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Clean sport values and athlete growth

7 Jul 2022

Talei's story

Talei Aldiss, boxer, stands with her coach.

Boxing athlete and DFSNZ athlete educator Talei Aldiss shares her views on how committing to clean sport values improved her mental health, her personal growth and her athletic performance.

Personal sporting achievements can often be overshadowed by the outcome of an event. A win isn’t necessarily a reflection of an athletes growth in either practice or application. The beauty of the athlete’s journey is being able to look back and see how far you’ve come.

When I began my boxing career at 26, I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going, or how long I would stick with it. I was already a lot older than other amateurs in the sport. In the months leading into my first fight, I massively adjusted my lifestyle. At the time I remember thinking how difficult it was to stick to a clean diet and keep a consistent gym schedule, because I had never focused on it before. Seven years later I reap the rewards of this change every day. Not only has my technique and fitness continued to improve without measure, my mental health and strength has soared.

If I had taken any short cuts along the way - whether that was taking supplements instead of working on my nutrition or abusing a performance enhancing substance, I would have missed out on key areas of personal growth both in the ring and out. And because I am looking after my body, I am able to continue performing at an elite level.

Turning up to training when you are tired and would rather be in bed teaches you. Preparing your meals instead of eating on the fly teaches you. Removing negative influences from your life to pursue your goals teaches you. Smashing through the window of adversity has made me who I am today, and who I am today will take me as far as I want to go.

I enjoy winning, but I enjoy seeing how much I have grown as a clean athlete and owning every achievement as my own so much more.