When the Psych is Running Low

Sometimes you just don’t feel like dragging yourself to the gym/crag. Maybe you’ve been in a plateau for a long time. Maybe your project outside has beaten you down. Maybe your gym is getting a little boring. For whatever reason you’re not as excited about climbing as you used to be.

We’ve all been there.

Here are some things I’ve found that help me rustle up some motivation when mine is lacking.

Climb at a new gym: If you have the luxury of being located near multiple gyms, try a new one. Perhaps a new setting style or crew of climbers will help you remember why you got into the sport in the first place.

Not working?

Ditch the gym and head outside: And if you regularly climb outside, try a different crag (if possible). If making the trek outdoors is too far for you, then plan a trip. Scour the internet for pics and videos of some projects you want to try, and get psyched to get back on the rock!

Here are some mouth-watering pictures of some amazing spots I dream about climbing at:


Rifle, Colorado

joe's valley

Joe’s Valley


Rocklands, South Africa


Red River Gorge

ProTip: Visit: https://climbing.ilooove.it/explore to see inspiring pics of great climbs in whatever part of the world you want to climb in.

No time to travel?

Try a different gym routine: Lots of people go to the gym and just hop on one route/boulder after another, which is a perfectly fine way to climb. But, if you’re getting shut down by your projects and its getting you down, or the lack of variety in your gym is making the routine boring, try switching things up. Come up with a new goal for the day:

  • finish ALL the problems in the gym below a certain grade (make it even harder by adding a time limit)
  • make up new problems with your friends using the existing holds on the wall
  • create a circuit problem that seems challenging (make it harder by substituting the best couple holds for worse holds each time you complete it)

If you’ve been suffering from the mental challenges of being stuck in a plateau, then accomplishing tasks, like the ones listed above, may help you to feel more achievement in climbing.

Also, this….


Not in plateau but not motivated to work any harder?

Sign up for a comp: If you’re competitive, like me, signing up for a competition may be an excellent way to motivate you to get back in the gym and really push yourself. This only works if you actually love competing AND you sign up for a comp that is appropriately challenging. If you sign up for a local that you’ll easily win, it may not push you that much. And vice versa with a comp that is way too competitive for your level.

For added awesomeness, try….

Psych 2010_004_9865

Psychadelia: A blacklight boulder competition held at the Spot in Boulder every October.


24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell: a 24 and 12 hour rope climbing endurance competition held in Horseshoe Canyon Ranch each September.


The Triple Crown: A four part (what a misnomer) outdoor bouldering competition.

This year it is/was held at:

  • October 4: Hound Ears
  • October 25: Stone Fort
  • November 22: Horse Pens 40
  • December 13: Rumbling Bald

Not that competitive?

Take a Break!: Everyone needs one every now and then. Take some time off and see how you feel in a few weeks.

Now comes an even more important question….

What to do in your break time?

Lucky for you, I have created a chart that will accurately assess your interest and perfectly predict what you should be doing in your newfound free time!


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