Gymnastics has seen its share of mean, shady, abusive people lately. It has learned some very important lessons and some of those lessons are difficult to learn. As we continue to move through the year, I know there will be times for all of us to tell our stories. Some will be good and some will be bad. I think it is important to continue to tell our stories, because that is how we will continue to learn.
This Summer I was able to work with some amazing people. I talked to them and listened to their stories. I saw the way they influenced other athletes, I watched how they learned from other coaches, I teared up when I heard how gymnastics changed their lives, and I saw how they influenced and changed me.
Some were current or former college coaches. Some were never gymnasts, they just LOVED gymnastics. Some…
Tasty tips from the healthiest country in the world — yes, pasta is recommended.
The healthy eating habits you should adopt from Italians
Italian food is indisputably delicious, arguably the best of all cuisines. But eating microwaved lasagna in front of your favorite sitcom re-run is hardly eating like an Italian — that’s a very American habit.
While Italy is the land of pizza and pasta, it’s also the healthiest country in the world, partly because of its food. Healthy fats, fresh produce and, yes, delicious pastas all help contribute to its low obesity rates. There are so many good reasons to adopt healthy Italian eating habits as your own. Here’s a few easy ways to get started:
Take a moment to enjoy your coffee.
For those of us who have a cardboard cup permanently affixed to our hands, the sensation of not carrying a hot coffee while commuting may feel strange. On a recent trip to Milan, the jet lag was winning and I really craved a Starbucks. There are currently zero Starbucks locations in Italy, though the company plans to open a café in Milan come 2018. There wasn’t even a Dunkin’ (Italy does not run on either) to help me out, so I had to go to a café and drink a shot of espresso out of a tiny mug while associating with other humans.
While American coffee culture has led us to apps where we can order sugary foamy drinks before we even get to the drive-thru, Italian coffee culture is more about relaxing and actually enjoying your coffee, even if it’s just a few minutes for a quick-sipping espresso at a proper coffee bar in the morning. Italians’ days are defined by coffee drinking, so consider syncing your schedule with optimized coffee breaks and chats over espresso throughout the day. Research has shown that drinking coffee can help reduce stress, improve memory and boost mood, so stop shuffling between errands with a hot tumbler in hand and just enjoy a few moments with a mug as you sip up a less stressful life.
Know that pasta can be an everyday occurrence.
If you’re eating pasta only once a week, you’re doing it wrong. According to survey data by YouGov and Bertolli, 90% of Italians eat pasta multiple times a week, while only 23% of Americans eat pasta more than once a week. Better yet, about 25% of Italians eat pasta every day, while only 2% of Americans fessed up to eating pasta daily. Even so, Italians aren’t shoving boatloads of pasta into their mouths on the reg, which may help explain their lower rates of obesity.
The key to a daily pasta dose may be in the portion size: Italians adhere to a 100 gram (3.5 ounce) pasta serving (that’s 4.5 servings per package, if you’re buying a 1-pound box). Pasta is often the first course during larger meals rather than the main, meaning a mountain of spaghetti isn’t fueling Italian diners but preparing their palates for protein.
In Italy, millennials are the leaders in pasta consumption, with 32% of Italian millennials eating pasta daily compared to just 4% of American millennials. We can all do better.
Go for bigger meals at lunchtime and smaller ones at dinner.
Italians who traditionally work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. typically break for lunch from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. as a tasty part of an average 36-hour work week. These breaks are beneficial: Studies show that taking a break can actually improve productivity, and that’s not including the creativity a nice plate of baked ziti might evoke when you slip away from the office for a 90-minute retreat. Research has also found it can be better to eat more earlier in the day and less at night — you need more calories while you’re active, not sleeping — so a long lunch not only benefits your personal schedule but also your overall health and sleep cycle.
Make it family-style.
You’ll want to embrace this Italian custom if you’re the kind of dinner mate who always suggests splitting several menu items. According to YouGov survey data, 70% of Italians eat family-style, while only 31% of Americans regularly practice communal dinning. Sharing means you can order both the lasagna and the spaghetti puttanesca — and maybe even the penne arrabbiata — and get to enjoy them all versus being stuck with a single pasta dish. Plus, the tradition could boost your well-being: Studies show prioritizing social relationships may help your mental health, morbidity and mortality, while eating with others may make you more altruistic.
