best of all time in boxing and he’s never had any boxing fights. So he’s got his workout, but it's exciting.
Ben: But he’s got such fast hands.
Tony: I mean, yes, but with Floyd Mayweather…
Tony: I mean like it's going to be exciting because he’s got fast hands and he could punch really hard as well.
Tony: Like Floyd Mayweather, he’s so smart. His defense is amazing. Are you a big boxing fan or MMA fan?
Ben: I like to watch it, but I mean I'm not a fan enough to be putting any money on the line. Let’s put it that way.
Tony: Right. I put quite a bit of money on the line on Mayweather to stop McGregor. Even more, like I said, I hope McGregor can win, but I just don’t see he’s got a chance.
Ben: You think he’s gonna get knocked out like the first round or…?
Tony: Not the first round. I think he’s gonna go a few rounds and then he’s gonna get stopped. I think Mayweather will hit him with body shots because in MMA there’s not very many body shots get thrown, but in boxing it’s all the time. So, I think Mayweather’s gonna hit him with some body shots.
Ben: Does it matter that Mayweather's old, retired?
Tony: I mean, yeah…
Ben: I mean he’s 40, but…
Tony: He’s 40, but then he looks like the guy like Bernard Hopkins who was a world champion when he was 48 and he’s always in shape. I think he's gonna beat Conor McGregor.
Ben: How old are you?
Tony: How old do you think?
Ben: I’m gonna say… fast you moved out there in the obstacle course, man. I don’t know. It’s tough for me to say that because then you’d kick my ass.
Ben: I think we're gonna spar tomorrow morning too, by the way, so you’ll have your opportunity. I would say, how old are you, man, like 40-ish?
Tony: (laughs) and that’s you being kind!
Ben: 41? 42? I don't know.
Tony: [Censored] Cheeky. Do you swear on this podcast?
Ben: Yeah, you can swear.
Tony: Cheeky bastard.
Ben: We’ll birdsong it out.
Tony: I was born in 1985.
Ben: You're born in 1985?
Ben: You look like one tough son of a bitch.
Tony: You were 10 years off. I’m 32.
Ben: You're 32? Seriously?
Ben: You’ve done a lot for being 32 years old.
Tony: I had 106 fights in my career and I walked it out. For each one of them fights, if I got punched in the face seven times and for each one of the fights I’d spar 10 times, 6 rounds and each one of the rounds of sparring I get hit in the face seven times. Anyway, I’ve done the maths and I’ve been punched in the head over 50,000 times.
Ben: Holy cow.
Tony: How about that? So no wonder I look 42 when I’m 32.
Ben: Well, I mean, you’re kinda like thick and tough-looking too. I mean you kinda have that like weathered, beat up kinda look.
Tony: Yeah. I guess that’s the way a boxer looks. And then as well with the working out. That’s the first workout I’ve done this year. I haven’t exercised this year…
Ben: You mean that obstacle course workout we just did?
Tony: Yeah. So, that kind of like kicked my ass so that’s why I was like the 42 year old.
Ben: Well, you get a little bit of workout like sparring with people at Box n' Burn.
Tony: But like I said that’s easy for me.
Ben: Well, that’s easy for you. I’ve noticed that too, dude. With the past couple of times I've been down there in LA and we sparred like I feel totally gassed and you’re just standing there with a smile on your face as I’m chasing you around the ring.
Tony: How old are you?
Ben: You’ve got to guess on that too.
Ben: 36? Yeah, I’m 36.
Tony: You are? Well, look at that.
Ben: Yeah, on the money. Actually, you know what? Take that back. I’m 35. The reason I agreed with you that I was 36 was I recently got this test done. It’s a blood test and it measures the length of your telomeres to figure out what your biological age is. Not your chronological age, but your biological age. And my Biological age is actually a year older than 35. So according to my cells, I’m 36 and I talked with The Cat, who I interviewed, and I can put a link to this in the show notes to that interview if you guys want to listen to it. The show notes for this show you can get at bengreenfieldfitness.com/boxing. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/boxing. But they test the telomeres on your white blood cells and a whole bunch of things can influence it like your diet, how hard you exercise, how easy you exercise, how much you exercise, air, light, water, electricity, and I think because I spent like 10 years racing Ironman Triathlon, kind of like you, kind of like getting hit in the face except I was inflaming my body. I’m actually older, right? Like I put more years on my body than it should have put on.
Tony: Yeah, I’m surprised with that with you because you do all of this biohacking.
Ben: Well, yeah. I mean, just imagine. I have a lot of friends who are just like completely hormonally depleted and they feel like crap and they’re getting joints replaced and they’ve completely screwed their bodies. So I’m in okay territory, but my goal now, and I’ve got a bunch of stuff I’m doing behind the scenes to help out. Like I’m doing stem cells now and I am researching all these different kinds of capsules and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide injections. All these things you can do to reverse aging. My goal now is by the time I'm 40, I want to be 25. That's what I’m shooting for.
Tony: That’s a big jump.
Ben: Yeah. Well, biologically 25. So I want to do the Benjamin Button thing, but for you getting hit that many times, dude. Have you ever been knocked out like TBIs, concussions?
