Big fight in a little woman

April 22, 2013

Fighting fit. Cidalia Pires

The first time Cidalia Pires, or Cid as we call her, joined our fitness class a year ago, we were dubious about how long she would last.

This tiny woman was carrying a bit of extra baggage and her struggle was palpable. Just a shade over 5ft tall, Cid came with her fitter partner Eva, who was clearly on a mission to help Cid lose some weight and get healthier.

Now 12 months later and ten kilos lighter, she still works just as hard. But she needs to push herself a bit more to get there. Not only that, she seems to have become addicted to boxing.

‘I love it. I wouldn’t miss a session,’ she says. ‘If you don’t see me here it’s because I’m on my death bed.’

Her death bed was a bit too close for comfort when at the age of 37, weighing 98kgs, she experienced heart palpitations.

Cid before boxing and nearly 30kgs heavier.


Her doctor told her she could either start taking medication or change her lifestyle. She decided on the second option, which back then involved walking at least 20 minutes a day, gradually introducing some running and a dramatic change in her diet. Junk food and soft drinks were out and water and fruit and vegetables were in.

Born in East Timor and working as an instruments technician at Masada Hospital, Cid didn’t want to end up in one of those beds hooked up to a machine.

Eva urged her to try the boxing classes. But she wasn’t sure at the time, even though by then she had started running the 1000 Steps every weekend.

Cid’s story is not simply one of the weight loss success, but also a story about how when you start to enjoy an activity it becomes part of your life and not a chore, which makes the consistency inevitable. If you’re motivated by something intrinsic, you’re more likely to maintain the activity than if you are doing it for something external. I strongly believe that those who train just to look good are missing out on a world of other benefits. The by-product should be that you look better. But the real driver is health, happiness, well-being, confidence, strength and vitality.

Cid is a hard worker. She is never satisfied that she has done enough work or thrown enough punches. You’ll always see her bent over and breathing hard at the end of the round. I think Cid enjoys being a hard worker. It’s part of her identity. And she expresses that in the gym three times a week.


It’s part of her life now and it’s keeping her alive. And she’s part of the Boxing Central family. Another by-product of her fitness campaign that we’re all happy about too.


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