Boxing Zombie Ate My Brain

Don’t Give Your Brain to Boxing Zombies

It’s been a busy week. I spent most of it on the road, driving the seven hours to Atlanta for the pre-fight press conference and photo shoot for Atlanta Corporate Fight Night. Before that, though, I scrambled madly to make sure I had all my work sent out to clients, so when I hit the road I was already a bit spazzed.

The multiple days of shenanigans in Atlanta went fine; I drove back home, had a glass of wine and jumped in the hamster wheel to catch up — no time for workouts, barely even time to breathe. In the end, I went an entire week with no solid workouts (I did run a few rounds of steps when I got into town in order to pull the worst of the road kinks out), and certainly having never entered a boxing gym for anything other than a photo shoot.

Your brain on fear

So I was facing my regularly-scheduled sparring session with a fair amount of gut churn. Here’s what was going through my head. No filter, no prettification, my actual thoughts:

  • I can’t spar.
  • I’m going to get my ass kicked.
  • I won’t be able to breathe.
  • I’m fat.
  • I shouldn’t go.
  • I suck.
  • Cancel, cancel, cancel!
  • Red alert! All systems shutting down.
  • I’m not feeling so good.
  • My ________ hurts. (fill in with anything from eyelash to toenail)
  • I hate boxing.

When I caught that last one flying past I did a double take. WTF, self? You LOVE boxing, you’re practically married to boxing, you have a fight coming up in January, and you’re writing multiple books about boxing. What is your problem, dumbass?

The problem was that I had willingly handed my brain over to boxing zombies who promptly ate the offering and left me with a giant head sticky with brain remnants and crawling with fear maggots. (Disgusting enough for you? I got more.)

How fear multiplies

My single biggest problem is that the longer I’m away from the gym, the higher my fear factor goes.

It doesn’t seem to matter how long I’ve been doing this boxing thing, I still want to hand over my rational mind and operate on terrified reflex when it comes time to get back in the ring.

Here are some of the other issues that go into the fear factor:

  1. There are a lot of unknowns in boxing.
  2. Sparring demands a great deal, physically and mentally.
  3. Performing poorly can get you in trouble.
  4. There’s always the potential for injury.
  5. You don’t always remember what your specific goals are.
  6. An emotional setback is hard to overcome.
  7. There’s no crying in boxing! (Hey, just like baseball.)
  8. You demand a lot from yourself in boxing (or your coach demands a lot).
  9. It’s critical to “fight until the bell rings” at the end of a round. Can you make it?
  10. Your gear may or may not be in great shape, clean, or performing well.
  11. Your sparring partners are depending on you to give good game.
  12. You don’t always know who your sparring partner will be. Can you trust them?
  13. People are watching, dammit!
Add up just a few of those, and suddenly you are out of your game. Which sucks, because the longer you’re out, the harder it is to get back in.

What really happened

So I took my freshly de-brained head and drove (very slowly and carefully, like a heavily sedated geriatric asylum escapee hoping to avoid the attention of the fuzz) to the gym.

I stretched, loudly bemoaning my limber-as-a-stack-of-timber muscles, making sure everyone in earshot would be hearing my (excellent!) excuses well in advance. I got through jump rope rounds, ring slide rounds, rope slip rounds, and shadowboxing, and then the time was at hand.

And I was fine.

A brainless idiot, but fine.

I did three or four rounds, starting seeing the specific things I needed to work on, and took a round off with my partner in order to do some drills, then got back in for some more rounds.

And I drove home, mentally rolling my eyeballs at myself and feeling sheepish.

How to avoid this mess in the first place

I’ve written before about overcoming reluctance to train, but the zombie days are a particular challenge. Here’s my take on it today.

Train regularly. Obviously, my main goal is always to keep my training up. Going more than two days without moving my ass off the couch is verboten. It doesn’t have to be furious interval training, but I can’t sit around and suck on Tootsie Pops while the boxing zombies lurch nearer and start to salivate over the giant slimy loops of brain I’ll soon be handing out, for free!

Get a goal! Even if it’s just a small goal. You don’t have to trade a non-essential body part for one, goals are lying around unused EVERYwhere. For me, it was as simple as finally remembering (while doing slip rope) that I needed to explode up from a dip with a ready shot. So I worked on that.

Keep your gear in shape and ready to use. Mine is sweaty, stiff, and stinky. I haven’t washed my mouthguard in so long it tastes like Dempsey Dumpster. But everything works. Eliminate the gear excuse in advance.

Make a Reese’s Pieces trail. Put on your workout clothes (or underclothes) before you go to work. Promise yourself that if you just get your ass to the gym, you don’t necessarily have to spar, you can just do a good warm up and some rounds on the heavy bags. Tell yourself that you only have to do one round of sparring. Because once you do that one, you might just feel good enough to do two. And so on. Lead yourself a merry little chase, straight into your workout.

Develop solid relationships with great sparring partners. The more you trust your sparring partners, the better your really horrible zombie-feeding days will be. Which reminds me: Thanks, Alex, for the good sparring work today, even after the boxing zombies ate my brain.

Celebrate your wins. I’m having a giant bowl of steamed kale (which is a personal fave, and a damn fine zombie repellant), a glass of red wine, and a couple of Paleo chocolate-peanut butter balls (If you’re subscribed to The Glowing Edge you’ll get the recipe! If you’re not already subscribed, click here, get a free book, the inside story, recipes, workouts, and more embarrassing stories about boxing, monsters, and such. Yay!). And just to cap my celebration, I’m writing a post, which makes me happy even though I’m willingly exposing my grade-A idiocy.

