Get closer to boxing professionals in our interview series and take on advice for your own training and goals.
Valerian Spicer started boxing at 30 and has gone on to fight in the Commonwealth Games and since 2016 has been an ambassador for our #togetherwebox campaign.
We spoke to her about how she got involved in the sport, her training regime and how boxing has had a positive impact on other areas of her life.
- Name: Valerian Spicer
- Age: 36
- Location: London
- Years boxing: 6.5 years
- Best career moment: Boxing in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
Tell us how you got into the sport and your journey from a beginner to fighting competitively.
I was 30 years old when I started boxing. I did a bit of fitness kickboxing training but didn’t take it seriously and never competed. Prior to that, I hadn’t done any sport or exercise for nine years!
I joined a boxing fitness gym near to where I was working at the time to get in shape and one of the coaches asked me if I’d thought of competing. It led me to joining an amateur gym, Chadwell St Mary in Essex, where my boxing journey began. I also spent two very influential years boxing for Islington BC. I have since re-joined Chadwell St Mary.
Sport was my life growing up so it felt very normal getting back to competitive sport. Nearly seven years after I first started boxing, I have had roughly 80 bouts.
What kind of training do you do on a weekly basis?
When I was training full time, I used to do three to four running sessions a week. This was a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic sessions depending on my training cycle. It included various interval sessions and hill sprints. I also did two to three strength and conditioning sessions a week and five boxing sessions a week including technical boxing and sparring.
What inspires you to get into the ring and do you have a pre-fight routine?
Competing keeps me focused. I love the sense of achievement boxing brings. Winning medals and being part of the big games spurs me on. I try to keep the same routines before a fight, get lots of rest and stay relaxed.
How/what do you eat pre and post-competition to maintain your fitness level?
I eat a normal balanced diet with a few more carbs during harder training sessions. One to two weeks before competition I will slowly start to cut down on carbohydrates to try and drop weight.
I am always within 5% of my boxing weight, so I never have a lot to lose. I always make sure I eat protein with every meal to help the muscles recover. If I can’t get to a meal within 40 mins of training, I always make sure I have a protein shake.
How do you prepare yourself for the highs of winning and the lows of defeat?
This only comes with experience. When competing in a tournament, you could be boxing four or five times in a week. After each win, you enjoy the moment but then re-focus to compete again the next day. This can be particularly difficult if you have boxed in the evening, then have to weigh in again the next morning.
It can be difficult to sleep with all the adenine running through your body. I don’t think the lows of defeat ever get any easier! You just pick yourself up as best you can, refocus and get back to training for the next tournament.
What have you learnt from boxing that you apply to other areas of your life?
Because you have to put your body through such extreme and pressurised situations in competition, I think it makes you a calmer person outside of the gym. Boxing also shows you humility and respect.
What’s your best piece of advice for anyone starting out in boxing, either for fitness or competitively?
Factor in at least two to three training sessions a week if you want to see results. Remember that consistency is the key to seeing progress.
As part of our interview series we want to put you in touch with inspirational boxers. Follow Valerian of Twitter with the handle @ValerianSpicer and stay tuned for more interviews!
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