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Work and Train for Fights - How to Balance the Two


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In case you work and train for fights- how do you balance out work and training?

In my case I find it easy to train twice a day around work when I work away from home. I tend to move around a lot and live in different places, at those times training is my social life and keeps me sane. ( I work in tourism so I work 7 days a week during summer time and a little less in off season)

At the moment I'm working home and I have friends who tend to be pissed of I don't say hallo from time to time, I have a house to take care of and my gym is 40k away, plus work finishes late so I miss class and have to train for myself.

I find all of that hard in order to get enough sparring and partner work in. Fitness is not a problem, just the rest is.

How do you balance it out?

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When I was living in the US, my gyms were an hour away in each direction and my work schedule was at a bar, so long hours but late at night which gave me time to train during the day. It was exhausting, for sure, but I loved training and didn't see or feel it as something I had to do but was instead my escape from the things I did have to do. I lived in the woods and wasn't social at all; I socialized at work but never stayed or spent time with people outside of working hours, so I wasn't having to juggle that part of it. But it was hard to find opportunities to train with other people. I only got sparring when I was able to make the scheduled classes of the gym I was invited to train with and I tried to keep my work schedule in line with making that time. But I'd find other people that I could meet up with in an empty gym and we'd just work together for an hour or so. If you can arrange to use the space with the owner or your coach and then find someone who can come work with you, it's an invaluable opportunity.

Can your friends join you for runs or quick meals?

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I'm lucky enough to work for a company that has allowed me to play around with my work schedule over the last few years. At first I was working long days 5 times a week, then it was half days six times per week. Both ways meant finishing at 9pm, so I've always just done all my training in the morning. Now, I'm working part-time, so I no longer struggle with a work/training balance, which is a luxury. On work days, when I can't join an afternoon session, I usually try to make up for it by staying late to do another hour or two by myself. I have always thought that it would be really difficult to juggle training and work at home, since I've only ever done it in Thailand. I'm lucky that I'm able to train first and work afterwards every day, rather than having to squeeze it in during the evenings after work, when I'm already tired. I'm curious to hear how everyone else does it!

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At home I was 9-5 straight home chill for an hour then gym I purposely lived around the corner from the gym. I loved my routine back home!

Here again my school was around the corner and they were really good let me have days off for fights etc but I found it more tiring than I expected!

I'd get to gym just after 4pm and sometimes my trainer would rush me and im like 'I've been at bloody work all day give me a break' whenever anything was wrong, my form, fitness etc ooh Kelly work work no good haha

 

My new school in bangkok I won't be able to just take days off but ill be finished early most days so ill be on time for training and im hoping Ill still be able to squeeze a fight in during the week.

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I work a 9-5 job, and a few hours of my part-time job a week. I'm 6x a week at the gym, for about 1,5-2h. I have to drive to my gym around half an our, so at week days I'm back home at 11pm. It's more tiring if I have my part-time job (it's not regular) and to be honest, I barely manage. If I were to fight, it would probably be possible during the weekends, when most of the fights take place anyway around here. I should squeeze in some running in the morning, but getting up at 6am is impossible for me at the moment. I hope that when it gets warmer I will be able to run in the evening (or rather, at night ;)).

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I'm in a similar situation right now, only it's balancing school and the gym. I wanted to go twice a week, but due to my class schedule and the amount of homework/tests, I can only do Friday evenings without sacrificing education (which comes first). As it's only a 45 minute conditioning session, I've decided for the time being to do my stretching, abs workout, and push-ups in the evening in my apartment. I'm going to try for the Saturday classes at 11am, that way I can fit two workouts in a week.

I really feel guilty if I can't go twice a week - I don't believe I'd make progress as fast as I could otherwise. :(

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In the end it is always a question of dedication, isn't it? How much are you willing to sacrifice in order to become better.

Sacrifice in terms of eg social life. Either your social life evolves around the gym, your friends train aswell, or you simply dont have any other committments.

As soon as committments like friends and family are gone it is fairly easy.

I moved back to where I am right at this moment about 5 months ago. up until last month training, work and training afterwards didnt bother me because I didnt have an active job (due to the winter months) and consequently there was not much outside to do eg gardening and housework...

