Why studies can wait but sports can’t

I got inspired to write this post today because I’m really really sad that a few of my close friends (who are really talented swimmers) are planning to stop swimming because of school commitments. I do agree that school can get really stressful at times, but there’s always a way to manage school and swimming at the same time.


I’ve had the same experience back the days when I was still in the Singapore Sports School. We could either choose to do the diploma course which was offered in school and continue swimming, or take the O level route, quit the sport, and move on to Junior College. I chose the diploma route (which only 20% of the students chose), and continued swimming. So you can imagine how sad I was when 80% of my closest batch mates left the school and moved on with their lives in JC while I was still stuck in school.

At that point in time I deeply regretted my decision to stay on and continue swimming, because it felt like everyone was already moving on to a new phase in their lives, while I was still stuck in square one. I initially wanted to quit swimming and join my friends in JC, but I couldn’t do much because I didn’t have an O level certificate, so even if I wanted to, I just couldn’t.


Knowing that I didn’t have a choice, I continued swimming and I gotta be honest, the first few months were really hard. It kinda just felt empty and it wasn’t really a pleasant feeling when you see your friends posting about how excited they are about starting a new life in Junior College while you are still stuck in the same school. I stayed in boarding school so all that were left were empty dorm spaces which used to be my batch mates’ rooms.

singapore sports school - singapore-2

However, in life, I believe that everything is about adaptation. I soon started to make new friends in school, and life got a lot better afterwards. I found a new clique of friends which shared the same goal as me. They were all driven by passion in their various sports, and we all had the same goal of excelling in sport.

So with these bunch of equally motivated friends, I found my passion to swim again, and the thought of my old friends leaving didn’t bother as much as it did before.

I continued this mindset even up to this date, even when I’m in University. I’m currently taking 5 years to complete a 4 year course, due to under-loading modules so that I can manage both swimming and studies at the same time. I’ll definitely be sad when I see my friends throwing their graduation hats when I still have one more year left in school. However, when I grow old and look back at my life, I will be happy that I’ve achieved the different milestones in my swimming career which I have set myself out to achieve.

The reason why I’m sharing my story today is because I want to let you know that if you love sports as much as I do, and you have some goals which you want to achieve in this sport, DON’T EVER, EVER GIVE UP ON THEM UNTIL YOU ACHIEVE THEM. Don’t be afraid that your friends may graduate earlier than you, or that you’ll be missing out on the fun memories that your batch mates create while you were busy training hard for an important competition. Because you have to understand that as a sportsman, these are sacrifices which you have to make in order to reach your goals. Just know that when you stand up on the podium with the gold medal around your neck, you’ll know that all that sacrifice was well worth it.

At the end of the day, just remember that no matter what happens, studies can wait, but sports can’t. You can still study when you’re 30, but you have already passed your peak age of sporting performance when you choose to do sports after you’re done studying. At that point in time, it will be too late to turn back to sport, and you’ll live life with “I could have achieved this in my sport, but I didn’t because I chose to study.” That amount of regret is just not worth it.

So which feels better? “I could have…” or “I finally did it!” The answers pretty obvious.

pang sheng jun quah zheng wen danny yeo joseph schooling

Looking back at my life now, the memories that I’ve created and the goals which I wanted to achieve in this sport are more or less achieved, so I’m glad that I chose to keep the faith and continue training hard. When I grow older and look back at my life, I can proudly say I did it!

Even though I’m graduating a year later than my batch mates, but come on, I’m going to be living for 70+ 80 years in my life, 1 year is merely 1%+ of my life span, that, I can afford to sacrifice. 🙂

I sincerely hope this blog post can inspire you to continue your path in sport, because once you made the decision to leave the sport, there will be no turning back from there.


P.S. To those who are thinking of retirement, every time the word ‘retirement’ comes across your mind, remember the amount of years you invested for the sport, and how hard it took you to get to where you are today. Don’t give up just yet, you’re almost there 😉


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How to get over a bad race


There’s always countless amounts of doubts going through every swimmer’s head after a bad race:

“Is this the end of my career?” 

“Should I quit now?” 

“I’ve worked so hard but the results didn’t seem to tally, so why should I even work hard in the first place?” 


So the question is, do you quit? 

The simple answer is NO. First, you must understand that it’s normal to have these negative thoughts running through your head after a bad race, but I want you to forget about those negative thoughts and keep believing that the great race will come one day.

If you haven’t achieved what you set yourself out to achieve in your career, then it’s not time to quit. 

The life span of sport is brutal, it does not wait for you to be ready, and once you past your prime age, it’s over for you even if you want to make a come back. Seize the opportunity when you can, because it’s a privilege for you to be given the opportunity to try.

