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How do fighters relax before a fight?

Having difficulty switching off? Here’s what the pros do to unwind

Meditation

If you feel nervous before watching a fight, having bet on the result at a live casino, imagine how the fighters feel!

Anyone who has been involved in boxing, wrestling, MMA, or any type of contact sport, will know about the nervous energy before an event.

It doesn’t really matter what sport you might be involved in, from baseball to boxing, nerves can cause havoc no matter how well you may be prepared.

Relaxation is important for your physical and mental health. A certain amount of stress is normal and can be beneficial, but too much can overwhelm and be damaging.

And then there is the downtime when training is more relaxed, and there is less to focus on. What do fighters and athletes do with their time? After an intense training camp and then the fight itself, there can be a void that needs to be filled.

Not all fighters and athletes are the same, and everyone needs to find what works for them. Here though, are some methods that are or have been used by professionals to relax or to stay calm before a big fight, or just in their spare time.

Meditation

In the past, it would have been unlikely to imagine fighters talking about mental health and meditation, but thankfully times have changed. Fighters such as Frank Bruno have spoken out about their struggles, and there is much more awareness in sports and with the public.

Meditation is one of many ways to improve mental health and is a great way to relax. MMA fighters such as Georges St Pierre have gone as far as using mental coaches to help break down barriers, but meditation can be helpful too.

Mediation can improve performance, reduce anxiety and stress, and even help with recovery times. It is something that can be used during training and in leisure time.

Listening to music

Many athletes listen to music in their spare time and before a sporting event. The retired England footballer, Stuart Pearce, reportedly listened to punk music before every game to get himself ready. This earned him the moniker, “Psycho”.

The youngest person to ever win a world title in MMA, Angela Lee, also chooses music. She says that it is perfect to relax before entering the octagon. She has also said she enjoys nibbling on her favorite snacks too.

Music makes sense as it is known to be able to alter emotions and moods. It can reduce stress and give an emotional boost to the listener.

Online gaming

Video games are hugely popular and billions of people enjoy them the world over. It is perhaps not surprising then that fighters such as Sean O’Malley should enjoy Call of Duty, and others like Ronda Rousey love console games too. What might be surprising is that they also have their own streaming Twitch channels.

Tyson Fury prefers a little more adult entertainment and is a fan of visiting betting sites or going to land-based establishments too. After receiving nearly 50 stitches from his fight with Otto Wallin, Fury headed straight for the nearest casino where he also won.

Fury is not the only boxer who enjoys a casino night, and his name-sake, Mike Tyson is not a stranger to Vegas either. Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have been known to gamble in casinos, and the latter has been known to throw down huge bets in one go.

Online gaming can be a good way to spend time, but too close to a fight may affect sleep patterns. Visiting a casino though, can be a social night out, with a few card games and spins of the roulette wheel between training camps.

Yoga

This practice, or science, can help fighters and athletes in many ways. It can improve moods, help with relaxation and sleep, and reduce anxiety.

Apart from the mental health benefits, it helps with physical wellness too. It can help with balance and flexibility, which are two areas that a fighter needs. It will help strengthen the whole body, and can even help with weight reduction and lowering blood pressure.

Janay Harding has spoken about her need to get into the right headspace for fighting, and yoga and meditation are two areas that have helped her.

Sleep more

This may sound strange, but many fighters and other sportspeople have said that they like to sleep before a fight. It helps them to relax, and it passes the time.

Of course, you need to be in the right frame of mind for this to happen. This is where your preparation comes in and also some of the ideas above. Yoga and meditation can help to improve sleep patterns, which can only be a good thing. They can also help you to get into the right headspace to let your thoughts drift away, and to sleep for a while.

What happens when you make the wrong choices?

It is difficult to say that someone is making the wrong choice for relaxation as everyone is different. However, Ricky Hatton might be a good example of where a fighter should have chosen music over his favourite habits.

Ricky Hatton was famous for enjoying pies and Guinness between fights. So much so that his nickname was Ricky Fatton, and he revelled in it so much that he wanted to release a song. The lyrics were to include; He’s never seen a salad, he ate all the pies.

The biggest fight of his career should have been Floyd Mayweather, yet Hatton reported to training camp 40lbs overweight. The rest, as they say, is history.

Summary

Of course, there are many other things that fighters do to relax. Tyson Fury says that he runs every single day and isn’t happy if he misses out. This even includes vacations and holidays such as Christmas. Some like casinos and this includes finding the best UFC bets, but if you do this then gamble responsibly.

Other fighters switch off completely and enjoy a normal life, although some like Ricky Hatton, took it to extremes. Modern ideas include looking after mental wellness as well as the physical self, and yoga and meditation can help fighters during training and in between camps.

Learning to relax can be incredibly beneficial to any sports person both mentally, and physically. And, it can improve their general daily lives too.

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