The biggest struggle so far has been cutting weight. At 5'9", I walk around at 163 and have for years. It's been difficult for me to cut weight doing anything besides running. Even with the heat this summer and training 3-3.5 hours 4x/week didn't have me lose any weight other than right after training. You sweat out a lot- sometimes 4-5 pounds and that's with drinking water during training.
The other issue has been an ongoing shoulder issue. I've seen two chiropractors and one strongly suggested and MRI but I don't have health insurance and even if I did need surgery I wouldn't get it. A) Can't afford it and B) It would put me out of training for months. At 27, I can't afford to lose that time. I'm down to rolling one night a week from three or four which has helped. Added combat conditioning 3x/week before night training plus two workouts on Wednesdays and Fridays when I work double shifts and have to squeeze a workout in between jobs at LA Fitness. Last week I started running in the morning or at night for 20' plus to get my metabolism going. Also started eating breakfast.
If the apocalypse ever comes, there's a high chance I'll survive a while. My body basically holds onto any fat and has an incredibly slow metabolism despite an above-average workout regimen. At least that seems to be the issue. I look 145lbs. most of the time but weigh almost 20lbs more than that. This makes cutting weight more difficult. Or maybe I eat too much.
The opponent the promoter matched me with is shorter and aggressive. She's 1-0 kickboxing, 0-4 MMA. So she's had her first-fight-stress-jitters. I've had a couple jiu jitsu tournaments but nothing like this. It's a different animal fighting with a specific person instead of a tournament. You can tap out in a tournament, but in kickboxing you've trained to fight a specific person. There is no tapping out. Either you're knocked out or go the full three rounds in the cage.
I also quit one of my three jobs for another potential job offer so in three weeks I'll be able to be at the gym every day again which will be a huge relief. Unfortunately, it's only about a week before my fight so it won't help a lot except maybe more time to recoup a bit before the fight the week-of.
At any rate, I am low-key excited to have a fight. When I started at Empire almost two years ago, I'd considered fighting but knew it was a long way down the road. Others at the gym had been training 2-5 years and were fighting. A lot of people say it's humbling to walk in to a gym and realize how much training is required and the level of skill that's in there. A lot of people leave after a week, or a month because they're not immediately able to fight or realize how hard it's going to be and that it's just not for them.
Personally, I had almost no background in martial arts. Before joining, a friend/guy I was seeing briefly trained at the gym who was going through an MMA camp. With our schedules we really only saw each other after he'd been at the gym from 5-9pm training hard. So I knew it was taxing mentally and physically and the dedication required.
Empire is one of, if not the, best thing that I have ever done. I've changed as a person and the skills I've learned are invaluable. In other sports, I had to drag myself through practice and wondered with bewilderment how people would do extra training outside normal training and how they could be happy to be there most of the time. Steve Jobs said it well: "If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better as the years roll on."