Nick Gubb stepped in the ring for ITHH 2018 and he’s back again for 2019! Below is his story and how ITHH and boxing has changed his life…
When my previous boss first told me about IT Heavy Hitters, I shrugged it off with a casual "Yeah, Right"
When my boss explained a bit about her journey and what was involved in the lead up, and the positive impact it had on the participants I became a little more interested, and it was for a damned good cause. For a bit of quick background, I've never been the sporty guy. Never been naturally talented or co-ordinated. I stopped playing team sports when I was 14 (I was never a good goalie anyway), and never looked back. Neither did my waistline.
When I signed up I was the heaviest I'd ever been. At the team selection day I clocked in at just over 140Kg. I knew it was going to be a hard slog, and I wasn't prepared for what I would eventually get out of the journey. When the sessions started at WBG, I quickly realised it wasn't going to be a walk in the park. The BoxFit sessions were gruelling, my fitness was awful, and my punches were as co-ordinated as a drunken donkey on rollerblades. I knew I had a hell of a long way to go, and if I was going to take this seriously I would need all the help and training I could get. I quickly signed up and started attending extra BoxFit sessions. The Saturday runs were tough, and it wasn't long before I was dealing with shin-splints and walking after only a few hundred meters.
Then it all turned a corner. The support of the amazing Blue Team, and the coaches really helped to crank things up a notch
Jeremy (part of the ITHH coaching team) told me to distract myself when running, think about complicated maths problems to get your mind off the struggle, focus on your breathing instead of your legs, all it is, is putting one foot in front of the other, and how hard is that? Little by little, I started improving. I could go for a bit longer, a bit faster. It didn't seem like much of an improvement at the time, but looking back, it was compounding quickly. Chris (also part of the ITHH coaching team) took every opportunity to give me tips on where my feet should end up after moving in a certain way, or what my head should be doing to avoid certain strikes. His relentless positivity and enthusiasm for everyone was always welcome. David's (part of the ITHH coaching team) "tough love" approach was a perfect counter, and the push I needed when not feeling completely up to it. Getting over a cold? "Glove up Princess. Everyone that steps into the ring has to give it 100%". Always there to push you a little harder on your last stair set, or the last leg of the Te Pa Classic. Also bear crawls. So many f%&#ing bear crawls.
Getting my eating habits was another hurdle I knew I'd have to clear. I knew the sugar and beer was off the menu, but I managed to pick up a whole tack of good information from the Nutritionist, Supplement Specialist, and Recovery session we had.
Going through a shared experience with a complete bunch of strangers, it was amazing how close the team got, and how supportive of each other they were. On more than one occasion I was dead last at a group run, when the entire team who had already finished started running alongside me in support. While at first I felt a little guilty they had all done more than what they needed to do to encourage me, I was blown away by the good vibes and happy faces when I crossed the finish line. These people weren't just strangers who also happened to sign up, they were friends.
Asher, I think I spent more time with you than I did with my wife. Between the BoxFit classes, Skills classes, Sparring sessions and one on one's at one point I clocked up 9 sessions in a week. The time and effort you invested into this was incredible. I'll always remember one of your comments during a one on one, you said that "When I watched you walk in for the first time, I would have never expected you would throw a punch like the one you just did". That got me buzzing, it was a confirmation for all the hard work I'd put in, and an awesome recognition of how far I had come. I had a smile on my face for weeks after that!
I weighed in at 119.6Kg, over 20Kg lighter than I was 14 weeks ago
Weigh in night appeared all too quickly, and it was finally a chance to have some tangible evidence of the blood, sweat and tears spilled. I weighed in at 119.6Kg, over 20Kg lighter than I was 14 weeks ago, and under the 120Kg mark for when the weights were read out on fight night. I was stoked. On the night itself, I was lucky in that I got a match from the Red Team. Getting into the Ring on the night wasn't the ultimate goal I had started out with, but it was the icing on the cake, and a chance to show off all the hard work I'd done over the last 14 weeks. The butterflies were out in force, the nerves were there, but they were calmed by the work we had all done. I'm glad I soaked up the atmosphere as I entered the ring, waved to the family and friends, and enjoyed my song. Once in the ring, the tunnel vision set in, the crowd disappeared, and the noise faded. All that was there was my opponent and I, and the occasional shout from my corner. The 3 rounds flew past, I felt pumped, like I could go for 3 more! While I didn't win my match, I did make it to the end, and had a split decision to boot. It may not have been a win, but it was still a victory. Full props go out to Craig "The Punisher" Marshal for putting in the hard yards, and taking the win.
For those who think it's just a Charity Boxing Match, you're wrong. This has been an absolute life-changing experience, and one of the coolest things I've ever done. How many people can say they've stepped into the Boxing Ring in front of a crowd of over 1000 people? I'm down 20Kg, made some amazing new friends, have a whole new level of energy to keep up with the family. Considering the Fighter stand-down, I'll still be back next year just to make the journey again.