Never before has a sports star and international personality been so loved by people all over the world. Never before has a name been so synonymous with greatness, ability and skill. Never before, and never again, has their been such a colossal figure as Muhammad Ali.
His death shook us all. He touched the lives of so many people around the world, and truly was a sporting icon. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who’ll challenge you on the claim he was the world’s greatest.
His skills, his words, and his experience through life can be an inspiration to us all. Follow in his footsteps, and use the teachings of Muhammad Ali to help you re-focus on your goals and achieve the targets you’ve set for yourself.
“It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”
The words Ali lived by weren’t exactly modest. He truly believed he was the greatest, and he told everyone about it.
Some might call it arrogance, but Ali supported those claims with action. He was the best of the best, in part because he had self-belief.
He believed he could achieve great things and he did. He had the confidence and the strength in himself to succeed. More self-belief and confidence could help you the next time you’re struggling in the gym.
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.”
The iconic phrase from Muhammad Ali is indicative of his exceptional skill. He was light and nimble in the ring, bouncing around his opponents and striking so fast they didn’t realise what hit them.
Whether it was the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ or the ‘Thrilla in Manilla’, Ali’s talents were a joy to watch – because he worked hard to develop the skills he needed.
He didn’t just focus on strength, he committed to improving his abilities all around – speed, agility and stamina. Despite being Heavyweight Champion of the World three times, he was one of the fastest men on the planet.
The lesson for our workouts? Don’t just focus on one goal or one area of improvement. Push your whole body to achieve success.
“Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.”
Ali drew much criticism and infamy for his moral stance on the Vietnam War. He refused to sign up, refused to be drafted and refused to fight in a war where he had no business.
He had strong beliefs, and he stood by them, something we can all live by. His views on politics and religion were as strong as his punches, but he always stood by exactly what he believed in, and helped others to understand why he thought like he did.
“I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick.”
He popularised trash talk and the showmanship of boxing. He was always baiting his opponents, winding them up, teasing the crowd. He made watching him fun.
That’s important to remember. Boxing was a job, a career for Ali. It was a passion for him, and he did everything he could to make it fun and enjoyable for those watching. That’s what made him so popular and long lasting.
Whatever you’re doing, whether it’s training for marathon or bulking up – make it fun, and you’re more likely to succeed.
Always a fighter
Ali was unstoppable, a man that couldn’t be put down. Time and again he returned to the ring; three times world heavyweight champion over a 21 year career in the ring. 61 fights, only 5 of which he lost (by decision or retirement). Of the 56 he won, 37 were by knockout.
He began as Cassius Clay and emerged as Muhammad Ali. He was always the fighter, always striving to be better.
And he courageously kept fighting through his diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. Courage is another inspiration we can draw from him.
A vision and a commitment
Ali’s impact stretched far beyond boxing. He transcended the sporting arena and brought inspiration in all aspects of life, to people all around the world.
As President Obama said: “Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it. We are all better for it.”
We can learn from him. We can change ourselves and we can challenge ourselves, pushing beyond what we think is possible and achieving great things. We can make a difference.
But we have to put the effort in, as Ali said: “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
Follow in Muhammad’s Ali footsteps, believing in yourself and training hard, and you can be a champion too.
“Champions aren’t made in gyms, champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.
How did Muhammad Ali affect you? Did you ever meet him, or do you have a story about him you’d like to share? You can enter any comments you’d like in the box below.