My Emotional Happy Place Requires A Little More Fat (for now)

From the ages of 6 to 13, I wanted nothing more than to learn new skills to have a good gymnastics season every year.

From 13 to 24, my main athletic goal was to do the same for middle school, high school, college, and competitive cheerleading. 

As long as I focused on being the best gymnast or cheerleader I could be, I was decently happy with how I looked.

Then I became interested in bodybuilding, and therefore, became EXTREMELY interested in my physical appearance. 

I was never insecure or shy about how I looked in social settings, I just knew that I didn’t look like the girls who were winning figure competitions and was prepared to do everything I could to make that happen.

From the ages of 24 to 30, I would have fun in the gym lifting weights, but never felt fully accomplished. 

Muscle takes FOREVER go grow, and I was willing to put in that effort even though the returns were minimal. I was honestly happy and hungry doing the work, but never proud or fulfilled with my results.

But after spending 3 years doing functional fitness and most recently, making a return to gymnastics this year at the age of 34, I now realize how much more my heart fucking soars each day after practice.

(To see some of my recent gymnastics adventures, check out my Instagram)

It turns out that at this stage in my life, learning and working on skills fulfills me more than seeing an impressive physique in the mirror.

The most important part in that ^ sentence is “at this stage in my life”.

I absolutely had a 5-year period in my life where there was not a single thing in my world that would make me happier than seeing my abs. There was nothing wrong with that season of my life, but I am not there right now.

It’s been strange seeing my physique deteriorate over the past year from having a surgery in February and subsequently switching to gymnastics as my main focus these past few months.

My legs and glutes are smaller and less tight. My arms have those weird floppy bits in the tricep area which I think is hilarious every time I wave. 

But at the same time, I get to fly on the uneven bars and do flippies across a balance beam. I am becoming more flexible, agile, and powerful in some areas even though my appearance is weaker.

I never though I would be someone who would allow their physique to “slip backwards” but the joy I get from going to gymnastics is just so much more powerful than I ever thought.

And to be entirely honest, there were a few weeks there where I tried to keep up both my weight lifting and my gymnastics but my body WAS NOT having it. 

So I had to make a choice of priorities, and gymnastics won by far.

I still do basic strength work a couple of times per week, but that’s a huge drop from the 5 or 6 days I was doing before. And depending on how you look at it, some say this would be a more “athletic” version of me, but I honestly don’t care what some (or anyone) has to say.

Every sport I’ve ever done holds a special place in my heart and comes with a shit ton of lessons that I happily carry forward.

But for me, right now, I am honestly surprised and delighted about who I am and what I am able to do with my 34 year old body.

And that’s all I wanted to write about today 🙂

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