It changed now, summer is coming and work keeps rolling in (I love my job) and it gets a little harder.

Some of my friends don't train, or wouldnt come close a gym. Im from a horse riding background, so some of my friends are basically out in the yards every single minute. Everyone who owns horses knows how much work this is, and it it much more time consuming than training 2 or 3 times a day. So those friends are a little left behind.

All those not horsey people seem to have adopted fairly good, they visit me after training sessions, or even come to training with me (even my dad started kikboxing!!!)

Its just that the last 3 or 4 weeks I was almost out of motivation. You seem to need to love training and fightig and I reached the point where I missed hanging around after work, having breakfast with friends before work. things like this.

For my birthday my dad didnt buy me presents, but cans of tuna, which is sweet, I wouldnt have eaten chocolate anyway, but those are times when I really really badly ask myself whether I am still ok.

I just find it hard at time to juggle everything.

I think Sylvie gets the motivation question asked a lot, how do you keep motovating yourself to give up so much 'just' because to get better. We dont perform a sport in which an awful lot of money is made like soccer or football. So it all boils down to our own motivation and how much we want to put in in order to reach our goals and progress. Isnt it?

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Interesting topic and never a one solution to fit all. I work 8-5/9-6 Monday to Friday so I'm pretty lucky with normal office hours. This means I can join evening classes every night, Saturday morning class and I also get in 2-3 morning sessions a week (normally that's shorter sessions of conditioning or yoga). However, even if I can fit in training daily, I can relate a lot to the juggling of work, a social life and other commitments. My friends have pretty much stopped inviting me to parties or dinners as I hardly ever join, or if I do I come late and leave early. At work we have monthly social events, which it is my job to organize but I'm almost always gone by the time the event starts which is not always appreciated by colleagues who then have to take over as hosts. Luckily my partner is also my coach, so he understands and also is there during training.

What I've learnt lately though is that even though I can train pretty much every day and also fit in mornings, I need to take time off too. My job can be very busy and also physically draining at times so even if I can fit in the hours at the gym it doesn't mean I necessarily should... It's a hard lesson to learn... balancing work and training is not only about the hours but also about balancing energy and also planning enough time to recover from both.

How does women with families manage? Also interested to hear more about the motivation topic. I'm only training to learn, keep fit and do some amateur fights, no at all to win any titles or even make a career out of it. At times it can be hard to keep motivated with no specific goal in sight/no fight scheduled. Over here there's not plenty of shows so the chance to get a fight only comes up 2-4 times a year and that is if there's any other girl in the same weight category. How do you keep motivated to keep improving?

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 How do you keep motivated to keep improving?

I'm motivated by the prospect of improvement. I like to set small goals, as in...

...I've came from karate to muay thai, I knew NOTHING about clinch, and the guys were swiping me, clinching and I didn't know what to do. Then I've read Sylvie's blog (of course! :) ) about the clinch game and only then I realized that this is something I can work on!

So, I set a small goal of learning the basics of clinching, I stayed after training with someone willing to clinch and learned it. 

Then another time, I was hit pretty badly in the face in sparring by a guy with a strong boxing background. I was frustrated, but learned that I need to work on my boxing defence.

These are only my experiences, but it motivates me when I finally see results. You can set your own goals, e.g. kicking a stronger low-kick, kicking higher, learining a good striking combo - youtube is a good source of ideas on what to improve :D

Of course it's hard sometimes when nothing gets better for a long time, but you need to create your own opportunities. 

There are also times when I'm motivated by the thought of meeting people at the gym :)

It also motivates me when I see a video from my sparing and I realize I did okay.

I hope some of what I wrote might help you find some motivation :)

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In Japan I worked 10am-7pm. I would get up every morning at 7am, do my run and strength training, shadow box, and then go to work. I went to the gym straight after work and was there usually until it closed at 10pm (this was a Thai style gym, no classes). Back home I would eat, watch an episode of some show and then sleep.

I would take one night and one or two mornings per week off. I very rarely took a whole day off, preferring to spread it out instead. I always trained twice on the weekends, I saw it more as "no work interfering with training" time.