Tony: I’ve had concussions. I’ve had about five concussions and it’s not nice. I had my first concussion as a 16 year old by getting punched in the head. It was a European final. I actually won the fight against the guy who knocked everyone out and he hit me in the second round and my legs went like jelly and my brain got rolled around my head, and I stopped the guy in the third round and I didn't realize when I got out the ring that I was a European champion and I went back to my teammates and I said, “what happened in the fight?” and they were all making fun of me, “Aww, you got beat.” I said, “Honestly, I couldn't remember a thing.” After the fight I got in the podium, you got European champion on the gold medal, got the gold medal on the top of the podium, the national anthem. After the fight I can’t remember a thing and that was the first I concussed and it's a scary feeling and then it came when I was 18. I was fighting the Swedish [14:41 ______, got punched and legs like jelly. I stumbled on my feet. But that concussion. It's a very scary…
Ben: Do you ever see footage and see if you keep fighting after you get concussed because that’s what a lot of guys say. They’ll like be fighting and didn’t know they were fighting.
Tony: Well, that comes down with the condition that you’re in. You’re conditioned and you’re fighting on pure instinct. I’ve won a fight twice while I’m being concussed in the fight. I went through and I can’t remember a thing after. I looked on my phone and realized that I’ve got a wife. I couldn't even remember my wife’s name. It’s that bad. It's scary and then you have to fight the next day as well. And these tournaments when you’re fighting for your country. I fought for my country.
Ben: That's so bad for you because one of the top recommendations that they give to you when you’ve had a TBI is to avoid getting hit again or getting your head jarred for weeks or months after.
Tony: Yeah. I mean it's common sense really. I’ve got a fight the next day and I mean I won again the next day but you know it’s not good for you and it's really scary. I mean, this is something that I wanted to talk to you about a little bit because I’ve been worried about my brain health about deterioration in my brain and my memory losing focus. Even with speech, I might sound alright now or I might sound a bit funny now because of the accent, but there’s a little bit of slurring here and there and maybe that's through the concussions or…
Ben: Yeah. I have a book you need to read. I’ll give it to you. You take it home. It's a brand new book and it's by this super smart guy. Now, I met him in the world of psychedelics. He's big in like microdosing LSD and mushrooms, and my brother and I are flying down to Costa Rica at the end of this year to do Iboga, which is plant-based medicine. It’s like ayahuasca on steroids in terms of just reinventing your entire outlook on life. Incredibly uncomfortable medicine in terms of just like taking into the deep end of hallucinating and vomiting and all sorts of nasty stuff, but what this guy specializes in is not really psychedelic, it’s neurology. He’s a physician who specializes in neurology and he just wrote this book that's the most comprehensive book on traumatic brain injuries and concussions I’ve ever read in my life. Like I mentioned…
Tony: What’s it called?
Ben: It’s called ‘“Concussion Repair Manual”. You can't get it yet because it didn't come out but I've got it in my office. Remind me after we record I'll give it to you because what he goes into is everything from hyperbaric oxygen therapy to float tanks to the correct diet and the correct dietary supplements; things like intranasal glutathione because normal glutathione, which is a really good anti-inflammatory, doesn't make it into neural tissue. You have to inhale it through your nose.
Tony: But isn’t that too late for that now? Is that not…
Ben: No. A lot of this stuff, because it's kinda like Alzheimers or dementia. You get neurofibrillary tangles, you get inflammation, you get degradation of the mitochondria in neural cells, but you can rebuild a lot of that. And so this is what his book delves into. You should give it a read. I’ll give it to you and for those of you listening in, if you want to get this, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/boxing and I'll put it in there, but that's probably the most complete manual I’ve ever read on how to heal concussions and TBIs and he also goes into, for example, neurofeedback and some of these cheap apps you can put in your iPhone but also clinics that you can go to down by you in LA. There is, for example, this guy who does a really good job at rewiring your brain.
Tony: That’s Doctor Hill.
Ben: That’s Doctor Andrew Hill.
Tony: Yeah, I went there last week actually.
Ben: Yeah, the Peak Brain Institute.
Ben: Yeah. So the Peak Brain Institute. I even took my kids there last week and he asked me. So I have this son who’s super creative, Terran, but he's also like me when I was growing up. He's a space cadet like I was filming him as he was walking through Boise with us last weekend. We took the whole family down to Boise to do the Spartan race down there and he's just like me. He’s walking along the street with a book in his hand, his nose buried in a book and you can talk to him. He just looks up and after about five minutes, “What? What? Were you talking to me?” He doesn’t know what’s going on half the time because he’s just like all over the place like creatively and Doctor Hill scanned his brain, he scanned his brother’s brain, they’re identical twins and he says about Terran, the twin who’s like the more creative twin, he says, “So, he has a history of concussions or TBIs? What's going on with him?” and I said, “No. Never.” He’s just like that creative that his brain waves are so far off into the rim of creativity that it looks like he's had a concussion. So there other things that can cause the same symptoms of concussion, but that Peak Brains Institute, for those of you listening in, again, like really cool place to go. I don’t know what you thought about it, Tony.
Tony: Yeah, it was great.
Ben: Did you fly the spaceship with your mind?
Tony: I drove the car and knocked zombies over with my brain.
Ben: Nice. That’s a fun one.
Tony: yeah, that was good.
Ben: Yeah, you can drive like a Hummer and run into zombies with your beta brain waves.
Tony: I went to a place called the Cleveland Clinic in Vegas. Have you heard of that place?
Ben: Yep. Yeah.
