How to Optimally Prepare for A Fight

.1. Strength and Conditioning/ Movement

Firstly if you are a fighter and you have yet to do some Strength work, its time to get on it. You and I both know how tough the training is on your body. Not doing some good Strength and Conditioning work is leaving your body exposed to injury after injury, taking you away from the action in the ring and weeks or even months of training. I myself can put my hand on my heart and happily say that I will not get injured due to a weakness, however, I can still get injured due to combat. I’m not going to pull a muscle, tear ligaments or break a bone unless I do a boxing technique totally incorrectly. Having that confidence in my body from doing years of Strength Training gives me the extra confidence in the ring and most definitely helps me train harder and punch harder too. If you have yet to try Strength and Movement Training be sure to try it out, get yourself a good coach and get yourself started.

2. Hydration

Drinking water is essential for every human body function from digestion, contraction, relaxation, blood flow, mood and concentration. You need to drink at least 2 litres of water per day even more on sparring days when you lose a lot of water through sweat. If a coach ever tells you to dehydrate your body before a fight or for any reason at all, you need to get yourself another coach. The fluid in your brain called Cerebral fluid is mainly made up of water. This fluidprotects the brain from hitting the skull so therefore if you decrease the fluid in the brain then you decrease you increase the chance of getting a concussion or brain trauma. Preliminary research it has shown that dehydrating your body can increase your chances of getting concussion since the fluid in your brain protects your brain.A good way to make sure that you are hydrated is to check your urine colour. If it’s clear than you are hydrated, if it’s dark than you need to drink a lot more water.The day of a fight, as soon as you wake up,  make sure to keep sipping on water. You don’t want togo into the ring with a full stomach of water or dehydrated.

3. Food not nutrition

First and foremost, developing a value(s) for your food is very important. Before we get into nutrition just for boxing. It is very important to develop a good relationship with food outside of the ring. This means that when you are no longer a fighter that you will still be a happy healthy human. To set some values ask yourself some questions. Is there a certain “diet” that I will be able to stick to for the rest of my life? Or what do I value when it comes to food. Here are some of my values.

1.Eat Real, local food all of the time, fruits, vegetables, grains, potatoes…etc.

2. Treat yourself but make sure it’s not a treat day everyday. Pick a day when you get to eat your favourite treat. Mine is gelato and pulled pork every Saturday at the farmer’s market.

When you have your values, you can stick to these during the off season of your sport and you’ll see that you’ll be, happier and healthier and you won’t gain too much weight.

When you are in boxing season, you can use a diary or MyFitness Pal to track how you are eating.This will allow you to stay of track with your weight goals whether it is to maintain or more than often to lose weight while keeping good energy levels during performance.

4. Skills

No matter what skills you choose to work on, for example, footwork, hand speed, combinations. Focus on trying to improve these during the off season. Focus on one at a time. There is no point in putting yourself under pressure a week or two before your upcoming fight to try and learn a new skill. It takes a lot more than a week or two to successfully learn a skill and to use it in the ring. Therefore, all this learning should be done months in advance. Coming up to your fight focus on what you know, what you’re good at and after the fight, go back into a learning mindset. For me, in my last fight I focused on speed because it was what I could use to my advantage. Now that I have 6-7 weeks before my next fight I will add a new skill to focus on and that will be the process from now until the end of my boxing career. Learn- Practice - Use.

5. Sleep patterns

As much as you may think it is unimportant, sleep plays a huge role in performance. I am an early bird and I usually get up at 6am but when I am fighting, I usually fight late at night around 10pm. Leading up to the fight , 1-2 weeks before, I try to sleep in a little more, get up at 9am instead and go to bed a little later than usual so that I am feeling more lively at 10pm for my fight night.

Having Black out blinds, a sunrise alarm clock and not using technology 1-2 hours before bed can really help you have the best quality sleep possible. Typically you need to be getting at least 7+  hours of sleep per night. Having agood sleep can also help you with dieting, a lack of sleep can promote unhealthy, easy, comfort eating. So there’s only one thing to do, make sure your getting some good quality sleep

6. Training

Something that really needs to be highlighted, is tapering. Tapering in layman’s terms is basically reducing the volume of training and increasing the intensity a week or two coming up to your fight. This means that doing long, harder sessions a few days before your fight can actually decrease your performance. Your body needs the chance rest before you fight. All the long hard sessions should be done months and weeks before your fight.

7. Enjoy the process, there’s no rush in perfecting the art of fighting.