Pain is Powerful Tool – Use it in Your Favor

Blog-main-051214Pain is a part of the sport. If you want to be a boxer, it comes with the territory. The way to best cope with pain is to recognize it, categorize it and then utilize it to grow and adapt.


First you have to know that the human brain communicates the feeling of pain in order to protect your body from real potential injury. It does this before you actually reach your real capacity of muscular or physical endurance. When you recognize that this is only a “signal”, you can then push beyond that pre-emptive warning sign to get to a real pain point. That ability and desire to go beyond the first step is what will make you stronger.


The other type of physical pain is real pain, like when you get hit. There’s no denying that usually hurts. The way your body deals with this type of pain, goes back once again to your fight or flight response. The release of cortisol and the rush of adrenaline that you feel when you’re fearful or nervous actually increases your pain tolerance. How many times have you gone into a fight with pain or a previous injury and then the adrenaline gets going, you get into the fight, focus on your opponent, what you’re doing and the pain disappears? At the very least it’s decreased greatly because you’re focused on the guy in front of you, who is the real danger. Your natural body chemistry kicks-in to take care of the pain and masks the feelings that it brings. Some studies by Keele University have shown that a rush of adrenaline can increase pain tolerance by up to 65%.

That’s the second way your body is programmed to deal with pain.


The third and final component of processing pain, is to know how to recognize and treat bad pain. This pain could occur during the course of training or during a bout. If you experience sudden pain in your joints or muscle soreness you may be performing a technique wrong or taxing your body incorrectly. If the pain persists or continues to the point where it inhibits your movement, it’s best not to ignore it or simply tell yourself to “suck it up.” Even though that’s a fighter’s mentality, you are still an athlete and have to know your body’s limits. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and all of the traditional approaches to treating an injury still work. Know when to apply which method and don’t ignore your body’s warning signs. Consult your coach or better yet a sports physician if you feel like your condition warrants it.


Yes…”Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body.”

Yes…”No Pain. No Gain.”

But above all, remember that pain is your body’s internal barometer. It lets you know when to turn the temperature down, when to dial-it-up a notch and when to hunker-down and protect yourself from the elements.


Professional athletes (not excluding amateurs, but professional being anyone who takes their sport seriously and treats it with respect) know how to read their bodies. Although many fighters pride themselves on being able to fight through the pain, in this case, it’s more important not to put your heart before your head.

Improving your Boxing Cardio

Blog_main_42814The image of a boxer bouncing through the shadows and fog at the break of dawn is synonymous with the sport.  Traditional roadwork is standard for any fighter who has any intention of being able to go the distance.  While typical roadwork is a fundamental part of training, there are a few other options that a fighter can employ to give him the ability to last round after round.

One of the more basic additions to your common running program is sprinting.  Adding in intervals and short bursts of all-out sprinting into the regular pace of your roadwork routine better prepares you for the ups and downs you will face in the ring.  A fight is seldom fought at a steady, consistent pace and intensity level.  That’s why it’s better to mix up the methodical pace of your run with unpredictable and intense sprints periodically throughout.  Interval training also isn’t just about incorporating sprints into a run.  A fantastic adaptation on an interval routine is incorporating natural body movements periodically.  For instance, after every three minutes of running, stop and do a natural body movement exercise; like push-ups, squat jumps, forward lunges or nearly any type of high-intensity exercise. This helps vary the intensity, adds cardiovascular demands and mixes up the attack on your system.

Another twist on the classic approach to jogging is doing an about-face.  Because so much of his arsenal and attack relied on his backward defensive movement, Muhammad Ali was a big proponent of running backwards.  Even if you are a forward-motion, aggressive fighter, there will be times when you’ll be forced to give ground and retreat a little.  If you’ve conditioned yourself to take a few backward steps on the road, it will help if you have to face the same circumstances in the ring.  Running backwards increases your dexterity, works different muscle groups, is more difficult on your cardiovascular system and muscular strength and requires more coordination.  You’ve probably seen fighters who can’t fight backing-up and you don’t want to be one of them.

You can also add in some cardiovascular fitness equipment to mix up your attack and provide variety. Mini trampolines, bikes, ellipticals, rowing machines; all provide fantastic cardiovascular benefits and are highly beneficial supplements to your running routine.

Blog-sub1_42814Finally, choose determination over distance.  Running at a faster pace is more important than running long distances.  Cross-country treks will not adequately prepare you for the ebb and flow of boxing.  You have to mix up your routine to more accurately mimic what you encounter in the ring.  When it comes to cardiovascular training for boxing, variety and intensity will win out over being able to run a marathon.  Slow and steady may win the race, but fast and intentional is victorious in battle.

As a fighter, once you gas out everything else starts to fall apart from there.  When fatigue creeps in, your technique starts to fall apart, your mind starts to focus on just trying to get through the minutes of each round and your punch output diminishes.  It is one of the most vulnerable feelings a fighter can face in the ring, so incorporate some variety into your cardio routine.  Hit the road and hit it hard so you won’t hit the wall.


The Top Ten Signs that Say “I am a Real Fighter.”

Blog-main-041414Let’s be real. Not everyone is capable of being a fighter.  It may be in everyone’s DNA, but without that everyday exposure to their survival instincts they lose touch and that natural mind/body connection gets lost.  What it takes, physically and mentally to fight, becomes foreign and feels awkward. They may try, practice and want to fight, but just don’t have what it takes.  Everyone was born with an inherent ability to fight for survival, but not everyone was born to be a competitive boxer.

Sure, most anyone can learn to “box” to varying degrees of success and aspire to call themselves boxers, but in the ring and in the gym you have to prove yourself worthy of being able to call yourself a real fighter.

Built for Combat and Forged to Fight


There have been several features dedicated to the psychology behind fighting, the fact that humans are actually hardwired to fight and survive.  The fact is, it’s not only psychologically inherent by nature, fighting is also physically inherent by nature.

Recent studies published by the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, has shown that contact sports can actually cause your body to convert cells into lean tissue.  The demands of high-impact sports, like boxing causes the brain to send signals to the body that it needs to be protected by muscle instead of by fat.  As a result, this conversion occurs at a cellular level.

Seven Things You Can Do to
Improve your Technique

blog_main_031014-1Everyone who consistently walks into the gym wants to be better.  The continual learning process that happens there is part of the appeal of boxing.  It’s a constant challenge to better yourself and improve.  However, that only really happens when a strong foundation is laid and you’re able to do the right things right.  Right?  So here it is…