Large-scale, televised fights are wrought with distraction — a challenge for a sport that requires extreme concentration. Boxing is as much mental as it is physical, and for Algieri, yoga and meditation help him to find focus during stressful situations.
“You have to think, act and react quickly,” he said. “Being relaxed makes you faster.”
Between rounds it’s crucial to regain control of the breath to allow for quick recovery. Algieri's breathing practices help put him in a zen state, so he can reenter the ring calm and refreshed.
During a bout, the body goes into fight-or-flight mode, raising adrenaline and cortisol levels, heightening the senses and desensitizing the body’s ability to experience pain. A boxer competes in peak physical condition to withstand the trauma of repetitive strikes, but once the adrenaline rush is over, the pain will inevitably set in — sometimes not until hours later.
In an attempt to find some relief, Algieri will often meditate on his physical pain, using his breath as an awareness tool for post-fight self-assessment.
Algieri's lifelong dedication to martial arts naturally led to studying Eastern religions and philosophies. But when asked whether or not he was a spiritual person, he simply replied, “I find myself looking inward often.”
His thirst for knowledge extends to a passion for nutrition — with several sports nutrition certifications and a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York Institute of Technology. Yoga, meditation and nutrition are Algieri’s wellness trifecta for success.