Tony: It’s tests done on fighters, former fighters for their brain and we did all sorts of tests like balance tests, speech tests, and memory tests. I was 31 at the time and for 31 year old my results came back normal which I was very happy with, but he said that I've got a split in my membrane that what attaches your brain to your skull, that’s the membrane. He said I’ve got a very large split in the membrane and he said like 50% of boxers have this split in their membrane of when your brain gets rattled that hard around your skull that it splits. But he said there’s no evidence that that can affect your in life. I don’t know anything about that.
Ben: Interesting. No, I don’t know about the split. That's more of like an anatomical issue. I don't know about that. That’s not something my person might run into. We should though with this guy Dr. Dan Engle, who wrote that “Concussion Repair Manual” I was talking about. He would know a lot about it. Now, I wanted to also ask you, there's so many questions after me having experienced like the burn at Box n' Burn. The training requirements for boxing, like what is a typical kind of like training day look like when you’re training for boxing? Is it a mix of road work and high intensity interval training? Is it a lot of weight training? And I’m especially talking about, obviously, there’s like the old school rocky movies where he’s just like pumping iron and running in his hoodie through up the stairs in Chicago, but what's kind of like new school boxing training look like?
Tony: Right. Well, when I was training for the Olympics in 2007/2008, we trained four times a day for four days a week and in the Olympics we were doing four rounds of two minutes. That's all it was. So we were training short….
Ben: Four times a day?
Tony: Yeah. Four times a day we do like [21:44] ______ running in the morning. There might be a full two minutes sustained running around the track obviously with a warm up and cool down. Then we do a small strength session at 10 o’clock and then 11:30, we would do a sparring session, a boxing session, a pod session kind of like what we do in Box n' Burn. Boxing is a lot of, you’ve got to control your weight. We do a long sustained run like 6/7 o’clock and then with diet in between. So, like I think that, and this was back in 2007, I know like the times have changed now with fitness and how to lose weight, but we used to do the long steady runs for weight lost and that was a typical day for, also when we trained for the Olympics. Then fast forward to 2009 when I turned professional, I went like two sessions a day for five days a week and then…
Ben: So fewer sessions when you turned pro?
Tony: Yep, but the sessions were longer because as a pro I was doing… my last fight was eight three-minute rounds so the sessions went on a bit longer.
Ben: Eight three-minute rounds?
Ben: How long are you recovering between eight three-minute rounds?
Tony: One minute.
Ben: So it’s three minutes on, one minute off?
Tony: Yeah. It’s more like 50 seconds by the time you get to your corner.
Ben: Three minutes is hard. I mean, again, for anybody listening in who’s sparred or box, I’m gassed. After about two minutes and that last minute you feel like you're fighting for your life, then you get barely any recovery and you just jump into it again and again and again and again.
Tony: Yeah. Well, when you’re sitting down in the corner, that’s like the fastest 50 seconds of your life. In and out. So when I was training for pro, it’ll be two sessions a day. It will be running and boxing. Basically, we run everyday.
Ben: Like steady state run or you do track intervals?
Tony: It would vary between the steady state run and the track intervals and with the stairs and hill sprints and short sprints. Well, the course of the fight, we got like a week full of fight, you start doing short sprints to keep you sharp and short rounds like one-minute rounds just feeling good. And the week of the fight you’re not gonna get any fitter, so you just want to get sharp and feel good and ready for the fight. So yeah, I mean it was very intense. It was very intense a lot on the body and then I mean one of the biggest things was recovery. Rest and recovery because you need to be a hundred percent or as close to a hundred percent you can be for your next session because you want to get the most out of your session.
Ben: Right. You mean like the session later on in the day?
Tony: Yeah, exactly. A lot of boxers run early in the morning like [24:18] ______ do that. I like to do my boxing in the morning and get the best out of my boxing session and then do the run in the afternoon. So I will be doing my boxing session at like 10 in the morning and then do my run at three in the afternoon.
Ben: Yeah. And that's when nutrition becomes important. A lot of people ask me about this. I think that pre workout and post workout nutrition is overrated. Meaning that when you see somebody like waltzing out of a health club with a freakin’ like 24 ounce Jamba Juice in their hands, they don't need that right or when you see somebody like dropping the bar and just boogy in straight to the locker room to suck down their maltodextrin and whey protein shake. You don't need that because your body, when you're eating ad libitum, just like according to appetite, within about eight hours you naturally replenish all your glycogen stores and you're good to go for the next day, but if you're in a situation where you're a two-day athletes and you're gonna be exercising again in less than eight hours after you’ve already worked out, that's where post workout nutrition comes in key where you actually want, it doesn't have to be like a carb fest. Your body can actually restore glycogen levels or glucose from things like protein and wild caught fish and vegetable shakes with coconut oil and seeds and nuts. The backbone of fats can be broken down into glycerol and that can get converted into glycogen for you to actually be able to replenish those stores. So it doesn't have to be like rice krispies and sweet potatoes and oatmeal, but at the same time that's huge. I think a lot of people, they’ll hear me say, “Oh well, pre and post workout nutrition is overrated.” but there's an exception to that rule that’s when you do a two-day like you’re describing that's where that post workout or pre workout nutrition comes in hand.
Tony: Where were you when I was boxing? I needed you in my corner, didn’t I?
Ben: Yeah, well you don't want to rely on me for the hitting advice, but yeah, I mean that’s what I have my degree in is nutrition. That's one of the things I see people especially when it comes to maintaining weight or losing weight. So many people just like they take this trickle down advice from bodybuilders trying to put on pounds and pounds of muscle or you know like college athletes and football players trying to maintain 350 pounds and it doesn’t work.
