What Limiting Factors Are Keeping You From Reaching the Top?
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Great results in any boxing or fitness program means understanding your own limitations and overcoming them. There may be things in your life or mind that are preventing you from reaching your goals. Removing them one by one can propel you to greatness or at least make your journey much more enjoyable and effective. If you can remove limiting factors from your life, you will achieve better results than you ever thought possible.
There are thousands of limiting factors and what may be a limiting factor for you may not be for someone else. That makes it hard for me to list a bunch you can check off as affecting you to work on. Everyone has different genetics, live different lives, and I could probably spend the next ten years coming up with factors that might be affecting your ability to follow a program or eat right or achieve the goals you set for yourself. So I'm not going to do that. Instead, I'm going to focus only on those limiting factors that are preventing you from becoming a great boxer in terms of your ability to be healthy, lose fat, and gain muscle which form the basis of your boxing potential.
In these terms, there are only a few limits:
Nothing Stopping You!
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I used to be a skinny kid. I weighed 135lbs and I did not look like any lightweight I can think of (Castillo or Corrales). I did not like being so skinny and tried many times to add muscle mass, gain muscle, and generally increase the size of my muscles and gain weight. I wanted to have a physique more like Tyson or Schwarzenneger and a little less like Alf Alfa of the little Rascals.
Gaining muscle is easy once you understand the basics (and it took me years to learn them - not quite sure why). There are four components to it:
- Eating like a horse (the right foods of course)
- Completely destroying your muscles in a workout
- A whole lot of rest
- Avoid Adaptation
You do those four things and do them well or at least consistently and I guarantee you will add muscle to your body (within your genetic limits.
Eating the right foods is covered in the nutrition portion of this website, or you might want to take a look at Get Muscles Fast - so I'm not going to get into a big nutrition discussion here. Just know that it is about 95% of the battle.
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Long time visitors of How-to-Box know that I cover a lot more than just boxing here and spend a good deal of time and effort trying to convince you all that your level of conditioning - all aspects such as strength, agility, balance, endurance and nutrition play a critical role in the ring.
Once people realize the role fitness plays in the ring (90% conditioning vs 10% skill at the amateur level), they suddenly take the purely "exercise" type workouts a lot more seriously. That said, there will always be the guy who knows it all and thinks that they don't have to do interval training or strength training or "insert training method here", because their technique is so perfect that they'll never get hit or because they have so much power that it only takes one good punch to end the fight. Dream on.
It's this incredible emphasis on fitness level that makes boxing workouts so effective. But just in case you still aren't convinced that you need a high level of fitness before you get in the ring - see what Erol had to say about his first few weeks in the gym:
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The human mind has a lot of power that no one really knows about. You will often hear people talk about how humans use 1-4% of their brains with Einstein peaking out at 10%. Well, what about the other 96-99%? Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about something called the Law of Attraction (LOA). In very simple terms, it goes something like this:
Ask for Something ----->Believe it Will Happen-------->Receive it
Sounds literally stupid on the surface, but if you look into it a bit, there is some substance to what these personal development people are saying. Whether I believe you can actually manifest something physical like money, cars, or situations, is still up for debate. In terms of this LOA, this disbelief is keeping me from realizing huge dreams.
The Law of Attraction is the guiding principle for visualization and is used to manifest reality. The term manifest simply means to make it happen or have it appear. Imagine a cup and the cup magically appears - or has been manifested.
If you are new to boxing or to exercise in general, you are going to quickly discover just how much your body can actually talk to you. After just one workout, you may find yourself sore in places you didn't even know existed and if you don't understand why, then that pain may be enough to turn you off of exercise forever -- and that isn't a good thing.
Why? Because it hurts. The more strenuous the activity and the more new you are to it, the louder your body is going to scream at you. If you've never experienced muscle stiffness or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) then you are in for a big surprise. It will start slowly as a mild discomfort after your workout that throughout the evening will crescendo into searing pain that will potentially immobilize you for days following. Okay, for most people, I'm exaggerating a bit, but if you push yourself hard enough and long enough, the pain can literally cause your body to seize up.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were little things you could do right now that would result in huge increases in your energy level and the motivation you have?
Wouldn't it be great if there were was some magic pill that you could take that would keep you on track with your training and ensure that 365 days of the year, 24 hours a day you are totally focused on becoming the best boxer you can possibly be?
Well, I'm not aware of any magic pill, but by implementing the following recommendations into your life, you can use the energy you do have a whole lot more efficiently and will notice the benefit. I'm not going to cover the eat right and exercise lines - by now I'm hoping that you understand those as givens. Instead:
A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Gerhard Potgieter, a 52 year old who seriously took up boxing to improve his fitness level about 8 months ago. I asked him if he would mind sharing his story and the challenges a 50+ year old newbie to the sport has in regards to training and anything else he might find useful. Thankfully, he did and I think you'll agree that his story below is both inspirational and testament to what you can do if you put your mind to it.
Special thanks to Gerhard for writing this, and I would encourage you to leave comments for him after the article especially if you want clarification or to offer words of encouragement.