Double-end bag

How did I lose 5 kilos in a month?

5 kilos is around 11 pounds. In the UK, that’s like 5 bags of sugar! You wouldn’t think there was that much extra on your body.  In the past when I get onto a boat, I typically weigh around 83kg and after 5 weeks, I’ll go down to around 80-81kg.

First of all I’m 5ft 9 inches which is like 176cm and today I weigh 77kg which is like 170 pounds. I could still lose more but I think I would have to watch my diet more and the problem is I love my food!

Anyway how did I lose that 5 kilos?  Well first it was all shed while I was working offshore. My work pattern offshore is that, everyday, I have to work 12 hours straight. The other 12 hours is all mine but I have to fit in time to sleep, do my laundry etc. Food is cooked for you so that is a major advantage. You can pick what you want to eat and other than work, nothing else to distract you and no alcohol.  I was working nightshift – midnight to midday.  Below describes my typical day offshore:

20:50 Get up out of bed and brush my teeth and wrap my hands with boxing-hand wrap.

21:15 Go outside.  In India, it’s around 25-26 degrees C at night (79F).  Shadow box for 15 minutes straight. Skip for 10 minutes. 2 sets of as many press ups as I can manage (40). 10 minutes on a speed bag. 3 or 4 sets of 5 minute rounds on the heavy bag wearing 14 ounce gloves. Then another 10 minutes of shadow boxing to cool down.

22:30 Clean up, shower, eat and get ready for my shift at midnight.

00:00 Start work.

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12:00 Shift ends! Free time.

12:30 Operations meeting. ( I had to go to this in my off time sadly)

13:00 Go outside again. 28 degree sun (82F)! Shadow box 15 minutes straight. Push ups. 3 sets of 40. Lifting a 10 kilo weight over my head and push out from my chest standing up. 2 sets of 15 reps of those. Skipping for 15 minutes. Play “keepy uppy” with a football on the helideck for up to 20 minutes. At the end another 10-15 minutes of shadow boxing using the reflection from a port hole to look at my head movements for slipping.

14:30 Shower, snack and sleep.

15:30 In bed.

In general I worked out twice a day. One session before shift and one session after. I did the above routine for 34 days straight. The day time session in the 28 degrees of heat…  I only did that every other day because it was getting tiring when I had to work the 12 hour shift.  Sundays was a rest day which I would always spend doing a Yoga-esque stretch session.  I did this every Sunday straight after I woke up.  That lasted 30 minutes to 40 minutes.

Once a week, in the session before shift I would fit in a 30 minute run (roughly 5.7 km distance –  not quite 6km). Working offshore I used to run 30 mins religiously everyday without fail but when I discovered boxing, I probably only ran once a week. Most of my cardio came from skipping.

The crazy thing was I was enjoying myself so much with the boxing training that it didn’t even seem like exercise!  I was looking forward to every day because it meant I could train.  For the first week and a half I was working out twice a day, every day, before it got too much and I had to cut the day session out to every other day instead.  The problem was there weren’t enough hours in the day and I was only getting 5 – 6 – 7 hours of sleep a day which isn’t enough.  When I hit the bed, I just blacked out.

Working out like this, I was seeing results after 2-3 weeks.  Around week 4 and week 5 I think my weight maybe began to plateau and the only way my weight was going to change further was if my diet changed or my routine.

My diet throughout that whole time was normal.  I ate 3 times a day and anything went! Bread, fish red meat, white meat, carbs.  I was working in India so I was beef-free for 35 days which probably helped too.  The meals were full but I avoided eating to the point where I felt bloated like a pig.  I even ate right before bed time!  I sweat quite a lot as well.  More so than the average guy.  That could be something to do with iron deficiency or metabolism and I know the Indian sun probably helped a lot.  You can imagine what skipping for 15 minutes in 28 degrees celsius of heat will do. I protected myself during the day time sessions.  I wore running tights under my shorts and full sleeve top. I also wore a hat and sun tan lotion on my face and neck.  I was on the deck to work out and not get a tan.  If I had remembered I would have brought my snood which would have protected my neck more from the sun.