Tony: Well, one thing about boxing, like you said, you’ve got your degree in nutrition, right? One thing about boxing is boxing, 99% of boxers are uneducated. So we don't know what foods to eat and more Spartan trainers were boxers so they’re uneducated as well. I remember when I was 15, 16 years old, this will blow your mind, and I’m fighting in the national championship final or even in the tournament, after my win, the day of the fight, the trainers would say, “You’re gonna eat anywhere you want. So let’s go to McDonald’s.” and we’d be having McDonald’s the day of the fight because where I’m from, the north of England, like…
Ben: You mean the McDonald’s kale and apple salad? That one?
Tony: Yeah, right. No, we were getting double cheeseburgers and stuffing our face with fries and milkshakes. This is like three hours before a fight.
Ben: Me too, dude. That’s how I roll. I played college tennis and I didn’t know jack squat about nutrition. So I’d stop in for like big macs, supersize fries. You get like halfway through your match and you’d be sluggish running on vegetable oils and beef, but yeah, you don't know any better. It was crazy because for me like the coaches didn’t know any better either.
Tony: Right. That’s what I mean because they’re uneducated as well. So it was hard but everyone was on the same boat, I think, with boxing.
Ben: Well, now if you look at professional sports, like basketball is a perfect example right, if you look at the national champions this year, the Golden State Warriors, they decided to go way above and beyond just like eating healthy and working out in a relatively advanced way, which a lot of NBA teams are doing, and they're using freakin’ like float tanks and they're using, like Steph Curry's using strobe goggles and a transdirect cranial stimulation on his head. They're using neurofeedback, they're doing all these things. Kind of like you and I are saying, well, a decade ago we wish we had a team nutritionist telling us how to eat properly. I think a decade from now professional basketball players are gonna be saying, “Hey, we didn’t know about these like 20 different legal devices we could be using to enhance our reaction time and our speed and get to the point where folks like the Golden State Warriors are just like light years ahead of the other teams.”
Tony: Times have definitely changing with that sort of stuff and even with recovery now. Well, I always did used to get an ice bath as well like in training camps. I think that was my…
Ben: We’ll give you an ice bath tonight.
Tony: Yeah, I love that. That’s great.
Ben: We did the Greenfield cold plunge out on the cold pool back in the forest.
Tony: And I was just saying to [29:03] ______ about like this sort of stuff that we do will be great for boxing, for training because what we’re doing under them….
Ben: Up and down the hills?
Tony: Yeah, and under the porch, we’re climbing over there.
Ben: Yup. That’s why I like obstacle course training because what I tell people is there's three things you got be able to do. You got to be able to run efficiently, you got to have grip strength like a gorilla, and you need to be able to lift something or move something or crawl under something and then get up and keep running without stopping to catch a breath, without walking it off.
Tony: Being in this lovely house here and doing this sort of training, I don't know if you're not normal or if everyone else is not normal and you are normal because this sort of lifestyle that you are living seems like this is what everybody should be doing, but everyone is not doing this.
Ben: Well, it’s kind of an odd situation. I mean, not everybody can have like 10 acres out on the forest like we're on right now, but I mean everybody can go out barefoot in their backyard, everybody can take a cold shower, everybody could just toss a few things in their home like, for example, the bedroom you’re sleeping in and the downstairs that you guys are in, it's all lit with red lights and there's not a lot of blue light wave spectrums. The bulbs are special bulbs that allow your biology to function better in terms of circadian rhythm. Your entire room has, it's an organic mattress. There's a HEPA air filter that's churning out negative ions, the water is, you’re not only gonna use the household power with solar energy, but the water is from a well and that goes through a structured water filter and then gets remineralized. There’s all these little things that frankly people can do. It’s just like a lot of people don't know, it’s the knowledge component and a lot of the podcasts listeners to this show, they know this stuff, but yeah stuff people should know.
Tony: Why do you need to have all that stuff?
Ben: Your body feels great. I mean my body just feels good.
Tony: Do you know the difference to it?
Ben: Yeah, dude, when I travel and I'm staying at… I mean a lot of hotels now, they’re adding like, Marriott now has like their stay well room and their stay well rooms it’s like filtered structured water and a chlorine filter on the shower head and it's low volatile organic compound flooring, and the carpets are mold-free, and the bedding is organic, and you feel a lot better. And the lighting like low LED lighting and they’ve moved the WiFi router out of the room. You feel a lot better when you're in that environment, but a lot of people don't know that their brain fog or their frequent immune system issues or their sniffles or any of these things come from their environment. The invisible variables: the air, the light, the water, the electricity.
Tony: So do you think, like I said, boxing trainers are uneducated in nutrition, do you think most people are uneducated in all of this stuff that you do here?
Ben: People are getting better and better. There's this whole like, it’s kind of silly because it’s not really biohacking as much as just like healthy living, but there’s like the biohacking movement and there's, everything we eat tonight after we record, we’ll have dinner and just about everything you eat, I've either killed myself for I know where it came from in terms of the meat, all the food is grown in this garden back behind you and you know people can do things like vertical gardening in their backyard and a patio in freakin’ New York City and they can find CSAs or shares with farms where you can get your own meat and know where the meat came from, but yeah, I mean a lot of people can do this stuff but it's just about knowledge. And what'll happen is all people not doing it are just gonna die early. The rest of us are gonna live a long time and eventually take over the world.
