5 Tips to Prepare for Your First Fight
Have you thought about what it would be like to have your first fight inside the ring?
Whether it be for a charity fight night, the thrill of it, or something you’ve always wanted to do – it can be very exciting… but it can also be very scary and stressful.
At the end of the day – you want to win.
Leading up to it, it’s common to be questioning yourself – are you really ready? Here’s some preparation tips / checklist you can use to make sure you are as prepared as you can be, and have confidence going in the ring.
1. Drills, Techniques and Sparring:
You NEED to have good technique before even thinking of engaging in your first fight. More often than not the fighter with the better technique will win – technique drills and sparring must be your number one priority, Shadow boxing, pad and bag drills and technical drills will all sharpen your tools. Sparring will help you add timing and the ability to apply your technique under pressure. When technique between two fighters is equal the fighter with the ability to perform under pressure will most likely win. Sparring also helps you visualize real in-fight scenarios when you shadow box, having been in the trenches in controlled sparring sessions. This will aid getting you in the right mindset come fight night.
2. Cardiovascular Endurance:
One of the most important things to have as a fighter! Technique starts to drop as you become fatigued – so if you have good conditioning, you stand a better chance at outlasting your opponent, should your skill-set be similar. Cardio and good conditioning is a very basic necessity that should be trained consistently and maintained at a good level. Keep your cardio level high and finish each training session with pad work conditioning, battle ropes, or running! In the lead up to your fight, this will double up in helping you to drop body fat to make weight.
3. Good Nutrition:
Not only should you be putting in the work inside the gym, but you should also be making the right choices outside the gym by fueling your body with the right foods. Aim to have a healthy balanced diet rich in whole foods that are minimally processed. Balance your meals with colorful vegetables, a serving of rice or sweet potatoes, and some lean protein (like chicken, white fish, beef) and a healthy fat source like a drizzle of olive oil or some avocado. This will help you perform better and recover faster after every session, as well as optimize your body composition. If you want to make good use of every session, start by having a well balanced diet in your routine.
4. Stay Hydrated:
In training, a fluid loss of 5% of body weight or more results in a 30% decrease in work and performance capacity. Joint lubrication and muscular hydration are also essential to better recovery. Our muscles are roughly 76% of water, and we need it to lubricate joints, regulate body temperature, transport nutrients, remove waste and for energy production (read more about hydration here). You’re going to be sweating out bucket loads during training, so not only will you need to replenish the fluids in your body, you also need sufficient water for basic bodily functions!
Try drinking at least 3L of water throughout the day in order to avoid dehydration, and cramping. One simple way to ensure you’re properly hydrated is to drink a big glass of water first thing in the morning, another one before every meal, and to always keep a bottle of water available as you go about your day.
5. Rest and Recovery:
Sleep is absolutely crucial when it comes to recovering mentally and physically from intensive training. Your sympathetic nervous system gets a chance to relax (this is your fight or flight response) when you sleep, your cortisol levels lower (this is your stress hormone), and your body gets a chance to repair itself. If you’re not well rested, you simply will not perform at your best. Even before stepping into the ring for fight, the stress can be overwhelming and lead to you tossing and turning just thinking about facing your opponent. Create a regular bedtime routine to help wind you down by reading, meditating, and stretching. Try to sleep at least 8hours every night, consistently. You can read more about proper recovery here.
Going into the ring can be very stressful and scary, but it is also an exciting and rewarding experience. If you’re able to have this opportunity, remember – winning or losing is not the most important thing – it is about enjoying the whole journey!
Article by: Corey Yao, Hybrid Personal Training, MMA & Fitness