My dad always reminds me to appreciate the opportunity that I’m given to swim. He told me that when he was my age, he wasn’t even given an opportunity to take on the sporting career.

In the past, sport wasn’t that well promoted as compared to now. It was a luxury to even engage in sporting activities on a daily basis. And comparing to my dad really made me appreciate the opportunity that I am given now.

The point that I’m trying to bring across here is that you should NEVER EVER waste a great opportunity given to you. Instead, appreciate that you’re given the opportunity to race and make full use of it.

Before thinking about giving up, think about how lucky you are to be given this opportunity to race.


But what if I try, but the “great race” never comes? 

There are 2 ways you can look back at your career:

“I have gave everything I had in the pool, and I got no regrets.”

“If only I continued swimming, I would have known my full potential.”

So which one will you choose? The answer’s pretty obvious.

I’m not saying that everyone will find their “great race” in their career, but isn’t that the beauty of sport? The nerves and adrenaline rush you get from each race, not knowing what to expect. The pain from the rush of lactate you have to endure after every race. All these are great experiences you will encounter, even without a good race.

Always remember, you’d rather live your life knowing that you tried your best and failed, than to look back at your life in regret knowing that you once had the opportunity to try, but you chose to give up. Because that, my friend, is going to haunt you for life.

Even if that great race never comes, you’ll be equipped with great life lessons which will get you ready for the work life next time.


Swimming will teach you that in life, even though things will not always go the way you want to, you just have press on and believe in the process. Because sport does not last a lifetime, but the character traits that you’ll learn from it, will last you a lifetime.

Ultimately, if you can learn from every bad experience and take it positively, you are already a winner. 🙂

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Essential Supplements that Every Athlete Needs

I’ve received many questions from people about the best supplements that athletes should take to help train harder and recovery faster. The perfect answer would be to have whole foods as they come from natural sources instead of from a powdered bottle. However, due to how fast paced Singapore is, there’s no doubt that we have to take some supplements to help us get to our goals as it is just impossible to prepare healthy meals every single day of the week.

I would like to say that I’ve taken many many many supplements in my whole entire swimming career, and after changing brands after brands and spending loads of money, these are the supplements which I feel has made a difference in my training progress. So if you are thinking on taking supplements, these are a few that I’d strongly recommend.

Just to give you an idea, I am an endurance athlete (200m and above), my training regime is mostly based on cardio. My goals are to stay as lean as possible, and to not have any bulk which may potentially weigh me down in the water, so don’t expect to see “Creatine” in my list of recommended supplements.

Supplements are really expensive, so I hope that this blog post will give you a clearer idea the essential supplements to take and also potentially save cost on expensive supplements which are unnecessary.


1) Probiotics


First off, consistency is key when it comes to training so I feel that targeting the fundamental aspect of your body is key. And to have consistency, preventing yourself from falling sick is the most important thing when it comes to training.

You can have the best supplement stack, but if you can’t stay healthy, any supplement stack would be deemed useless.

We are constantly exposed to bacteria everyday, which increases the risk of us falling sick. So if we include Probiotics in our diet, we can balance out the good and bad bacteria in our body which can potentially prevent us from falling sick.

I drink one Yakult everyday as it is a great source of Probiotics, plus the taste is awesome as well. However, if you’re always on the go, I would recommend you investing in Probiotics pills, which you can bring it along with you.

So remember, prevention is key, so time to start on Probiotics!


2) Vitamin C


Vitamin C is also another good supplement which you can take to prevent yourself from falling sick. As you can tell by now, I have a sweet tooth, so I prefer my supplements to be sweet as well.

I usually take my vitamin C at night, after a 250g of steak, as Vitamin C increases the absorption of Iron, and Iron is good for me as an endurance athlete because it potentially increases the red blood cell count in my body, therefore having better oxygen transportation when I’m in the pool.


3) Protein + Carbohydrate source


People always ask, what is the best protein to take?

To me, it’s not about how well the protein absorbs in your body. I know there’s Whey protein isolate, Whey protein concentrate, Micellar Casein, Milk protein, and many many more forms. However, to me, the most important thing is TIMING and HAVING A CARBOHYDRATE SOURCE to go along with the protein

Always remember that protein absorbs better when taken alongside carbohydrates. So instead of finding out on which is the “quickest” absorbing protein, aim for a product which has both Carbohydrate and Protein in it.

With regards to timing, I would recommend drinking your Carb+Protein shake within 30 minutes after training as that is the best window for our body to absorb the nutrients.

I’ve tried cycling on and off protein shakes and to be honest, my muscles are less sore when I started to take protein shakes right after my training, so I would highly recommend it.

