The Fighter Diaries is a ten part, personal account of the fighting experience from the moment of accepting a fight, through training camp, right up until the fight itself. No other individuals apart from my trainer and I have been named.
It’s been several weeks since I accepted the fight and I’m now halfway through training camp. Things are going steady.
I attacked the first week of camp with enthusiasm and vigour – you could almost say it I was bordering on over-obsessiveness.
Today is a typical work day. I do my usual work stuff till 5pm rolls around then it’s home time.
“I’m here,” is the text I receive from my partner and trainer Kodee, who has come to pick me up from work. He’s waiting in the car park for me.
I get in the car and we make our way home. Our drive home conversations usually consist of fight talk – how training is going, our future plans, and what we need to do for the upcoming fight.
“We need to make sure that training is hard, right up until the fight,” I exclaim to Kodee.
“Yes, yes – don’t worry,” he replies. “You have plenty of time. Don’t overdo it or you’ll injure yourself.”
During fight prep, my thoughts are consumed with training and I get over excited about it. But as my trainer, Kodee always knows best and he’s right. There’s still plenty of time and the fight is another six weeks away.
I take his advice and leave the harder training sessions for the the last few weeks of camp. For the meantime, I remain consistent with my current training methods.
As the weeks go by, I notice the enthusiasm I had at the start of the training camp tapers off. What replaces it is sheer automation.
Eat. Sleep. Work. Train. Repeat. Eat. Sleep. Work. Train. Repeat.
That’s all I know right now. There are no parties. There isn’t time to catch up with friends. There’s not much fun other than the fun scheduled in my calendar for rest day (Sunday). Right now there’s only one focus – to win that title.
As selfish as it seems, I realise the sacrifices that have to be made in order to achieve such a big goal. After all, I know for a fact some of our country’s elite athletes spend almost every waking moment working towards their sporting dreams, whether that be through training, resting or otherwise. I’m by no means on the same level as them, but that’s what I aspire to be.
If these athletes didn’t devote their lives to their dream, I can probably guarantee we would have no Olympic champions – it requires that much discipline, dedication and focus to achieve what I call “the impossible dream”, or, the dream that others think you can’t achieve.
After Kodee and I arrive home from work, we get ready for the evening’s training session and head straight to the gym. When training is over, we get home at around 8.45pm (even though I feel I can train for longer), then I have a light dinner before having a shower and heading to bed. The next day I get up for work, get ready, and we do it all again.
When I get to work the next morning, I’m carrying what seems like enough baggage to sink a battleship. I’ve got my regular bag on one shoulder, my training bag for my lunchtime gym session on the other shoulder, and my lunch bag in my hand. This is standard when I’m in the thick of training.
As I fumble through the doorway, my manager jokingly comments, “Are you staying the night?”.
“No,” I laugh. It’s at this point in training camp that I’m referred to as “the bag lady”.
My colleagues are a light-hearted, funny bunch. If they’re not commenting on the number of bags I’m carrying, they’re commenting on my lunch.
Obviously, I need to eat right while I’m training, but when I hear them say things like “Ew, I smell broccoli,” or “Oh that looks…er…healthy,” I have to laugh.
After bumping into every item possible on the way to my desk, I dump my bags down and get the work day started.
At 12pm I usually go to the gym for strength and conditioning training, but as 11.30am roles around I feel an onset of fatigue. Thoughts are running through my mind like “I’m too tired to train” and “maybe I’ll just skip the gym for today.” But then I remember.
I remember the reason why I’m doing this. I remember that I want to win this title. I remember that greatness and success comes with hard work and dedication no matter how I feel, and that I choose to live through courage rather than dying slowly by doing nothing with my life. I remember that I’m doing something not many people dare to do.
I’ve also come to realise that you’re only as strong as your mind, and if you think you’re tired, you will be tired. I liken it to seeing a particular car on the road all the time. If you’re looking out for it, you’ll always see it.
After reminding myself of these things I suck it up, get dressed, and drag my sorry ass to the gym for my lunchtime session. After warming up, I get into it and realise that I feel good, and I immediately have all the energy in the world. All of a sudden, training doesn’t seem so bad. I’m glad I went to the gym after all.