3 Tips to Build Mental Toughness

Mental Toughness

This means precisely what is says, lessons and practical advice on how to toughen your mind. Does this mean push-ups and sit-ups for the mind? Yes and no. Yes, in that physical exercise is the vehicle used for forging this type of toughness. No, in that you can't literally have your mind do push-ups?

So how does it work? Simple. One step at a time. Have you ever been in a workout or race and found yourself completely, 100%, without a doubt out of gas? Of course you have. So what did you do? Most of us probably eased off the throttle, while others stopped and took a breather completely.

Don't focus on what's left in your race... just focus on the next step. Assuming you're not training with any injuries and it's the mental component we're dealing with, this is where mental training proves extremely valuable. Don't focus on what's left in your race or workout, don't even focus on those around you, just focus on the next step. One foot, one rep, one stroke after another. Incorporate focused breathing to relax and invigorate your body—then carry on.


One key lesson learned after participating in the Kokoro Camp is the fact that our bodies are capable of more—way more—than we give them credit. As a matter of fact, on the third day of this camp, I actually felt my pushups, running and squats getting stronger! But ask me to sit down, or get up from a chair—and I was moving at the speed of a centenarian.

Can you be pushed too far? I don't know, let's see. At one point, I was asked to hold the ready push-up position with my feet on a log. Fine. Then I was told to hold this position while raising my right leg in the air? fine. Then I was told to hold this position while a crew of six men crawled between me and the ground.

No longer able to hold my right foot in the air, it simply collapsed on top of my left. I glanced at my teammates and noticed most had done the same. When the body is maxed, it's maxed. And the instructors at Kokoro, as with most elite training programs, understand that.

It isn't your time or total reps that ultimately count—it is the fact that you put in 100%. You weren't holding back. No plans for the future or memory of the past. You simply put out for the moment and found you had enough to take you the distance.

Rather than waste energy on what happened... the body will take care of what needs to happen now. Instead of my mind being in charge and "teaching" my body a new exercise, my body taught my mind a few things. One of these was the fact that it is capable of much more, if my mind will simply let it do what it needs to do to take care of that moment. Rather than waste energy on what happened or will happen, the body will take care of what needs to happen now.
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