Equate eating with leisure.
Just 42% of Americans think eating is a legitimate way to relax, while 57% of Italians believe it to be a leisure activity. Why not think of eating as meditation for your mouth and stomach, or at least a calming activity that’s meant to be enjoyed? Studies show that eating more slowly may make you feel full and satiate you faster, meaning you’ll need a smaller portion to obtain just as much enjoyment from your meal — all while ensuring you’re not shoveling an unhealthy quantity of chicken parmesan in your mouth in the first five minutes of that Friends re-run.
If you’re not into socializing over every meal, consider adapting mindful eating practices — think focusing on chewing and enjoying your mouth full of food before pushing more on your fork instead of simultaneously chowing down and reloading — which will also help your mind and stomach unite during your meal.
Embrace the Mediterranean diet.
You probably already know the Mediterranean diet is known as the healthiest in the world, so why are you wasting time on sub-par burgers and hot dogs when you can embrace a much more delicious, life-extending meal? The diet native to southern Italy is high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and olive oil, and contains moderate levels of fermented dairy products, fish, poultry and wine and just a small amount of red meat. In other words, we see a lot of spaghetti with clam sauce in your future.
You may find anchovies as foreign as Italians find neon-yellow cheese powder, but eating like an Italian means eating more real, whole foods and leaving the preservatives, additives and all-around fake foods behind. In fact, nitrates, aspartame, MSG and high-end molecular gastronomy ingredients — think dry ice or liquid nitrogen — are banned from Italian restaurants. You can bet that when there’s a flurry of fresh pasta, produce and fish around, Italians aren’t microwaving a can of Chef Boyardee for dinner.
I recently met a man who told me he reads Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls to his daughters before bed.
As an attentive father, this man professed some of the multitude of ways in which he attempts to give his girls the best possible opportunities in life. For him, programming and technology have provided freedom, and he wants his daughters to have the same opportunities.
One night after watching an Olympic gymnastics meet together as a family, he found his 6-year-old in another room, with a stopwatch, training to be the next Simone Biles. Clearly this little girl has big dreams and is easily motivated. On the other hand, her younger sister does not share the same motivations. She is inspired by different stories and ideas.
Over tea, the man confided that his wife had recently challenged him to consider whether the heroic celebration will send the wrong message to his girls — that you must be a high achiever to live a good life. We discussed the merits of celebrating heroes without making little ones feel inadequate. He mentioned that even for his two daughters, reactions to praise and motivation vary greatly between them.
After realizing that his older daughter was so motivated to achieve, my friend changed his tactic. Instead of pointing out every example of success that he thought she would relate to, they started to talk about failures.
Everyone is different. Every little girl needs heroes of her own.
Making an Impact
Within the tech industry, the culture and the story is improving. It may not be obvious from the news, but the fact that we are calling out the bad guys shows that expectations are changing. A hard-working woman or man with a good foundation can have just about any career they want, though selecting the right company culture will always be important.
For women, technical abilities are usually not the biggest career challenge.
Breaking Down Barriers
Men like my friend are an important part of the solution.
Though technical ability is important, it usually isn’t the biggest career challenge for women. Rebel girls need more than technical skills to succeed. They also need to be able to:
– Feel comfortable standing out and being different.
– Recognize their unique value.
– Effectively communicate with and lead a male-dominated group.
– Negotiate — not just better salaries, but also through team dynamics.
Dear Fathers and Mentors:
Take interest in what motivates the women in your life. Teach them everything you know. Help them realize their strengths and how valuable they are. Offer the same opportunities to your girls and your boys, and teach them to recognize the unique value in each other. Explore the world with them. While they are little, read them bedtime stories of badass women from history so they dream of conquering the world.
ATLANTIC CAPTURES SILVER IN STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Level 7 Gymnasts Achieve New Heights
Kingston, NH—April 1. There was no foolin’ the Level 7 Gymnasts from Atlantic Gymnastics Training Center, Portsmouth (AGTC) as they captured second place in the 2017 New Hampshire State Championships. Competing among 70 of the state’s top Level 7 competitors, Atlantic gymnasts achieved a combined team score of 111.725 placing them second in a field of sixteen teams. As with all competitions, individual achievements were divided into equal age divisions.