I drank a lot of water (3 litres) everyday to replace my fluids and I would drink Vega One and Vega Sport.  One drink contains half the vitamins I need per day and the latter is a recovery drink primarily to stop me cramping up at night.

It maybe sounds like I was this beast for 35 days but I was just truly enjoying myself, that’s all.

If you’re unhappy with yourself (maybe you think you’re so overweight there’s no way back), or whatever your mental state, just tell yourself you can do it and go right ahead.  Even if you did only 15 minutes a day… do it.  We all have to start somewhere.  The first step is important but then it’s important to keep going.  It will get easier.  Don’t give up and remind yourself why you’re doing it.  Exercise is an amazing thing.  It can take away emotional pain, make you feel calmer, make you feel more confident within yourself.  It can heal a lot of things.  All you have to do is get up and say “I’m going to do this.”  And then don’t look back.

… and if you’re lucky enough to find a sport or activity you love, then grab hold of it and go as far as you can.

Hope this helps. 🙂

 

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My double-end bag setup

In order to get as much practice as I can, I wanted to install 3 types of bag at my home.  A double-end bag, a speedbag and a heavy bag.  This is my double-end bag in my garage.

  • 8mm bungee cord used for top and bottom
  • Approximately 50cm from the ceiling down to the first loop strap of the double end bag.
  • Approximately 120cm from the floor up to the bottom loop strap of the double end bag.
  • Floor mount is an eyebolt drilled into a concrete floor. (14.5mm diameter hole) with an 8mm swivel attached to a P-link.
  • At the top there is a 14mm hook screwed into the underside of a wooden ceiling joist beam.
  • The bungee cord is secured to the double end bag straps using a P-link for the bottom and a carabiner for the top.
  • When I stand next to the bag, the top of the ball is under my chin and the ball sits around chest height.
  • All the hardware was bought from my local B&Q (hardware store chain in the UK) with the exception of the swivel which had to be ordered online.

The problem with my garage (like all garages) is that the ceiling is low so the bottom bungee cord is much longer than the bungee cord at the top.  This has the effect of limiting the recoil of the double end bag when it is hit.  I get about half a meter of forward-and-back movement and it is quick to recoil due to me putting tension on both ropes.  The one at my boxing club, Lusby’s Boxing Gym, has an even rope top and bottom, that moves significantly more and is much more pendulous in motion.

An article by Johnny from ExpertBoxing.com explains it best but with this type of setup, i.e. higher tension and shorter recoil, the bag is better for practicing rhythm and combinations – that doesn’t mean that you can’t bob and weave and slip – you just won’t get as much recoil coming back at you.

At first, I was experimenting between using just a non-elastic rope at top and a flat bungee cord at the bottom and also a different set of cords for top and bottom but the movement was a little strange and not uniform.  I find by using the same type of cord for top and bottom, the motion is much more smoother.

Also I did have a swivel at the top as well as the bottom but the swivel at the top was extremely noisy and didn’t really do very much.  Now I just have the bungee cord tied in a series of knots direct to that ceiling hook.  I still have the swivel at the bottom to take away some of the tension on the eyebolt when it’s hit.

I do wish my garage ceiling was higher so I could have an evenly mounted double end bag but I have to say, I’m pretty happy with the setup.

When I drive that ride-on lawn mower out of the way, I can pivot aroun d the ball 270 degrees which is good enough for me to practice my footwork in and around the speedbag.

I’ve watched YouTube clips of pro-boxers like Manny Pacqiao and Amir Khan on double-end bags that move even less than mine.  They are set up with very high tension so I am guessing they are practicing the same thing as me – combinations and rhythm of punches.

I’d love a setup that also allows the double end bag a greater recoil as well but I’m limited by the dimensions of my garage.

Check out the TouTube clip below of Manny Pacquiao working a high tension double end bag.