Mike Tyson is arguably one of the most successful boxers of all time and an International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee. He retired in 2005 with an impressive record of 50-6-2.
Tyson has one of the most recognizable faces in the world. While most of us know him for his boxing, some recognize Mike and his pet tiger from the Hangover movies – amongst other things.
In a totally unrelated poll, Hitler was named the world’s most recognizable face. Moral of the story – It pays to be ‘the baddest man on the planet.’
Mike Tyson made a comeback for an exhibition match at the age of 54. Yup, 54. The age where most people are planning their retirement, tinkering with a new hobby like gardening, and spending time with their families. But the retirement life is not for Tyson.
Watch Highlights Of Mike’s Comeback Match: Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. Ends In Draw (Highlights)
When Mike’s contemporaries were checking their 401K balance, he was busy training for a comeback. He is not called Iron Mike for nothing. Not only did the 54-year-old Tyson go the distance with a younger Roy Jones Jr., but in a podcast after the match, he let his intentions of returning to the boxing ring be known to the world. You just cannot keep Kid Dynamite out of action.
Iron Mike had retired from boxing at the age of 39. The fact that he is still in shape and trying to get better is admirable. It also calls for revisiting the K.O. master’s workout and diet program.
The Mike Tyson Story
Mike Tyson was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. On the contrary, he was a member of various street gangs at an early age and was sent to reform school in upstate New York. After recognizing his boxing potential, renowned trainer Cus D’Amato took Mike under his wings and became his legal guardian.
|Full Name: Mike Tyson|
|218lbs (99kg)||5’10” (187cm)||57 years|
|Date of Birth||Birthplace||Nationality|
|June 30, 1966||Brooklyn, New York||American|
Mike Tyson’s Diet Program
If rumors are to be believed, Tyson consumed anywhere between 3,000-4,000 calories every day during his hay days. Mike Tyson was 5’10” tall and weighed 218 pounds in his fighting days.
His workouts (involving cardio, calisthenics, stretches, and boxing exercises) were so intense that he would turn that energy into muscle.
Cus’ training techniques and Tyson’s hard work did wonders. In 1986, at the age of 20, Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history.
D’Amato was ahead of his time. He understood the importance of eating healthy and made Tyson follow a macro-dense diet.
Mike Tyson stuck to lean meats, veggies, fruits, and other whole foods in his diet. Iron Mike was allowed one cheat meal a week, and not even the strict D’Amato could stop him from gulping down his favorite cheat meals – ice cream and Cap’n Crunch.
Unlike most celebrities these days, Mike Tyson did not shy away from eating carbs first thing in the morning. He preferred eating low-GI carbohydrates as a source of energy.
- Oatmeal – complex carbs.
- Milk – calcium and vitamin D.
- Vitamin Supplements – We might sound like Hulk Hogan saying this, but – say your prayers, eat your vitamins, and you will never go wrong.
Although the exact amount of food he ate is never mentioned, it is safe to assume it was plentiful.
- Chicken Breast – A staple in an athlete’s diet and great for building muscle. It is rich in protein and low in fat and carbs.
- Rice – Mike Tyson prefers brown rice over white as they are packed full of whole grains.
- Orange Juice – Vitamin C and natural sugars.
Mike did not eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day like a typical bodybuilder. Instead, like most other mortals, he ate three hearty meals a day.
- Steak – Iron, Vitamin B-6, and healthy fats. Red meat is a staple of the Mike Tyson diet as it has no carbohydrate content.
- Pasta – It is a slow-digesting high-quality source of carbohydrates.
- Orange Juice – When the baddest man on the planet asks for his orange juice, you do not say no.
There are no sweet potatoes or protein bars on this diet plan. You stick to the basics and focus on training to be the best boxer and improving your physique while eating a calorie surplus.
- Protein Shakes – Mike Tyson is no ordinary athlete. He blended his protein shake with six bananas. Protein helps with muscle growth and recovery, and the added bananas provide natural sugar and potassium.
Mike Tyson was allowed one cheat meal per week. He went all out on this day to satiate all his cravings. Make sure you do not turn this cheat meal into a cheat day.
- Ice Cream – Since ice cream is made of dairy, it has a good amount of calcium. But on the downside, it is loaded with sugar.
- Cap’n Crunch Cereal – Mike Tyson’s all-time favorite.
The baddest man on the planet relied on supplements for recovery. Tyson used the power of science to take his physique to the next level.
Some of his favorite supplements include:
- Protein – A protein powder supplement is an indispensable part of Mike Tyson’s routine. Protein helps with building muscle mass and fastens recovery.
- Creatine – Creatine is one of the most researched sports supplements. It provides energy for longer and intense workouts, enhances strength, and helps in building muscle mass. Creatine also helps in replenishing your ATP reserves between sets.
- Beta-Alanine – Enhances strength, lean body mass, and muscular vitality.
