My Training Plan for a 2010 Gymnastics Competition

originally posted at
Since I’ve decided to compete again, I’ve attracted all sorts of ideas in line with that decision. I have thought about how I’m going to go about getting back “in shape”, what I should eat, how much and how often to exercise, etc. I also thought about the last competition I participated in, the 2001 Collegiate National Championships. After the 2000 Nationals I thought I was done, since I got married a few weeks later and we moved to Oregon for a summer internship I procured with Intel. I lost about 10% of my weight that summer since I stopped working out (muscle weighs more than fat), and after we got back to school at Arizona State in the fall I had no plans to get back in the gym.

But for some reason, Candice happened to hear about the Body for Life program and she was inspired by it (see the book on the left, that’s the one we got). She wanted me to do it with her so I agreed and read the book. In the beginning after taking stock of where you are, you decide where you want to be in 12 weeks, in terms of health, fitness, etc. We started this in October of 2000, after I had not worked out for more than a few minutes at a time for six months. I remember thinking about the program for a few days before I came up with a goal that was exciting to me. I decided I wanted to be “in shape” enough to compete again during the spring season. I wanted to be able to make the team in January, 12 weeks after starting Body for Life. What this means is I had to be able to perform well enough on at least one event to be able to score within the top six members of the team, since only six people compete on each event per team.

I did not discuss this goal with the coach, I hadn’t been in the gym for six months and didn’t even know how many people were on the team that year since I hadn’t met the freshmen. But I was excited about my goal and had fun imagining the surprised looks I would get when I first got back into the gym.

Looking back on it now with an understanding of the Law of Attraction, it makes sense how everything sort of fell into place to manifest the exciting goal I set for myself. I tried out for the team on parallel bars, pommel horse, and the still rings (my favorite events). I just wanted to compete in the home meet that year, but the coach told me I couldn’t do that unless I would commit to go with them to Nationals (I can’t remember where that was, maybe California). So I did, and I remember working on my masters thesis in the hotel the day before the final individual competition of the 2001 collegiate championships.

I learned that you don’t need to workout 20 hours a week (like I had done in high school and college before getting married) to be in great shape. The exercise methods taught in the Body for Life book are very efficient at building strength and endurance, and the eating plan is very supportive of that as well.

So considering all of this, here is my training plan:

  • First and foremost, I will do exercises that are fun and feel good when I do them
  • I will continue to practice on the mushroom at least once a week, doing more circles in a row each time. In order to feel good doing this I will spend 10-15 minutes warming up with dips, pull ups, sit-ups, pushups, and jumping rope (our three oldest kids each got a jump rope free from a booth at a children’s health expo last week, so I will borrow one).
  • Once I get up to 50 circles in a row, I’ll take the top off the mushroom, put it on the floor, and do circles on it there
  • Once I get up to 75 circles I’ll post a video of it on YouTube
  • A few times a month I will swing on the steel parallel bars at the park nearby – I like to swing, it’s a little bit like flying:)
  • At some point I’ll either make or buy a set of parallettes I can use for presses, handstand push-ups, and playing with my kids
  • I’m also going to finish raking the leaves before next year, once I get a new rake – the rake I had broke in half while I was trying to rake wet leaves

I’ve also done some research recently about good foods to eat for developing muscle tone and stamina according to Ayurveda and Chinese medicine (we have dozens of books on these subjects that Candice studied from during her apprenticeship to become a medical herbalist), but I’ll save that for other posts.

Update Aug 15, 2009:

  • I didn’t quite get on the mushroom once a week, but I did get up to 50 and put the top on the floor (see my related post about that).
  • We’ve moved twice so far this year, including once across the country, so our life routines have changed several times. I don’t live near a park with metal “parallel bars” anymore, but we do live in a house with a pool now.
  • I did finally finish raking the wet leaves (it may have been February by then), after breaking two rakes.
  • My latest good feeling exercise is swimming back and forth across the pool with my 4 year old daughter hanging on my neck while being chased by my 7 year old son. 🙂

About Robert

I competed in gymnastics for 16 years through college at Arizona State University. After 10 years and 5 (now 6) children, I have returned to gymnastics as a competitor. I am a lifetime gymnast. :)
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2 Responses to My Training Plan for a 2010 Gymnastics Competition

  1. Pingback: My Gymnastics Rings | Lifetime Gymnast

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