Friday, August 23, 2013

Hillari's Guide To Preparing For A Fight

The question has been on my mind for days.  How does a woman prepare for a fight?

It's a little different than it is for men, at least in my experience.  Remember, I attend a boxing gym that's only open twice a week.  Both Steve, the former coach there, and Alan, the current coach, have told people who compete that they have to do extra training outside of the gym because of the limited time in the gym.  Before the first competitive fight I had back in 2009, I did some of my extra training in the church gym.  Back then, I worked part-time there, so two to three days out of the week after my work day was done, I would jog around the gym for several rounds.  Afterwards, I would shadow box for several more rounds.  I had to depend on the feel of my movements and keep watching my feet, because there are no mirrors in the church gym where I could check if my form was correct.

If the weather is still agreeable around the time of the fight, I ride my bike for a few hours down the bike trails.  It's good for stamina, the legs, and the heart.  Sometimes, I ride the city streets, but for all the talk about making Chicago "bike-friendly", there's still a long way to go before that's becomes a full reality. Besides, I don't always feel like dodging cars and being honked at by bus drivers.  The bike trails provide traffic-free rides for the most part, depending on the trail.

I used to throw roller and in-line skating into the training mix.  My knees can still take a couple of hours of bicycling, but not more than ten to twenty minutes of skating these days.  I was really good at quad skating, in particular.  Skating is good for building up stamina and wind.

Exercise DVDs work for me, especially if the weather doesn't allow me to do any training outside.  I have some aerobic boxing DVDs, but I also have a mix of other stuff like walking, martial arts, weight training, and belly dancing.  Don't laugh at the belly dancing.  It's a good workout for the core.

Diet has always been a challenge for me.  Honestly, I don't think I've ever lost much weight before a fight.  Alan once told me that I could get more fights if I lost more weight.  He was correct.  But women always seem to have more issues about weight than men do. I hear guys in the gym talking about weight all the time, but not with the emotional and psychological issues that a lot of women attach to those conversations.  In my case, there's medical issues involved - I really do need to lose weight, not just for a fight, but in general.  I don't remember if any of my fights were around "that time of the month", but I'm happy not to have to deal with the issues of water retention and bloating that came with that anymore.  Now if I can only stop telling myself, "it's only once in awhile" to justify sneaking off to the ice cream shop to get a malt, I'd be fine.

I read to prepare.  Sounds unusual?  It's not really.  I consult books about boxing techniques to perhaps get some fresh insight about something I've been doing in the ring.

I watch fights to pick up tips on how to handle various situations in the ring.  I pay special attention to what the boxing analysts say during the matches.  Unfortunately, I do not have cable at this time.  It bothered me that I missed a whole season of "Friday Night Fights" on ESPN.  But a lot of fight footage may be found on the Internet.  I also go to live fights if I have the time and/or the money.

The day of the fight finds me in anxiety mode.  It's kind of tough if I have to go to work the day of a fight.  Yeah, being occupied with answering phones, typing, and cleaning keeps my mind off of it for a time.  However, a full day of work means I won't have enough time to get into some sort of calm before going down to the arena.  Usually, I have my gear with me, so I can rush out of work and rush down to the arena. Some fighters can get into a chill mode while they wait for their fight number to be called once the matches are underway, but that's not me.  My being wound up disappears once the bell rings, but having to live with it before that happens. . . .sometimes, I find myself doing a lot of deep breathing.

Lastly, I pray.  The night before, I'm praying that I won't hurt my opponent badly, and that they won't hurt me so bad that it'll be a long while before I heal up.  After the fight, I pray for the other person's well being, whether they won the fight or not.

Then I pray that the Epsom salts will work, and whatever bruises and cuts I received won't disturb my sleep too much.

1 comment:

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