What is mental toughness?


Mental toughness is a term thrown around a lot in sport and in physical training.

It conjures up fairly standard images for most people I am sure - basically a Rocky style workout montage (NB: if you have not seen a Rocky montage, stop what you are doing right now and go WATCH ONE).

People pushing themselves to the limit and then beyond.

But is that toughness?

Or is it stubbornness?

Or worse, ignorance?

Yes of course, to be the Best of the Best (oh damn, another montage!), there has to be a little bit of all of the above in there. There must be sacrifice to achieve the ultimate in just one area.

But humanity has always been a culture of more is better, and none more so than in the fitness/athletic/sport industry.

Many people embrace the idea of 'more' so willingly, and chase this feeling of total fatigue and even pain, in a bid to get the results they strive for.

But what if the real mental toughness, was not allowing yourself to get sucked into the 'more' vortex?

What if mental toughness, simply meant taking a rest day?

What if it was being able to work on technique to correct an error? Even if all around you, your workout buddies were straight crushing the big weights and having a great time doing it????

What if mental toughness, was missing your AM workout, for an extra hour of sleep, because you needed it, and being satisfied with a short bodyweight circuit at home before dinner than night...?

Real mental toughness is not improving during PR Week, and being 100% ok with that fact, because you were crushing out your PhD thesis or a work project the past 3 months, or maybe your wife just had a baby.....!

Beating yourself up about any lack of improvement in these situations is more a sign of mental instability than mental toughness.... ;)

Mental toughness is doing the right thing for yourself and being ok with it.

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Darren Ellis