MINDSET: OUR TIPS TO STAY FOCUSSED IN DECEMBER

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Ahhh December. This festive season of the year brings its own unique challenges.

Time is a big challenge, with so many things to complete, deadlines to meet, parties to attend, presents to buy, ham to eat and people to see it often is hard to stay on track with your health and fitness goals. This time of the year can also bring stress for some, and sticking to your fitness routine becomes a priority in order to keep a calm mindset and your body in balance in this crazy festive season.

Creating a positive mindset, or a new habit is the very first step you can take to get you on the way. It is said that in as little as 21 days, a new habit can be created – this means that eight or 12 week challenges are a perfect framework to create a new mindset and new routines.

So, during this Christmas period – especially when there are lots of events, parties, cocktails and Christmas ham, enjoy all of the above - but show up for your workout. It is all about balance after all. Head coach Nick Tetoros shares his thoughts on four main topics:

 

1.     Set your goals, make them realistic.

Consider your work/life schedule, and then make sure you put aside time each day for movement. Whether that be coming to a class, or walking the dog, just by committing to moving your body every day will help you stick to your plan. Schedule in your classes ahead of time and do your best to not let them be compromised, because the best gift you can give yourself this Christmas is the gift of showing up, and tuning into your body as often as possible.

“Especially at this time of year people can make the mistake of committing to too many things when sometimes the simplest things are the most rewarding, commit to what you can easily achieve and plan your schedule around your training”- Nick Tetoros

 

2.     Show up to your workouts, do your best and do it with joy.

Maybe had a few too many champagnes at the Christmas party last night? That’s cool. That is what happens this time of year, and there is no avoiding it so enjoy it! However, still get to your class. It might not be the easiest session, but you will feel a whole lot better if you can balance the fun and the focus.

“When you leave and your workout is done you reward yourself physically and mentally. I’ve trained on Christmas Day, because boxing is what I love to do – any day of the year!”  

 

3.     What excuses are you telling yourself?

There are times, when we might tell ourselves some stories that in fact, are not entirely true. For example: “Ohhh I am just going to cancel my session because I blew my eating plan at that big cocktail party last night, so I may as well just wait until the new year to start the new me”…Your body would heartily disagree with you if you asked it whether it wanted to skip an awesome boxing session, but the funny old mind has ideas of its own. Try and catch yourself when you hear an excuse – because that is all it is, an excuse. And you know what kills a goal faster than you can say ‘Turkey’? EXCUSES.

“I find that you can’t make excuses as easy if the goal is clear and meaningful. You have to have good people around you, family and friends that will help you stay on track and not let you make excuses”

 

4.     And importantly, don’t give yourself such a hard time.

If you miss a session because of circumstances that life throws us, try not to give yourself a hard time. After all, this time of year we need to remember compassion. Make sure you find time to make up for it in some way – if you can’t get to a later class, take a walk around the block or go and play some footy with the kids. Do something to move your body, but don’t let a negative mindset stop your progress.

“You have to be stronger than your excuses, you have to give back to the most important thing – which is sticking to your goals. Giving yourself a hard time does nothing, this is a happy time of year, so enjoy it!”

 

 

And if you need any more inspiration, have a listen to this Spotify Feelin’ Good playlist and get that body moving!

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5 MUSCLE BUILDING EXERCISES FOR BOXING AND KICKBOXING THAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING

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For those who are looking to add extra power and strength to their boxing practice, adding some specific weight exercises will be beneficial to your prime boxing movers: shoulder muscles, abdominals and hamstrings/quadriceps. With a consistent boxing regime, it's possible to add significant definition to these muscles anyway but include the below in your workout plan whether you are doing classic boxing or a kicking variation such as Kickboxing or Muay Thai:

BOXING

Lateral Raises

Lats are the middle part of your shoulder, responsible for moving and raising the arms to the sides and overhead. Super important for building up the shoulder muscles to create strong, fast punches so look to use lighter weights but with more reps. Raise arms parallel to the ground with a smooth, controlled motion, going no higher than shoulder height. Add variety to this workout by alternating palms down, thumbs down or thumbs up to reach different parts of the muscle. Do three sets of 10. Also look to include some lateral raises with elbows bent at 90 degrees to really work into those badboys.

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Punching with weight

Adding some light weights to practice punches is a great way to add power and stability through working out the shoulder and other muscles. Depending on your size and strength, look at between 3kg to 5kg weights in each hand. Do sets of 10 to 15 uppercuts and 10 to 15 straight punches on each arm and 3 x sets per punch. Make sure you are still working your technique, by bringing the weights back to your face (defensive position) to add a little extra bang for your buck.

