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.
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.
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.
Mike Tyson’s Training Program
‘Ir on 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.
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.
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.
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.”