For me I take 1/2 a scoop of Optimum Nutrition’s PRO Gainer, it taste really good and I like it. Half a scoop of that has a good 40+ grams of Carbohydrates and 30 grams of protein, which is what my body needs after a hard session.

You might be wondering, why take a mass gainer when I want to be lean? Honestly speaking, even though this product is marketed as a mass gainer, it is essentially just a blend of good Carbs and Protein, which is what I need post training. I have not gained any weight ever since taking this product so I think that as long as you have a good training program in place, you won’t go wrong with this product.


4) Hydration


Lastly, hydration is key when it comes to training. (Yes! Swimmers sweat too!)

For me I usually take Gatorade or BSN’s Amino X and it has helped me with the hydration aspect of training. I rarely get any cramps during training so I guess these products are keeping me well hydrated during training.


5) Caffeine

Waking up at 4:45am every morning, it’s pretty impossible to stay awake if I were to not have a coffee dose before training. Even the 20 minute drive to the stadium is quite a challenge. I find that a cup of coffee helps with mental clarity and alertness during my training sessions.

For me, I have a cup of coffee right before my morning and afternoon sessions, and I feel that it has helped me.

However, if you are able to hype yourself up before your workouts, you can skip caffeine.


In summary…



So there you have it! If this is your desired body shape, then these supplements are essential and sufficient for you to achieve your goals. I know this current supplement stack is really basic but trust me, that’s all you need.

Also, an important factor to note is that whole foods are always better than taking supplements. However if you have a really tight schedule like me and can’t have the luxury of whole foods (e.g. having a meal prepared for you within 30minutes after your workout) then supplements will help you with your recovery.

Always remember not to be too reliant on supplements, because nothing beats having a proper training goal and training schedule.


5) Things to AVOID

There’s a lot of marketing hype about supplements nowadays but a thing which you should take note of is that if there aren’t sufficient scientific studies done to a specific product, it is best to avoid it as you may not know the potential side effects the products may have. I strongly am against “Natural testosterone boosters” as there hasn’t been sufficient studies done on it.

I strongly recommend going to Australian Institute of Sport’s (AIS) Website before investing in supplements. Here’s the list of grade A supplements (click on this link), whereby extensive research has been done and these supplements are supported for use.

Overall, this is my personal opinion towards supplements. Supplements are really dependent on your goals and lifestyle so choose the supplements which suit your lifestyle and training goals. Some may recommend Creatine for bulking (it is a grade A supplement on AIS) but I can’t answer that because I haven’t tried it myself. It would be great if you consult your nutritionist (if you have one) before trying on these supplements, but I know that not everyone has the luxury of having their own nutritionist and hence this blog post!

I hope this blog post gives you a clearer idea on the supplement stack which I’m on! This is the current supplement stack which I stick to after trying out many different brands of products for years.

Always remember, prevention is key, so staying healthy is the most important aspect when finding your supplement stack. And of course, stop spending money on unnecessary products unless there has been research done for those products.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or write to me and I’d be happy to answer them!


EDIT: As feedbacked by Nutritionist Belinda, it is important that athletes are aware that there may be doping substances in sports supplements. It is best to consult a sports nutritionist/dietitian before purchasing supplements which you are unsure of. 


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Why every bad race isn’t always a bad experience

SNAG Day 5 Finals- 2016-03-20_Andy Chua -DSC_9784.jpg

Everyone’s got their fair share of bad races in swimming, and it’s really impossible to name a swimmer who hasn’t had one. Personally, I’m someone who always finds the positive in every negative situation, even though things might not go my way sometimes.

The Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships (SNAG) just happened last week so I’ll be sharing about how the bad races I had were actually great experiences. 

DISCLAIMER: This is going to be yet another long blog post about my experience, so it would take about 10-15 minutes of your reading time. If you’re in a rush for time I’d suggest you come back and read it again another time. 

So the SNAG’s probably the most important meet of the year for Singaporean swimmers, as it serves as the ONLY local competition to qualify for the Olympics this year in Rio. So simply speaking, it is a make or break meet. The Olympic dream is common in many of us in the National team, because Olympics the most prestigious event any swimmer can ever take part in in their sporting career.

Leading up to the SNAG, I’ve had the most solid preparation I’ve could have ever asked for; I did pace times which I’ve never thought that I would ever achieve them in my life and I was even surprising myself on how fast I could actually go. It’s those kinda swimming times that make you go “Ah, I’ve got SNAG in the bag.” Even my coaches were really happy with the progress I’ve made ever since SEA Games ended last year. 

