Monday, November 25, 2013

Avoid Thanksgiving Weight Gain With Gymnastics Classes

Thanksgiving is here—and on average, most Americans gain a couple of pounds during this holiday weekend alone. With the rest of the holiday season on the way, many let the pound or two gained at Thanksgiving spiral into holiday weight gain of up to 10 pounds! If you want to stave off the extra pounds and increase your calorie burn, why not try some gymnastic classes?

Gymnasts have some of the slimmest, most toned bodies in sports. But you don’t have to be an elite gymnast to reap the benefits of attending gymnastics school. Performing this challenging movement demands physical strength, power and flexibility—therefore, hour long gymnastics classes will result in some serious toning and calories burned. A person weighing between 150 and 160 pounds can burn nearly 300 calories by doing an hour of gymnastics.

There are other ways that attending a gymnastics school helps you lose weight. You’ll boost muscular endurance and flexibility, which helps increase your lean muscle. The more lean muscle our bodies have, the more fat we burn. This occurs because lean muscle revs your metabolism and makes your body work more efficiently, and therefore, burn more fat and calories.  By increasing flexibility, gymnastics elongates our muscles, which makes us appear more toned and longer.

Another of the benefits of gymnastics is that it’s a fun, social sport. When you have fun doing any kind of movement, it will feel less like a workout. An hour long gymnastics session will fly by much faster than spending an hour on the treadmill, Elliptical or Stairmaster. In addition, when you take gymnastics classes, you are surrounded by other people and can enjoy the social aspect. You may even make some friends, which will motivate you to keep coming back and be more enthusiastic about it overall.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Preparing for Success in Gymnastics Competitions

If you look at the performance of elite athletes in gymnastics competitions, you’ll notice that they all exude stellar control, power, strength and balance. While they may seem to do this effortlessly, we know that they spend years perfecting their skills at a gymnastic center or with a private coach. If you or your child wants to experience the same type of success, there are some other qualities that are essential for them to develop.

Other characteristics that are integral for achieving success in gymnastics competitions include focus, precision, ambition and a positive attitude. Maneuvers and routines should be as precise as possible during competitions, with specific emphasis on landings, as a perfect routine can be significantly docked due to a bad one. Judges also look for extra steps, wobbling and other obvious mistakes when scoring each routine. To perform with impeccable precision requires intense focus and concentration, which benefits other aspects of life as well, from schoolwork and other sports to career.

Most coaches and instructors at a gymnastics center like to prepare their students for performance and competitions by focusing on strength, flexibility and attitude. While coaches can help their students develop these traits to an extent, when it comes to attitude, parents need to do their share to promote a positive, ambitious attitude. To do this, they should help their children create a positive outlook while focusing on the importance of sportsmanship, discipline and perseverance.

Last but not least, most coaches and instructors agree that to become an elite gymnast and even just to do well in this sport, students also need to build their stamina and endurance, while constantly improving balance, coordination and agility. The good news is, by helping children to develop all of the traits that help boost gymnastics performance, they will have the characteristics that they need to have success in all other sports and physical activities, and every other endeavor in life.


Monday, October 14, 2013

US Women Dominate at the Gymnastics World Championships

Gymnastics World Championships
Even though it seems like the Olympics were just here, it’s been more than a year and it’s time to get excited about other gymnastics competitions and news—such as the United States team’s stellar performance at this year’s Gymnastics World Championships, where two members of the Fierce Five, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross, competed. However, it was 16-year-old Simone Biles who performed like no other US athlete ever has at this event. As a whole, the US team won 12 medals, three of which were gold, and five on the final day of the event.

The Championships took place in Antwerp, where the US won the overall medal count for the first time since 2005. Biles wrapped up one of the most successful World Championships by a single athlete in history. She became the first African-American woman to win the main All-Around title, which she did by a large margin, taking medals in every event except for the uneven bars part of the gymnastic competitions, where she finished fourth. Her performance is inspiration for young girls everywhere who are interested in signing up for gymnastics classes.

The youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team, Kyla Ross, won three silver medals and received praise in regards to her style, for what commentators called the “International Look.” 

The men did not fare quite as well as the women—however, the U.S.’s Steven Legendre ended the longest drought in event finals in U.S. gymnastics. He won a silver in Men’s Vault, which had not been won by an American at the Olympics or World Championships since Mitch Gaylord won a silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

The U.S. team’s previous medal high was nine at the 2005 World Championships, all won by female competitors. Since then, China led the medal count in artistic gymnastics at the world championship competitions and Olympic games—until this year.

Click here if you’re interested in finding excellent gymnastics classes in your area. 

Image courtesy

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Get better at gymnastics

Whether your child started taking gymnastics classes for toddlers and dreams of becoming an elite gymnast, or if they want to attend a school for gymnastics just for fun, most students always want to know how they can get better at this incredible, challenging sport.

To help improve performance and get better at the sport, below are a few things that students can do. While those who are taking gymnastics classes for toddlers may not be able to do all of the suggestions below, some extra stretching or dance classes can boost overall performance.

1.    Set goals. Having a goal in mind makes it easier to grow and progress in any sport, and setting the actual goal makes it easier to achieve. Whether it’s improving double backs or getting better at the parallel bars, stating it and working towards it will only benefit one’s skills.