Overhead Shoulder Press

You can’t go wrong with this simple and effective exercise, Overhead or Military Shoulder Press reaps benefits for its main targets: the shoulders, upper back, and triceps.

You can use hand weights or a barbell - start by using heavier weights to press from the top of your chest to overhead to an arms-extended position, bringing the weights back down to your shoulders.

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KICKBOXING

Adding to the above exercises you will need to look at building core strength and stability in the legs when adding kicks to stabilise the hips and lower back. Using heavy hand weights whilst you are doing these exercises will increase the results, giving your body shape and strength.

Lunges

Important when working the big joints in the body is to mindful of your form. To perfect the perfect lunge: keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up keeping your eyes forward as to not put pressure on your neck. Always look to engage your core. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn't touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position.

Look at doing 3 x sets of 10 x reps, it will burn your quads but it is worth it.

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Squats

There are so many different varieties of squat you can try, and all have their benefits if included in your workout plan. Here are some absolute winners:

- Jumping Squats: Place your fingers on the back of your head and pull your elbows back so that they’re in line with your body. Dip your knees in preparation to leap. Explosively jump as high as you can. When you land, immediately squat down and jump again. 

- Standard Squat with hand weights: Stand as tall as you can with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Pause, then slowly push yourself back to the starting position. 

- Pistol Squat (or one legged squat): Stand holding your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level, parallel to the floor. Raise your right leg off the floor, and hold it there. Push your hips back and lower your body as far as you can. Pause, then push your body back to the starting position.

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If you are interested in some one on one PT sessions to explore the above and create a plan to suit (and smash) your fitness goals, please get in contact tonia@boxingtraining.net.au

 

5 REASONS WHY BOXING IS AWESOME FOR WOMEN

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If you’re a woman and happen to have seen the boxing movie Million Dollar Baby, then there is a high chance you might have been inspired to train like Hilary Swank, find yourself a Clint Eastwood mentor and learn how to punch some bags like a badass.  

It is no lie that boxing is a male dominated sport, and women who succeed in boxing are the best of the best, they have to work against traditional views of female roles and define their own way often under the scrutiny of their male counterparts.

But boxing isn’t just about having arms like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2:

Gunshow! 

Gunshow! 

For the ladies, it might be about having the confidence to walk a little taller, to feel a tad stronger physically and mentally. It might mean that she feels she is more capable in her job, her life and within her family. This is one of the reasons why boxing is excellent for females young and old, it truly builds confidence.

  At Fitness Ring, we are encouraging women to master the complex skill of boxing, which has so many awesome benefits:

1. All over tone

Boxing is the best high-intensity, kilojoule-burning activity that you can do,” says Lauryn Eagle, professional boxer, owner of Lauryn Eagle Boxing Gym, ambassador for Adidas, and Everlast – boxing offers an awesome mix of muscle-building strength training and kilojoule-burning cardio. From head to toe, boxing creates lean muscle!

2. You are in the present moment

Women (and men) are often multitasking constantly, fatiguing the brain. Learning the combinations for boxing requires concentration and single pointed focus. Using your mind in this way, in harmony with moving your body is a form of moving meditation – take your concentration away for a second and you might end up punching yourself in the face. Boxing is a present moment experience and after an hour of turning your brain off to all else, you will leave with a calm state of mind and your body will thank you.

Tonia Tetoros with Scherri-Lee Biggs (former Miss Australia)

Tonia Tetoros with Scherri-Lee Biggs (former Miss Australia)

 

3. Fun = Routine

You will be more likely to stick at something that is fun. Boxing requires ducking and weaving, upper body movement and footwork. Constantly changing up the movement will keep boredom at bay, you will be in your body rather than your mind wandering off to your ‘to-do list’ (which might happen if you were grinding away on a treadmill for 45mins, staring at a TV).

4. Strength

Strength developed on the inside as well as the outside. Working on your boxing technique and working hard on your fitness will give you a quiet confidence that will translate into all areas of life outside of the ring. Perhaps for some women, this training might foster the confidence for her to walk into a boardroom full of men and speak her mind, having more conviction in her life and her own abilities.  

Also, while most exercise routines don't do much in this department, hand-eye coordination is key for boxing. Working with a partner either punching or holding the pads requires focused movements and amazing recall, challenging your muscles and strengthening your mind.

