Boxing Blog

    There’s more to training than getting stronger

    There’s more to training than getting stronger

    Hey Team,

    Happy sunny Sunday!  Thanks to everyone who got along to the gym this week.  And thanks again to everyone who has been enquiring as to my ongoing health ‘issues’ (aka shingles).  Quick update there – I felt better last Friday than I have in a few weeks, then suffered a bit of a relapse on Saturday (who knew coaching a couple of games of footy could be stressful!) but feel ‘OK’ this morning…it’s going to be a bit of an ongoing battle I think but I’m sort of targeting the start of September as the time when I will be back into my training and returning to a ‘normal’ life!

    I wrote a fair bit about boxing sessions last week and wanted to change direction and talk about the benefits of dedicating yourself to some strength work today.  I hope this statement doesn’t ‘put off’ the boxing team because the ‘tone’ of the article is more about consistency and dedication than the mechanics of lifting but no doubt it has a strength training ‘bent’.  Anyway, I hope you stick with me and get something out of it.  

    Since WAY back in 2012 I have been loosely following (as a sideline) programs put out by Power Athlete.  I have never followed them religiously but pay my subscription every month and work in elements of their programming with my boxing classes…I then use the experience I gain in those independent sessions as input to the programming I put together for Functional Fitness – and in more recent times the ‘Fully Loaded’ and ‘Boys Club’ sessions.  I guess their motto is athletically based – they are about building muscle and strength NOT because of how it makes you LOOK but for what it enables you to DO – it’s just a mindset that works best with my brain. Working hard and building a body that is capable of doing things that you are proud of is no easy task. I mean, if it was then we’d all have 200kg on the bar on deadlift day, we’d all be doing weighted pull-ups, sprinting flat out down the grass and jumping over the moon rather than onto a box!

    But when it comes to training, there are a few bottom lines to consider:

    Some days you will not be “feeling it”/just cant be bothered.
    Some days 20kg feels like 50kg ‘cos it just does!
    Some days a :30 second cardio sprint feels like 3:00 minutes and 10x efforts feels like 100.
    Some days, the rest of your life just gets in the way and no matter what you promised yourself you WOULD do, you just “cannot” DO!

    Those are the ‘some days’ where you need to find a way to just say YES rather than no, and – like our old gym t-shirts used to say, just ‘Get it Done’.

    Those days when you “don’t feel good” or “don’t have time” but go in and do the work ANYWAY are worth way more to you that any potential physical gains you might make – and they are WAY more meaningful to your life at large than any benefit you could possibly realise.  They are all about your mental strength and your ability to stay strong and committed and just not accept the cards you’ve been dealt.

    Can you build that same sort of resilience in other ways?  Well – of course.  Anytime you do an uncomfortable thing – or, even better, an uncomfortable thing at an inconvenient time you are building resilience and ‘inner’ strength.  The same fortitude you showed to go to the gym after a stressful workday when all you wanted was a couch and a beer can also be applied to your nutrition, your job and – all those day to day responsibilities that make up your life….doing things that don’t provide ‘short term’ good vibes but DO have long-term benefits (maybe as simple as ordering the salad rather than the chips!) is building mental strength and contributing to positive decision making in the future.

    One way I was rolling with this earlier in the year was with my morning cold showers.  Why did I try this?  Well, this video from the ‘Art of Manliness’ channel kind of sums it up:

    Honestly – it was working pretty well for me….I abandoned the practice when I got knocked around by a cold back in June (I do feel like I’m having a bad run illness wise) and somehow never got back on the band-wagon when I came through that…but honestly once I’m through this shingles stuff I’m going to be back into it.  It really does provide a great lead-in to the rest of my morning routine and I have to admit to finding it a LOT easier to get stuck into all the ‘bad things’ every day holds after getting through the cold shower each morning.  I really do recommend you watch that video link to get an idea of all the benefits – but whether it’s cold showers or something else, having a simple daily habit that helps build resilience will make sticking to your gym routine (and running all of the bases every day in 2023 needs you to run around!) all the easier.

    What else?  Well, the whole equation is a LITTLE bit like the story of the chicken and the egg – and part of this whole equation is that when you’re consistent and working hard at the gym the whole of the rest of your life gets better because you WANT it to get better. The gym is a safe and controlled environment to test your limits. If you want to add to that by eating better and add other positive habits like taking cold showers to better yourself, it’s an extension of the momentum you have created in the gym. It has a ripple effect that permeates the rest of your life.  At the same time, it is really hard to contemplate missing your gym session when you have made the sacrifice of the cold shower and overlooked coco-pops for breakfast in favour of cooking yourself a healthy omelet.

    Is there another side of all this?  Of course – there are 100% going to be times when you are just in the groove and ‘feeling it’ and everything I’ve talked about here just becomes part of ‘what you do every day’…but I still think that there are messages for you here. If it’s the case that you are ‘in control’ and rolling with a strong, consistent routine – well…’Go YOU!’.  To get to that stage you have been through the ‘hard work’ phase and gotten to the point where the hard things aren’t ‘decisions’ – they are just ‘WHAT YOU DO!’.

    Next – when you are in this space – call it a rhythm, call it a flow, call it whatever you like – you can pretty much do whatever you want in the gym. The weights seem light, the music is sounds awesome and the person next to you laughs at all your jokes…it feels like nothing can go wrong and no matter what the lift today WILL be a new PB…I mean, it’s another day so it is guaranteed to be another PB!!

    But all too soon an imaginary foot will land on the ‘all too real’ brakes as the weights and gym hand out an unwanted life-lesson time. You’re about to squat a weight that you ALWAYS thought was unattainable.  You load under the bar…stand up underneath it – and up and down it goes not just once, but three times with ease.  But the lesson is a hard one – it means not only CAN you do whatever the hell you put your mind and effort towards…but it also means (and you know it) that you’ve been artificially holding yourself back – it means you can take on that extra responsibility at work, it means you can jump out of bed without first hitting snooze – it might even mean you can have a cold shower then do some yoga first thing in the morning.

    If (and I’m using a squat as an example – pick your own favorite exercise!) you can build up your squat to the point where you can lift a weight that ‘seemed’ unattainable – then you will implicitly understand that you can probably improve in other areas of your life and achieve what you might today feel is “unthinkable” there as well.  And I mean, of course – looking ‘good’ is a great ‘side effect’ of your training.  But the main benefit of being consistent in the gym and doing what had initially seemed ‘impossible’ is it removes similar mental barriers from the rest of your daily life.

    See you in the gym,



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