Christina Cruz: Secrets From a Boxing Champ’s Workout

Although Christina Cruz, 29, only started boxing eight years ago, she’s already a five-time Golden Gloves boxing champion and a London 2012 Olympic Games Team Trials participant.

Tall, slim and bred in New York City, this flyweight uses her fancy footwork and speed to strike fear in her opponents -- a strategy she achieved through endless hours of drills inside and outside the ring. Here, Cruz shares her fitness strategy that we can all knock ourselves out to.

Build Strength
“Having solid arms and abs is important because they’re places where you get punched,” says Cruz. She runs 3 miles in the morning. Afternoon workouts vary between strength training (light weights on arms, calisthenics, and plyometrics) or boxing training (jump rope to warm up, punching bag combinations, and sparring).

Iron Legs
Cruz’s strict routine of squats and lunges means no fat on her so-called “chicken legs.” “Having strong legs is very important when you’re fighting,” she says. “It’s your base. But as you grow tired, standing on them can feel like the longest minutes of your life in the ring.”

Don’t Overdo It
“I do about 200 situps a day toward the end of the workout. I work out five days a week and take the weekends off to rest my body, which is important.”

Avoid Rabbit Food

Boxers struggle to put on or take off pounds to fit competition weight guidelines. “You don’t have to only eat lettuce,” insists Cruz. “I eat three meals a day and have a small snack every two hours. Only when I’m not training will I touch junk food.” Her favorite? New York City pizza, of course.

Photo: Getty Images

by Adriana López