With such good preparation, I was really excited to swim the SNAG. However, shit happens sometimes and to cut the story short, I caught a stomach flu right smack before SNAG. In summary, I did 0 personal best times this meet, even when I had the best preparation leading up toward it. I even took lesser modules in school so that I could prepare wholeheartedly for this trials. It obviously does not feel good, knowing that all your hard work over the months has gone down the drain just because you caught a little bug. 


But today I will not be crying over how unlucky I was to have caught this virus during the week of SNAG. Instead, I’ll be talking about the positive experiences I’ve had for this meet, even though it may seem like a negative one. This is my story: 

Having a stomach flu is an unpleasant feeling – Apart from the tummy aches, it makes you weak, disrupts your sleep, sends shivers down your spine for no apparent reason, and makes you sweat profusely, even when you’re not doing much. 

I still remember 2 days before my race, I had to take a day off the pool just to make sure that I get rid of the virus fully. Although I spent most of my time resting in bed, I had to wake up several times for obvious reasons. It came to a point that it got so frustrating because at the night that I was supposed to be resting and recovering, I literally woke up at 1am, 3am, 5am, 7am, and finally 9am where I just couldn’t fall asleep anymore. I got up of bed a little lethargic and when I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t believe how heavy my eye-bags were, despite sleeping for almost 10 hours, but I just shook it off and hydrated as much as I could. 

I think what made me feel a lot better were the texts received from my coaches and friends, who were really concern about how I was doing. “Great!” I replied, even though I was feeling a little weak that day, but I know that positive self-talk goes a long way to in the road to recovery. I have to give credit to my mum, as she made me the positive person I am today with the different lessons that she’s constantly teaching me in my life. 

“Sheng Jun, I know you’re feeling unwell, I can see it from your face, but in times like these, you still have to learn to stay positive, and put your faith in God. Look at those people living with Cancer, if they didn’t fight for their lives, do you think that they could have won the battle against cancer? Obviously not. So you’re going to fight through this sickness, and give your best shot in 2 days time. I know you can do it.” After listening to her, I felt really inspired to give it my all for the race coming up.  

So time passed and I seized every opportunity I could to get as much rest as possible, and prepared my best before race day. 

When race day came, I woke up feeling dizzy and a little weak but I knew it was ok because it was just preliminaries, so all I needed was to give a swim good enough to secure myself a spot in the finals. I took quite a bit of effort in completing my preliminary race, but I was glad to advance to the finals. 

I went back home and tried to get as much rest as possible. But as usual, I woke up after an hour of sleep with my blanket feeling a little moist due to the profuse sweating. I just shook off that feeling and decided to read and keep my mind off how my body was feeling that day. 

Before we left house I opened up to my mum and dad about how I was really feeling. Mum, dad, before tonight’s race, I would like to thank you all for all the constant support you’ve given me throughout the many years of my swimming career. I’m sorry that I fell sick this time around, but I will still do my best and leave everything in the pool tonight.” 

“Son, whether you swim well tonight, or not, dad just wants you to be happy. So what I want you to do tonight is to go out there, and race your heart out. No matter what the results are, dad will always be supporting you, so go out there, and enjoy yourself, because dad is already proud of what you have achieved in this sport, so don’t feel any less of yourself.” I felt a huge load going off my shoulders after what my dad said, and all I wanted to do was just to race my heart out and see how things would pan out. 

I got to the pool and started stretching. As usual, the sweat started breaking out again, but I ignored it and just stuck to my normal routine. By the time my normal stretching ended, my shirt was pretty damp due to all the sweating. I got in to do my warm up, and got up a little dizzy after I was done warming up. What was most ridiculous was that when I got up to suit up to my competition suit, my legs were shivering when I was trying to pull my suit up, which has never happened in my whole swimming career. So you can roughly imagine how weak my immune system was then.


But I knew nothing could be done to change the fact that I was sick, so I’ll just do my best and control what I can, which is to stick to my race plan. Before leaving for the reporting area, I gave my phone one last glance. “This swim is for you, mum and dad.” I dropped my phone in my bag, and left for the reporting area with a smile on my face. 


As I getting onto the starting blocks, I could hear my coaches and teammates from both sides cheering for me, and that spurred me on to give my best shot, even when I was at my lowest. 

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White lips… Pale Face.. Breathing in snow flakes… 

I gotta say that this was hands down the most painful 400IM race that I have ever swam in my entire life. I remember feeling a sharp pain in my head going into the last 100m of the race, but the end was near so I kept my head down to finish the race, and I left every ounce of energy I had in the pool.  

I swam a 4:26.40, a second lifetime best, just behind my 2015 SEA Games time of 4:24.80. To be honest, this was a pretty solid time considering the circumstances I’ve been through, so I’m really happy with the outcome of the race. 