Tony: How long do you think you’re gonna live for?
Ben: I’ve no clue, dude. I’ll probably get hit by a bus when I’m 60 honestly. That’s what’ll happen.
Tony: Drowning in a swimming pool.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. Drowning in a swimming pool. That’s right. That’s what I was telling you earlier. My wife will find me when I’m 80 like floating out there after doing underwater cold hypoxia and it’ll be a good way to go. So in terms of like what you were doing as a pro, like these eight rounds, a three on, one off, two days, I know you were lifting, you were doing road work, you were running, you were eating a crap ton of food, Box n' Burn, like these facilities that you have, did you design those to like mimic the physiological requirements of pro boxing, like I go in there and you got me warming up, you got me doing agility ladder, doing like some shadow boxing, getting up in the ring, sparring with you, last time I was there we finished with a game where you were like throwing a ball at me and you’d throw it at my head, and you'd say catch and I wasn't supposed to head it. I was supposed to catch it and then you’d throw it at my arms and you’d say, “head” and I wasn’t supposed to catch it. So you’re like playing all these little like mind games and mental tricks with me as well. How is it that you put together what you put together at Box n' Burn? Like what were you trying to accomplish and what does a typical workout look like?
Tony: Well, I wanted to take the best parts of boxing gyms. I’ve been in boxing gyms all my life and with this with my business partner, Kevin Watson, who was a former strength and conditioning coach for [33:57] ______ basketball team who stood as well. He’s back around in as well. So know we cross the boxing fitness training with cross training and it goes together really well. In a typical Box n' Burn class we do the mixture of, like what I said, when I was training for the Olympics, I did four sessions a day, we would be mixing two or three of the sessions in one session in the Box n' Burn workout and like the game we played with the head catch with you and the boys, that was just good fun game and it's good for your mind and we try to make it fun. The number one thing about coming into a boxing gym is getting the great workout, but as well having fun and enjoying it and learning.
Ben: How long does the typical session last?
Tony: One, we do one hour-session in there and I mean we got to name number one gym in California by Men’s Fitness Magazine in 2016.
Tony: Yeah. It’s massive, but the gyms have absolutely blow up. We went from having a boot camp on Santa Monica blocks for donations only, fast forward four and a half years, now we’ve got two seven-figure businesses, two seven-figure gyms with an amazing education program as well.
Ben: What do you mean an education program?
Tony: So we’ve got the Box n' Burn Academy where we teach trainers, personal trainers, how to teach boxing. That’s…
Ben: That’s pretty sick. You need to get a personal trainer for Spokane because I’ve been looking for a place where I can just box. I had a sparring coach for a while. My kids do jiu-jitsu every Monday night like down the street from here and I would go in and this guy would kind of like you know, box a little with me and do some kicking but he's cool but I like what I do with Box n' Burn. Like I would love to be able to go in and do the agility ladder and the speed work and the footwork and then spar. So you got to train somebody in Spokane.
Tony: Yeah, we’ve got over, I think, 1200 certified personal trainers that we've certified around America already, so I'm sure I'll be able to put out there.
Ben: Yeah. Hey, if anybody’s from Spokane who’s listening in and you coach boxing like go get certified with Tony's Box n' Burn and come back up here. You have one customer at least with me and my boys.
Tony: Yeah, let’s do it.
Ben: So you’ve got your education program. People are coming in and doing these workouts. How often, how many times a week do you do workout like this?
Tony: We do the Box n' Burn classes, which in the gym we've got like 50, 60 classes a week between both locations.
Ben: But like if somebody is doing this as a workout, are they coming in everyday or are they just like visiting once a week?
Tony: Right. We recommend three times a week or plus because we get a lot of people in LA, as you probably know, that do only workouts as well.
Ben: Because it’s more cardio than resistance training, right?
Tony: Yeah, it’s a lot of cardio, but there’s easy resistance training as well.
Ben: Like what kind of resistance training do you guys do?
Tony: Well, we do all sorts of different stuff like it's a mixture of everything. We've got like 30 trainers that are coming out and they all bring their specialty whatever it may be like Glenn brings his speed and agility and all that.
Ben: Glenn sitting back here behind us?
Ben: Yeah, we’ve got somebody watching us, doing a little video. Where’s this video gonna be published, by the way?
Tony: In the Box n' Burn YouTube.
Ben: On the Box n' Burn YouTube website? We’ll link to it. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/boxing. We’ll show you a photo of our outdoors podcasting studio that we have set up here. So Glenn helps to coach your resistance training as well?
Tony: Yeah. Glenn is a stood up lad. Glenn trains like all the high profile people that come to the gym or like celebrities all that. Actors, athletes who come, Glenn trains them, all of them. So we’ve got a great mixture of training in stack in the facility and the results people are getting is fantastic and then on the education side as well. Like I said we are teaching these personal trainers and/or fitness enthusiasts how to box and how to teach boxing as a form of workout and the results that they’re getting as well is amazing that’s helped trainers earn more money, like you said, you want a boxing trainer.
Tony: It’s a fantastic workout.
Ben: I mean anything that to me feels like a mix of playing and working out, like what we did in the obstacle course…
Tony: Exactly, yeah.