This was fine because a) the job I had was in management, I could have fallen asleep and still done it and b) I barely had friends in Japan who I hadn't made at the gym. The few friends I did have, I would meet for lunch or on my night off.

 

In Germany I have the luxury of being good at my actual profession. I had a strong negotiation position, and what I negotiated for was to work 30 hours a week. Work hasn't started yet, but they know I'm a fighter and will leave the office to go to the gym on time 90% of the time.

 

As far as motivation goes, I don't need motivation to go to the gym, because I feel awful and restless if I don't for longer than two days. I genuinely enjoy working hard, getting to a point where my mind says "quit" and pushing through it. Your body gets addicted to the exercise, true story. But I also need fights. I can't train just for the sake of becoming better, I really love fighting and feeling it all come together (or not). The longer I go without a fight, the less motivated I become, the more likely it is I will go easy on myself in training or even go lift weights instead. So please somebody fight me :)

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This is such a great topic, I like that other women are able to balance work and training. I'm finish grad school next month, and anticipate it will be much harder to fit training/running/stretching/meal prep in when i start working. I'm especially not looking forward actually having to look presentable every day, since I typically walk around like a bag lady with my gym bag, lunch/snacks/water, and normal schoolwork. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm also interested as to how some of you guys handle fighting and working. I almost always have to go into work the day after a fight, which I don't mind too much. However, I do have to turn down a lot of fight opportunities because they don't fit into my work schedule. My co-workers are pretty understanding and supportive of my situation and help me to get days off for fights if I can, which is nice, but I'm sure that there are lots of people who struggle with this. I'm currently working with a band-aid on my face to cover up a cut and some bruising, which doesn't look too professional. No complaints, though - just lots of questions and concerned looks! I did get sent home once on the day after a fight for having a huge black eye. I think it was more for my boss' benefit than mine, it didn't look great having a beaten-up teacher on the job!

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I have never fought but I work full-time during the week and train 5 nights a week after work. I also have 2 small children and I study. It's not easy to fit it all in but I HATE when I have to miss training for something else. My husband, who also works full-time and studies, looks after the children while I train. Training is my sanity and the key to my health so it does take priority (aside from the fact I'm passionately obsessed with Muay Thai!!!). If I need to, then the children come to training with me and watch. I really want to get a heavy bag at home so I can practise at other times as well that suit me and when my gym is closed.

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I'm lucky enough to work for a company that has allowed me to play around with my work schedule over the last few years. At first I was working long days 5 times a week, then it was half days six times per week. Both ways meant finishing at 9pm, so I've always just done all my training in the morning. Now, I'm working part-time, so I no longer struggle with a work/training balance, which is a luxury. On work days, when I can't join an afternoon session, I usually try to make up for it by staying late to do another hour or two by myself. I have always thought that it would be really difficult to juggle training and work at home, since I've only ever done it in Thailand. I'm lucky that I'm able to train first and work afterwards every day, rather than having to squeeze it in during the evenings after work, when I'm already tired. I'm curious to hear how everyone else does it!

Also, so helpful to live at your gym! When I'm leaving O. Meekhun at 8:00 PM after training and Sangwean is yapping at me that he wants me to be going to sleep at 9:30 PM every night, I just look at how the kids can shower, eat dinner and have a good hour to wind down before that bedtime. I'm coming home from buying ingredients to make dinner at that hour, not even having eaten yet! People who work and commute and have to get to their gym... so much time eaten up.

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Helpful but can be a nightmare im not sure how your gym is set up Emma but our like living area tv etc is in front of the bedrooms!! There's a few lads let's just say like to drink more than train!!

 

I definitely like my quiet house away from gym

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I started training when I was a sophomore in college, but I would still have to commute to the gym which is about a 45min -1hr trip on public transportation.

Its been a year since I graduated and worked at my internship part-time (In San Francisco, where I went to college as well).

My gym is located outside the city.

On a typical day, I would wake up at 6am and work until 5:30pm. I drive now and traffic in the city sucks especially during rush hour, so I'm at the gym a little

past 6:30. That gives me about 2-2.5 hours of training per day on the weekdays.