I feel that the biggest takeaway from this SNAG was neither about the times I did, nor how shitty I felt during that week. Rather, it was about experiencing a different kind of happiness; knowing that everyone still believed in me and still stood by me during this really tough week. It is when I’m at my lowest, that I embraced all the care and concerns which I was receiving. I felt an even stronger bond between my parents and realizing how much they really care for me, makes me really thankful for this experience.  

To all the people that cheered me on during my race, here’s a big THANK YOU to you all, because without the support from each and everyone of you, I think I wouldn’t have been able to achieve a second life time best time in my race. 🙂

It’s really a nice feeling knowing that no matter what the outcome is, my parents will always be happy to be part of my swimming journey. I’ve always had the misconception that doing well = making my parents happy, but that is actually not the case. In reality, parents are actually just happy to be able to be together with their children on their various grueling journeys.

It was also really a whole new racing experience this time around because as a competitive swimmer, I’ve always been the confident one during competitions, my parents kinda left me to do what I needed to get in the zone because racing for more than 15 years in my life, it was pretty much second nature to me. However, this time around, we kinda switched roles and they really gave me the strength and confidence to stay positive and do my best.

So all in all, even though the SNAG has been a totally different experience for me, it was still a happy one. Always remember that no matter how negative or how tough a situation might be, there will always be positives in it. And if we can channel our focus into the positives instead of the negatives, we will lead a happier life.

However, don’t fully ignore the negatives aspects of the situation. Instead, learn from what went wrong, and make sure that the same mistakes don’t happen again in the future. 

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My quest to chasing the Olympic dream may have slowed down a little, but it will not stop me from working hard. 


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Constant reminders go a long way – in my case it’s a towel [Sp]


Constant reminders go a long way into motivating yourself towards your goals. Many of you have been following my blog to know that I’ve always live by my “Hard Work Pays Off” motto, because I always believe that as long as we work hard towards our goals, it will only be a matter of time before we achieve them!


Uchino is a brand that always consider customer satisfaction for towels and bathroom items, taking care of how we can spend better quality time in the showers. Hence, Uchino dedicates to create the world’s finest towels and towel wear with quality materials and standard.

They also place great emphasis on manufacturing towels which are pleasant to the point that it is safe even when it comes in contact with a baby’s mouth, how cool is that?

I was really excited and happy when Uchino had me in mind and sent me one of their towels, the kishu-binchotan fiber series. What I liked best was that they even embroidered my name and favorite motto on it which made fall in love with the towel instantly. 🙂


I’ve been using this towel everyday ever since I received it and it has definitely served as a constant reminder for me to push through the toughest times of my training. Training sessions can get really hectic at times, and when the going gets tough, we may sometimes lose track of what we’re aiming for, so any form of constant motivation is always good when we get really tired.


Now for my experience – The thing I like most about kishu-binchotan fiber towel is that it’s very absorbent, and trust me, it feels SUPER DUPER SOFT on my skin. Something unique about this towel is that it is woven in double face of gauze and pile unlike the normal pile towels we tend to use. With the charcoal powder kneaded into the towel, it further enhances the towels with the ability to absorb moisture and repel odor. In all honesty, I never knew that towels would make a difference after baths, so this towel has given me a whole new post bath experience.

It’s hard to explain how it feels, but I’ll try my best – It feels like you’re having thin pieces of super absorbent tissue papers which soaks the moisture off your skin when you’re drying yourself, so it doesn’t take much effort to try and wipe off all the water after bathing.

And of course, the added motto also makes it a far more enjoyable bath experience for me especially after a long day of hard training 😉

So all in all, this towel has made my post bath experience far more convenient and enjoyable with its super absorbent effects and added embroidery service.


If you’re interested in getting Uchino towels, feel free to head down to departmental stores such as Takashimaya, Isetan, Tangs, and many more stores. They’ve got a wide range of face, body, hand, and many more towels for you to choose from, so do check them out! Not only that, you can follow them on Facebook & Instagram to get constant updates on their promotions!

I hope my post has given you a clearer idea on how constant reminders can go a long way, so start finding your own source of motivation today. 🙂

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Legitimate reasons on why you can’t study sometimes

Ever had those days where you just find it super hard to focus on studying even though your exams are on the way? Here are some possible reasons why you may find it hard to focus during crunch time:


1. Too full to study


You just ate too much for lunch therefore you feel too lethargic to study. Research has shown that Seratonin (a sleep hormone) releases after a huge meal, therefore causing us to feel drowsy. So if you find yourself being tired after lunch, you probably ate too much!