Ben: I freakin’ love it. Like I’m kind of threw with doing workouts where I’ve got a frown on my face the whole time. Granted you’ve seen me at your gym like I’m not smiling like Pinocchio all the time, but at the same time like it goes by fast and I like it and there's the mental part too because you're moving all over the place but then you’ve got the 1-2-3-4-5-6, 1-2-hook-3-4. So tell me about, in addition t0 just the sparring, if anybody out there in the boxing world is doing mental training? Like is Conor doing things like Dinah vision boards or strobe goggles or you know when you were doing pro boxing, did you guys use phone apps or reaction speed tools, things like that?
Tony: Not really like we would all still use the speed ball.
Ben: Speed bag?
Tony: Yeah, the speed bag. (rrrrrr sound) We use that a lot.
Ben: I’ve got one in my office but I have no clue how to use it. It’s just like hanging there.
Tony: I have to show you. But what we’ve done a lot of was visualization. Visualization before your fight. I think a lot of athletes do that now where you’ll be visualizing getting your hands wrapped, walking into the ring, the full, everything. Getting in the fight and then fighting and then winning the fight and then when it comes to that actual fight you’ve already been there and done that mentally. So I think that was one massive thing that helped me and helped a lot of boxers in the Great Britain as well as the psychology. We had a sports psychologist work with us on the Great Britain team which he used to study all the countries and study how they acted when they got into the ring because they add that as well. So little things like walking around the venue with your head held high when your opponent’s seeing you like you look confident. Things like that.
Ben: Like power posing. That’s interesting because they've actually shown that power posing can do things like increase your testosterone as well.
Tony: Oh really?
Tony: I never knew that.
Ben: Yeah, like when you stand tall or you fold your arms or anything like that. I've got a friend who I interviewed on this show, Jordan Harbinger from the Art of Charm, and one thing that he teaches especially like men to feel more confident when they walk into a room is they are like doing power posing like at the door before they even walk in. Not only do they get the hormonal boost but just to be able to show that when you walk into a room.
Tony: Yeah, when you walk into the room you want to look confident. And then as well like things like before the bell went when you’re in each corner, go to the center of the ring. Now your opponent thinks that, “Wow. He’s coming to the center of the ring. He’s up for this fight.” Little things like that’s what our sport psychologist used to tell us to do really went a long way and helped us as a team and helped me as a boxer.
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Ben: Did you ever read the book about this guy who didn't get into professional boxing, but he got into the ring to fight in MMA and he was a professor. He wore this book called ‘“Professor In The Cage” and he just decided…
Tony: Sounds like a terrible idea.
Ben: Yeah, he had like an MMA gym across the street from his office at the university, and I’ll hunt down the book and put a link in the show notes for it, but the dude decided he wanted to fight, and he actually trained to fight and wound up like fighting in the ring. Just as something to experience in life and it’s actually a pretty cool story, and it kind of leads up to the next question I wanted to ask you is like, If somebody who is listening and they’re like, “Well, I want to try. I don’t want to just like go to Box n' Burn and try out all these different boxing workouts that Tony's talking about. I want to fight.” What would you say to somebody like a man or woman who actually wants to get in a ring and fight? What would you do if you were just like total amateur, you've never boxed before and you actually wanted to get out there and do an actual fight?
Tony: Well, there’s a lot of people that want to come in the gym and just, “I want to fight. I want to take it to the next level. I’ve been training for awhile.” Then they do the sort of training that we do, then you put a mouthpiece in them, and you put a head guard on them, and then you get punched in the face in a sparring session, and then the idea doesn’t seem as good. When you’re still not getting punched in the face, boxing sounds fun like you’re looking good on the mitts, making loads of noise when you’re punching…
Ben: It sucks, dude. It sucks when you hit me in the stomach.
Tony: Yeah, even when we’re doing the shoulder or body, but now imagine I’m hitting you in the face as well. So I’m hitting you in the face and your hands go up…
Ben: Does that headgear actually work, by the way?
Tony: It helps.
Ben: A lot of people say it doesn't protect you all and that it makes people hit each other harder in the head.
Tony: No, there’s so many benefits to having head guards on. If I'm hitting you in the head and you’ve got a head guard on it's not just protecting your head, it’s protecting in my hands, right?
Ben: Yeah, that makes sense.
Tony: While their hitting on the hard skull as well if we both wear head guards and our heads clash like this (thumping sound) we’re both gonna get cuts. So, I’m all for head guards. There’s been big studies saying that it’ll do more damage than good, but I’m a big believer in head guards are really good for boxing. And now they’ve took it out of the amateur sport as well. So in the Olympics now, when I boxed in the Olympics in 2008 we wore head guards. Now they don’t wear head guards which I think is a big mistake and it’s going to hurt boxing in the long term because when do you ever watch amateur boxing?
Tony: It’s only in the Olympics or if you ever did it’ll be in the Olympics.
Ben: Whenever I watch men’s gymnastics, every four years.
Tony: Right. So now if a parent thinks about putting their kid into boxing and a seat on the Olympics and they’ve got head guards on it looks safe, but now they’re not wearing head guards and they’re cut all the time. Boys getting cut, d’you know what I mean? So now you’re seeing fighters, young boys, getting cut in the eyes and the face. You’re not gonna put your son in a sport like that, but with head guards on you might. So I think long term, taking the head guards out of boxing is gonna damage the sport.
Ben: So when somebody doesn’t want to fight, come back to what we’re talking about…
Tony: All right, yeah.
Ben: Let's say they get beat up and I still want to do it.