- Caffeine – Caffeine is a part of most people’s lives in one way or other. It is a potent ingredient used in pre-workout supplement that helps with improving reaction time and boosting energy during training sessions.
- Vitamin D – It makes your bones stronger and helps in absorbing other nutrients in the body. Vitamin D reduces inflammation after intense workouts
Mike Tyson’s Training Program
‘Iron Mike’ is not a fancy way of saying Tyson loved resistance training. ‘Iron’ represents Mike’s willpower in taking a hard line on what he ate and his 100% commitment to brutal workouts. Tyson’s neck workouts were so insane that his neck training is revered to this day.
Tyson treated every fight like his last. He would train for up to 60 hours a week leading up to a fight and only took one day off. Cus D’Amato helped Mike hone his skills and set a base for a legendary career that was to follow.
Mike Tyson fired on all cylinders, matching hands of steel with impressive speed and fancy footwork. Thanks to his crazy training, most of his fights ended with him knocking out his opponent.
Train Like Iron Mike With This Training Routine
1. Early Morning
Mike Tyson started his day at 4 am every day.
- He kicked off his workout with a 3-5 mile run. This might sound hardcore to some people, but it was nothing new for Kid Dynamite. Even before he turned pro, Mike would run every morning and follow that with 400 pushups and squats each.
- Three rounds of calisthenics, including sit-ups, push-ups, shrugs, and neck bridges (his neck bridges have to be seen to be believed).
- Calisthenics routine – 200 sit-ups, 50 dips, 50 push-ups & 50 shrugs with weight.
- 10 rounds of sparring.
- Yes, there is something called the mid-afternoon. Tyson did not work a typical 9-5 job.
- 4-6 rounds of sparring. Tyson’s training included punching bag, slip bag, focus mitts, speed bag, head movement, and D/Amato’s famous Willie bag.
- Jump Rope.
- 60-minutes on a workout bike.
- Finishes with three sets of calisthenics that he did in the noon.
4. Early Evening
- 5 sets of calisthenics (dips, shrugs, a neck training circuit).
- Shadowboxing – focusing on one technique at a time.
5. After Dinner
- 30-minutes stationary bike cardio.
6. Late Evening
Prepping for a fight does not end in the gym. Boxing is as much psychological as it is physiological.
Each night leading up to a fight, Tyson did his homework and reportedly studied fight films. He watched his opponents closely to learn their moves and develop his anticipatory muscle memory.
Training Day Wrap-Up
Cumulative reps for the day = 2000 decline sit-ups, 500 bench dips, 500 push-ups, 500 shrugs with a 30 kg barbell, and ten minutes of neck exercises in the ring.
Cus D’Amato believed in active rest and lots of sleep. He certainly would have been an athlete’s favorite coach. On his day off, Mike would watch old fight films from Jim Jacob’s collection with Cus, and analyze fights punch by punch.
Mike Tyson did a 90-minute session on the stationary bike on his rest day.
Notes On Mike Tyson’s Workout Program
It might disappoint many gym bros, but Tyson did not do a lot of weight training. In fact, Mike said that lifting weights has about as much resemblance to punching as “cheesecake.”
In Mike’s opinion, floor and bodyweight exercises work best for a fighter. Cus had repeatedly told Mike that weight lifting slowed him down and that he needs more speed, because “Speed Kills!”
Iron Mike did not follow a typical bodybuilding workout. He did not rely too much on resistance training and instead focused on boxing-style training that kept his heart rate up and worked on his explosive strength and stamina.
Mike Tyson and Hypnosis
One of the most fascinating parts about Mike’s training was the use of hypnosis.
In the book “Iron Ambition“, Mike talks about Cus taking him to a hypnotist. While Mike was under hypnosis, Cus would tell him that he had a “powerful jab” that he “timed it well” and he could beat anyone he faces.
Cus would say, “You’re a fighting machine, Mike. You’re the best fighter that God has created. The world has never seen a fighter like you because when you throw your punches in combination, you are ferocious. Ferocious. Your intention is to inflict as much pain as possible.”
“Your jab is like a weapon. Like a battering ram. Your objective is to push his nose into the back of his head. You throw punches with bad intentions and move your head after every punch. You are a scourge from God—the world will know your name from now to the eons of oblivion.
I’m not telling you all this because you are incapable of doing these things. This is not a séance. This is what you are capable of doing. I need you to relax, this is going to help you.”
I don’ know about you, but if I had Cus saying these things to me daily, I would crush every obstacle in my way.
Training like Mike Tyson needs iron discipline, motivation, mindset, and a little bit of hypnosis. Tyson’s life is an example that no matter how bad things get, you can always come out on top if and when you decide to go all-in.
You will find a lot of nay-sayers on your way to greatness. Do not waste your time and energy reasoning with them. Do what Kid Dynamite did to their likes and no one will dare block your path.