Representing the eleven-and-under age division was Madeline Brandt (North Hampton) who placed second on balance beam with a personal best score of 9.575, fourth on floor, fifth on bars and eighth on vault. She achieved fourth-place all-around in the age division with a combined score of 37.25. She placed tenth among all Level 7 gymnasts in the state which earned her a spot as an “All-Star” in the Division 6 Regional Competition to be held in Springfield, Massachusetts on Sunday, 23 April.
Gabriella Verno (Lee) captured gold on vault in the twelve-year-old age division scoring a near perfect (9.650). Ms. Verno placed seventh on both bars and beam and placed seventh all-around in the division as well.
Teammates, Grace Schwaegerle, Francesca Toracinta, Katherine Weathersby and Madison Zadravec boldly represented Team Atlantic in the fourteen-year-old division. Ms. Schwaegerle (Rye) place third all-around in the division with a combined score of 35.20. Her achievements included placing third on bars, fourth on beam and vault and fifth on floor. She will also be representing New Hampshire in Regionals as an “All Star”. Ms. Toracinta (Kittery) impressed with a fifth-place bars routine, sixth-place beam and vault placing her fifth all-around in the division. Katherine Weathersby (Portsmouth) performed consistently on beam, floor and vault placing seventh with a solid bars routine. Madison Zadravec (Portsmouth) took gold on vault with a personal best score of 9.70. Additionally, she placed fourth on bars which resulted in a seventh-place finish all-around.
Successfully representing the fifteen-year-old age division was Gillian Croteau. Ms. Croteau captured first place on vault, third place on bars, fifth place on floor and seventh on beam. She placed fourth all-around in the division.
The Level 6 AGTC team had a great state meet, finishing fifth as a team overall. The team had many standout performances. In the eleven-year-old division, Cameron Zadravec finished seventh on bars and beam, tenth on vault, eleventh on floor, and ninth in the all-around. Ava Lindsay finished fifth on vault and eleventh all-around. Teammate Avery Dinges captured tenth on beam. In the 12B division, Zoe Rahn finished second on bars, third on vault, and fifth on beam, placing her third overall. Teammate Sinead Dolan captured fourth on floor. In the 13- year-old division, Julia Hackley finished second on bars, fifth on beam and floor, and sixth on vault, placing her third in the all-around. Isabelle Balfour placed second on vault, sixth on beam and floor, and fourth all-around. Maren Hennessy took eighth on vault, and teammate Anya Bakin showcased solid performances on vault and floor.
Congratulations to the Level 4 AGTC team on their strong competition at States! Fantastic 1st place AA finish for Lindsey Lee (37.550) and super 3rd place finish to Malaya Brisson (35.875) in each of their age categories. Hadley Prewitt and Eliza Penfold each earned a 1st place spot for Bars in their age categories (9.625 and 9.250 respectively). Also hitting solid bar routines were Kendall Prewitt (4th place 9.375), Teagan Wilson (2nd place 9.1) and Bella Trinceri (2nd place 9.4). Maddie McMahon (9.025), Rachel Khoury (8.825) and Ava Burness (8.35) all performed strong on the floor exercise. Tori Liedecke stuck beam and scored a 9.1. This team worked so hard all season and we are very proud of them!!!
Team Atlantic Level 8 gymnasts had a strong performance at NH State Championships. Sarah Craft competed in the 13,14 year old age group and finished in 7th place in the all round. Also in the same age group, Anya Cunningham finished in 8th place in the all around. Both gymnasts earned a coveted spot on the NH Regional Team. New Hampshire has 48 Level 8 competitors and the state is only allotted 16 spots to the regional meet. The pair will compete in Springfield, MA on Saturday, April 22nd a the Region VI Regional Gymnastics Championships. Dominique Chasse and Heidi Fortin competed in the 15 and over age group. Dominique finished in 9th place over all and also finished in 9th on balance beam. Heidi finished in 8th all around and performed a strong bar routine for a 7th place finish in a competitive age group. The team finished 4th over all in a field of 8 teams.