Tony: Yeah I mean they can do it, not at the gym, but with a more fitness gym that’s got the spar, but when someone gets beats up…
Ben: But is it like MMA where you can hunt down places where they’ll actually, they’ll have like amateur fights so you can just like step into the ring after you’ve been trained or get boxed?
Tony: Yeah. There’s loads of places where you can fight amateur. I wouldn’t recommend it, but there’s loads of places where you can go in and fight amateur.
Ben: Why wouldn’t you recommend it?
Tony: Because I don’t believe in getting punched in the face. I think it's stupid and even though I’ve gotten punched in the face for a living and now I’m very successful through getting punched in the face, well, you can see that, but I just don't think it's healthy. I would never let my kids box.
Ben: So Box n' Burn people aren’t getting punched in the face?
Tony: No. It’s all for fitness so…
Ben: So you’re basically hitting somebody else wearing gloves or you’re hitting a heavy bag.
Tony: Yeah. We call it…
Ben: You never just like put on headgear and get into the ring?
Tony: No. “Fighting fit without getting hit.”
Ben: “Get fighting fit without getting hit”?
Tony: Yeah, like that. But I do sparring class on a Sunday…
Ben: So you’re still getting all the mental and the physiological benefits. You’re just not fighting or getting hit?
Tony: Yeah. We offer a sparring class on a Sunday where people come in and try it, but it's all light and controlled. It's so easy to get concussed especially when you don't know what you’re doing.
Ben: Do you have any of your students or any of the Box n' Burn attendees actually get into a fight? Ever heard of that happening? And actually use some of the skills they are learning there?
Tony: Not really. I’ve been in a lot of fights…
Ben: Yeah, obviously.
Tony: Back in north of England like street fights and boxing’s really helped me defend myself but not in the gym. Two trainers have nearly fight a couple of times, but that’s about it.
Ben: Yeah. Did you grow up rough? In terms of boxing, was this something that you had to do out of necessity growing up fighting in England or was this something you took on as kind of like preppy sport to get into?
Tony: No, like I said, all boxers are just uneducated like me. I think I’m one of the only uneducated people you’ve had on this podcast because I noticed everyone who comes in here are doctors or scientist.
Ben: I thought you were a doctor, dude. That’s the only reason I had you on.
Tony: No, I’m not. I might look like one.
Ben: Alright, you’re fired.
Tony: (laughs) But yeah, I mean everyone like most boxers are uneducated and they come from a background. That’s why you see so many boxers when they do make a little bit of money, they’ll waste it all. I’m a little bit different. I’m a little bit smarter. When I made some money through boxing I invested it like I own lots of properties in England through boxing and then obviously with these gyms. So yeah, I mean, back to what we were talking about before, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go and start trying to fight especially if you’re a grown man.
Ben: But you were undefeated as a boxer.
Tony: Yeah, I was undefeated as a professional boxer.
Ben: How were you not like the best if you're undefeated?
Tony: Because I got forced to retire. So I was defeated as an amateur boxer. I got beaten in the semi-finals of the Olympics.
Ben: Okay. As an amateur?
Tony: Yeah, I would’ve been gold medalist and I got the bronze medal in the Beijing Olympics and as a pro I was undefeated in temporal fights, but I got forced to retire through hand injuries.
Ben: What happened to your hand?
Tony: I had whole in one of them and a tear in this tendon…
Ben: Is it that scar on that finger you’re showing me right now? Like how, dude?
Tony: I got surgery in both hands. So I got forced to retire and at that time I was devastated. I had no plan B. I never finished school. All I knew was boxing, bit of a business mind. So I was devastated but now looking back, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Like I said, I’ve been punched in the face over 50,000 times. If I never retired from boxing that would’ve been probably overblown.
Ben: You would be in a wheelchair. You wouldn’t have two seven-figure businesses in LA and real estate back in England.
Tony: I wouldn’t be sitting here right now with you.
Ben: Honestly, like I write fiction now. I play music. I'm doing some singing, song writing like when I wake up in the morning, I try and do a few things that take into account the fact that I could get hit by a bus. I could be out of fitness. I could be out of health or like I could get thrown out of this industry at any point and not be able to rely upon my body or upon racing, and so I think it's a good idea to have stuff in your back pocket that you can rely on or be able to do like you’ve done and be able to run a business based on your passion rather than just looking on yourself as like basically being like the face and the name of you and have like an actual business.
Tony: Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, the businesses are great and now I'm enjoying life way more now than I was when I was getting punched in the face.
Ben: And you also have a podcast now. Is it called the Box n' Burn Podcast?
Tony: Box N’ Life Podcast which is going well. It’s more of a hobby than anything else and I love doing it now and we talk about boxing and life.
Ben: Nice. Who's the most entertaining guest you’ve had on that show?
Tony: Bryan Callen. You know Bryan Callen?
Ben: Bryan Callen? I don’t know that name.
Tony: He’s on the Fighter and The Kid Podcast, he’s like an actor and comedian. It’s a huge podcast.
Ben: Okay. Yeah, I’ve heard of this dude before.
Tony: He’s good friends with Aubrey Marcus and he’s crazy about Gary Vaynerchuk on there.
Ben: Gary Vaynerchuk, yeah. That guy’s pretty intense.
Tony: Yeah, he is. A lot of boxers. I mean it’s going good. It’s something I love to do.
Ben: Yeah. Cool. Well, I’ll link to that in the show notes as well for those of you who want to listen in to Tony’s Box N’ Life podcast.
