A professional boxer who competed at the 2016 Olympics and is now Top Rank’s first signed female boxer in more than a decade, Mikaela Mayer is one of Under Armour’s newest additions to the Unlike Any campaign.
We sat down with her to talk to her about what inspires and motivates her, how the lowest moments in her career have fueled her success and why she likes sweet potatoes so much.
Check out the video and then read the interview to learn more about Mikaela:
Q: Who and what inspires you to be Unlike Any?
Mayer: This is something that’s really internal, since I’m paving the way for this sport. When I started boxing 11 years ago it wasn’t an existing career for women. So what inspires me is really internal. I’ve always been a hungry, motivated person, but it wasn’t until I found something I was passionate about that I really kicked into high gear.
Q: What’s the driving factor that fuels your motivation?
Mayer: It’s definitely passion. Finding something you’re passionate about is one of the most important things in life. I set extremely high goals for myself and I know that in order to accomplish those goals I have to get my ass up and work. I always know what accomplishing those goals feels like, as well as what it feels like not to accomplish those goals. Both ends of the spectrum are so extreme, but I want that feeling of accomplishment.
Another motivator is the next generation of female fighters. I feel a duty because I have this platform since I’ve paved the way for the younger girls who can now say, “I can have a career in boxing.” I’m going to set the tone for that.
Q: What makes you leap out of bed every day?
Mayer: Those goals. Before all I could think about was the Olympics. Now I have an even bigger stage in front of me. I have people who are looking at me to perform who believe in me: I have a promoter, fans, young girls who are looking at me to pave the way and do big things. I have the duty to get my ass up and make those goals happen.
Q: What was your lowest moment that ended up launching you to your success?
Mayer: There were a couple low moments, but the first one that comes to mind was the Olympics. I got to the Olympics and it didn’t feel like the Olympics to me. I didn’t get the results I wanted. For 6–7 months afterward I went through a funk. I went through all this effort and it put me in a funk, but it made me look in other directions. It got me looking in a new direction and that’s how I signed with Top Rank.
I’m really happy with where I am now. I had to learn to stay patient and trust the process.
“I had to learn to stay patient and trust the process.”
Q: What’s your personal mantra?
Mayer: I got the word “perseverance” tattooed on my arm in 2014. I started thinking of that word when I started going through those roller coasters. I had to work really hard, I’d lose in the finals, or lose by one point, and I just had to push through. I persevered through a lot of things. Eventually I’d make it to the top so I’d see what I can accomplish through perseverance.
Q: Do you have any rituals or habits that keep you grounded and focused on your goals?
Mayer: I think just creating routines in your life. For example, when I left the Olympic Training Center, everything was planned out for me. When I turned pro, I didn’t know who I was training with. I have a huge calendar on a whiteboard in my living room where I plan out everything. I’m big on lists, planning out my week, training camp, because I don’t have anyone telling me what I’m going to do.
Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Mayer: I’ve gotten big into cooking and I’m trying to be vegan twice a week. I also like to paint. I spend a lot of time with my dogs being outside. I like being in nature. And I swear, cleaning is a hobby for me (laughs).
Q: What are your favorite healthy go-to foods or meals?
Mayer: When I’m cutting weight, I cook chicken breasts for the week. I also really like sweet potatoes because they knock out my sweet tooth. And I throw avocado on everything. When I’m not cutting weight, I’m big on cooking Mexican food — I make really good enchiladas.
Q: How do you unwind and celebrate your successes?
Mayer: I like to be social and go out. I’m big on balance; I know my boundaries. I know what I have to do before a fight and I make sure to celebrate after my fights, I have fun, I maintain friendships. It takes the stress off training. I’ve learned to enjoy life.
Q: What tips would you give to MFP users working to achieve their health goals?
Mayer: I’d recommend grocery shopping and cooking your own food. If I don’t buy junk food I don’t eat it, so I don’t keep chips, soda, juice or anything like that around.
Also, get a workout buddy or a trainer. I need to have people around me. Come up with a weekly plan and stick to that goal.
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