Two months ago, Travis Macy, ultrarunner, adventure racer, past URP guest, and book author, emailed me: “Would you consider partaking in my Ultra Mindset Academy eCourse in exchange for a review?” While I was not familiar with Travis’ course, I am an avid fan of his book, The Ultra Mindset (I wrote about it here, if you’d like to learn more.) While I loved the book, I didn’t do the best job implanting some of the ideas into my everyday life. Additionally, just a week before, I ran the Oriflamme 50K, where I placed first female but at the cost of a mindset breakdown. My mindset was in need of training.
I immediately said yes.
The Ultra Mindset Academy eCourse is an 8-week distance learning course developed by Travis Macy, M.Ed, professional endurance athlete, author, speaker, and coach. Also: he’s completed 130 ultra distance events in 17 countries!
What does it include?
For the $385 tuition fee:
- A 30-minute, one-on-one phone call with Travis at the beginning of the course
- Assignments that include reading, written reflections, journaling, meditating, and videos
- Interviews with top athletes, mental performance coaches, and nutritionists
- Trav’s Office Hours (Note: I was unable to attend these due to scheduling conflicts)
- Ongoing membership to the Ultra Mindset Facebook Group
What do you get?
In Travis’ own words:
- A lasting, resilient, positive mindset that will motivate you for training and get you to the finish line in races
- Mastery of evidence-based mindset principles that can be applied to life beyond athletics, including work, parenting, and relationships
- Synergy for success through genuine relationships with like-minded peers and a leading expert on mindset and endurance racing
How is it organized?
My course began on April 21st with the arrival of my first email. For me, this was a Friday but you can sync the course to begin on any day. Travis’ course is designed in a way to maximize your productivity and efficacy, while taking into consideration family, work, school, and other commitments you might have going on in your life. Curriculum is delivered to your inbox six days per week, with the first email of the week introducing the new unit. For example, my first email looked like this:
Each one of these chapter introduction emails included a video (usually filmed from an inspiring location like Travis’ backyard mountains in Evergreen, Colorado, on an afternoon mountain bike ride along singletrack, or on a hike in the Alps…the videos are motivating enough on their own!). Along with reading the corresponding chapter in Travis’ book, The Ultra Mindset, additional reading by authors like author and marketer Ryan Holiday, mental performance coach, Meg Waldron, and other high-performing scientists, coaches, and writers, was recommended. Each day I was allotted a different activity, challenge, or meditation. For example, one week I was asked to imagine the best version of myself by creating a business card with the values and ideals I hold in high regard; another week I was asked to think about three negative thoughts that enter my mind during a race, then turn them into something positive.
Another day I watched a motivational talk by ultra runner Krissy Moehl, then engaged with fellow Ultra Mindset Academy participants in a Facebook discussion about what it means to “be a wannabe.” To conclude the week, I journaled, watched another, more in-depth interview with Krissy Moehl, then was challenged to have a conversation with someone who I want to be like, for one reason or another (hence the chapter “Be a Wannabe.”) Some weeks included units with longer journaling activities or questions, while others provided the option of workouts, like this one:
While the course is designed to take roughly 20 minutes each day, Travis welcomes participants to work on their own time. I found the time estimation to be pretty accurate, with some days taking longer because of workouts or challenges. Emails came in at roughly the same time, which meant that after the first few days, I learned to schedule the arrival of the email with an open time to immediately work on the material. That said, I think it’s entirely possible to lump a few days together. This might benefit those with very tight weekday schedules.
Additionally, Travis offers weekly conference calls where participants are encouraged to join in to ask questions or bring up concerns. I admit that I was not able to attend these meetings due to time conflicts, but the Ultra Mindset Academy does have a growing community, connected through the Facebook group. I interacted with roughly 5 other Ultra Mindset participants during any given week, with participants progressing at various stages.
What happened over the course of 8 weeks?
Beyond the course work that was accomplished over these past two months (which totaled 26 single-space pages of notes, journaling, and answers to big questions like “what have been my biggest accomplishments and failures, and how did ego help or hurt me?” and “does pursuing [blank] endeavor align with your true self and higher purpose?”), I was able to add a plethora of books to my nightstand. I’m a big reader, but Travis still opened me up to the world of stoicism (check out any of Ryan Holiday’s books, which will lead you to reading Seneca’s Meditations) thanks to book recommendations and weekly interviews, often featuring incredibly inspiring athletes.
What is the Ultra Mindset Academy eCourse doing right?
The content is thorough, well-researched, and creative. The daily emails serve as a reminder to stay consistent with the course, and Travis’ enthusiasm for coaching is extremely evident in the near-daily videos that pose questions and challenges. Travis acknowledges that changing your mindset isn’t a quick fix, but that it takes hard work and dedication. The athlete and performance coach interviews (“movie nights”) are interesting and informative, and Travis has started to build a community in the Ultra Mindset Facebook Group. As a bonus, membership is ongoing, meaning you can still ask questions and interacts with others even after the course has ended.
What could be improved upon?
The initial phone call is a terrific way to start off the course strong, but I imagine that those who don’t purchase additional one-on-one calls (like me) might feel a bit lost at times. A short check-in phone call at the halfway mark, and then perhaps one at the end, might make the course feel more conclusive and allow for greater reflection on what was accomplished over the 8 weeks. Watching past Ultra Mindset Academy participants interact with athletes like Rebecca Rusch, for example, during pre-recorded interview was great–but also made me feel as though I came on at the wrong time. I would have loved the opportunity to chat with at least one outside athlete, mental performance coach, or nutritionist.
Do I now have an Ultra Mindset?
In short: not yet. But, with time, I think it’s something that I’ll be able to develop. I have noticed my outlook on both general life stressors and racing change–take my last race, for example. The 33-mile event started the day after I finished the course, and I was excited to practice the skills I had learned at a race. But by mile three, it was clear that my body had other plans. I was nauseous, dizzy, breathing too hard, tripping all over the trail, experiencing major cramps, and was genuinely fearful of what completing all 33 miles of the course might mean for my body. For several hours I considered what it would mean to drop. What would everyone think of me?Would I be a wuss for dropping out of a race? Having just finished the last chapter of the Ultra Mindset Academy course, “Never Quit…Except When You Should Quit,” I thought about the material we had covered and the exercises I had done. Rather than have concern for external sources, I needed to look at my personal reasons for dropping. Quitting meant saving my health for what could have been a potentially very dangerous situation, so I dropped.
After the race, I expected to feel guilty. I felt crummy for a few hours, and sad that I had missed out on the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful course, but once we finally descended from altitude and I had eaten a good meal, my decision felt right. Thanks to Travis’ course, I had made a decision that was best for me that day, rather than continuing on simply for any imagined external sources.
I’ve also continued a habit that I picked up during the course. Travis urges participants to find one challenge over 8 week period that they can foster and develop. For me, this was journaling, although other challenges might include waking up early each morning to fit in a workout, having more patience with your children, or staying focused at work. With encouragement, I stuck to the challenge and successfully journaled daily. This has helped me to feel calmer and more at peace, even though life hasn’t slowed down, and I’m proud to say that I’ve continued the habit past the end of the course.
Overall, this course is absolutely worth the time, effort, and cost. Travis is a patient coach and the content is well-planned and filled with resources. Take the time to check out what it offers, as anyone looking to inch away from a negative mindset into one that will serve your career–whether that’s in your racing, your job, your schoolwork, or your relationships–can benefit by putting in the work.
Big thank you to Travis for letting me check out the course!
For more information, check out the Ultra Mindset Academy eCourse here.