Play & Energy Management


6 October 2021

Framed around the effects of fast-paced change and related challenges on “live-work-play” trends, Active Health’s latest series of webinars feature key industry experts and thought leaders as they navigate trending topics to harness health and wellness in building a high performing individual. This webinar, part of a monthly series, focused on play and energy management. The engaging fireside chat featured Mr Mark Chay, Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP), Chairman of the Singapore National Olympic Committee’s Athlete Commission and Director of Secretariat at the Global Esports Federation. During the session, Mr Chay spoke about the management of one’s routines and energy to optimize health and performance at work and home.

The keys to time management are priority and presence. Mr Chay emphasized the need to prioritize what is important to the individual, then scheduling work around it. He revealed that it was a tip he picked up as a student-athlete while on a scholarship in the United States, where his alma mater planned classes around their training schedules, stressing the importance of being present and committing fully to scheduled tasks.

Mr Chay acknowledged that the demanding schedules of athletes help instill the self-discipline required to achieve and attain balance. He believed that “if you want to be successful in life, you have to put your values into practice.” He further opined that while our local universities prepare us very well for jobs, it is not as efficient at preparing us for life. This, he suggested, is why there is an emphasis on co-curricular activities and he hoped that institutes of higher learning adopt this modus operandi.

Meanwhile, as the Director of Secretariat at the Global Esports Federation, Mr Chay shared some valuable insights on how esports translates to “traditional” sports. He noted that there were no fundamental differences in the management of elite esports athletes and national Olympians. Preparation work between the two is practically identical, from training 6-7 hours daily, down to the hiring of cooks to ensure that the esports athletes get their necessary nutrients. “Studies have shown that, to train the skills that are important to esports, that makes one an outstanding esports player; we’re talking about things like mental stamina, mental agility, fast reflexes; there’s no way to train all these without training the physical vessel, i.e. your body.”

The discussion then moved on to practical tips for one to juggle various commitments while seeking self-improvement. To that, Mr Chay explained that it boiled down to finding intrinsic motivation: “If you are doing it for your self-worth, self-benefit, and growth, then you’d definitely find time [for it].” Yet, Mr Chay conceded that everyone viewed motivation differently, which would affect how well one’s motivation is sustained. “It probably starts with extrinsic motivation, and when you dive deep enough into that vertical of mastery, then you’d probably have that intrinsic motivation because it becomes part of you.” Hence, a useful tip shared to build intrinsic motivation was setting personal goals and listing them down for visual reference. 

When quizzed on the importance of good parenting in the fostering of these habits, Mr Chay concurred with this sentiment. Citing his fortune to have parents that were supportive of his aspirations, this helped instill the hunger and motivation within him to constantly seek improvement and attain new skills.

On a broader scale, observing that Singapore is a country that heavily relies on human capital, Mr Chay asserted that society should not only prioritize productivity in quantifiable means but also explore ways to ingrain physical fitness into one’s daily life.

Key Takeaways - Image from Fireside Chat

Watch the Session Highlights below:


Individuals who are interested in finding out how they can start their health and wellness journey with Active Health can sign up for a fitness and health assessment or interactive workshop. Here, one can learn how to move, eat, and rest from Active Health Coaches who are allied health professionals at Active Health Labs located island-wide for preventive healthcare and exercise advisory. Designed to enable Singaporeans to live life to the fullest, Active Health is powered by sport science and principles from the Exercise is Medicine©, a global initiative by the American College of Sports Medicine, around the four health and wellness domains of physical activity, nutrition, sleep and screen time management.


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Topics: Physical Activity