2. It is too early


Your brain is not fully active when it’s so early in the morning because you’re not fully awake yet, therefore you may find it really hard to focus on studying when it is too early.


3. The procrastinator



4. The weather is too hot


Some days the weather gets so hot to the point whereby you’ll even be sweating when you’re in an air condition room. These are the days which are hard to focus and you probably feel less efficient when studying due to the heat.


5. The weather is too cold


On the other hand, some days the weather gets really cold to the point that you just feel the strong urge to tuck yourself under your blanket and never ever get out from there. It’s definitely a sign for you to catch up on that much needed rest!


6. End up snacking more than studying


Who else has the habit of snacking and studying at the same time? According to Harvard’s Mental Health Letter, have stated that stress increases the intake of foods which are high in sugar, fat, or both (which explains why we like to snack, especially when exams are coming and we are mugging like mad). & on top of that, when you have too much good food at home… You’ll just end up snacking more than studying.

P.S. another freshly baked homemade Oreo chocolate chip cookies by my mum, who wants some?

7. Distractions


Don’t you feel that everything else around you gets more interesting or disturbing when you start studying? It’s like noises become more prominent from everywhere, and your mind will start being preoccupied with irrelevant thoughts that don’t matter after you stop studying?

Don’t worry, I feel you bro.


8. Not having passion for the subject


When you don’t love a certain subject, you’ll just find it seriously hard to understand the concepts and theories of that particular subject. You’ll end up being inefficient in your study time as you are basically memorizing the information just to pass the test, and not because you want to gain new knowledge.

But not to worry, you get to choose the course you like when you enter university! 🙂


9. The assignment weightage is not high enough


5% of total grade for a 1500-2000 word essay is simply not worth it.


10. Not in the mood to study

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Ever had some days whereby you just feel like even when you try your best, you just cannot absorb anything? You sit down and attempt to study, one hour has gone by, and you only completed 5% of what you need to study.

Don’t worry, I experience the same thing too. It’s not like we didn’t attempt to study. We did try our best, but nothing seems to be going in.


11. Because your room is too comfortable


When your room is simply just too comfortable and all you wanna do is to laze in bed every time you’re home… say bye bye to studying.


12. Knowing that you will still fail even after studying

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If you know this will happen, all motivation to study is already lost.


So these are some legitimate reasons on why we can’t study sometimes. Feel free to share some more reasons via the comment section below on why you can’t study sometimes as well! Hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂


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Live everyday like it is your last day on earth


At 23 years old of age, I still hug my parents to sleep every night. I remember back in my secondary school days when I hugged my parents every week before boarding into the Singapore Sports School, I would have often been told by some of my friends to stop being a ‘mama’s boy’ as though hugging my parents goodbye was a thing that only little kids would do. However, that didn’t stop me from hugging them goodbye, or good night every single night, and let me explain why this means a lot to me.

Life is short, and unpredictable, and I’ve had many friends who lost their loved ones unexpectedly and never got a chance to say goodbye. Learning from their painful experiences, I’ve learnt to live life with my loved ones as though it is our last day together, so that if anything ever happens to either of us, I’ll have no regrets because deep down, I know that I’ve done everything that I’ve possible could for our happiness.

There’s a Chinese saying that goes “不怕一万,就怕万一” and to translate this in simple English, it means “Rather safe than sorry.” In my context, there will always be a possibility that your loved ones will be taken away from you one day, or you may be gone from this world without a reason.

Some of you may think I’m overthinking or being paranoid, but won’t you rather live life holding your close ones as tight as you can, than to live life in regret if they’re ever gone all of a sudden? Never leave anything up to chance, and always try to settle arguments by the end of the day, because you never know what the next day will bring.

The key message I’m trying to bring across here is not to LITERALLY live everyday like it is your last; but is to not to fear death, or fear that your loved ones will be taken away from you, rather, learn to have a purpose in your life. Know that each and every one of you are unique in your very own way and you mean a lot to the people that love you, and know what purpose you have in this life.

As you start to learn to live everyday like it is your last day, you’ll find yourself more motivated to get up and start doing the things you love, and not laze around waiting for something to happen. Life is short, so don’t waste time snoozing, because if you snooze, you lose.


For me, having a mentality like that has made me appreciate the opportunity I’ve been given to train everyday – it has given me the extra motivation to get up and train every morning, because there is a purpose in my life. Knowing that life is short, I’m seizing every opportunity that I can and make the most out of it. I’m not saying to train every session like it is the last session you’re going to have, but it’s the mentality to appreciate what you have, and make full use out of it because opportunities like these don’t come easy.

