Last week marked six months since first started boxing. In that time, I’ve only missed two pad sessions and one run.

That’s 73 workouts in total.  25 x circuit training, 23 x pad sessions, 24 Sunday morning runs.

(Plus a solo session with @shellshockuk)

Basically, a lot of sweat.

It feels like I’ve learnt a lot in the first six months. Here are the real stand out points:

1. Show up

Woody Allen said 80 percent of success in life is showing up. He’s right.

It’s impossible to get in the right mood for every session.

Some weeks I feel like I could train more. Some weeks, I’m just not in the mood or I don’t have time.

Still, when learning anything, the most important first step is to make it a habit.

That’s why I set myself a 3 session a week regime.

I knew three session a week was realistic and now created a habit that’s now very difficult to break.

Of course, showing up isn’t all there is to it. When you’re there, you do need to be focussed, you do need need to be practising the right things.

The more you show up, the more chance there is you’re going to have a good session.

2. Shadow box

If there are two things everyone I’ve met with boxing experience has reiterated to me, it’s that the two most neglected parts of a boxer’s training regime are shadow boxing and footwork (see 3).

It’s difficult to get into a habit of shadow boxing. At first, you feel really self conscious, especially in front of other people. It’s also, compared to pad and bag work, a little bit boring.

There’s a reason everyone tells you  to shadow box: technique. There’s nothing better for working on your form than shadow boxing.

It is a real eye-opener when you hold pads for people who don’t look particularly big or strong; that is until you feel the force of their left hook and it shakes you to the core.

This is what teaches you to appreciate technique and to put in the hard yards fighting your shadow.

3.  Footwork

When you start boxing, the only thing that matters is how powerful your right cross feels when you fire it into the pad.

I’m as guilty as anyone for this and, I have to admit, it’s still one of my favourite parts of training.

When you start to look around the gym though, you become aware that the better boxers are the ones who can move and who don’t spend hours slugging at the heavy bag.

Soon you spend more time watching what their feet are doing than you do their fists. Then, as you work with better people, the connection between footwork and the impact of their punches becomes clearer.

This is enough to make you want to dedicate part of your focus into one of the harder elements of boxing to practice.

4.Eat right

The fourth thing I’ve learnt is that your diet will hold you back.

It doesn’t matter how many hours you put in at the gym, if you are not thinking about your nutrition, part of it is going to be in vein.

It’s not just about making sure you bulk up or don’t get flabby. The fact is: you eat right, you feel better; you feel better, you train better.

5. Injuries

When you’re intent on sticking to a routine, it can be easy to bury your head in the sand when you’re injured.

In any sport, it’s inevitable that sooner or later you’ll pick up an injury. When it does happen, it’s important you’re honest with yourself and get it sorted.

I ignored a niggle in my knee for weeks without seeing the physiotherapist. It only meant 5 day lay-off in the end and working around the problem area in training.

When I look back now, I was asking for trouble in the early days of my regime.

For the first couple of months, I trained without hand wraps. This was pretty stupid; the next day my wrists would be so bruised, I couldn’t push myself out of the bath.

Often, I’d just turn up and start, without paying a second thought to stretching off.

Most people, to be fair, won’t be this naive, but it’s still a lesson you don’t want to have to learn the hard way.

6. Listen

Boxing’s unlike a lot of other sports in that it’s unlikely you’ll be formally ‘taught’. You just kind of turn up at the sessions and train.

You’ll be given guidance but, it’s not like golf where you’ll turn up and have somebody analyse your swing for an hour.

You learn by showing up and being willing. People recognise this and help accordingly.

Even in a relatively short amount of time, I’ve met a lot of really good people through boxing, every one has been willing to try teach and advise.

They can all relate to what it’s like to start out. The trick is to pay close attention when they’re talking.

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