Once upon a time, you were a highly competitive gymnast. It was your life. You might not have even been that good in gymnast terms, but in other people terms, you were amazing (because you said yes when they asked “can you do a flip?”). You worked out more days a week than you went to school. Now you feel really lame when people talk about what they did in high school because your answer is always the same: “well, I spent time at the gym…” If you are a no-longer-competing, still-identifying-as-one-even-though-you-definitely-aren’t gymnast, you can probably relate to the following statements:
1. When you tell people you used to do gymnastics, they immediately ask you if you can do a flip and you start asking them if they mean a back tuck or a back walkover or a back handspring and they look at you like you’re crazy because they just want to know if you can do a “flip.”
2. You tell people you had to stop because you got hurt, and they get all concerned about your injury, and you remember that in the real world having really serious injuries isn’t a normal thing.
3. You sit on the floor in really weird positions that most people can’t even do. And you don’t even realize it.
4. If you stretch at a normal gym, people think you’re trying to show off.
5. When you tell people how your coaches treated you, they usually say something like, “isn’t that child abuse?” and you say, “no, that’s gymnastics.”
6. People always ask you if you’ve seen Stick It.
7. You still have most of your leotards. Just in case.
8. If someone tries to compare gymnastics to the sport they did, you know that they really just don’t understand.
9. Despite how much you hated it sometimes, if you have a daughter, she will definitely do gymnastics. At least for a little bit.
10. You think about how fit you used to be and get nostalgic for the good old days. And then you continue sitting on the couch.
11. You watch gymnastics on TV religiously.
12. When someone tells you cheerleading is like gymnastics, you question why you’re talking to this person at all.
13. You still shave your legs in the winter because you’ve never not done that…
14. You often find yourself pointing your toes without realizing it.
15. You keep up on the careers of your teammates who made it big and talk about them at any appropriate (or inappropriate) occasion.
16. Sometimes a song will come on the radio and you will immediately start doing the floor routine of a friend.
17. When you try to explain a skill to a non-gymnast friend, they stare blankly at you until you end up pulling out your computer to find it on YouTube, because it’s just too impossible to describe.
18. When you watch gymnastics with other people, they gasp at all the wrong moments of routines, and you get ridiculously frustrated.
19. Once in a while, a new song will come out and all you can think is how you wish you still did gymnastics because you would definitely want that as your floor music.
20. You’re still Facebook friends with your coaches. And you think it’s super weird that they have lives outside of coaching.
21. When you watched Make It or Break It on ABC Family, you got so pissed at how easy all their routines were (I’m sorry, those were level 8 routines, not elite. Get your shit together ABC Family).
22. If you go into a gym (the gymnastics kind, obviously), you feel like you just have to touch EVERYTHING.
23. When people say they don’t like chalk, you just cannot comprehend what they’re saying.
24. You remember exactly what your gym smelled like. Other people thought it smelled gross, but you thought it smelled like home.
25. You feel very confused about crushed velvet being used in normal clothes.
26. There are always those guys who say something completely unacceptable when you say you were a gymnast (they ask if you’ll do a split and when you do, they make it weird by muttering something under their breath, like “boner”).
27. You can’t imagine ever buying a blue blazer.
28. You really miss your calluses. Now any time you meet someone with calluses (perhaps someone who does crew or a construction worker or something), you feel very inclined to touch their hands.
29. You still feel an emotional attachment to your grips
72 thoughts on “29 Ways You Know You’re An Ex-Gymnast”
I think you should put the IGC logo on the photo of gym 3 (used in number 22)
“A thirty year old competed for Germany in 2008” ummm you mean fucking Oksana Chusovitina? She’s not “a thirty year old,” and btw, she competed in the 2012 Olympics as well. At age 37. And she competed at Worlds this year. At age 38. And she’s going for 2016, for Uzbekistan. At age 41. RESPECT THE CHUSO.
Let’s add this to the list — What happens when a gymnast finds an empty corridor of a convention center? The answer: https://youtu.be/ljeO9E6psG8
oksana actually visited my gym about a year ago!! she and her translator gave us some tips and drills for our skills and routines! it was pretty sick
This makes me so sad!!! I miss gymnastics so much. Wish my injury didn’t end it for me:'(
But this post was great!!!
I ruined my knee at 18…still having problems at 30 and I am sure beyond. However, I loved every second and long for it daily!! I rely connected with this!!
I did the same, this made me laugh so hard. Everyone of these is true I love the one about coaches and child abuse. People think it’s weird when I tell them my favorite coach made me cry on a regular basis.
I CAN TOTES MAH GOATS RELATE TO THIS😉
Wow you know what that was simply beautiful Courtney I can’t believe how much passion was put into that response😏
i know!!!! i miss it so much! i quit at level 7 and i was 10…now i am 12, and i can bearly do a kip….on the bright side i might go back in….only i will be on x-el not usag…but still!