2.    Stretch. Stretching and warming up at home before heading to a school for gymnastics is an excellent practice, as the coach or instructor can usually tell who stretched before class. This will bolster their respect and show the student’s dedication. In addition, spending time in the morning and at night doing about 10 minutes of stretching will help recovery and improve overall flexibility.

3.    Be dedicated. The more a student practices, the better they will get.

4.    Be a good sport. Students should practice sportsmanship every day, not just in gymnastics classes.

5.    Be healthy. Eating a healthy diet is key to staying healthy; junk food should be avoided and students should eat lots of lean protein, fruits and vegetables.  In addition, students will benefit from participating in other forms of exercise conditioning and flexibility training on a regular basis.  


Monday, April 1, 2013

Getting in shape for gymnastics classes

Bikini season is around the corner, and that means it’s time to come out of hibernation and get back into killer summer shape. Many choose classes such as gymnastics as a means for getting into superb physical condition. Whether you choose to take classes at a center or at your local gym, it can definitely be a fast and fun way to burn calories, increase flexibility and improve muscle tone. However, since gymnastics is so physically demanding, if you’re out of shape, you may want to start conditioning your body in preparation for heading to a center for gymnastics.

Gymnastics requires much power, endurance and coordination. Before you start taking classes in gymnastics, strive to increase your stamina. Plan to significantly up both your cardio and strength training, and get ready to move!

In addition to boosting your stamina, you’ll also want to increase the strength of your grip, which is essential for all the apparatus work that classes in gymnastics include, such as the rings and parallel bars and rings. Work out with a hand gripper and do some strength training moves using dumbbells or a bar.

Two or three times per week, perform resistance training that targets your upper body, lower body and core muscles. Strong, coordinated muscles are fundamental to all gymnastics maneuvers. In addition, start working on your flexibility as well—you may want to integrate yoga or Pilates classes to boost this area as much as possible. Flexibility can help prevent injury and is extremely important for getting into proper position to perform gymnastics maneuvers and routines.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderately intense cardiovascular activity on a daily basis, but if you’re out of shape or trying to lose weight, you’ll want to strive for more than that. Gymnastics requires superior endurance—so start building now.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mentally preparing for gymnastics competitions

While many students attend a school for gymnastics or take classes just for fun, there are just as many whose dream is to participate in gymnastics competitions. For those with that goal in mind, here are a few tips for preparing to shine at upcoming meets.

Mentally rehearse whenever you can. Performing well in gymnastics competitions isn’t just about physical rehearsal; you’ve got to get your mind right as well. Visualize yourself doing a perfect routine, with calmness and impeccable showmanship, and feel what you want to feel when you are actually at the competition. Also rehearse the choreography in your head with as much detail as possible. Studies show that athletes experience as much improvement through mental rehearsal as they do with physical practice. The best part of this is that you can mentally rehearse wherever you are!

Increase mental focus. Find ways to improve your mental focus and to avoid distraction. Many athletes meditate so that they can learn to be present and pull their mind back whenever it gets off track. This is helpful preparation for gymnastics competitions, as it will help you to stay in control of your emotions when there is a moment that you may be upset or feel stressed. Controlling your mind is an essential skill that helps in every aspect of life. If you don’t want to learn to meditate just yet, try simple deep breathing and practice bringing yourself back to your original focus.

Work on getting in the zone and staying there. Right before the competition, it’s critical to get into the zone—and you know what that is—as much as possible. Whether you’re in class at your school for gymnastics or at home, you have to get in a state where the fear and pressure doesn’t shake up your confidence and affect your performance. Do more visualization of yourself performing well, and also of the people competing before you and after you. Don’t forget to picture yourself receiving an excellent score!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

When should children get serious about gymnastics school?

This is a very common question that parents ask about their children when they enroll them in a gymnastics school or even gymnastics classes for toddlers. While a child should always be having fun when participating in gymnastics or any other sport, we understand that both parents and children want to know if they should be doing more serious training, especially when they’re considering taking part in competitions.

What most coaches will say in regards to “serious” training is that a good age for children to start at a more technique-oriented gymnastics school or class is around age six. However, few have told us that a child has to start more serious training by then, as they’re not certain it will really give the student a competitive edge. In addition, when a child start any type of “serious” training that early, they run a risk of burnout or overtraining syndrome before they have a chance to see if they really want to compete in their given sport.

Burnout occurs among children in a wide range of activities, from dance and musical training to competitive sports and gymnastics. Keep in mind that many elite gymnasts and champion athletes didn’t start taking gymnastics or their respective sports until their pre- to early teen years. So if your youngster has a proclivity for the balance beam or shows a flair for performance, they can still excel without having to commit to a serious training program at an early age.

Until a child reaches at least age six, we recommend that the focus be on developing body awareness and an inclination for the sport and overall fitness, especially when it comes to gymnastics classes for toddlers. Before that, the focus of classes should really be about play, having the opportunity to socialize and enjoying physical activity. Parents can rest assured that their children will experience a broad spectrum of physical and emotional benefits by taking classes, from increasing flexibility, improving balance and boosting physical strength to bolstering listening and communication skills, learning to take turns and developing sportsmanship.