Next fights are always iffy, partly because it’s boxing, and also because I’m in the Masters (over 35), and female. There just don’t seem to be that many of us out there.
I went to weigh-ins for a match a month or so ago and didn’t get an opponent, which is fairly standard in boxing. In fact, 12 of my team went, and only 6 got matches.
This time I am a bit more hopeful, but I’m keeping my expectations tamped down. I’ll be very pleased to get the match if it does come through, but it will not be a huge deal if it doesn’t.
My opponent weighs 125, which means I’ve been cutting weight, which is miserable, since I’m already on a clean diet and normally fairly light (142). But I’ve been managing, and I hope to weigh in at 136 if I possibly can this weekend. If she’s gained at least a few pounds we’ll be in range and the match will be on.
I was chatting with Amy Scheer about this and told her about the weird rule in boxing (not all jurisdictions follow it) that you can’t weight in 1. Unshaven — no beard or ‘stache, boys, or 2. In jeans or pants. I told her that I plan to weigh in in my lightest ever undies, shorts, and a tank.
To cut the weight, I’ve mostly chosen to eliminate sugars and processed carbs. No Cheetos (aaaaugh!). Goodbye to my periodic slice of whole grain toast. Tortilla chips reduced to 6 at any given time (I love hot salsa). No popcorn with the family (they have it all the time). No bread. No pasta. Bread and pasta were already nearly non-existent, anyway. Nothing processed or canned.
Even the sweeter fruits are gone — apples, oranges, and most bananas. Only raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and cherries remain right now.
I’m eating a ton of raw broccoli, almonds, bell peppers, fresh asparagus, lean meat, onion, spinach, egg whites, plain yogurt, cottage cheese with berries, almonds, smoothies…
And I’m adding more green tea and oolong tea. I drink at least 3 cups a day now.
And I learned something new from Amy as I described my eating plan and we discussed particular food choices. In addition to choosing the right foods and maintaining an excruciatingly careful timeline of eating every day (to avoid the insulin spikes), I told her about one cutback issue I’ve been aware of and successfully dealing with this time around.
There’s only a difference of degree between dieting and starving. When your leptin levels drop (because you’ve cut back calories, which I’m doing right now) so does your metabolism and fat-burning ability. It usually happens after a week of dieting. Leptin is doing it’s job to make sure you have enough fat and energy to survive. That’s not good when I want to cut weight.
So I have to increase leptin levels in order to convince my body I’m not actually starving.
Amazingly, this can be done with a whopper of a treat. It takes a week of cutting to drop leptin levels by half, but only one “overfeed” to bring them back up. So a hunk of greasy pizza, some mac n cheese, a coupla Reese’s PB cups — but only once a week, and not crazed. The point is to give your body a good dose of carbs and fat together and your leptin goes back up to normal levels.
Amy mentioned that this was called “Carb Cycling,” which I had heard of, but didn’t know what it was. I used my formidable Google skillz and discovered she was right.
The other thing I’ve been doing is following my normal mental prep plan.
This really only has three steps:
1. Envision all the women I see in the course of my day as a potential opponent.
I look at the women in the gym, in the grocery store, at the park and everywhere, and I size them up. Rarely do I immediately dismiss any of the women I see as potential opponents. If they are three times heavier than me, I think about how I will have to be fast in order to avoid their power hits. If they look small and quick, I run through my defenses against the inside game. If they have big biceps I go over my own strengths and brace myself for a slugfest.
This seems to really help with the shock of seeing your opponent for the very first time.
2. Work through a round or two of boxing in my mind as I go to sleep each night.
I imagine my opening moves, my defense, and my general energy level. I replay certain things over and over again, and make myself quick, strong, and mentally on my game. I try to go to sleep boxing well.
3. Radio silence at all other times.
It doesn’t help me to focus too much on the upcoming match. I just get worked up and have a hard time focusing on other things, like my full-time work, family, or the crazy eating plan I have to be on. So I maintain mental white noise on the boxing channel, which helps keep this whole event from draining energy.
And that’s it! That’s my plan, and it’s what I’m going with.
How do you get ready for a big event? Do you have a plan you follow, or do you just do everything on the fly?