As I continue on my journey to become a WBC super bantamweight world champion, I have to overcome not only the physical difficulties but also the mental stress. One of the hardest things that I encounter as a competitive athlete is maintaining strength mentally.

Let me elaborate. First, we had to deal with motivation, support and submersion in training. Once that is established, its time to build and continue the structure that's already in place. Maintenance is one of the hardest things to do because repetition can becoming boring and taxing. This is why we try to ensure that my training, although in most aspects remain the same, is different and challenging. There will always be running, boxing drills, conditioning, weight training and sparring. However, the running can be on the sand, sprints, long runs, hills, with weights or timed. This way, the physicality of the exercise is maintained but the essence of it is continually changed. 

Additionally, there's also another facet of mental conditioning: expectation. You know that your fight is 5-6 weeks away and you've dedicated yourself to physically train for this event. In spite of all your preparation, you can get overwhelmed by the level of anticipation or to some, stress. As the match gets closer, your thoughts begin to revolve around the actual fight itself. For me, this is a re-match of a fight I should have easily won but was not mentally prepared. Leading up to the fight there were a lot of distractions and consequently I lost my title by split decision. Now a bigger expectation is placed on me to reclaim my title. My goal in the next few weeks, is to harness that feeling and to rise in the face of failure. To succeed, you can't live in the past because it will erode your self-confidence. My success depends completely on my mental strength!

Sign Up for E-News

Next 11 days of training:

  • Monday: Midday: Obstacle course conditioning/run  Evening: Heavy bag drills
  • Tuesday: Morning: Bridge run   Afternoon: weights   Evening: boxing drills
  • Weds:  Morning: 30 minutes run with 3lb weights  Evening: massage!
  • Thursday: Morning: 10 rds of sparring - 2 opponents  Evening: 20 min run
  • Friday: Morning: Agility conditioning   Afternoon: run and weights
  • Saturday: Midday: 15 rds of sparring - 6 opponents
  • Sunday:  Afternoon: 20 min run, 10 15 sec sprints
  • Monday: Midday: Weight training/run  
  • Tuesday: Morning: 12 rds of sparring - 4 opponents  Evening: weights and stairs
  • Weds: Midday: 30 min run with 2lb weights
  • Thursday:  Morning: 10 rds of sparring - 4 opponents

In order to stay mentally strong, you must rest not just your body, but also your mind. On weekends, the team get together to watch fights, go to the movies or to dinner or my family challenge me to board games. You have to be able to clear your mind to create a synergistic effect. 

Alicia "Slick" Ashley

Editor's Note: Alicia Ashley, age 48, is training for her WBC super bantamweight world title on Feb 4, 2017, in Houston.  She is documenting her time in training camp and what it takes to become a champion in a series, “Road to a Champion,” that will run in TAPintoSPF. She will share her thoughts and provide inspiration. Alisha is an instructor at Yeti MMA in Scotch Plains.