Kate Bacik is a fighter, a coach and a personal trainer. From MMA, to Brazilian jiu jitsu, to wrestling, and even yoga, Kate does it all, and she’s the ultimate example of high-level performance. We sat down with her (over Zoom, of course) to ask her all about how she ensures she’s performing her best, and how she’s made use of the past few months to get even better at her craft.
Hey Kate! So tell us, what’s your hustle?
I’m a fighter, a coach and a personal trainer. I like to mix it up. I do a bit of Brazilian jiu jitsu, some wrestling, kickboxing, boxing. I also enjoy yoga too.
Who inspires you when it comes to performance?
I don’t really have role models or particular people I look up to. I never have. But I do find quite a lot of ‘day-to-day’ people inspiring. For example, some of my clients; they might have a really hard day but they still show up, push through and feel better after.
I also feel extremely inspired by some of the fighters I've seen in Asia. I spent a few months living in the Philippines and there are children there - 10 or 11 years old - putting so much hard work and focus into their fighting, despite the fact that there aren’t really any prospects there for them. There’s not as many opportunities as we have here in the UK, and little money. But they’re putting all the hard work in just because they love it, and they have passion. They get up at like 5am and their coaches are super tough on them, but they do it all with a smile on their faces.
When was a time you felt you performed your very best?
That’s a funny one. I’ve had quite a few fights in my life and some have been quite important - for a belt or a title or something. There’s a lot of pressure with those. But some of those I would lose really badly. And actually, when I’ve felt like I’ve performed my best, it’s been in the fights I really didn’t care about. When I only had a week to prepare. I think it was the lack of pressure. When you’re the underdog, or no one expects you to do well, that’s when we tend to do better because there’s less pressure on ourselves.
What role does mindset play when it comes to performing better?
It’s the most important thing. We can train our bodies to do whatever we want. Our bodies are amazing and they’re capable of so much, but it’s a matter of activating that power in your mind. Your attitude can change everything.
What’s your pre-fight ritual?
I used to have a really set routine. A whole list of things I’d do the day before. I used to think if anything broke the routine, then I wouldn’t win. But sometimes, I couldn’t do the whole routine for whatever reason - like if I had to fly there or do a weight cut. But it made me realise I didn’t need all of it. There was one time I flew in from another country at 5am and fought at 8.30am on no sleep and no food. And I still won. I realised I didn’t have to go through all these steps. I like to just absorb the energy from the people around me and the other fighters.
Which Innermost products do you use to boost your performance?
My favourite is The Health Protein. I love how it tastes. I’m not vegan but I can’t really do dairy. And I like that it’s got glutamine because it’s important when you’re training a lot. But I also like The Focus Capsules. I’ve been taking those for about a month now and they’ve definitely made a difference.
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MMA is a stereotypically masculine world. What’s it like being a woman in that industry?
You have to have a thick skin. There’s a lot of stuff that will hurt you and not only physical stuff. When I was younger, I was the only female training and there were a lot of big, tough guys and they’d go 100% on me. Obviously that wasn’t always fair but you had to deal with it. If you flinched they’d make fun of you.
Also, I lived in Cyprus for a couple of years and trained there full time in the MMA gym there. The coaches there were lovely and they helped me loads, but a lot of the guys who trained there had never trained with a female. We’d be sparring and the guys would be like: “I can’t hit you because you’re a girl.” But then there’s other guys who would hit you with 150% power just to prove to you that you’re not supposed to be there. But that doesn’t prove anything.
Why is fitness so important to you?
It’s what I do all day every day. It’s like my meditation - I’ve got ADHD and get easily distracted. So I can’t just sit down and do nothing. Instead, training is like active meditation where I don’t have to think about any other life stuff. Nothing else can fill that hole in my life.
So how did you find lockdown? How did you stay active and healthy, mentally and physically?
It’s been quite difficult because I normally go 100% all the time. I used to overtrain a lot, so I do think for me it’s good that it happened because it forced me to slow down a bit. I was very fortunate to have access to a gym, so I started working on whatever I could and trying to sort out old injuries. It allowed me to get much stronger so I feel like I made the most of that time. It was also a big test that made me ask myself: do I love what I’m doing? You have to distance yourself from it a bit to really assess if you still want it. But I really missed it and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Did you take up any new hobbies or learn something new?
I did a lot more yoga than I used to. Like up to three hours a day, going really deep into the techniques and positions. I tried running for about a month too, but I hated it. Then I decided to be a DJ and hosted a live DJ set with my friend! Hopefully I'll be doing more of that in the future.
Anything you’ve read, watched or listened to lately that’s inspired you?
To be honest, no. I needed something uninspiring because usually, I like to read quite serious things about mindset, psychology, self-help, even poetry. I took the time to just watch rubbish and chill out. I’ll probably get back into the serious stuff soon.
Best words of wisdom you’ve ever received?
My coach said I should try to listen to people a bit more. I think I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who can give myself advice, but I know that’s not true. So I'm definitely working on that.
Advice you’d give?
If you want to perform well, you need to ditch comparing yourself to others. Only compare yourself to yourself. Aim to be better than the you from the past, and as good as the you from the future.
Any current goals, fitness or otherwise?
I’ve gained about 5kg over lockdown. I’d like to believe it’s all muscle but I need to drop it to go back to my fighting weight. I also want to go back to MMA as I haven’t really fought MMA since 2017. There’s no more time to keep postponing it, I just have to do it.
Who or what motivates you and why?
I don’t really think other people have the ability to motivate me. I’m quite resistant to other people’s influence so I have to motivate myself.