Brad Weaver - Staying Psyched in the Heat

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

10 Things to Keep you Psyched During the Hot Summer

By Brad Weaver

As soon as May rolls around in the southeast, the majority of climbers are hanging up their packs and hiking boots and hitting the gyms.  The hot weather and ridiculously humid conditions that any climber in the south knows all too well is a bit too much for some of us to bear.  The majority of us who aren’t brave enough to battle summer conditions in the south, or for those of us that have done battle and lost, decide that we are better off hitting the gym for a few months instead of suffering for it in the heat and humidity. Motivation is a huge factor that goes into sticking with your summer training regimen.  When there seems like there is no end to the brutal conditions, motivation can lack to say the least.  Therefore, it is essential to keep the psych high in order to push yourself to keep trying hard.  After all, the preparation during the summer can be the little push you need to break through that mental or physical barrier so you can go out and do your project from last year. 

Since I’ve been busy with summer classes I haven’t had the opportunity to travel to an area where the climbing conditions were actually decent this time of year like Rifle Mountain Park, Maple Canyon, or Rock Mountain National Park.  I haven’t spent so much time in a gym since I lived in Illinois when I was 18 and motivation has definitely lacked at times.  Fortunately I’ve been able to find the drive to push through those moments of discouragement.  Below are the top ten things that have helped keep me psyched throughout the grueling summer months. 


1.)   Climbing movies – when you need some motivation to head into the gym, what better way than sitting on the couch watching your favorite climbing movie?  I have a wide list of favorites that are either full-length videos or shorts on random climbing websites.   Both seem to do the trick when I’m in the need of some visual stimulation. There was a two-week period of time this summer where I watched ‘Between the Trees’ everyday.  Yeah.  Everyday.

2.)   Gym sessions – on a hot summer day you can almost trick yourself into believing the A/C simulates prime climbing conditions, even if it only cools the gym off to 75 degrees.

3.)   Climbing blogs – This isn’t just a summer thing for me… more like a daily ritual.  Nonetheless, it does wonders to check up on friends and other climbers via their blogs.  My daily routine consists of waking up, getting a cup of coffee, and trolling through my usual climbing websites.  There’s nothing like living vicariously through your friends as they crush the boulders of Colorado while you are stuck in HOTlanta doing schoolwork. 

4.)   Working weaknesses – summer is the perfect time to work your weaknesses. For example; hard boulder problems involving pinches and power moves have always been difficult for me, so I’ve made it a point to try to improve in these areas.

5.)   Setting goals for the upcoming season - I started compiling my tick list of climbs that I would not only like to do, but also climbs that I would like to just go out and try.  You might have a project or two from last year that you are eager to take down, or maybe you are psyched to go to a new area and break into a new grade.  Either way, setting goals will help keep your mind in the game and give you something to shoot for. 

6.)   Planning a trip for the fall/winter - This one kind of goes with the previous ‘thing that keeps me psyched during the summer’.  I have plans to go to Hueco for the first time in December and I couldn’t be more psyched!  Plans for the upcoming season make those long gym sessions even more worth it because you know the preparation now will pay off in the future.

7.)   Taking a rest - Forcing yourself to rest for a week or two does remarkable things for the body as well as the mind.  Your body needs periods of rest and what better time to do so than the summer?  If you are like me you will find it difficult to stay away from climbing for that long, but if you can stay persistent, your psych will grow and you’ll be even more enthusiastic about climbing when you jump back into it.  The first few days back into climbing after a long rest might feel a little rough, but give it about a week and you’ll feel better than you did before.   Who knows, it might just be what you need to break through that plateau and start progressing.

8.)   Smoothies – its hot outside, smoothies are cold.  They are also nutritious and delicious.  Enough said.

9.)   Not wearing a down jacket 24/7

10.) Flip flops.

Okay, so the last three might be a stretch, but hey, coming up with a full list of ten is hard when it’s this hot.  At least I tried, right?  Right!

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