A workout disguised

It is no surprise that people are turned off exercise. Do you have the time and patience to accept discomfort in return for a future reward?

A 2006 a Duke university research paper found that more than 40 percent of the actions people perform each day weren’t actual decisions, but instead habits. (Neal, David T., Wendy Wood, and Jeffrey M. Quinn. “Habits—A repeat performance.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 15.4 (2006): 198–202.)

By way of discipline, your habits can be changed. Discipline is also an effective method of learning patience and patience enables you too persevere in physically and mentally demanding situations such as exercise, whilst also improving your ability to:

  • make clearer decisions
  • reduce stress
  • create a better relationship with fitness and those around you

The phycological act of disciplining your mind can take time. Exercise and discipline are quite similar. Both acts are as much empowering as they are draining. According to https://jamesclear.com/new-habit it takes on average about 66 days to form a new habit (but this really depends on the person and circumstance). Thankfully, there are tricks that can be used to train your brain to develop more patience which in turn will make a gym workout sound more appealing. One of those ticks is to disguise your workouts!

Despite it’s bad reputation for blood and violence, boxing is an intellectual sport based on technique and co-ordination. Once you have tapped into your inner self and adrenaline kicks in, punches generally don’t hurt, they are just numbing. This is one of the most misunderstood things about boxing. Do you ever see boxers crying with pain in the ring? Exactly.

In the same way as meditation, boxing gives you a deeper sense of connection to your body. This enables you to explore new areas of your brain that have not yet been mapped. The body reacts negatively to anything it is not used too. Training your body to not react to pain in boxing is similar to getting used to going to the gym in general. Psychologically, our body’s natural reaction will be to freak out because it is participating in something unusual.

Let us imagine you are a young Ramon Dekkers – a Muay Thai fighter who will someday win the world kickboxing championship 8 times.

It’s 1981 in Breda, the Netherlands. You are 12 years old. Your mother has encouraged you to take up martial arts so you head down to a local studio to try a sport you have no experience in. For support, your mother sits ringside. Initial motivation by way of family support is very important but Dekkers cannot rely on motivational support from others to carry him to the world championship! …You must do this alone.

Suddenly, your heart rate and respiration increases as you approach the ring. Although, the experience of a new activity entertains your brain as it builds new connections in uncharted areas of the mind. So-much-so that you forget you are exercising entirely! For the next 4 years, you train consistently. Training becomes second nature rather than a chore. You get better and more disciplined everyday. It wasn’t easy at the beginning but you’ve persevered and now that you are 16, it’s time for your first fight.

The physical consequence of being punched amplifies the psychological reaction of being punched. If unable to take control of your bodies reactions during a fight, you will end up in a continuous loop of disorientation and panic. Because you have disciplined your body to deal with pain, you become aware that actual pain itself is not significant. It is the panic that makes boxing and exercise in general an unpleasant experience. Knowledge is power. Your opponent is not only older than you, he is much more established. An understanding of how to stop the shock cycle enables you to win the fight with a spectacular knockout!

Ultimately, the main desire within a workout is to ensure your muscles move as much as possible. As children we ran for hours playing games such as ‘It’, ‘Capture the Flag’ and ‘Cops and Robbers’. For Ramon Dekkers, his playground was quite literally the boxing ring but I have no doubts he enjoyed a game of ‘tag’ from time to time. Learning how to take a punch in boxing is similar to beginning an exercise routine. Both activities involve re-wiring the brain to anticipate a physical effect and soften a physiological effect.

Many fighters have been famously injured during fights without even realising! The sheer adrenaline pulsing through your system masks the pain. Below I have included a two examples extreme boxing injuries that fighters have fought through. ProTom fitness does not recommend persevering in the same way at home.

In 2011, in the final seconds of the 3rd round of a UFC boxing match, Thiago Silva left Vera with life changing injuries to his face. Vera caught a glimpse of his rearranged face in a monitor and laughed! Whilst here at ProTom, we are not laughing.

The first round of a fight with McGregor left Nate Diaz’s face in a bloodbath which continuously got worse and worse throughout the fight. McGregor opened up previous wounds from other fights.

McGregor vs Diaz

Diaz’s comment on still standing post-fight whilst McGregor was taken hospital for leg injuries. (The 2 million pay-out probably helped to soften the blow).

He’s going to the hospital and I’m going to the afterparty. Come through.

Nate Diaz
Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA)

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