Motivation, or lack thereof is one of the biggest factors in determining how far you go in the any sport or training. We all come to fitness training with a drive, a will to be better, to dominate and to win. The biggest problem I found throughout my training was not how to stay motivated, but rather how to prevent becoming unmotivated. Life finds ways of eating at your positive energy and there are things I believe you can do to mitigate these erosive factors.
The wear and tear of training, sparring and fighting take its toll, staying motivated even when life is perfect is not guaranteed, it’s easy to give in to guilty indulgence at almost any time.
In a punishing sport like boxing, what not to do becomes just has important as what TO do.
1) Keep your relationships simple. There is only so much you can do to stop the demands of a parent or spouse. Even the most considerate will draw you into their world and away from yours. Boxing requires time, energy and focus that some people will never understand.
Nevertheless, the spouse or parent is the least of your worries, at least they are predictable and have most likely been in your life for awhile. What you need to be concerned with are any new women in your life, especially if you are young (between 14 – 24). They are hard to resist, rendering the word ‘no’ almost impossible to utter.
If you want your boxing to stay level, then beware of lust, love and the women that inspire it. Don’t underestimate the power of the dopamine rush they will send to your brain. Training sessions will be replaced with ‘hangin’ out’, runs will be replaced with phone calls, and pugilistic thoughts will be replaced with poetry and sexting. Remember, the line from the first Rocky movie, “Women weaken legs!” They also weaken minds. It’s actually quite easy to convince a woman of your dedication and have them understand, the problem you’ll most likely face is that you will want to spend time with them over boxing. You’ll lay your own trap and walk right into unbeknownst to yourself. Don’t give yourself too much credit when it comes to willpower with women, just stick to training hard.
2) Keep your financial house in order. Less energy spent chasing money means more energy spent in the gym, however you should still chase hard after the money you need to sustain yourself. If you are young and need money for clothes, a phone, transportation and the occasional outing then make sure you’re not dropping your dollars on frivolous things. You can probably downgrade from the pair of Jordan’s and extra bling until they discover a gene for Jordan and bling dependency. Spend only what you need and get in the habit of putting money aside if you can afford to. If you are out of school then this advice is all the more meaningful. It’s great to know that you are dedicated to boxing and don’t want work to get in the way of your ‘future’, but sometimes you need to suck it up and put in the hours, or get the job that has the hours. I spent the early part of my twenties broke doing part-time jobs and had lots of time for boxing, I can tell you that the blow to your pride and self-esteem from barely making ends meet will leave you laying around on the couch all day instead of doing roadwork. A busy person tends to stay busy, don’t beat yourself up if you had to work overtime and missed a workout. I know what it’s like to wash dishes until 5am and go home beat. Hold on to some cash and focus on needs, not wants. Keep your financial house and your independence in tact, train your ass off when you have the time, you’ll go much further.
3) Stay away from drugs, alcohol, sugar, and fast food. Do I need to say more on this? Nothing will bring your training to a halt faster than occasional use of a substance that becomes too occasional, and trust me it will, so why even bother? Your prime will be over by your mid to late twenties, and by then you’ll know if you have potential, after that you’ll have the rest of your life to ruin, why start now?
As for sugar and fast food, don’t be fooled by the fact that they’re natural substances, so is asbestos! Do some research on sugar and the hormone dopamine and it’s psychological effects. You are an addict and don’t even know it. Too much sugar will leave you wanting another late snack, it’ll make you want to leave the gym a bit earlier than you should, and will kill you when it comes time to making weight. A good fighter should stay in good shape year round (Ricky Hatton the exception) and always be ready to fight. Get in the habit now of treating yourself right, when your fight career is over you’re not gonna like being known as the fat guy who used to box.