Always remember, nobody can predict the future, or how things are going to pan out in our lives, but if we learn to appreciate the close relationships that we have and always live everyday with our loved ones like it is their last day on earth, we’ll have no regrets (if they’re ever gone one day) as deep down we know that we’ve loved them unconditionally and never once under-appreciated them. With that mentality, you’ll also find a stronger sense of purpose in your life and feel a lot more motivation to do what you truly love, and not leaving anything up to fate or chance.

Always remember, you’re all unique individuals in your own way, so learn to channel your energy into doing the things that you truly love, and let your loved ones know how much they mean to you! Once you’ve done that, you’ll feel a stronger sense of purpose in your live and you’ll live life with no regrets 🙂

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“One day you’ll leave this world behind, so live a life you will remember” – The nights, Avicii

I hope that this post motivates you to chase your dreams and appreciate those that love you. Life is short, so lets get up and start working towards our goals 🙂


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This is why you shouldn’t study during Chinese New Year

Chinese new year is a season to celebrate and share moments with your love ones. It is a time for you to forget about work related issues and focus on spending as much family time (e.g. enjoying your reunion dinner) and time with friends if you can, because studies can wait, but Chinese New Year only happens once a year!

I decided to write about this today because I’m still seeing people studying on this special occasion, which in my opinion is unacceptable (sorry for the harsh word used). I have to admit that I did some work yesterday for about an hour, but after an hour or so I was like “screw this, I should be spending more time with my family instead.” so I dropped my books and started went to spend some family time.

P.S. How would you rate these fish jellies that my mum made? :)

Let me ask you an honest question, when you’re old and not as active as you are in the future, will you remember what grade you got for math or chemistry, or would you remember the jokes, the awesome Mahjong and poker sessions that you have spent with your family and friends? I’m sure it would be those great moments that you spent with your family and friends.

To be honest, even when I’m in University now, I can’t remember what grades I got during secondary school, because at this point in my life now, those grades are of no value to me. So this indirectly means that it’ll definitely be impossible for me to remember the grades I get in University now when I start working next time.

“But I remember the grades I got throughout primary and secondary school!”  

Alright, to be fair, I know everybody is different, so if you’re not like me and you remembered the various grades you got in school, then let me ask you this, will your future boss hire you next time solely based on your grades? Well, grades mean something, but they are not everything.

Ultimately, your future boss will hire you for your ability to work in a team, your ability to communicate well, and your ability to plan and organize your work. These are the key elements that your boss will look for when hiring you, and not about the A grade you got in your Math. So drop your books, and start spending time with your family, because family time allows you to train this skills which will benefit you in the future, and not by completing math questions.

“No! I still think my school GPA will matter when I work in the future.” 

Ok, if you think that grades are everything, then let me ask you a simple question. Knowing the importance of spending family time, will you still be able to fully focus on doing your work and neglecting your family? And even if you managed to study, will you not feel guilty that you didn’t spend family time on this special occasion?

So… Drop your books, and go spend some family time. 🙂


“NO! I will not feel guilty when I don’t spend family time. Studying is love, studying is life…” 

Ok, if that’s the case, then I hope you grow up having all the As you wish for and also remember to laminate your results slip so that you can stick it on to your wall and remember how enjoyable these moments were, because I know for sure that you won’t be able to remember the grades you got in school when you start working so DROP YOUR BOOKS, AND START SPENDING SOME FAMILY TIME.



Jokes aside, here’s to wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year! Drop your books and start spending more quality family time. Trust me, these will be the moments that you’ll treasure as you grow older. And with this, I will end off my blog post and go enjoy my reunion dinner with my family. 🙂

P.S. To the teachers who are really strict on their students: If your students didn’t manage to finish their homework in time, please forgive them, because they must have spent some quality family time over Chinese New Year. 😉 

Here’s another pic of my mum’s homemade jelly fishes… Just another attempt to show off her hard work 

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Hard Work Pays Off

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4 easy steps to instantly lead a better life

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I’ve honestly learnt a lot of life lessons from coach Sonya over the past 3 weeks during training camp so I’ll share on how you can instantly lead a better life starting from today on wards!

The trick is pretty simple: You just have to change your outlook in life, and here’s how… 

1) Respect peoples’ differences 

Every individual is unique in their own way. Some are more outspoken, but some are introvert. Instead of trying to change their approach in life, learn to respect their differences! Every individual has their strengths and weaknesses, so learn to embrace their strengths and not be so critical on their weaknesses.

Nobody is perfect, and everyone has their flaws. So don’t judge them for their flaws, and respect them for their strengths as an individual.

Trust me, if you’re able to do that, you’ll be much happier that way.


