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      Staying motivated during the pandemic

      Staying motivated during the pandemic

      When the pandemic first hit last year, the closure of Legacy caught me by surprise.  Competition was what drove and motivated me to train, but with the lack of events, I lost motivation and gained 15 lbs last spring as I had a hard time adjusting. Since then, I did some serious reflecting and now I do not solely depend on competition to stay motivated.  Combat sports is what I love doing and it represents a means to develop my character and grow as a person.  As a result of the lockdown,  I adapted by finding different ways to remain in shape;  Calisthenics, outdoor jogging, a healthy eating plan, and Zoom muay thai classes are helping me stay fit until reopening. I have since lost the extra weight and found renewed motivation to stay on path.  

      Here are 4 steps that helped me stay motivated during the pandemic:

      1. WHY DO YOU TRAIN?

      This is the most important step of them all.  Getting clear on why you train is the first step to finding motivation to push through during the lows.  Most will just glance over this point...but without a clear reason as to why you train, you will not have enough conviction to battle through those periods where you just don’t feel like doing anything.  Grab a pen and start jotting down all the intrinsic and extrinsic reasons why you got into training in the first place.  A good place to start is at the very beginning of your journey.  Try to recall this memory and the feeling you felt when you first fell in love with your sport. What made you start?  Why do you train?  Let's bring our awareness to some of these questions.


      Once you have finished step one it’s time to start viewing your training endeavors as a long term pursuit. TRAINING IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT.  You already know on a deeper level why you train, and now you know that these setbacks are just a small blip in your overall journey. 


      Stop dwelling on the glory days of your training because times have changed.  It is not your fault that you are not performing or training the same as you previously were.  We are in a pandemic after all.  Create new training goals and expectations for yourself.   An example of a new goal can simply be to maintain your fitness level with modified workouts until the time is right to return to your old training regimen.  DON’T FORCE MOTIVATION. We do what we do because we love it, not because we are forced to.


      It is time to accept that we may have a little longer before returning to our old training routine and exercises.  I suggest you modify your training program to better suit the times.  For the martial artist, you can still improve your game in alternative ways.  Consider doing various solo drills, shadowbox, heavy bag work, study professional fights, watch instructionals and fight analysis on YouTube,  listen to fight podcasts,  and/or cross train with other sports and activities.  Examples of sports that can be done alone and can help supplement your martial arts training include yoga, meditation, track and field, CrossFit, powerlifting, weightlifting, calisthenics, and gymnastics.  

      No more excuses. Let's get back to work.


      Don't hesitate to comment below or contact me directly for additional advice and suggestions!



      The obstacle is the way

      The obstacle is the way

      This pandemic just doesn’t want to end!  At times like this I know it’s hard to remain positive, let alone motivated.  Our gym in Barrie has been locked down 4 times in the last year and it has been extremely difficult to pull through each time.  The hardest part is the "yo-yoing' back and forth and not being able to establish a set routine.  Just yesterday, Ontario’s Premiere announced that Fitness and Recreational Facilities won’t be opening for another 2 months.  I tried not to blame and point fingers after receiving this bad news.  Well, I’m not perfect! I ran to my wife and cursed at the world for a good 30 minutes. But all in all I thought I dealt with this a little better than in the past :).  

      Guys, I know it’s cliche but when one door closes, another one opens.  I truly believe that.  We must find and embrace the hidden opportunities that come with every setback in life.  This may require you to temporarily change your mindset, goals, and priorities, but I promise that you will be better for it in the long run. 

      Ryan Holiday said it best;  “The obstacle is the way.”  

      Find your way!



      How I got started with fighting

      How I got started with fighting

      I graduated from the University of Waterloo 15 years ago.  Yes, you guys may think "what a great accomplishment!"  In a way I guess it was, but I barely passed my last year, and it took me 5 years to receive a 3 year degree that I don't give a crap about.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not against school or formal education!  It just wasn't for ME.  Growing up in a traditional Asian family, I never had the choice not to go to University.  So I did it anyways just to please my parents.

      Shortly after graduation, between sitting on my ass playing World of Warcraft and watching TV, my long lost childhood passion for Martial Arts was reignited once I began watching PRIDE FC, a MMA organization based out of Japan.  Inspired by fighters like Wanderlei Silva, Kid Yamamoto, and Fedor, I decided to search online for fight gyms in Kitchener.  There were few selections but I remember stumbling onto a muay thai gym called TKO Fighting Arts.  The website was pretty simple, but what caught my eye was how “raw” the fighters and gym looked in the photos.  There was no glitz and glamour, just toughness...I needed toughness.  

      When I told my friends about this, one of them (let's call him John) did not sugar coat how he felt about my new found interest. “Dude, there’s no way you're gonna hang with these guys.  You’re just some university kid, you know how tough you gotta be to fight? You won’t be able to do it.”  These words of his still linger with me today.

      I don’t know where I found the courage to even consider such a sport. Maybe it was because I was fed up feeling like a nobody and desperately hoped that muay thai was going to be something that could give me direction and purpose. I decided to go try my luck with a trial class…After the session, I was hooked.  I never could have imagined that my simple decision to start muay thai would eventually send me down a path of unbelievable adventures and self-discovery.  

      So to everyone reading this; go out there and try something new!  It might be scary, it might be hard, at times you may even want to quit...but do it anyways.  See you in the next post.


      On a side note, many years later I did end up cutting John out of my life.  We don’t need friends like John in our lives.


      Join me


      Hey guys, my name is Bao aka Baoy, aka Dennis.  You guys also probably know me as head muay thai coach at Fight Club and Stronghold, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Purple Belt competitor, and co-owner of Legacy Fight Apparel.  But how did it all begin?  How did I end up living my dream?  Well, let me tell you...wait wait wait...not at this very moment, and not all in the next post. 

      But I would like to invite you to follow this blog, which will be a collection of honest stories of me striving, winning, failing, but ultimately learning and growing...and through reading about my endeavors, I hope to inspire you to go after your dreams.  Lets do it together.