The importance of a strong mind in a fighter is not often underplayed and for good reason. To step over the ropes as a kickboxer it takes a lot of courage, determination, and hard training, but it also takes a strong mind and discipline to continue to show up to training every day.
There are going to be days where you don’t feel like training. This is guaranteed. Even for the professional athletes, there are days where they have to drag themselves out of bed or scrape themselves off the couch to go to training. Kickboxing in Brisbane (or any sport in Queensland for that matter) can be hard to get motivated for, especially in the summertime where we can have over temperatures of 40°C. The difference between these professional athletes and the average person who stays at home to catch the latest episode of “Married at first sight”, is they are dedicated to their goal.
When starting any new business, if there is no business plan in place it is likely the business will fail within the first few years. This applies to all areas in life. If you go to your local weights and cardio gym to start working out just to “see what happens”, you are more than likely going to stop training within a few weeks. There should be some stakes or consequences for your training. In Muay Thai / Kickboxing, you can set yourself the goal of fighting to give you direction and clarity about what you need to do, and why you are doing it. If you show up on fight day but didn’t do the training, the consequence is that you get beaten in front of your teammates, friends and family.
For some people, the goal of fighting is too far away as maybe they have never even set foot in a gym and don’t know if they even like the sport, or they aren’t sure how long it will take for them to be “fight ready”. Without a clear deadline, the training gets pushed to the side and the couch looks so much more enticing when it’s time to head to training. The good news is, we can overcome this by breaking down our major goal into smaller goals, with distinct deadlines.
In the beginning, it is important to set very achievable goals, so we feel like we have gotten a few easy wins to gain momentum. Here is an example of a goal timeline of an overweight person hoping to one day fight in the ring:
Current weight: 75kg
Ultimate goal: To fight in the ring
Fight weight: 60kg (if you aren’t sure about what your fight weight is, ask your trainer for an approximate weight)
Week 1: Goal – Complete the first week of training
Go to class two times this week. Be very specific about the days and classes, it leaves less room for procrastination. It’s too easy to say “I will train twice this week at some point” and before we know it, the week is almost over and we haven’t been to the gym yet. Choose classes that are going to work for your schedule every week, and plan your day around them. Walking in the door can be the hardest part, so achieving this goal should be congratulated!
Week 2: Goal – Establish a routine
Repeat the classes of week 1. If you absolutely have to miss a class due to unforeseen circumstances, make sure you make it up by attending another class, or at the very least do some form of exercise at home; this should be a last resort. Training in the gym is where you will get the best results, so let’s get there as often as we can!
Week 3: Same as week 2
Week 4: Goal – Increase training
By now we should have some sort of routine about our training and from here we can build around it.
Increase the training frequency to four sessions this week. Again, choose times or classes that are easy to stick with every week. This could (but does not have to) include going for a run, instead of going to a class. Your week could end up looking like this:
– Monday: Muay Thai class
– Tuesday: Muay Thai class
– Wednesday: Muay Thai class
– Thursday: 2km run (or walk+run, depending on fitness level)
Week 5 + 6: Goal – Establish a new routine
Continue attending sessions from week four. Doing too much too quickly can overwhelm us and make us want to quit before we even get started (not to mention cause injury which can be a major setback), which is why we take our time building up our fitness and routine over several weeks. If you make it this far, make sure you take some time to really congratulate yourself; it’s easy to let life get in the way of your goals.
Week 7 – 9: Goal – To be 70kg by end of week 9 (this will obviously differ for each person’s weight and goal-weight)
Increase the intensity of your training. It is now time to stop going through the motions of our training and start setting our intentions with it. Our movements are no longer just what the trainer tells us, but they are done precisely and with aggression. I have previously covered Diet to prepare for a fight in Part 1, to give you some ideas. Whatever diet works for you, find the discipline to stick with it be remembering your goals. It is too much to ask that someone follows this diet every day forever, but if you follow it every weekday, and don’t go crazy with eating junk food the whole weekend, you will start to see results.
Consult with a doctor before implementing a new diet, and have it tailored specifically to you.
Your new training schedule may look something like this:
– Monday: Muay Thai class
– Tuesday: Muay Thai class
– Wednesday: Muay Thai class
– Thursday: 3km run in week 7 + 8 then a 4km run in week 9
Week 10 + 11+ 12: Goal – To be within 5% of the fight weight
There is a good chance that you have gotten down to your fight weight and realise that you could be even lighter. If this is the case, then all you have to do is set yourself a new achievable weight goal for every month. Don’t set yourself one that is too easy as it is important to challenge ourselves, but also doesn’t set yourself one that is too hard as we want to keep achieving our goals early on. Once we have been training for a while and going to class is a normal part of our daily routine much like going to work is, then we should start to really challenge ourselves with the much harder but more rewarding goals.
Once you are close to your fight weight the final decision is up to your trainer and when he/she thinks you are ready to fight. This can be frustrating, but hopefully, your trainer is trustworthy and has been around long enough to know when their students are ready to fight (and also, when they’re not ready). If your trainer hasn’t already asked you if you want to fight, you should go and let them know that it is a goal of yours. Remember to be respectful! Don’t demand they find you an opponent, but just make them aware that you are interested. Usually, a trainer will give you around four weeks notice of your first fight, then it’s time to really knuckle down and train as much as possible, backing off the intensity of your training in the last week before the fight.
REMEMBER – EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT!
The above timeline is an example only! There are a number of factors that could impact the timeline such as current weight, fight weight, prior training experience, work or kids, but the idea is that we apply the principle of setting ourselves small goals, in hope to reach our ultimate goal of one day stepping in the ring.
For those who don’t want to fight but still want to train:
Fighting is not for everyone. There are a number of reasons why someone may not want to fight. It could be a pre-existing medical condition, the may not be able to risk any injury to have time away from work, or they may just have a job where they wouldn’t be able to show up to the office with a bruised face the day after a fight! Whatever the reason, these people can use our muay Thai grading system to track their progress
Muay Thai traditionally doesn’t really have a “grading” system, this has been a concept introduced outside of Thailand where the sport originated. At The Fight Centre we put a huge amount of effort and planning into the process of creating a system that was not just difficult, but a true reflection of the students’ effort and commitment in training Muay Thai. This was to give people who never had any intention of fighting some goals and achievements they could still chase after, which keeps them accountable to their training and helps them feel a sense of achievement.
To learn more about the grading system and how it works, visit this article which goes further into it.
If you are interested in starting Muay Thai training at The Fight Centre but have no idea on what your goals might be, contact us via the form below and we can help you plan to achieve them!