2) Keep your enemies close, but friends closer 

I know people usually tell you to keep your enemies closer, but I disagree with that statement.

The term ‘enemy’ here means people that are constantly negative towards your intentions, even when you meant well for them.

Let me illustrate this in a story: 

There were once 3 individuals, Tom, Jerry, and Harry. 
Tom was constantly being really nice to Jerry and Harry because he regarded them as his closest friends.
Jerry was really appreciative of Tom’s efforts to make this friendship workout. But on the other hand, Harry’s always had his doubts. He lived in a world of negativity, and didn’t believe Jerry’s sincerity. He thought to himself that there’s no way that someone could be that nice, if Tom is a nice person, he definitely has something to hide, so Harry better be wary of Tom’s hidden intentions. 

So what have we learnt from this story? It goes to show that however genuine we may be to people, negative people will always remain negative, so it’s best if we stop trying to change them. Instead, we can choose to surround ourselves with positive people and let the negative ones stay negative themselves.

I’ve grew up trying to make everyone happy, but you know what? Sometimes it’s just not worth the effort. Because the negative ones will always take your niceness for granted or think that you have ulterior motive to being nice to them.

So trust me, surround yourself with positive people and shut out the negative ones, you’ll realize how much happier you will be. 🙂


3) People will only judge you based on their own perception, not what others say of you

Are you constantly worried about people saying things behind your back which may spoil your reputation? If you are, I’m here to assure you that you have nothing to worry about.

Firstly, just imagine someone saying something bad to you about your best friend, what will your impression of that person be? Will you change your impression of your best friend? I don’t think so. Instead, the gossiping individual will only reflect badly on him/herself. Because in all honesty, why do you need to talk bad about someone when you’re already ahead of them?

So stop worrying about people backstabbing you, because if you know that deep down that you have done nothing wrong, you don’t have to worry about these fake gossips and lies because at the end of the day, the truth will unfold itself. 🙂


4) Stay true to your values


Don’t change yourself in hope to please others, because you deserve to be happy!

You’ll definitely find people who love and appreciate you for who you are along the way so don’t worry! You can be the biggest idiot in town but trust me it will still be ok. You can ask Russell (The 3rd guy from the right) because he knows what I’m talking about.

Nah, I’m just kidding. In all seriousness, Once you find your group of positive friends, KEEP THEM CLOSE & NEVER EVER LET THEM GO.

Learn to stay true to your values, and do whatever makes you happy, and as long as you can do that, you’ll realize how much less tiring life gets.  


To end it off… 

I hope you’ve learnt the art on how you can instantly lead a better life! Remember, it’s all in your mind, so start leading a better life today! 🙂


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Guest Blogger Marina Chan: There are always two sides to a coin and a mask to every façade

Hello guys! Sorry for not blogging for some time. In case you guys were wondering, training’s been going well in Jacksonville so I hope all the hard work will pay off in time to come!

If you remember a few weeks ago, I blogged that in life, it’s always about perspective. (check out article here). I had a chance to read a paragraph that one of our fellow National swimmer, Marina Chan, wrote, which in my opinion was beautifully written and it touched my heart!

Without further ado, here is the paragraph which I enjoyed a lot:



Serenity –
The emotion felt most strongly by many people when they sit on the fine sandy beach and soak in the beautiful and calming waves.
It becomes hypnotizing, that it entrances the people into a more peaceful mode.
The rhythmic sound as the waves slowly kisses the sandy bay.
The sapphire blue color that coats the waves becomes more prominent as the sun slowly starts to rise and the sky turning a shade of crimson red.
The beach is one of the few places where pathetic fallacy is said to come into play, and yet something that offers an escape from the harsh reality itself can turn into a nightmare.
The waves cascade down one another, crashing into shore lined with pebble-sized seashells. As the howling of the wind gets louder and the gust stronger, the waves start to slowly increase in size. Starting off from puppy sized soon developing into a monstrosity. The gentle motions soon start to become stronger, violent and more tenacious.There are always two sides to a coin and a mask to every façade. It changes in accordance to the environment, which draws an unmistakable parallel to the fickle minded nature of humans. We become someone different in front of different people. We don the different masks and our personality switches with each. The catalyst being the environment that an individual is placed to thrive in.

Everyone is different and dons a different mask but then the question becomes ‘Which is the real one?’

– Marina Chan

If you were inspired by the paragraph like I was, I challenge you guys today to see things from a more positive angle, and change each negative situation to a positive one.


And no matter what, always stay true to yourself! 🙂


P.S. We’ll all be heading to Texas next week for a swimming competition from Jan 15-17 before heading back to Singapore so wish us luck!
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