Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been boxing for years, there’s always room for improvement (no, really there is always room). Even the “naturals” who seem to excel in the ring without much experience effortlessly, don’t succeed without some hard work.

If you want to be a better boxer and continue doing what you love for years, there are specific things to avoid while you train. One wrong move or one bad choice can destroy your chances of improving your technique or even having the opportunity to box again.

Let’s take a look at some things you should seriously consider avoiding, the next time you head to your training session.

Early Burnout During Your Warm Up

Every athlete knows that warming up before a workout is essential to a safer and more productive training session. Jump roping is an excellent way to get warmed up, but don’t make it your only warm-up exercise. Jump for about ten minutes and then don’t forget about other stretches and moves like shadowboxing.

If you spend too much time warming up, your energy might be zapped before you even get into the ring and then you’re more prone to injury; it’s all about finding the right balance.

Working Out Too Long

The ideal training session should last about an hour (after you warm up). While you might feel like you could keep going and want to push yourself, working out for too long won’t make you a better boxer.

Think of all those famous boxing montages. While it seems like they trained for hours on end, even Rocky took a break. If you work out longer than what’s ideal, you’ll simply be too tired and perform poorly the next time you train.

Skipping The Weights

You might think that you have all the workout gear you need while training at the boxing club. If you want some strength and power in your punch the best way to get it (aside from your technique) is to hit the weights.

You don’t want to bulk up like a bodybuilder, but you need to create and tone those muscles if you want power in your moves. Lifting weights is just one of the things you should consider to create a full-body, well-balanced workout.

Hurrying Through Your Stretches

If you take the time to sufficiently warm up for a safer workout then you should definitely take your stretching just as seriously. Failing to do stretches will not only put you at greater risk for an injury, but it can affect your performance.

Do you want to be quick, coordinated, and powerful? Stretch before you warm up and after your workout. Don’t know how to stretch or which ones to do? Talk with your trainer.

Poor Nutrition

As a boxer, your body is a machine (and a temple), so you should treat it as such and stick with a well-balanced diet. Consider healthy proteins like meat, eggs, tuna or salmon, and peanut butter. Have a sugar craving? Reach for an apple. Want to boost your well-balanced meal? Skip the supplement and take a multivitamin.

Need help with your nutrition? Talk to a certified nutritionist, not someone who will try to fill you up with powders and supplements.