What to Do Before a Competitive Fight?

What to Do Before a Competitive Fight?

Martial artists train well for a fight. But, the lack of proper preparation has seen good fighters lose in a competition. Many of them don’t win because they lack the knowledge of what to do before the event. How do you prepare for a competitive fight?

Before a competitive fight, be prepared mentally and physically to take the challenge. First, avoid anxiety by staying calm and taking enough rest. Know when to stop intensive training. Eat high quality food. Finally, understand how your body responds before a fight and how to manage your fears.

The above will give you a competitive advantage in a fight. Let’s dive deep into a detailed plan on what to do before the event for a sure win.

What Should I Do Before a Fight?

Have a good rest

Before you face your opponent, ensure that you are well-rested physically and mentally. You have done the training, and this is not the time to increase fatigue. Reduce your practice and focus more on your strategy. Have a good sleep, at least 7-8 hours.

Avoid last-minute distractions

If you are expecting family and friends to attend the event, have someone take over the role of organizing. You don’t want to have someone call you a few minutes to your fight because they can’t find their designated place at the event. You need time to focus on the prize without any distractions.

Stay hydrated

Take a lot of water the day before and early in the day. Reduce the amount as the fight approaches, taking a sip one to two hours before the fight. Empty your bladder regularly. A stomach full of water can cause nausea during the competition, and a full bladder can cause distraction.  

Check your fighting gear

Have your fighting gear ready and in good condition. Avoid the last-minute rush of borrowing what you don’t have or not having the right equipment on the D-day. Wrap up a few minutes to your fight.

Warm-up for the fight

Shadowbox to condition your mind and do a warm-up one to two hours before the fight. Do the warm-up right. Too much, or too little will undo all the training you have done. Relax after the warm-up, but move a bit after every 20 -30 minutes. It helps your body not to cool off.

How Many Days Should I Rest Before a Fight?

It is good to understand the importance of rest and recovery before a competitive fight. A good rest enables you to rejuvenate physically and mentally. Depending on the intensity and volume of your training, you can have a short or long rest.

A short rest is for short-term recovery during training. Long rests are for long-term recovery, and they can take from two weeks to 7 days. For professional fighters, a 5-day rest is recommended before a fight.

A day to the fight, it’s good to take a full rest. Use this time to relax, go over your techniques, and shadow box.

Should I Take Pre-workout Before a Fight?

Pre-workout are supplements taken to boost body speed, endurance, and strength. The pre-workout subject is controversial.

While pre-workouts have many benefits, they also have long term negative effects. They can cause dehydration, kidney failure, and high blood pressure. Short-term effects include uncontrolled muscle movements, headaches, weight gain, cramps, upset stomach, nervousness, insomnia, diarrhea, nausea, and dizziness. 

Most pre-workouts have not been researched well to determine the long term possible effects. Take precautions and investigate well on the pre-workouts you want to use. Take into consideration your body type, positive and negative effects.

Pre-workout may boost your energy for a while and take you to the low. Consult your doctor before incorporating pre-workouts in your routine. Find the possible effects they can have on you and make a decision if you want to use them.  

When Should I Stop Sparring Before a Fight?

Hard sparring is important before a fight. It gives you stamina and endurance to face your opponent. Sparring should be done early in your training and stop two to three weeks to your fight.

As you approach the fight day, decrease the volume, and maintain the intensity. Work well with your coach. Your coach knows the importance of tapering in training.

When Should I Stop Training Before a Fight?

Many fighters find it challenging to find a balance between hard training and a good rest. The target is to reduce fatigue and increase physical fitness at the same time.

Vigorous training should stop two weeks into the competition. Maintain the intensity but decrease the volume as the fight draws near. Give your body time to start healing and build endurance. The aim is to peak performance. If the rest period is too short and the training long, performance is affected and vice versa.

Contrary to old school belief, training hard 2 to 3 weeks to a fight is not going to increase your performance. Stop training 7-5 days before the competition. You can do shadow boxing and use this time to work on your techniques. Relax your body and your mind for the big event.

The exact time to stop training is not cast on stone. It will depend on your coach and the training schedule. Work and consult with your coach as you train.

Why Do I Feel Weak Before a Fight?

Feeling weak before a competitive fight is not unusual. You can feel weak because of the fight or flight effect, accumulated fatigue, and not eating well.

The fight or flight effect

During a stressful situation, the brain communicates with the body of the expected danger. The body shuts down some organ functions to gather energy to face a threat or run.

As a fighter, it is good to understand the stress response and how it works. Understanding the stress response enables you to calm down and do what you are supposed to do. The stress response can be triggered in a second but it takes time for your body to go back to normal. 

How quickly you recover from the flight or fight effect, will determine how you perform in a  competitive fight.


Another reason why you may feel weak before a fight is due to accumulated fatigue. Fatigue accumulates when you don’t take enough rest. Have a rest schedule in between your training and before the event. 


Eating non-nutritious food or not eating enough can make you tired. Some foods cause a spike in sugar levels, and when the sugar drops, you feel weak. Eat a well-balanced diet and hydrate well.

What Should I Eat Before a Fight?

Eating well before a competitive fight keeps your body sugar levels balanced. It also gives you endurance through the competition. A rule of thumb is to always eat clean through your training sessions. Eat white meat, vegetables, and fruits. Drink water to clean toxins from your body.

Keep off unfamiliar food as you do not know the effects they will have on your body before a fight. Eat more low-fat proteins a day before. Low-fat proteins are easy to digest, and they don’t stay in your stomach for a long time.

A full stomach is uncomfortable and can give you nausea during the fight.

Avoid high index glycemic foods 60- 90 minutes to the event. A diet of high index glycemic food gives you a sugar crash. Go for low and medium glycemic foods instead to give you endurance during the competition. 

Below are examples of high, low, and medium index glycemic foods.

  • Low index glycemic food: Green vegetables, most fruits, raw carrots, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, and bran breakfast cereals
  • Medium index glycemic food: Sweet corn, bananas, raw pineapple, raisins, oat breakfast cereals, and multigrain, oat bran or rye bread
  • High index glycemic food: White rice, white bread, and potatoes

Taking a lot of water a day before helps to clear toxins from the body and keeps you hydrated. On the fight day, reduce the intake one hour to the event and empty your bladder frequently. A stomach full of water or food can cause nausea and fatigue during the competition.

Is It Normal to Be Scared Before a Fight?

According to The Sports, Psychologist applied research, most fighters experience a powerful fear before a competitive fight. But the fear disappears immediately after the first blow.

To counteract the effect of fear, use the adrenaline to your advantage. The anxiety that comes before the competition can give you a powerful force to face your opponent.

What to Do When You Are Scared Before a Fight

First, be aware that it is normal to be scared, it is a natural feeling, and you should not be ashamed of it. Second, know the signs, how your body reacts when you are sacred, and act accordingly. Third, take a deep breath and put yourself in a relaxation mode.

Final Word

Facing a competitive fight can be intimidating for many fighters. But good training and preparation before the big day will give you the confidence to face your opponent. Follow the above-discussed tactics, and you will never have a reason to worry. 

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has been training in the art of kickboxing for over seven years, holds a Taekwondo black belt, and has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. He's a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster.
Article by

Vladimir Vladisavljevic

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He has been training in kickboxing for over seven years and holds a Taekwondo black belt. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. Vladimir is a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster. He was known as The Bulgarian Cowboy in the Western world. In addition, he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his love of esports, one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Our testing and reviewing method.
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