However, I'm starting a new job next week. I'll be able to get off work earlier at 5am, but it'll be a full-time position.

I'll see how that goes, but my life pretty much consist of work/training/family.

I gave up my social life in college, which was pretty much not existent anyway as I have a introverted personality and don't tend to talk much.

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Also, so helpful to live at your gym! When I'm leaving O. Meekhun at 8:00 PM after training and Sangwean is yapping at me that he wants me to be going to sleep at 9:30 PM every night, I just look at how the kids can shower, eat dinner and have a good hour to wind down before that bedtime. I'm coming home from buying ingredients to make dinner at that hour, not even having eaten yet! People who work and commute and have to get to their gym... so much time eaten up.

Yes! The only thing I have trouble with is that I finish work at 9pm, which means that by the time I've bought groceries, come home, cooked, eaten and showered, it's usually about 11, so I can never go to sleep early on a work night. Post-training naps are key for me.

Helpful but can be a nightmare im not sure how your gym is set up Emma but our like living area tv etc is in front of the bedrooms!! There's a few lads let's just say like to drink more than train!!

 

I definitely like my quiet house away from gym

Ah, that must be difficult! Ours isn't set up like that, the communal areas are away from the rooms, so I don't have that problem. When people do get a bit noisy though, I can sometimes turn into a complete old lady, like when people come back from nights out drunk and make lots of noise. Thankfully, that doesn't happen too often. 

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Here is the schedule of a very excited beginner older athlete - boxing for three years, Muay Thai for not much more than a year and much of that on crutches having blown out an ACL sparring in boxing.

I have two kids just about to enter adolescence - I don't want to lose touch with them so I prefer to train mostly during the day while they are at school.  I am a self-employed artist and sometimes art professor so that helps with time flexibility (although I have to watch I don't entirely bag art for MT - solution has been to put obsession with MT into my artwork which has gone well since a "sparring" video installation is going on view this weekend at a museum on the East Coast of the U.S.).

Monday Boxing 7:30 Knee rehab 8:30.  Muay Thai bagwork at 5, Padwork at 6 (eventually sparring at 7, doc permitting).  Tuesday gym day - weights, cardio. Bagwork at home weather permitting (its outside) Wednesday private Muay Thai lesson and all kinds of parent sh*t driving to and fro.Thursday spin class in the AM for knee (God I hate that class), 5 Muay Thai bagwork, 6 padwork..  Friday boxing at 2 (and usually gym in AM for weights etc).Weekend bagwork at home, jump rope, shadow & all that.

I also do a lot of manual labor because I have large animals (read - wheelbarrowing sh*t around etc).  I feel so lucky to be mobile and alive! 

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I have two kids just about to enter adolescence - I don't want to lose touch with them so I prefer to train mostly during the day while they are at school.  I am a self-employed artist and sometimes art professor so that helps with time flexibility (although I have to watch I don't entirely bag art for MT - solution has been to put obsession with MT into my artwork which has gone well since a "sparring" video installation is going on view this weekend at a museum on the East Coast of the U.S.).

 

 

This is a bit off topic but your "sparring" video installation sounds really cool. I'd love to hear/see more about if you feel comfortable sharing.

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I have two jobs which require me to work 7 days a week. As for training, right after work I will head straight to the gym. Most of the time, I will try to leave my office by 6.30pm or 7pm. I reach the gym around 8-ish and train till 11pm. Only on weekends, I'm not able to train because of work timing is just not right.

How do I keep going on? I guess is just the motivation that I wanted to be better, and to fight better during the fight. I was terrible at first few fights but that only keep me motivated. It's kinda like "I can do this and I want to prove to my gym I can fight and be better at it." Sometimes, I get really tired after a whole day working but I just push myself and said this is something I want and train through my tiredness. For me, is motivation and dedication that keeps me going until now and self-validation that I can be better each time. The guys in my gym know now I'm serious in training and they will help me if I ask them or sometimes showing some technique to me.

While socialising, it only happened once a month or few times a month. I will always try to schedule it after my training period or during weekends.

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