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Building Mental Toughness

Updated: Mar 1, 2019

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When the alarm goes off in the morning, are you jumping out of bed or do you hit the snooze button and go back to sleep? Having the discipline and mental toughness to get out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off, though it may seem small, can translate into more significant decisions in life. Mental toughness compensates for a lack of strength, skill, or natural ability.

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Mental toughness is the difference between a world class athlete and a person who is merely good. As the age-old saying goes: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Mental toughness is not only crucial when it comes to exercising. It also impacts other parts of our lives, like discipline which can be developed just like any muscle in the human body.

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fitness martial arts fama muay thai singapore

Setting Goals

Building a strong mind requires hard work and commitment. Having the right attitude to establish healthy habits and devoting energy to self-improvement is half the battle. This is where goal setting comes in handy. Start with small things such as waking up at the same time every morning or exercising on a predetermined schedule. The root of mental toughness lies in achieving set targets.

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By coaching the brain through a specific routine based on our goals, we will be able to push ourselves to achieve anything we want in life. A group of neuroscientists, after studying Navy Seal recruits, discovered soldiers who had set small goals were able to focus long enough to accomplish whatever task they were given. By setting short term and long term goals, we are able to silence that voice in our head that tells us to give up.

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Be Positive

Every day there is a battle within us. We have positive and negative thoughts popping up all the time. It is perfectly normal to have doubts and second guess ourselves, but to be successful, we have to focus on ideas and emotions that make us feel better. Being positive is also accepting that we are not going to be great at everything. By focusing on strengths, we can create a positive attitude and build confidence from them. Being positive is also generally good for health. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that pessimists' health deteriorated far more rapidly as they aged.

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Be Your Own Coach

No one is born with mental toughness and you don’t have to learn it from a very young age. It comes from building the daily habits. Start by having a conversation with yourself. Humans on average speak 800-1600 words per minute to themselves. Make those words count. By learning to talk positively to ourselves we will be able to find a way through hardship and adversity.

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Visualising is another key ingredient in building mental toughness. By mentally visualising each step and each outcome, we can increase motivation, coordination and concentration. Many elite athletes use visualisation to build mental toughness and to keep themselves motivated. Now go train!


FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts Established in 2016, FaMA is a world-class martial arts training facility located in the heart of the Central Business District in Singapore. Walking distance from the Clarke Quay MRT station, FaMA’s main goal is to help people improve their lives through martial arts regardless of age or athletic capability. Each program is led by experts in their respective fields. Whether it is weight loss, a fun workout, camaraderie, competition training, or just to break a sweat, FaMA has something for everyone.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai, or The Art of Eight Limbs, is a martial art developed in Thailand thousands of years ago to help the Kingdom protect itself against invaders. Using the human body as a weapon, Muay Thai practitioners are well-versed in punching, elbowing, kicking, kneeing, and clinching with their opponents. What was once only used for self-defence and protection of the Kingdom, Muay Thai has grown to become one of the most popular sports not only in Thailand but in the world. Muay Thai is known to provide a complete total-body workout that will help build lean muscle, core strength, and help with weight loss. At FaMA, Muay Thai classes are taught daily by Tanaphong Khunhankaew, or better known as Kru Ping, and Coach Jerel Louie.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ as it is commonly known around the world, is a self-defence martial art that enables a smaller, weaker person to protect themselves against a much larger attacker using leverage and pressure. Formed from Kodokan Judo in Japan, Jiu Jitsu found its way to Brazil in the 1910s through Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese judoka and no-holds-barred prize fighter. During his time in Brazil, Maeda accepted a young Carlos Gracie as his student. Carlos would later pass on his knowledge to his brothers, most notably Helio Gracie - the father of modern Brazilian Jiujitsu. The Gracie family would go on to spread BJJ through The Gracie Challenge and eventually the creation of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Today, BJJ has grown to be more than just an effective unarmed fighting system. It helps young children deal with bullies and adults live a healthy lifestyle. BJJ classes are offered daily at FaMA under the tutelage of Black Belts Zoro Moreira and Robyn Goudy.

FaMA Fit

An all-in-one fitness class suitable for everyone, FaMA Fit incorporates moves from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Boxing and Kickboxing together with functional training to help develop flexibility, mobility, strength, balance, and stamina. For beginners who are just starting out, the FaMA Fit Fundamentals class is an entry-level program that will work the entire body. FaMA Fit and FaMA Fit Fundamentals classes are run by professional athlete Coach Kirstie Gannaway.


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