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I was delighted (albeit a bit daunted) when my good buddy and personal trainer / boxing coach Robbie Owen asked me if I would be interested in taking part in a white collar boxing match at the end of March!
For those of you who haven’t heard of white collar boxing, it’s basically white collar boxing between normal guys with office jobs (i.e. white collar) who get trained from scratch to compete in a boxing match involving 3 x 2 minute rounds.
I was a guest at a white collar boxing of them before and was amazed to see around 400 people, guys in suits and ladies dressed up to the hilt, enjoying fine dining and then getting rowdy as they cheered on their friend/work colleague/family member in the ring. It was an awesome evening!
So, when Robbie asked me back in April/May of this year my immediate response, without any thought, was “Yeah i’ll give it a go” and I then kinda forgot about it . . .
When Robbie re-approached me again in June and asked me the same question I knew it was serious and there was no backing out. I was in!
Robbie told me that the training would begin in late July, giving me a good 16 weeks of training, clean nutrition and mental preparation. As I sat around the pool in Ibiza in June on a friend’s stag do, drinking beers and eating crap, the reality began to dawn on me and I started to get excited. You see I always tend to get a bit lazy with my nutrition towards Xmas and often creep up a few pounds, even as a trainer that should know better. So with the white collar boxing fight scheduled for the end of March this would give me an awesome goal to work towards.
Just before training started a few weeks ago I was told something that really shocked me into life.
“Mark, we want you to fight at 12 stone”, said Robbie.
JESUS!, I thought. I’d not been that light since I was 17 and a skinny cross country runner! In fact, the lightest I’ve been since being a trainer is around 12st 6lb about two years ago, before a holiday, but normally I sit around 13 stone. This was gonna be one hell of a challenge and boy was I up for it!
Immediately I knew I had to get my nutrition bang on. This wasn’t going to be easy for an ex 16 stone fatty who just frickin loves food, but I’ve never shirked a challenge in my life.
So, I called up my great friend, boot camp owner and ninja nutritionist Nisha in Coventry who went to work on devising me a nutritional plan. Immediately I had to bin coffee, fruit, protein bars and balsamic vinegar from what I thought was a pretty clean diet anyway (I’ll talk more about my nutrition plan in future posts) and pretty much say goodbye to a few weekend beverages (even though it’s never to excess these days).
So, as I write this today, my training started three weeks ago and I have to say I’m bloody loving it! The first session with Robbie was daunting, just working on footwork and jabbing and moving. I felt like an old man with no rhythm. You know that scene in Rocky 3 where Apollo Creed is teaching Rocky the really simple footwork and he just can’t get it and Creed is saying “It’ll come Rock, it’ll come!” that’s how it felt!
Also could not believe how knackered and breathless I was, just dancing around and throwing punches for a minute or so. I was literally preying for the bell. Despite believing I was fit, this was different gravy and trying to pick up all the technical stuff whilst blowing out of my arse made me start to realise the size of the challenge ahead. All this encouraged me to keep my nutrition ultra green and ultra clean and on the days where i’d normally stick the finger up to training i’d make sure I was hitting my burpees.
Last week Robbie told me to go out and get a gum shield “because you’re sparring tomorrow”. This was only my second week of training and I only knew a jab and one/two combo! Jason told me the guys i’d be sparring were fighting in the heavier category and a little taller. No shit Robbie! When I turned up there were two lads, five years younger, three stone heavier and about five inches taller than me. Talk about thrown in at the deep end!
What proceeded was an hour of toil and frustration at my lack of reach and skill, as I walked onto more than a few jabs and got used to feeling more than a little dazed! One bloody nose, headache and dripping pool of sweat later I was hooked!
So here we are at week 3, and so far this week I’ve trained twice with Robbie, had a session on the pads with Leon (Ex world champion Steve Robinson’s cousin) and actually have an hour booked in with the great man himself tomorrow (Steve is a trainer at the gym I’m based at). Why mess about eh? Going to most probably do this now every week leading up to the fight. If you’re gonna do it, you may as well do it properly!
Nutritionally, for the last 2 weeks I’ve been good as gold. Even away at a spa on the weekend with my girlfriend I refused alcohol, as I want to make sure I’m doing everything right. In fact, at this stage if I even think about breaking this cycle I visualise myself being in the ring on the night, with all my friends, family and boot campers / clients cheering me on.
I get a bout of butterflies in my stomach that tells me “Forget booze Tregs, concentrate on Burpees!”. I don’t want to let anyone down and most importantly, win or lose, I want to do myself justice and know I’ve prepared well.
My fitness is improving now and I’m feeling better and more confident in the ring. I’m learning how to parry, feint and slip punches and find myself listening to the Rocky soundtrack daily and shadow boxing in the shower most mornings!
I’ll be posting regular updates on my http://facebook.com/30plusmensfitness page so if you haven’t liked it give it a ‘like’ and follow my progress. I won’t post it to my profile, as I don’t want to bore peeps that ain’t interested.
In my next post i’ll be talking about my nutrition and training in more detail. Hope you enjoyed this post and that my 30+ followers enjoy this journey I’m on!