That was a pretty good list except for the movie part. I am an ex gymnast and I have never nor will I ever watch Stick It AND its not the only gymnastics movie. American Anthem was first and will always be the best!
Oh please, GymKata LOOK IT UP, also filmed around IGC. Ever heard of a guy named Kurt Thomas?
Actually “Lefty” was the first and there was also a movie about Bella- they were both late 70’s early 80’s, and Peaceful Warrior…
American Anthem kicked ass AND Stick It was also great! Try it, you might like it…it made me laugh. A lot.
So well put!! I completely agree!!! Amen!!!
Very well done!! I used to be a gymnast and miss it too. Nothing quite like flying through the air on your own accord…just nothin’ like in the world!
Cried reading this! But you don’t have to stop at 43 I am one of the top 10 fitness competitors in the world! And I Still coach, swing bars, and throw backhand springs and tucks on beam! Don’t let age stop you! Oh yeah and I have two teenagers of my own!
Reblogged this on SpunkyFitnessJunky and commented:
These are all stinkin true! Weirdly miss those days of torture <3
Reblogged this on Une étudiante du cinéma and commented:
Reblogged this on Perfect Peregrination.
I love everything gymnastics I knew from a young age that is what I wanted to do… but I sucked! My Freshman year of High School I transitioned to Cheer. (Remember this was in the 80’s) so we did not do as many tricks or flips. Shoot basket tosses and lifts were the big rage! .. now I am 44 and my knees dont work right and exercise is not an option because of my knee injuries… (By the time I was 22 I had 2 knee surgeries) … My daughter is not going to do gymnastics… instead she is doing ballet and taking Horseback riding lessons. Her injuries will be totally different and possibly cost more in the long run … gerrrrr… but if I wanted easy I would have gotten a fish.
Omg! I miss gym so much! Wish I never gave up when the doctors told me too! Was the biggest regret of my life. Stupid spine xx
Never give up! You can always do SOMEthing!
…I hope you’ll ever read this comment!
everything you list was exactly me! oh god i miss gymnastic..
After doing gymnastics in the late 70s and early 80s, I’ve discovered flying trapeze and circus aerial arts 5 years ago. I’m stronger than ever and having more fun in my 40s than I imagined. It has reignited some of that love and flying trapeze is no-impact on the legs (but gives the shoulders a good workout).
After having to stop gymnastics, I also found circus arts – I did aerial silks and still trapeze before coming to college and I absolutely loved it.
I too found Circus after 10 years of Gym doing part elite training and part levels comps. Circus kicks arse over Gym for me, mainly because you can keep going into 30’s 40’s and sometimes 60’s. 70’s!, You don’t have to be “perfect” and creative expression and diversity are celebrated. I loved Gym While I did it for 30 hours a week in year 6 but now I look at all the destructiveness attached to the sport and will not allow my child to do it. It’s circus all the way for us
Class 1 elite! My hands still have scars from all the rips at the age of 39. My daughter finds it hard to believe as a kid I use to sleep in the straddle split before a split test. Injury doing a back tuck back lay out on the beam ended it all. :(
This is so relatable omg <3 definitely miss my calluses lol
I miss that part of my life! It was eat, sleep,and gymnastics!!!
Oh so true I have 2 boy s and one girl who now go to gymnastics when I take my 2 year old I go in with her and I have a terrible urge to swing on the bars walk on the beam and generally throw myself about at tge age of 40!
Do it! You are only 40. A few days ago I celebrated my 61st with a few giants. Joy indescribable!
OMG thats me in number 20!! With my coach when I was 9 !!!
THIS. IS. AWESOME. But in reference to #6, you need to go rent American Anthem! Great movie! (Yes; I’m old. But I can still do a giant.)
I love this! Makes me miss gymnastics. But I have to say I succumbed to the blue blazer and became a judge after my injury ruined me. It was fantastic money, and gave me a more technical view of those Tkachev & Yurchenkos.
Thanks for posting this!
Hi, I tried to find an email contact for you on your site but couldn’t. The pictures of the little gymnast are mine. I took them of my daughter Fiona and posted them own blog. I was never contacted and never gave permission to use them. Please take them down as soon as you can. Thanks for understanding!
Hi! I’m so sorry, I found it on google images, which is where I find most of my pictures (since I usually think of it as the public domain), so I didn’t even think about it. I took it down, as per your request, and replaced it with a new photo. Your daughter is adorable and the photograph was beautiful, which is why I chose that picture, but of course I understand!
Thanks a lot! Google Images turns up any images found online, many of which are not in the public domain. Something to keep in mind when looking for images. They should always be credited, at the very least. Best practice would be to contact the photographer and ask permission.
My daughter started gymnastics at age 2 years 8 months. At 3 years and 10 months old could do a back handspring. Totally built like a gymnast when she was born. Competing next month a day after her 5th birthday in her very first competition as a level 2. Now round off back handsprings are her favorite next to the bars. Hands are callused from many rips but now she doesn’t cry anymore. Gymnasts are so tough!
