How Amir Khan trains for a fight

Amir Khan shadow boxes during a workout at the Gloves Community Centre in Bolton, England.   -  Getty Images

When I know I have a fight coming up, I get into training mode. I fly to San Francisco, my training base. This is usually four or five months before the big day.

7:00 am: Wake up

7:30 am to 8:30 am: Warm up, stretch and run 10 kilometres. I have a fixed trail. It’s a sandy path so that I don’t put too much pressure on my knees. Sometimes, I go to a hill located nearby. It’s so steep that you can’t even walk comfortably but I run up all the way.

8:30 am: Breakfast time. I eat porridge, oatmeal, fruits and nuts. I avoid sausage, bacon and all that. I eat clean. Sometimes, I have oatmeal with either milk or just plain water. Look, life is tough when you are a boxer. Sometimes, I go without my mom’s curries for three months. It’s difficult but it has to be done. My chef makes me poached eggs. They are cooked in water. Sometimes I ask him to add some vinegar for taste (laughs).

9:00 am to 10:00 am: I go back to sleep. That’s how I recharge.

10:30 am to 12:30 pm: I lounge around, watch some TV, talk to my business team and so on.

12:30 pm to 4:30 pm: Then, it’s time for four hours of gym work. I start things off by skipping. Then, I do shadow boxing facing the mirror. This is the most important part of my training regime. I visualise my opponent. I imagine his stance and how he would keep his guard. If I am going to fight, say, Manny (Pacquiao), then I will visualise all of Manny’s movements. You put it in your mind and lock it there. When I do shadow boxing, I imagine the fastest Manny and the fittest Manny, so that when I meet him in the ring, I am prepared for anything he throws at me. After that, I do bag work (punching the bag), pad work (punching the pads held by the trainer), weight training and some more visualisation work.

(For the record, Khan believes Pacquiao was “never quite switched on” during his recent bout against Jeff Horn. “I don’t know what happened to him. I guess his old age was showing.”)

5:00 pm: It’s time for a shower followed by a late lunch. I eat pasta or rice with meat. The meat I eat is grilled. No fried food for me.

6:00 to 8:00 pm: Then, I lounge around and just chill.

8:00 pm to 10:00 pm: It’s time for power training and strength training. So, I go back to the gym. I start off my running on the treadmill. I push the sledge, I do chin-ups, dips, climb up and down the stairs. I also do some weights before getting a nice massage and hitting the bed.

In the off-season, I eat what I want. But the day I know I have my fight day finalised, I switch on and get into training mode. Actually, I hate training. But I do it only because I love to kill my body. I don’t enjoy training but I do it on purpose because I know my opponent is training hard. So, I want to train harder than him. I know I can’t let this guy beat me. Whatever he is doing I know I have to do better. I cannot let him have his way. But I love the feeling once I am done with my training. It’s the same in your profession. You know you have to do the best research and ask the best questions because there are other writers like you doing the same thing. But you know you want your interview to be the best. It’s the same concept.