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Zach “Ziggy” Johnson on Strategic Breaks in MMA and Boxing

Zach “Ziggy” Johnson on Strategic Breaks in MMA and Boxing
Photo Courtesy: Zachary Johnson

In the whirlwind of work, with looming deadlines and endless tasks, it’s no wonder that many people feel the urge to throw in the towel.

And it’s not just the traditional 9-5 grind. In other fields, like dance or teaching, pushing through non-stop isn’t always an option. Dancers can’t rehearse endlessly without risking injury, and teachers can’t deliver excellent lessons with a sore throat or a distracted mind.

Similarly, in boxing, young fighters driven by passion chase their dreams fervently. But this relentless pursuit often leads to painful blows and bruises. This begs the question: is there value in taking strategic breaks?

Zachary “Ziggy” Johnson says yes. As an MMA fighter and boxer, he does not burden his body with excessive work. Instead, he takes a refreshing approach and suggests taking breaks. 

Zach’s passion for sports runs deep, making him a formidable athlete. Over four seasons, he also played in Semi-pro football, donning jerseys for teams like the Finger Lakes Impact, Oil City Rampage, and Auburn Commanders. Additionally, he ventured into fighting after playing in the fighting events.

With seven years of boxing experience, Zach’s routine demands consistent performance in the ring and intensive training. This result can only be achieved with a positive, peaceful mind and a refreshing schedule. 

Setting a checklist for your daily commitments is necessary so that the breaks do not negatively impact training and improvement. To keep this mission active, Zach advises following an outline so that fights don’t ring a final bell and the championship stays only a mile away. 

Assign Hours for Training

Structured Schedule: 

Setting a structured training schedule is crucial. Fighters should allocate specific hours of the day for different types of training, such as strength, conditioning, technique drills, and sparring. Zach explains that this helps maintain consistency and allows the body to adapt effectively to rigorous demands.

Variety in Training: 

Incorporate a mix of activities to cover all aspects of fighting, including footwork, speed drills, and flexibility training. Zach notes that this improves overall performance and reduces the risk of overuse injuries by not overly focusing on one type of physical activity.

Rest and Recovery: 

While training hard is important, ensuring adequate rest is equally vital. To achieve this, Zach adds that planning training hours with sufficient recovery time for the body is essential. This might include light days or active recovery sessions focused on stretching and mobility work.

Stay in Touch With Coaches and Trainers

Regular Feedback: 

Regular interaction with coaches and trainers is essential. Zach explains that they provide valuable feedback on your performance, help refine techniques, and ensure that your training aligns with your competition goals.

Adaptation of Techniques: 

Be open to modifying techniques based on feedback. What worked well in one training session or fight might not be as effective in another scenario. Zach justifies that continuous learning and adaptation are key to growth and improvement.

Emotional Support: 

Coaches can also offer emotional support, which is crucial in a sport as mentally demanding as physically challenging. Zach says they can motivate you, help you manage pressure, and boost your confidence.

Take a Break Before Moving to the Next Fight

Physical Recovery: 

After a fight, the body needs time to recover from the physical trauma and fatigue. Taking a break helps prevent injuries and mental burnout.

Mental Refreshment: 

It’s also important to mentally detach and rejuvenate. Engage in non-combative, relaxing activities that you enjoy, such as reading, hiking, or spending time with loved ones.

Strategic Planning: 

Use this time to reflect on your performance with your coaching team, identifying strengths to build on and weaknesses to address before the next training cycle begins.

Especially in boxing, since fighters come across frequent sweeps and smacks of the ring. With important recoveries and regular tests required, fighters don’t only need to take breaks due to medical conditions but also for better preparations and mental peace.

For instance, after being knocked out in one fight and experiencing a split knee, Zach decided to take a long break. This break not only helped him recover from injuries but also benefited his practice and preparation.  

As Zach says, “In rings, you can’t afford to chase wins only because it drives you towards success, but there are other factors that weigh a lot. Like, medical conditions and obviously, good training for good fights.”

With this mindset, Zach advises young fighters to incorporate regular periods of relief in their training regimen, ensuring that the pressure of losses and the intensity of competition do not jeopardize future championships. This shows the importance of taking breaks occasionally and improving the strategy to win and ace future fights. 

Published by: Holy Minoza

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