5. Battles the effects of stress

Boxing has been linked to lowering stress and anxiety and if you have had a hard day at work, kids are driving you up the wall, you rushed to class in peak hour, or been through some emotional turmoil, punching it out is a great way to work through some tough emotions like fear, anger, anxiety and frustration. After your workout, your mind might feel lighter and brighter and those nasty emotions seem a little less turbulent.

Several studies have confirmed the benefits boxing has on our moods. This study by the Japan Society of Physical Education, Health and Sport Sciences, found that boxing programs significantly improved negative effects, produced positive engagement, and induced tranquillity in both males and females.
 

Nick Tetoros with Leela Ali, Muhammad Ali's daughter. 

Nick Tetoros with Leela Ali, Muhammad Ali's daughter. 

So, for all the ladies who might feel a bit anxious to walk into a boxing gym, but want to give it a go – please contact Tonia who will be able to talk you through all the information and help you plan your training to suit your goals and your schedule!

THE IMPORTANCE OF DIET: WHAT TO EAT WHEN YOU TRAIN

Image by @wefeedyou

Image by @wefeedyou

So you have done all the right things - you have woken up at the crack of dawn, dragged yourself out of bed and been to a training session and worked hard. Yet only a few hours later you feel tired, grumpy and a little shaky. This is all too common and can be a result of not eating the right foods to help your muscles and many body systems recover.

What you eat before and after training is a super important element of getting the most out of your session and achieving your fitness goals. The saying “Abs are made in the kitchen” is spot on! You can be training your little heart out but if you’re not fueling your body properly and at the right time, your goals will keep slipping away.

We chat to the lovely Charlotte Miller, who is the team dietitian for the Essendon Football Club as well as being a lover of boxing training here at Fitness Ring.

Dave and Charlotte - The chefs behind We Feed You

Dave and Charlotte - The chefs behind We Feed You

 

Can you give me an overview of your background and your current role within the health and fitness industry?

I trained as a dietitian and specialised in sports. I am currently working for the Essendon Football Club as the team dietitian and I’m also responsible for running the kitchen that provides all food to players and coaching staff while they are onsite for training. This job came about as I am also a trained chef and have been working in commercial kitchens for almost 20 years now.

 I am also a co-director of a ready to go meals business called ‘We Feed You’. While we are not specifically aimed at athletes, our meals are suitable for many people in the sports industry.

What are the biggest diet misconceptions around food and exercise?

I don’t even know where to start with this. Every few years a new diet trend hits the market and suddenly we are told we have been doing it all wrong. Until the next new trend! Unfortunately, these trends can really impact people who are feeling vulnerable about their fitness/weight/bodies and can lead bad diet and weight cycles and low self-esteem.

 It’s important to remember that everything needs to be applied in context. Yes, protein supplements can be a great addition to an athletes diet, if it is used correctly, but if you start to replace meals with this stuff or cut out other healthy foods then it no longer works the way it is supposed to. Most people don’t need any special products or new diet plans – instead look at increasing the amount of vegetables, grains and lean protein you eat.

 I also find people are always looking for shortcuts – with their diet and their fitness. If you have specific goals with your health and fitness then there is no shortcut – you need to work hard to improve strength and fitness, you need to workout regularly and you need to choose a variety of fresh foods and be organised and planned in what you eat.  

 

"There is no magic pill and spot burning is not a thing."

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What are the best things to eat before you train, and when?

This largely depends on your goals. If you are just someone who is trying to increase the amount of activity you do then I don’t think you need to be focusing on any special foods. Stay hydrated and have a snack an hour or two before working out.

If you are training more seriously or for longer periods then you should definitely put more thought into what you eat before training. For strength training workouts, a lean protein snack or drink pre-training can help to ensure you have the protein your system needs to build new muscle. If your workout is endurance based then add some carbohydrate.

Things to consider are:

-       How long is the workout?

-       How long since my last meal?

-       Will I have any stomach discomfort?

-       Access to food and drink during the workout.

-       Access to food and drink after the workout.

Good pre-workout snacks include milk based drinks, yoghurt, bananas, nuts, oats/cereal, dried fruit, wholegrain toast, peanut butter on apple, dried fruit, egg salad, hummus and vegetables.

Braised beef with cherry tomatoes and green beans

Braised beef with cherry tomatoes and green beans

 

What are the best things to eat after you train, and when?

