Checked Out Of The Mental Hotel?

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By Coach Shawn

I was talking with a member recently who expressed something I am sure many of us all go through at times. 

Me – 

“How did fitness go?”

Them – 

“It went great! I was able to do a movement I haven’t done in awhile and was pleasantly surprised it was still there!

It actually felt like a reality check. 

I’ve been feeling in a new place around fitness, just floating for a few weeks since the end of the last strength cycle really.”


“A new place as in a good place?”


 “Not a good place no. 

I wasn’t realizing the language I was using sometimes with myself. Saying things like “I’m not fit as I once was.”

I thought I needed a reset or a week or 2 off.

Which isn’t necessarily bad but my mentality around everything didn’t feel right.”


“And today’s training was a reality check for you.  How did it help you snap out of it?”


“Stop selling myself short. I have to mentally check back in.”


“And did you? 

And will you from now on?”


“I did and will.

I guess in the past there were BIGGER and more FREQUENT wins to help me keep momentum. 

Now they are small or just different types of wins in adjusting to.

The battle is with myself to be 1% better.

And OWNING that 1% is significant.” 


Have you caught yourself checked out of the mental hotel? 

Not dialed in. 

Not focused.

Not appreciating yourself, your commitment or your consistency.

Relying on “big achievements” or personal milestones in the gym to feel good about yourself? 

Or to feel like you’re “fit” or “worthy.”

Yet missing out on the smallest of victories? 

Or worse, not even setting small daily goals to line yourself up to win?

The mental hotel is very easy for us to check out of and leads us to “go through the motions.”

And in doing that, we can feel not overly excited about our training, our progress (big or small) or even recognize our progress. 

Which could lead to us to losing steam, becoming lazy and eventually quitting on ourselves. 

The mind is the most difficult aspect of your training. 


How do you view your daily pursuits?

Are you appreciating your own ability to “show up” in the arena and DO difficult things daily?

Are you lining yourself to embrace new challenges?

To set small tangible goals within your session that lead to wins and move the needle of progress continually and daily? 


Are you focusing on how fit you once used to be and aren’t that version of yourself anymore? (A lose lose) 

Are you focusing on what others can do compared to you? (Another lose lose) 

Are you just going through the motions with no intentions or focused outcomes?


As your experience level and time in training grows into years and years, a few things are likely to happen:

  • The personal records don’t quite come as frequent
  • When we do achieve a new best it’s likely by a few seconds or 5lbs opposed to 15-20lbs (the margins are smaller) 
  • We may not be physically capable to lift what we once did many moons ago (I call these our lifetime bests)
  • Some movements may come and may go depending on our training frequency with them.
  • Some movements may not come as easy as they once did (due to a number of factors)
  • You realize the importance of a healthy body opposed to “what can this body do right now?” 

All of these experiences are completely normal, natural and a part of the process.

Trust me I am coming up on 11 years of CrossFit. 

Daily progress is EASY to spot.

[ie: I consistently show up to train 3-5x a week, My rowing technique is getting better, I don’t feel as tired during burpees anymore, I added 5lbs to my pause back squat, my back no longer hurts, my butt looks better than it ever has….]

It’s also EASY to ignore.

[Ie: “I SHOULD be able to lift more,” “Yeah but so-n-so was faster or lifted more than me today,” “I didn’t do well today because my score wasn’t near people it normally is,” “yeah but I’ve lifted more,” “But compared to everyone else I’m slow,” “But I didn’t RX it..”

Ignore in the sense that we can tell ourselves we need monumental achievements to feel “real” progress.

Or to own our wins. 

I call bullshit. 

I call flawed thinking.

Thinking this way will never leave us happy or feeling good about what we do on the regular.

And if you want to continually be unhappy for the long term, be my guest. 

That’s not how I want to live.

And I encourage you to not either. 

It takes work to move away from this thinking. 

Daily work. 

Work though, that once you put in consistently, allows you to realize each day you ARE getting better

To see and to find the good in every single training session.

That you are making real progress. 

In your body, in your performance, in your health, in your environment, in your health markers. 

And it starts with checking into the mental hotel and asking yourself each and everyday,

“Where can I (or am I) getting just a little bit better today?”

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