The physical demands of boxing are obvious. You need months of training to build up the strength and stamina to take and deliver punches round after round. But Kellen Hamrah, a Dallas bartender, was surprised to discover that the sport is just as much of a mental workout as it is a physical one.
“You definitely have to anticipate and control your mental and emotional state during sparring and training. I knew it would be physically challenging, but the mental part of the sport is more strenuous than I expected.”
Hamrah is still relatively new to boxing. For the past several months he has been participating in Bar Spar, a health and wellness initiative from the Bartender Boxing Organization and Tequila Cazadores. The program was created to counteract the many challenges bartenders face when trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.
“You often need to consume a fair number of drinks to form camaraderie with your colleagues and educate yourself in our industry,” explains Hamrah. “It’s difficult not to stay out late and then sleep in.”
Tequila Cazadores has provided participating bartenders with personalized meal plans and three sessions with professional boxing trainers every week. It’s these boxing pros that told Hamrah that a good boxer looks after their mind as thoroughly as their body.
“I’ve learned from our trainers that a positive attitude pays dividends in the ring and during training. If you can maintain a mental edge and plan your physical movements in advance, you have a much better chance of success.”
This might seem simple, but staying focused isn’t easy when you’re exhausted and someone else is trying to punch you in the face. For Hamrah, it’s not too different from being behind the bar during a rush. You need to remain quick and methodical without rushing or making mistakes.
That’s the approach he plans on taking to his December match with another bartender in Dallas. His competitor has the height advantage, so Hamrah will need to stay mentally tough and out-think his opponent if he wants to take home the belt. He seems confident that he’s ready to do exactly that.
“I’ll have to take a few good shots, but I think I can slip enough punches to get inside, do some damage with body shots and land a couple of sneaky right hooks. I expect to come away with a win.”