So I’ve been here a full week now. And I’ve definitely noticed some changes.
I’m relaxed for a start. Today (Sunday) for instance has been a busy day. I had a wander along the beach this am. I was accompanied by one of the mangy mutts. It was nice to have a friend, but I’d have preferred one without fleas.
My walk took me on to meet a little girl named Honey Love and I chatted with her and her parents over breakfast at a nearby resort.
Mind you, I’m not relaxed enough to take in Eckhart Tolle‘s The Power of Now which I’ve been trying to read. “Even a stone has some rudimentary consciousness” he says. Seriously? It was enough to make me throw my Kindle in the sea (only joking mum ;o). I’d say he’s spent too much time at one of the trance parties that Koh Pangan is famous for.
But physically I’m also noticing changes.
My legs are stronger for one, and the warm up exercises don’t tire me out as much as they did on the first day but do what they’re supposed to do. I don’t have to sleep every afternoon between sessions (which is normally the reason I’m late) though that might have as much to do with finally shaking off the jet-lag as improved energy levels.
The training routine itself starts off with a run. I’ve graduated from 2 to 3 to 4km but have opted to do this just once a day regardless of whether it’s a two-a-day day or a one-a-day day. My training regime is twice-a-day for two days running and then just once the next day, twice each day for the next two days, then once again and so on… And we all get Sundays off, which meant I did nothing but watch Borat, Sin City and drink rum and coke today. Sometimes I’m on my own for the run (powered by music of course) and occasionally I’m with one of the other students. I’m not used to running with anyone else but I’m quite enjoying it for a change and find it pretty motivating!
After running, there’ll be about 10 mins of tyre bouncing. Rather than see this as a chore, I now see this as fun particularly when I get in rhythm to some G ‘n’ R. And I haven’t fallen off since my first day so I reckon I’m getting more coordinated. Or at least more careful.
By now the next shift of people will begin turning up and starting their own warm ups. The training is staggered which allows the modest training area to accommodate up to 10 students at any one time whilst ensuring that each one gets individual attention.
The tyre exercise seems to have strengthened my ankles and calves and I find I can now spend more time on my toes rather than flat- footed when I’m working on the pads. This will often then be followed up with more cardio – this time skipping, with what I reckon is at least a 1 kg rope… There are no tricks and jumps with that one. But a week into the skipping and my arms are no longer aching though I still can’t keep going for a full 10 mins.
By that point I’m really sweating and grateful for the ice-cold towel provided by whoever is my designated trainer for that session. I’ll be mopped down and if lucky given a bit of a massage. Seeing as I’m never stiff I can only assume it’s down to a combination of both these mini massages mid-session and the stretching the trainers put you through.
Before getting down to some shadow boxing your trainer will wrap your hands for you. This is both for protection and strength and each trainer has his preferred way of wrapping. I’ve noticed for instance that the older Samea must have been somewhat of a knock-out merchant in his competition day, beefing up around the knuckles, whilst cheeky pint-sized Leo seems to favour strengthening the wrists, which I think seems to suit me more.
After that you’ll get down to some shadow boxing. This is the bit I find hardest. Watching myself move in the mirror makes me hyper critical, as I see each movement I’m doing wrong, and the moment I’m self-conscious it becomes harder to remember what I’m supposed to be doing. I become slow and staggered.
The stretching is always rigorous and helps you connect a little more with your body. You’ll get a good 5-10 mins on the mat with the trainer pushing you (literally). I’ve been pushed and pulled so much that my chin now reaches the ground when I’m sat with my legs apart. At least when Leo sits on my back that is. So a combination of the heat and the stretching seems to have done wonders for my flexibility and I’m back to my pre-injury days.
With all of this work, I can say that I’ve recently found myself speeding up on the pads with the trainers. I still drop my guard and lose my balance, but can now throw a few combinations without falling over too much. Though I do still cause much amusement and shouts of ‘balance, balance!’ I had a session in the ring yesterday morning which allowed me more movement, even though the floor felt somewhat uneven. I guess that’s one way to work on my balance.
But the biggest change really does seem to be in my motivation levels. Whilst I’m lazy and chilled today, I’m excited each morning, can’t wait to get to class and am even looking forwards to coming home and starting up / or finishing off various projects. As long as I can come back that is…