4 weeks ago it was agreed that I’d compete in a professional 70kg lightweight bout, on Budo (VI) in Bolton, Greater Manchester, again.
For me there’s always initial contemplation. A lot of questions need asking and answering.
Once it’s decided that it’s going to go ahead, the first thing I do is plan my training. It is planned around work, rest and that’s it.
4 weeks out. This for me now is where the spark seems to go a bit. For 4 weeks I’ve been training well, hardly touching alcohol, having a reasonable 80/20 diet and happily trying to improve on the areas I think could be pivotal on the night. But now it’s 4 weeks out; I personally have to clean my diet up more to lose 3-4% body fat (around 3kg) before the weight cut in the last week. Training has to be optimal, and as importantly, so does the rest.
It’s 4 weeks out. My shadow boxing is beginning to be focused on my opponent. I move in the way I will actually move once I hear the refs words ‘let’s fight’, not like the slick mover I can pretend to be, if I wasn’t to be found out when it comes to the crunch.
My jits is taking on even more of a style unique to me. One where I’m terrified to lose position and end up anywhere other than on top. I understand my training partners don’t like me.
Then, there are every day ‘stresses’, and even worse (the worst?), a relationship stress, for me, one that can only compare to a 3 year shark tank, only with someone who smelt and looked nicer.
Now it’s over. Relax again…
Now I want to enjoy the company of someone other than clients, training partners and coaches. Now I want to eat meals, eat deserts, drink beers, drink wines, go out, stay out. All the enjoyable things.
But now is not the time. Now it’s time to constantly worry about getting my body fat down so that I can train as well as I can, so I can cut as comfortably as possible and perform as well as I can. Which, is already most peoples (definately mine) biggest concern. Fear of not performing.
So right now, it’s time to really start getting everything that not long ago was only a thought, right.
Around this time, I can feel down. Mainly due to the change in, and possible lack of nutrition (I’ll give my take on it next time). I know others do too. It’s ‘natural’!? I think it’s natural to have ups and downs considering we’ve recently handed ourselves a giant stress. One that lasts 6,8,10 weeks!
In the book ‘A Primates Memoir’, the author Robert Sapolsky studies male stress in a baboon troop. Years of baboon observation see him deduce that in a stable hierarchy, males who fight most frequently ‘over status’ exhibit higher testosterone levels and are more prone to stress related disease.
Regardless of rank, the lowest stress hormone levels among males appear among those that engage regularly in social grooming and other nonaggressive contact with troop members.’
I think finding a way of reducing, channeling or balancing the stress is the most important if we’re that type. Different things work for different people.
Ultimately, I think a positive, relaxed, thankful, interested view on life helps. An easy going mindset.
And when all of the questions come back again. Some of the same ones from 4 weeks ago, but now with a much sharper edge, I personally always go back to the main question. Why do you do it? Because my reason is justified to me, I can overcome all of the times that are pretty miserable and just about maintain mental equilibrium and be happy about the big picture.
– Jamie Lester