 Your turn to spill your guts

But not to zombies, hah! Leave a comment below and share your stories about having given your brain to boxing zombies, or how you masterfully took out a shambling pack of them with your beautiful, brutal, and efficient zombie-conquering skills.

It means SO much to hear other people’s stories, doesn’t it? They remind us that we are not alone, that we ARE fighters, and with just the right chainsaw, we can WIN, by Buffy.

Wait, she’s vampires, isn’t she…?

Awesome CC image by Juliana Coutinho on Flickr

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17 Responses to Don’t Give Your Brain to Boxing Zombies

  1. Catherine November 20, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    Lady, you kicked BUTT in the gym today. The zombies may have gotten your brain, but they certainly did not get your muscles nor your tenacity. Your task for tomorrow is to work out the sore kinks with an even HARDER workout 🙂

  2. Catherine November 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    (And, oh, there was totally a zombie episode of Buffy.'s_Party_(Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer))

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe November 20, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

      OMG an army of zombies in Sunnydale! What could be more awesome than that. I can’t tell you what a valuable resource you are to me, Catherine. Thank gawd you have a brain.

      And I’m so glad you’re one of my anti-zombie team. If you don’t pick a ring name REALLY SOON I’m gonna start calling you Buffy. Or hey, Slayer would work.

      And thank you, Herr Doktor, for the prescription. I’ll report on my workout tomorrow with relish. Brain relish, hah.

  3. Hillari November 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    I have those days, but they go along the lines of me not taking care of myself outside of the gym — like not getting enough sleep, for example — then trying to trudge through a workout or look sharp while sparring. On those type of days, I have to reach way down to find energy to do what I have to do.

  4. Amy November 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    Um, celebrate…with kale? KALE?

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe November 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

      Uhhh. Yes, sorta? I sorta adore kale? Ok, I confess. Yes, definitively. What I *hate* is washing it and stripping out the stems. But that’s why I gave birth to kids; they work in my kale stem stripping factory about once a month for a few minutes each time. And I pay them in cooked kale, which they love, so long as it has a packet of Ramen powder sprinkled over it. Deal!


  5. Andi Marquette November 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    Good god n’ alll, I think I just might have found a nirvana blog. I mean, not a blog about Nirvana. Though I do listen to them. But kind of a blog that is sort of nirvana-ish, without all the smelling of teen spirit and stuff. I am signing up post haste (and hasty).

    Cheers to you!

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe November 28, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

      Andiiiiii! Welcome to the asylum. It’s safe here. Sort of safe. Wait, define safe. Never mind.

      Glad to have you and thanks for taking the time to write such a WEIRD and awesome comment. (I *totally* understood it, I did.) You’re clearly our kind of people.

      And, added bonus, yawl, up above ^^^ in the comment chain. Andi is a writer (hey, Andi, do space operas have zombies?) too, and sometimes writes even longer comments on her blog than I do. So click over and you know, give her a virtual fist bump.

      Talk again soon!

  6. Wendy Morriss December 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    Hey, chick, took care of the zombies for ya…there are now assorted zombie parts n pieces scattered all over Raccoon City, USA…you’re welcome….much love…you rock!

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe December 5, 2012 at 9:24 am #

      Well, that’s clearly why things are going so well for me out here in the Hollywood of the East. ‘Preciate it, pardner. 🙂

  7. Wendy Morriss December 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Anytime! (blowing smoke from the end of the grenade launcher)

  8. Erin December 27, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Hey, I just discovered your blog. I love it! I’m 32 and started kickboxing just 2.5 years ago. I wandered into a gym for my intro class and basically haven’t left. I’m so glad there are other women out there who love it as much as I do. Love this post. Thank you!!!

  9. Lisa Creech Bledsoe December 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    ERIN! I just stole your bear video from and posted it on FB. If I knew your last name I would totes friend you up, chica; you’re my kinda badass, only with nicer clothes. 😉

    CONGRATS on kicking ass for 2.5 years and counting! Are you doing it for fitness, or would you like to punch somebody? (Heh, I loved saying that just now.)

    Glad you liked the post, too — come back again and give us your kickboxing perspective on stuff ANY time! Or hell, come back and kvetch, complain, cheer, or just say shit. That’s what I do, hah. Stay strong, chica!

    • Erin December 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      I just friended you on FB. 🙂 I really look forward to following your blog.

      I like punching people, but it turns out I don’t like getting punched! 🙂 I spar every now and then, but I’m careful who I spar with… some of those guys really don’t know how strong they are. Besides, punching and kicking pads is super satisfying.

      • Lisa Creech Bledsoe December 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

        LOVE padwork.

        And yeah, so true: you hafta be careful who you spar with.

        We’re officially FB homies now, woop woop!

  10. Mel April 21, 2013 at 7:24 am #

    I have a foolproof strategy – my trainer is also my boss, and he trains me at work. There’s my “don’t wanna get up and train zombie” repellent right there!

    Awesome to have found your corner here, looking forward to more!


  1. Treasure Chest: Off the Roller Coaster of 2012 | - December 31, 2012

    […] Don’t Give Your Brain to Boxing Zombies. This has SO happened to me. Love her steps for avoiding the zombie brain mess in the first place- they are applicable for so many things in life. […]

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