Want to get fighting fit? Kickboxer Johnny 'Swift' Smith, Inter-Continental super welterweight champion, shares his top fitness tips, so you can train like a pro athlete. Discover the training schedules of champions.
What advice can you give to someone who wants to get into regular training?
A lot of people want a quick fix with fitness and there is no quick-win. When it comes to our wellbeing it has to be a lifestyle change. Set your goals, make them clear and then do all you can to reach them. The best way is to dive in - just do it. Finally, make sure you have fun with your fitness, as it's always easier to commit to something you enjoy.
How do you motivate yourself to keep going?
I write goals, put a plan together and just stay focused. Keep it moving, focus on the next challenge and what the original objective was.
How did you get into training? Becoming a pro-kick-boxer?
Throughout my life I've maintained my fitness by playing sports. When I was younger, football was my passion. Later on, I found myself wanting a more competitive sport than football and something that wasn't team dependent. I wanted an individual sport that I could really push myself in, to see what I could achieve independently. I made this move into kickboxing when I was around 19 with Prokick.
What are your tips for sports recovery?
I find Amma Life helps with my fitness regimen, I take 2-3 doses of 30% CBD paste on a daily basis. First thing in the morning, I drink 1L of water, then take CBD paste and do some stretches.
Do you take CBD paste before or after training?
Both. Before training in the morning and before my afternoon session. I then take a third and final dose of CBD paste in the evening before bed. I find CBD helps a lot with sports recovery, especially after a tough training session. It’s also great to take in the evening ready for the next day.
What are the main benefits of training regularly?
Fitness is number one for stress relief, as it releases endorphins that sets the tone for the rest of your day. Regular exercise gives you a sense of purpose, makes you feel strong, athletic and healthy. It can also help build your confidence, as keeping fit with others is a great way to socialise.
Describe a typical day when you are preparing for a competition?
I wake up at around 5am and give myself an hour to get up slowly and mindfully. Often I start the day with a cold shower, as this can really energise you. Sometimes, I have an ice bath - I find it’s great for inflammation. I have sports and deep tissue massages to get the knots out roughly every two weeks. I also think having downtime is crucial. You have to create balance in your life and give your body enough time to switch off, so your body can recover and your mind can relax.
You have won the Inter-Continental Kickboxing title. What does it feel like when you set a goal, then achieve it?
At the time it’s an electric feeling. But then I’m already on the lookout for the next thing once the build-up is over. I train year-round and constantly follow fitness plans. On top of that, I always have a special 12 weeks training schedule designed specifically to prepare for a professional fight. The first two weeks I’m excited, then mid-stage of training - I get fed up and it can feel like a struggle. That’s where my coach and my own mindset really helps. After that phase, I’m ready to go again within a few days. I just like to always be on the go. It’s always good to set new fitness goals and have a sense of purpose.
What's the longest you go without any training?
The longest is 7-10 days. Straight after the match/pro fight, I’ll switch off. I will still stretch daily and cycle around the countryside as a way to maintain my fitness. But I give myself a break from my normal training patterns.
What are your future goals and aspirations?
My dream is to be a World Champion kickboxer. A competition was due to take place this summer, but it got cancelled due to the current lockdown and global impact of Covid19. Once this situation eases we hope to reschedule the fight for the World Champion title.