Reblogged this on agirlnamedjordan and commented:
Most of these are spot on!!! Nothing beats the opening 3 sentences though!!! TRUTH
I loved your site. When I was in 6th grade I did the rings, but instead I chose to be a wrestler. Your presentation was amazing! I like the smell and feel of chalk. I know you can still hang with the best of them!
Here’s a good way to know whether or not you’re an ex-gymnast: Ask yourself, “Have I ever done gymnastics?” Then ask yourself, “Am I currently involved in gymnastics?” If you answered yes to the first question, then no to the second question, you know you are an ex-gymnast.
Using this method is much more quick and efficient.
That is so true!!!
Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful information particularly the last part :) I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this particular info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.
Man you legend. return see my web site, you ought to get pleasure from it.
you’re never too old to do gymnastics. check it: http://www.gymnastike.org/page/Adult-Gymnastics
Reblogged this on Rivers and Roads and commented:
If you ever wondered what it’s like to be a former-gymnast, this girl nailed it.
Now you all know why I sit weird, appreciate calluses, and still enjoy yoga even though sometimes I prefer to stay in the corner at class.
There’s always the World Masters Gymnastics Championship in Canada…
This was amazing, I never realized so many people felt the way I do! It’s been over 5 years since I did gymnastics and I always feel as though I don’t have a right to talk about it like it’s a big part of my life, but it WAS my identity for so long and it seriously defined a lot about me. When you spend 30+ hrs. a week pushing yourself, getting criticized and drilled and hurt and sore, finally mastering a skill, always trying to move on to the next level, it affects your work ethic, your social life, your mental stability…everything. I feel like a failure sometimes for not doing it for longer, but this helped me realize there are a LOT of ex-gymnasts who feel the same way, and that doesn’t mean I can’t still claim this as a part of who I am. Thanks! And love to all the gymnasts, current and past. You are strongest people I know.
I’ve seen other gymnastics movies. Even though it’s more child/family, I adore it. “American Girl Mckenna Shoots For The Stars” might want to check it out :)
I miss gym so much and even though it’s been nearly 3 years since I left my hands are still hard and rough from bars. My current friends don’t seem to understand the pain and sacrifices you have to go through as a gymnast, but this blog sums it all up.
I love it and stick it is the best gym film out there, I have watched it so many times,i think I could quote the entire film if I wanted to.
Reblogged this on TL Sumner, YA Author and commented:
This is for my favorite retired gymnast… now I need to find one of these lists for retired elite runners…
Sums it up..been over 25 years and I’m still pissed I didn’t truly master the rings…but that fire stills burns today…I can’t help but push myself further in what ever I am doing…gymnasts are a certain breed..its a personal battle…glad to see others reminnsing.
Yes! Yes! Yes! All these points are true, and comically so. My roommates have all just gotten used to me curling my toes when I’m sitting-It feels too weird to put my foot flat on the floor!
I am turning 30 this year and looking for something else I can compete in. IFBB Bikini or Fitness comps seem like the logical choice but too expensive.
Any advice from other ex-gymnasts out there not quite satisfied with just weight training at the gym?
I know this was posted a while ago – but I’ve gotten into Crossfit and my gymnastics background gives me a huge advantage over others in competitions! I came into CF able to do pullups, toes-to-bar, handstand pushups and walks, ring dips, and other skills that non-gymnasts take months/years to learn. I’m thinking about transitioning into Olympic lifting now, because my size is a disadvantage with competition weights in Crossfit but actually an advantage in weightlifting. Check both of those out!
I should add, I turned 32 this year. :-)
#15 is Chelsea Tang, Oregon state gymnastics. she went to my gym NAAG.
Kayla – yep! I went to NAAG also and went to high school with Chelsea.
Reblogged this on Adventures of a Medical Student and commented:
Feeling Nostalgic! For those who don’t know, I’m an ex competitive gymnast who misses it all the time! Until I do the odd lesson and remember my body is not as flexible as before! Haha… And, yes, I can still ‘flip’ whichever you mean when you ask!!
I enjoyed reading your page…but the radiograph you used in #2 is actually a horse’s radiographs. It is the radiographs of Barbaro, the famous racehorse that broke down in a race and his owner’s tried to save him with surgery to repair his injuries. Just an FYI. :)
Hey there! I’m Maryam Nassif, student journalist in London, and I was wondering if I could contact you via email, to ask you three/four questions about your life as an ex-gymnast. Email me if you like: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone who is complaining about age, as their excuse for having left gymnastics… The world’s oldest competitive (albeit non-elite) gymnast is Johanna Quaas, at age 92. Please, watch her videos and have your mind blown… I went back to recreational gymnastics at age 34 (with a busted knee, at that) and keep reminding myself that I have another 58 years to get as good as she is! XD