Tony: And we’re gonna have you on there.
Ben: Yeah. As a matter of fact, Tony’s up here in Spokane, Washington and I think, I believe after we record here we’ll probably take a pee break and we’ll record another episode, and you’ll hear me on Tony’s podcast. But in the meantime, I’m gonna take some show notes for you guys. I’m gonna hook you up with this “Concussion Repair Manual” that Tony and I talked about and also that Teloyears Podcast that I did. We'll talk about Tony's Box n' Burn gyms and put a link to those in the show notes. That Peak Brain Institute down in LA and also the “Professor In The Cage book” that I mentioned in any of the other resources that I can hunt down for you guys. Meantime, Tony, anything else you want to touch on or share with folks?
Tony: No, just a little bit more about the Box n' Burn Academy like the education program. If you’re a personal trainer, with our academy you get to see a use for it. Well, you were a personal trainer, right?
Ben: Yeah. Still am. I maintain my certification. I actually train eight people still online.
Tony: You do?
Ben: So we do Skype and phone and I track their sleep, I track their nervous system. Their heart rate variability, I write out their training plans each week so whether there's like a pro poker player, semi pro soccer player, a couple of triathletes and everybody else is like a CEO or a businessman or businesswoman, and then I also track their sleep. So I track sleep. HRV, training, and nutrition.
Tony: So you’re a legit personal trainer.
Ben: Yeah, I still do personal training, I just take it all online. I don’t do [52:17] ______ order anymore.
Tony: That’s awesome. So yeah, with our education program, you get to CEUs for it. Certification cost like NASM, [52:24] ______ and a few more. So yeah, I mean it’s great and it really helps people increased their income. So that’s my little plug on that.
Ben: AFFA. We say A-F-F-A.
Tony: People don’t understand my ‘G’s either. They think I say ‘J’. It’s the accent, but this accent’s done a lot of good living in America.
Ben: Is it called like a cockney accent or is it…
Tony: No. Cockney south of [52:49] ______. For example, from Sunderland in the northeast.
Ben: Okay. Cool. Nice, man. Well, thanks for coming on this show and for everybody listening in bengreenfieldfitness.com/boxing and I’ll link to Tony and everything that he does and I definitely recommend if anybody gets down to LA, check out Tony's gym and do you have a directory on your website at Box n' Burn of trainers people could hook up with in their local communities who have been certified by you?
Tony: Yeah, that'll be on the boxnburnacademy.com.
Ben: Okay. boxnburnacademy.com. Alright. I better find somebody from Spokane. Thanks for coming in on the show, dude.
Tony: Thanks, mate.
Ben: Alright, folks. This is Ben Greenfield and Tony Jeffries signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
The last few times I've visited LA, I've had the privilege of getting my butt kicked in boxing and sparring with an English former professional boxer who won a bronze medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics, was a 7 time national champion boxer, and was undefeated in the sport all the way up to his 2012 retirement.
His name is Tony Jeffries, and in this episode, you get to tune in as Tony descends upon my home in Spokane, WA to podcast in my own backyard – just after our sparring session in my basement and workout on my home obstacle course.
Originally from Sunderland, England, Tony Jeffries moved to Los Angeles, California after being forced to retire from his career as professional boxer due to hand injuries.
It was in LA that Tony met business partner, Kevan Watson. The pair started teaching boxing classes on Santa Monica Beach for which demand grew so much that the two are now proud owners of two of Southern California’s most prestige boxing gyms, Box ‘N Burn.
Ranked number 1 gym in California by Men’s Fitness Magazine and named number 1 boxing class in LA by Time Out magazine, Box ‘N Burn provides clients – which for Tony, now includes the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Travis Barker, Tim Tebow and singer/songwriter Skyler Grey – with a highly effective, unique workout, teaching them real boxing technique through 1-on-1 mitt work. World-class athlete turned businessman, Tony, is also co-creator of the Box ‘N Burn Academy – the world’s number 1 boxing fitness and certification course for Personal Trainers and fitness enthusiasts.
Tony shares his motivation and passion for both business and boxing through his weekly Box ‘N Life podcast. Hosted with Head Trainer of Box ‘N Burn Santa Monica, Glenn Holmes, the two have featured notable names from the worlds of business, fighting, and the arts on the show, including Gary Vaynerchuck, Dan Pena, Chris Shifflet and Brendan Schaub to name a few!
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-What Tony thinks about the upcoming Connor Mcgregor vs. Floyd Mayweather fight…[8:10]
-How common TBI's are and if Tony has had to deal with concussions/concussion repair…[13:50]
-What the training regimen of a professional boxer looks like…[21:20]
-What the physiological requirements of boxing are…[33:00]
-How the box n' burn sessions work…[36:15]
-Tony's recommendations to anybody who wants to step into the ring and fight…[43:00]
-What got Tony into boxing in the first place…[47:10]
-How Tony came to be undefeated…[48:10]
Resources from this episode:
-Four Sigmatic – Go to FourSigmatic.com/Greenfield and use coupon code “BENGREENFIELD” for 15% off.
-HealthGains – Text the word “GAIN” to 313131 for $250 off any HealthGains treatment.
-Antrantil – For all of your Bloating, SIBO, IBS, Leaky Gut issues, go to LoveMyTummy.com/Ben. Use code “BEN” at the checkout to get 15% off your order.