Again, this depends on your goals – for the average person they should stay focused on eating regular meals with lots of fresh ingredients. For the more serious athlete, it is a good idea to get some protein and carbohydrate in within half an hour of finishing your training. This helps to ensure your body recovers quickly before your next session.

What is your day on a plate – what is your usual meal plan from when you wake up to when you go to sleep?

My work schedule is very different day to day so I don’t have a very consistent routine. I try to eat at home and be organised in taking food with me as much as possible but schedules change and I often end up eating on the run - this can be difficult but I try to not worry about it too much.

I usually exercise in the morning and have breakfast about 9 or 9.30 – Weetbix or oats with yoghurt and banana would be the most likely - with a massive cup of tea. In my work environments I am always surrounded by food and need to be tasting regularly so sometimes I don’t have a formal lunch but tend to graze over the day. But if I did pack lunch it would include leftovers from dinner, nuts, banana, dip and vegetables, berries and yoghurt and lots more tea.

I try to cook dinner at home as much as possible (good weeks and bad with this one) but do often have the same thing a few nights in a row. When I cook at home it tends to be protein with heaps of vegetables: salmon with greens, garlic and goats cheese, steak with beans and mushrooms or a braised chicken with brown rice are doing the rounds at my table right now. When I am caught out and don’t feel like cooking its pasta with garlic, chilli and anchovies - no nutrition in that, but it is delicious.

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What are some outcomes of a healthy balanced diet?

The obvious answer here is that we can lose weight, but I don’t want to talk about healthy eating in terms of weight because it suggests we need to be a certain weight to be healthy which is far from being true. But eating a good variety of fresh foods certainly has a lot of other benefits.

1. Better Sleep

Reducing the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume can definitely improve your sleep. You will sleep deeper and more consistently and wake up feeling fresh.

2. Increased energy

Increased intake of vitamins and minerals will mean our body can function at its best, making it easier to get through the day without needing a nap. It can also help you to get through workouts and stave off winter colds.

3. Less stress

Better sleep and more energy will hopefully equal less stress, but an increased intake of vitamins and minerals can also help moderate hormones and keep our immune system healthy. Reducing alcohol and caffeine will also help reduce stress levels.

4. More regular toilet habits

No one likes to talk about this but it’s important that we are able to empty our bowels regularly! (As in every day). Many people are shocked by this and only go once or twice a week. Eating regular meals with plenty of fibre and fluid and moving as much as possible will help with this.

 

Follow Charlotte's food journey on Instagram 

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HOW TO WRAP YOUR HANDS

Whether you are a beginner or have some serious hours working in the ring, wrapping your hands is super important for a few reasons: 

- Wraps primarily support the wrist and knuckles which protects the hand as well as avoid sprains in the wrist.

- Having a strong wrap will give you extra cushioning and confidence when hitting hard, avoiding injury to joints and bones in the wrist and hands. 

- Beginners often hit the bags and pads too hard, and a common side effect of this is sprains in the wrist, which is made up of delicate bones and tendons. Wrapping hands properly will help with this, however when starting out, the focus should be on technique and speed, rather than force. 

WHAT WRAPS TO BUY:

There are a variety of wraps to choose from, but for the best results don't buy wraps that are less than two inches in width. The length of the wrap will vary from 120 inches for someone with a small hand; to 180 inches for boxers with bigger hands. (We have wraps available in the studio as well as on our online store). 

There are also gel wraps which are a good option if you are just starting out. Keep in mind that typical 'Boxercise' inners (like cotton gloves) do not provide any support to the hands and wrist, so it is important to discuss wrap options with our trainers when you come in for your first session. 

HOW TO WRAP YOUR HANDS:

Start off by placing the loop at the end of the wrap over your thumb, and across the back of your hand - this is important so the wrap doesn't slide off when you make a fist.

Below is a tutorial video of a basic beginner hand wrap using Everlast 180" wraps available in studio.

HEADSPACE DAY + NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH WEEK

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Headspace day took place on Monday 9 October 2017, as part of National Mental Health Week. This national day of awareness aims to educate young people on the importance of taking care of their mental health, and preventing issues early on before they become more serious.

The statistics around mental health in Australia are important for us to all be aware of:

  • Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. On average, 1 in 4 people – 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men – will experience anxiety.
  • 3 million Australians are living with depression or anxiety
  • Men are less likely to seek help than women, with only 1 in 4 men who experience anxiety or depression accessing treatment.
  • Over 75% of mental health problems occur before the age of 25.

