This Saturday, November 21, millions of people will tune in to HBO for a fight at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas as featherweight boxing champion Ronny Rios takes on Jayson Velez from Puerto Rico.
In this match-up, U.S. HealthWorks will be cheering for Rios and his longtime trainer, Hector Lopez, who is a sales consultant with the company. By day, Lopez works for U.S. HealthWorks, but he’s also devoted much energy and time to training underprivileged youth in boxing to keep them off the streets of Santa Ana, Calif.
“U.S. HealthWorks has been amazing in its support of our efforts and of Ronny’s career, helping us stay focused and positive,” said Lopez.
The November 21 event is a huge milestone for Rios and Lopez.
“This is the biggest fight in my coaching career, so far. We’re very excited for the opportunity – and getting a win for Ronny is my top priority,” he said.
The hard work for the fight began weeks ago as Rios entered a 10-week training camp to get into peak physical and mental shape before facing his opponent.
“We’re monitoring everything going into his body to prepare for this fight; it’s been some crazy training,” said Lopez, Rios’ exclusive trainer for almost 14 years.
As with most athletes preparing for serious competition, training camp for Rios includes a strict routine of gym time, nutrition and rest.
At the beginning of training camp, Rios spent three to four hours at the gym five days a week, but as the fight draws near, he now spends six days a week there, usually for about five to six hours a day.
“We start the day lifting, then maybe we will run for an hour and a half. We’ll do some sprints and different drills to get me ready for the fight,” said Rios.
Rios claims that his eating regimen during these weeks may be even more important than his physical training.
“I’m eating a lot of carbs, and a lot of protein. Before training started, I liked to eat chips – but I can’t have those now. Now it’s fish, steak, brown rice, potatoes, and, once in a while we’ll throw in a pancake or a waffle.”
This strict diet is tough on Rios, who admittedly loves food.
“I have to eat really healthy. It has to be on point. That’s the biggest sacrifice ever. I’m a total sweets guy, and I love hamburgers, so it’s a huge commitment to stay away from all of that.”
The final component to Rios’ training routine is to get adequate rest, but not too much. Seven or eight hours of sleep per night is ideal – any more than that and he said he risks getting lazy. On his limited off-days, he tries to spend some time with family and friends to recharge his batteries. He likes to play Monopoly and catch a few movies at home.
In these final days before the fight, Rios has his eye on the prize – but he knows the toughest part is yet to come.
“The last couple of days before the fight, you feel like you already put in most of the hard work. But it really matters what you do and what you put into your body in those final days. It’s hard to stay motivated, but you’ve got to maintain the diet and just stay really focused. You can’t relax too much.”
And once the fight is over – hopefully with a big win – Rios has an idea of what he might do.
“The fight is at Mandalay Bay, and across the street at the casino New York, New York, there is a Shake Shack. Once the fight is over, I will probably walk over and enjoy a burger.”