As many of you know I am Charise Horn, I work at FFC West Loop and I am an amateur boxer. I've lost a lot of weight from boxing, but people hardly know the true extent it takes to train for for something like a boxing match.
Boxing the real deal - it's a full-body workout, no matter if you are trying to lose weight or train for a fight. Even when I don’t have a fight coming up, I am usually always in fight-ready mode, which means I am basically maintaining my weight so that if a fight comes up, I am ready.
Usually I will only find out if a fight comes up from my coaches about one to two weeks in advance, so I constantly need to be on my A game. Here's a look into how I get ready for a boxing match.
Ready for Anything
The training that leads up to any kind of fight is grueling and at times can make you feel like throwing in the towel, so to speak. At the end of the day, it’s really only you and one other person in that ring. You're staring them in the eye, across the ring, and telling yourself “it’s either her or me.” For that reason, boxing is not only about being in top physical shape but mental shape as well. That mental aspect is what makes boxing so tough; not a lot of people are cut out for fighting. Boxing can be a very lonely sport.
In addition to FFC West Loop, I also train at Oakley Fight Club. In this gym, it’s as real as it gets. You see the movies about the fighters in the boxing gym, with their own little clique/family - it’s exactly what you would think it would be.
The training and sparring that my coaches and teammates put me through me are some of the best and physically testing I’ve ever completed. My coach Lalo (who is also head trainer of the WBC; 2N1D (2 Nations 1 Dream) Team) has tested me more than I ever thought possible. He also has taught me more than I ever thought possible.
He truly takes the time out every single day to drill me, do mitts with me, and make sure I am doing everything possible to be ready for anything when I go into that ring. More often than not he will also jump into the ring and spar with me. My team at Oakley is truly a family - they hit you and you hit them and either one or both of you might end up with a bloody nose or a fat lip, but in the end you’re only making each other better. It truly takes a village; you and your team are working towards the same goal, to WIN! Boxing is all about respect; I have respect for anyone who will step foot in the ring to fight.
Pushing Past Your Limits
I also train right here at FFC West Loop with Collin Cusack. Much like my Oakley team, he has also tested my strength and mental ability to push my body past the limits I thought I had. What I've learned with Collin is that fitness really is all mental. Your body won't go where your mind won’t push it.
For this reason, I have told him that he will need to be one of only 4-5 people (in addition to my coaches Lalo, Carlos, and my cousin Scott) in my corner to cheer me on. There is a certain type of trust I have with my trainers and coaches. They see you at your worst with either blood, sweat or tears coming down your face - sometimes all three!
The members and my FFC Family/ coworkers are truly some of my best motivation when it comes to training for a fight. For example, the times when Collin has been coaching me on a rower, my strength totally drained, but a trainer walks by and says “dig deep Charise!” and I find I can push through it. Or when I am on the heavy bag and members who know me will tell me, “you got this, keep going, looking good!” Times like these really keep me going, especially as the training gets tougher and tougher.
Keeping Calm and Fighting On
As a fight draws nearer, I try to get in the right state of mind - more excited than nervous. Some of the things I do to keep my nerves calmed include listening or watching things that get me excited instead - like a video I saved from when the Cubs won the World Series that give me goosebumps. If the Cubs won, so can I!
I am also very close with my family - especially when I’m in training mode for a fight - they keep me sane. So much so that when I start to get really nervous, or even right before I step into that ring to fight, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and picture my niece, nephew and cousins running to me after I step out a winner.
What Boxing Has Taught Me
I have learned a lot throughout the last three and a half years of boxing (for even more, check out my recent post here!) - this sport has made my life so much better and has brought so many wonderful people into my life. Boxing is all mental; if don't believe you will win, it is very unlikely you'll pull off that win in the ring. I’ve learned how to turn my nerves into adrenalin, which I use to my advantage.
One of my favorite quotes is, “you don’t have to be great when you start, but you have to start in order to be great.” There’s no secret sauce to winning a fight - it’s all about how hard you work. That’s what gets me up at 3 AM to run to make that weight - even when no one is there to push me out of bed. It’s all on you, because somewhere your opponent is doing the same, or more, to beat you.