Whether it's pounding the pavement on a daily run, punching some boxing bags, flowing through some Downward Dog, those who make a habit of exercise often say one thing that helps them stick at it is that it simply makes them feel good.

Dr Nicola Burton, senior research fellow in the University of Queensland's school of human movement studies, says when it comes to exercise "we're not only talking about preventing poor mental health or treating it, but promoting good mental health. Even if you don't have depression or anxiety or a serious mental illness that you want help managing, you can enhance your wellbeing and vitality."

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Exercise can boost mood, concentration, alertness, and even your ability to look on the bright side of life. So look for something that you love doing, and make it a habit. 

As part of Headspace Day, the crew here at Fitness Ring held some training sessions for lovely people at Hays Recruitment, running lunchtime sessions of HIIT and Boxing in support of their charity partner, Headspace. 

#headspaceday

How I won a world title in Kickboxing: An interview with Nick Tetoros

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By Caz Pringle

Nick Tetoros lives and breathes boxing. This love of the sport has spanned over three decades. there have been highs, lows, belts and broken noses, but it is this passion that still sees him thRough everyday when he opens the doors to Fitness ring, his own studio down a hidden laneway in the outskirts of Richmond, Melbourne.

Nick was a Professional Boxer and Kickboxer for 11 years in which he held several titles and belts, including World Kickboxing Champion 1998 and WBO World Boxing Organization ranked #8 in 2003. He represented Australia at the pre Olympic boxing trials in 1991. Nick was a sparring partner of former world champion, Kostya Tszyu, in preparation for Kostya’s world title elimination fight.

I sit down with head coach and owner of Fitness Ring, Nick Tetoros to discuss how he prepared for his 1998 World Kickboxing Championship title.

 

When and where was your world title fight held?

The Empire Theatre, Melbourne on November 29th 1998.

Actually…next year will be my 20-year anniversary! How cool is that?

 What was your training program specific to preparation for the belt?

My program was focussed on improving my cardiovascular, heart and lungs. To be able to execute the whole 12 rounds, to go the distance as it was a kickboxing fight.

They don’t hold any 12 round kickboxing fights anymore, it’s too hard on the body and the feet and the fighter is open to so many injuries. Now the rounds are three minutes instead of two, and five rounds in total for professional kickboxing fights.

How long did your fight go for?

My title fight went for the full 12 rounds. I was so happy with the outcome that I decided to veer my professional career into another sport that I love, which was boxing.

Did you follow a particular diet program? 

Instead of eating three to four big meals per day, I cut it down to eating five to six small meals which increased my metabolism. I also made sure that I was drinking three to four litres of water a day – I followed this program throughout my whole professional career.

How important is mindset before an event like this, did you have a vision of yourself winning?

Absolutely. It is all about focus and concentration on the goal. I thought about nothing else! I had to block out a lot of chatter before a fight, I never spoke to anyone apart from the guys in my corner – my trainer Dana (who was also an exceptional cut man), my brother, my family and my manager. 

How frequently were you training?

Twice a day, at least five times a week in last six to eight weeks before the fight. I would then taper off in the lead up to the fight in order to be fully rested.

Training sessions were an hour and half at minimum, and I tried to ensure that I got six to eight hours of sleep every night…. Which wasn’t always the case, because I would rather be doing the ground work in the ring.

Who was your trainer and how long did you work together in preparation for this fight?

My trainer was Master Dana Goodson, best kickboxing trainer I have had by far. I had been working with him for a while when I took a trip to Hawaii (his native home) and it was there that he sat down with me and gave me a clear view of the next ten years of my life, and I knew from then on what I wanted to achieve. He guided me to be the best version of myself.

And I did achieve my goal, with his help – it took ten years of hard work. It is a combination of determination and who you work with that gets you to where you want to go.

What is your advice for anyone looking to take their training to a professional level?

Do the work. Do the hours. Do the extra yard and find the best trainers that bring out the best in you. Stay focused on the goal, always.

That is the difference between being average and being brilliant. 

What are three words that describe the feeling when you won?

Relief. Joy. Teamwork - I didn’t do it on my own. I had my family, my coach and my friends with me the whole way.

When you started boxing professionally, did you miss kickboxing?

Kickboxing I had so many great moments and memories, but now I lean towards Boxing. It is one of the best sports by far. I believe they should offer boxing in all schools because it is such a great way to build discipline and endurance.

Some final words:

Don’t get comfortable in your zone. Results don’t come from a place of comfort.

20 years later

 

You can watch footage from Nick's 1998 World Kickboxing Fight right here: