I like to call gymnastics my “soul workout” – like soul mate, but for exercise.
I have never liked exercising. The feeling of pushing my body to its limits has never appealed to me. Sure, I like the feeling I get afterward, but that feeling is mostly pride – I’m proud that I actually did it!
I KNOW exercising is crucial for my mental and physical wellbeing and could very well improve many if my issues. That’s why I buckled down and recognized that instead of forcing myself to get another gym membership I’ll never use, I should figure out something that works for me. Since I have a naturally small physique, losing weight has never been a goal for me, so that was never a reason for me to work out – a motive that works for many people. I know the only way I’ll be motivated to exercise is if I actually love what I’m doing. And I LOVE gymnastics.
I started gymnastics at 3 years old in a mom-and-tot class and by age 5 I was recruited to the competitive team. By 9 years old I was in the gym 16 hours a week – that’s when I had enough. I wanted to take theatre classes and I didn’t have time. Gymnastics was my life and I was desperate to get out. My mom was very supportive, but nervous I would regret it when I decided to cut it out cold turkey. I tend to do that. I get obsessed with things I love until I hate them. Like PB&J sandwiches. I ate them literally EVERY DAY from kindergarten to grade 2, after which I didn’t eat peanut butter for years. I did the same with Caramilk bars (I was seduced by the vending machines once I got to high school. Every day I would bring my dollar and get a Caramilk bar as a reward for surviving another day of school. Ok, I’m being dramatic. I just really liked Caramilk bars. Now, I not only dislike Caramilk bars, but also anything with caramel! I never learn).
Alright, that was a weird tangent. So I didn’t do any gymnastics until I was 14 – I decided I missed it and started up again for fun. I took classes for a few years and eventually became a certified coach as well.
So gymnastics and I have a long history – time only seems to continuously bring us back together.
I was so excited to find out that there’s a gymnastics club literally a block from my new apartment. And they have adult open-gym classes twice a week! Tonight was my second time going and I feel so energized, it’s unbelievable. I normally have very low energy, but I just feel so rejuvenated after an hour and a half of flipping around – not only from the exercise, but the amazing feeling of doing something I love.
I should also note how out of shape I am. I am extremely weak and extremely inflexible – the only thing working in my favour is muscle memory. My body remembers how to do certain things, which is so cool. The best part is that in order to improve, I know I need to get stronger – that’s only way I’ll be able to perfect my skills. THIS gives me motivation to work out. So I spend some time during the gymnastics class on conditioning (which means doing things that are really hard and involve serious strength training). I am also starting to do yoga a few times a week.
TLDR: The only way to ascertain that you will workout if you don’t normally have motivation is to find something you truly enjoy.
POST-WORKOUT HIGH-PROTEIN DINNER:
I got home from gymnastics and knew I needed to eat something high in protein.
Being a vegetarian, that’s always been a challenge for me in the kitchen. Though, technically I’m a pescatarian… so that makes my life easier.
My dinner tonight included smoked salmon to up the protein even more, but all you veggies out there can replace it with lentils, tofu, fake meat, or remove it altogether.
Haloumi Green Lox Crostini
Slice the haloumi thinly. Pour some grapeseed oil on a warm pan (medium heat). Place the haloumi in the pan and let sizzle. Check periodically and flip when brown.
When the haloumi is ready, place one on each crostini.
Cut up the lox and place a strip on top of the haloumi.
Pour some more grapeseed oil and a touch of water in the pan and fill with heaps of fresh spinach leaves. Let simmer until the spinach shrinks completely.
Scoop out the spinach to top it off.
Drizzle on some EVOO.
And voila – classy, delicious high-protein post-workout dinner!
Protein: The smoked salmon has 10g of protein for 3-4 slices (43g). Haloumi has 22g of protein per 100g.