Two weeks until fight night
Six weeks ago, I started an eight-week program to fulfil a lifetime bucket list item of fighting within a ring in front of a large crowd. You can read in more detail the post that started this off here.
With two weeks remaining things are getting real, in one week I will get matched with my opponent and on the 16th December, the eight weeks of focus, training and mental preparation will result in nine minutes (hopefully) of high intense action.
The last six weeks have been amazing, and though it is a cliché, it is true that it is all about the journey. I wanted to share the key takeaways so far.
Going through a range of eating methods, I have concluded that two meals a day works best for me, everyone is different to how they function, both to what works for their body and what works best within optimising their lives. Two meals for me means a twenty-hour window where I don’t have to think about food at all, with seven of those hours being sleep that means thirteen awake hours not having to work around food time is possibly the most empowering thing I have done out of the whole process.
Having a daily fasting system of twenty hours a day I tried a 39 hour fast which went well and was fairly easy to do and after 36 hours as you can read more in this post, gave me a crazy feeling of focus. The only problem with it was I then broke my routine of two meals a day and that combined with a heavy cold knocked me off the wagon slightly for the fourth week and resulted in me not lowering my weight that week. I will stick to the two meal plan and beyond fight night drop a 40–72 hour fast in once every 6–8 weeks to reset my body.
Eating in a keto state has been interesting, the science and results make sense, you eat mainly fat, so your body burns the old fat it has because it trusts you will give it new fats, but because you’re not giving it a high volume of new fat, then you lose weight. I need to do some deep research into the long-term effects of the process as my brain doesn’t 100% believe eating a fry-up every day is a good thing. For the duration of the eight-week program, a heavier fat based diet has proven well. The last two weeks have been off tilt with my food, though it has been good, no cakes or classic junk food, I have had the odd chicken wrap or sweet potato chips.
You have to listen to your body on a minute or hourly interval and not react to society but to what gives you energy both physically and mentally.
Water is the key to all, every day I now drink 3–4 litres and have started not to need to pee every hour, I found that most of my mid-day tiredness or early evening sluggishness was fixable by drinking 500–750 ml of water and waiting 20–30 minutes to see the effects. I have got comfortable asking for a jug (not glass) of tap water when eating out and see the £1–2 it costs for a bottle of water during situations of restricted access such as an airport or on a train. I have had two cans of diet coke in the last six weeks (which I was drinking daily and giving me heartburn).
Sugar, it is evil, an addictive substance that plagues us from such a young age. I have almost removed it from my diet, I plan on doing more detailed research into sugar, but that is for a future post.
Starting off I was at my most unfit level ever and seeing over a five-week period my fitness going from an 11 minute 51 second fitness test time down to a 3 minute 51 second time was amazing; I would recommend having a weekly marker for your progress that isn’t just jumping on the scales. When you’re a bigger person power is an easy thing to focus on, but power is energy and using it means you get slower, tired and that results in your being lazy and puts you in danger of getting hit.
Focusing on speed and technique has been hard, getting comfortable with the boxing bounce in your step as well as keeping your guard up is harder than it sounds. After a hard two minutes going into the second round and then trying to pull it out for the third is difficult.
In all the training I have been doing the key takeaway has been the sportspersonship of the UWCB training program, each person I have trained with has been supportive and helpful in enabling me to improve as I try to do the same for them.
During week four I started to get a cold, coupling this with the daily training it got weird at one point I had a fever, but due to eating right and exercise I didn’t know it until I started hallucinating which was a very clear indication to go to bed and recover. It took about two days to recover from this fully, but you have to listen to your body and rest when you need to.
Putting your body through this type of intense program will result in many ache’s and pains, stretching and warming up the body is key, both within workouts but also during the day. If you sit at a desk all day, then set a timer every X minutes, so you move. The data on eight hours of desk sitting on long-term health problems is hard to disagree with.
One thing I wish I had done sooner was to arrange regular massages sessions with someone familiar with boxing, to ensure my muscles weren’t tight and any small issues got fixed as soon as they happened enabling me to train at the highest I could.
Making my training sessions, first thing in the morning enabled it getting it out of the way before the day started. Though this required a 5:30 am wake-up, the coldness of overnight frost, the darkness of the night sky and the cat-like movements needed to navigate your home without waking anybody up has been interesting. After six weeks I am fairly conditioned to waking up early, now before the alarm even rings.
I normally have a fifteen-minute window before my session start which gives me the time and space to set up the house for the morning routine such as breakfasts prepped, school bags by the door and any car de-icing that is needed. The flow of endorphins, from the training, be it a foot movement sinking in or a punching combo landing successfully gives you a default glass in half full position for the day. This positive outlook has resulted in me singing Disney songs in the car even without the kids in the back seats most mornings.
By 9 pm on training days, I am tired and want to go to sleep early to recover ready for the next day. I didn’t realise feeling tired by early evening was going to feel good, but your body should be tired and ready to go to bed to rest.
Although the physical training is hard, it is the mental strength that will make or break those nine minutes in a ring. I tend to push too hard near the end of things which normally results in an injury, some days you want to push your body hard but know that adding that extra 5% is going to hurt you for the long term. Seeing others on the program having to pull out due to fractured bones or illness is a reaffirming message.
I have seen great changes and the effects visible almost daily, you get faster then you get stronger, or you drop a bit more weight, or a technique feels natural. When embracing intense training like this, you need to set a few different types of metrics to follow; you can’t rely on just weight loss as a target.
By week four weight loss had slowed down which was disheartening, even though I was getting faster on the fitness test, my footwork was feeling more natural than in week five, and the confidence started to build. All these things presented different milestones that all drive towards the ultimate goal of the fight, but you have not to let just one metric define your progress.
If your thinking of changing something in your life for the better or ticking an item off your bucket list, in the words of nike.
just do it
If you are local to Bournemouth on the 16 December please come to the event, it will be amazing. Send me a message for a ticket.
Follow the final two weeks daily on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/leetmallon
Donate to my just giving page, I have been rather shit getting this out to people so would be great to get your support through a donation to cancer research.
Post fight post coming in two weeks…