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.
The Atlantic Gymnastics Dover Xcel team traveled up to Brattleboro, VT to compete in the Hip Hop Classic meet hosted by Woodman Athletics. The girls are in the middle of their competition season and have been working hard perfecting their skills and adding new elements to their routines.
The Bronze team competed Friday evening on February 24th. In the Junior B age group Izzy Rothwell took 1st place on bars with a 9.5. Samantha Bishop placed 3rd on bars with a 9.45. 2nd on beam with a 9.45, and 1st on floor with a 9.15. Sam also took 2nd place in the all-around with a 36.9. In the Senior A age group Kaitlin Cady placed 1st on vault with a 9.4, 1st on bars with a 9.6, 2nd on beam with a 9.4, and 1st in the all-around with a 37.6. It was a three-way tie for 3rd place on floor with a 9.2 for Katherine Indelicato and Averie Marcotte. Averie also placed 2nd on bars with a 9.55. Caitlin Klein scored a 9.5 on bars earning 3rd place. Cate Palmer, part of the Senior B age group placed 3rd on bars with a 9.45, 1st on beam with a 9.55, and 1st on floor with a 9.7. Cate earned 1st place in the all-around with a 37.7. The Bronze team took home 2nd place in the team division with a score of 112.95.
Atlantic’s Silver Xcel team competed on Saturday in Brattleboro. The girls did extremely well and took 4th place as a team with a score of 111.275. In the Junior B age group Savanah Hughes placed 2nd on bars with a 9.5. Brooke Helliwell earned 2nd on vault with a 9.2, 1st on bars with a 9.8, and 1st on floor with a 9.8. Brooke also earned 1st place in the all-around with a 37.85. In the Junior C age division Renee Remick took 2nd on bars with a 9.6 and 2nd on floor with a 9.15. Erica Chase, part of the Senior B age group, scored a 9.25 on bars earning her 3rd place and tying with her teammate Aaliyah McKenzie. Aaliyah also placed 3rd on vault with a 9.05 and 3rd on beam with a 9.0
There were two gymnasts representing Atlantic’s Gold Xcel team. Annie Beikman and Jillian Driscoll truly shined during this meet. Both girls were part of the Senior B age division. Jillian placed 2nd on vault with an 8.7, 3rd on bars with a 9.55, and 3rd on floor with a 9.275. Jillian also earned 3rd place in the all-around with a 36.475. Annie earned a 9.025 on vault and a 9.575 on beam placing 1st on both events. Annie earned 2nd on floor with a 9.525. Annie also placed 1st in the all-around with a 36.475.
Atlantic is gearing up for two competitions this coming weekend. The Bronze and Silver team will be competing in the Friendship Classic at Granite State Gymnastics in Bow, NH. Meanwhile, Atlantic’s Platinum and Gold teams will be attending the Tim Rand Invitational in Ft. Lauderdale FL. Best of Luck to all the competing gymnasts this coming weekend!
Here is a wonderful story from a friend. She tells her story about when her daughter had to sit the bench. Her honesty helps us all, because we all go through these situations.By Cayce Broker telling her story, she lets us see that we are all trying to do our best.
“Had an emotional event with my daughter this weekend….
She had a basketball 🏀 game Saturday night. She was so excited!!! We had friends and family come to see her play and she was so proud!! The game begins and our team was amazing right out of the gate! The first turns quarter turns into the second and the second into the third. With every passing second she didn’t play, I became emotional. She was the VERY LAST girl to be put in and my heart sank. She’s not in the group of the best players and that’s ok with me…. but to go so long without play time was hard to watch. She did play some of the third and most of the fourth quarter and played well.
Once we got home, I could not hold back my tears any longer. I was upset for her, and worried that she was embarrassed. Let’s be honest… no one wants to watch their kid sit on the bench. I began to cry even more which lead to some texting of dear friends and some soul searching on my end.
Does this REALLY matter? Should it REALLY matter? I got caught up in a STUPID basketball 🏀 game. I’m human after all and let Satan really get it my head…. but there has to be a reason it happened.
I needed a good swift kick in the pants … I already have an AMAZING child with or without basketball 🏀. My job is teach her that there is MORE to life than this particular situation. My job is that she knows Jesus and she is already on an amazing path with her Savior. Once that reminder came over me I was at peace. I talked with Cylin about it and we prayed. She was upset but said she had a good time at her game. At the end of it all she said… “Mom…some popcorn 🍿 would really make it all better.”
That’s my girl.”
Kids may say the darndest things, but parents tweet about them in the funniest ways. So each week, we round up the most hilarious 140-character quips from moms and dads to spread the joy. Scroll down to read the latest batch and follow @HuffPostParents on Twitter for more!
Olympian and World Champion Wendy Bruce will be visiting Portsmouth Atlantic Gymnastics on Thursday January 5th for an informational meeting with team parents and athletes. Since retiring from gymnastics Wendy has pursued a career in Sports Psychology working with gymnasts and athletes from all sports world wide. At the 1992 Olympics, the U.S. women’s team won a bronze medal, which was the first U.S. team medal won at a fully attended Olympic Games.
Wendy is married with two children and is the owner of Get Psyched! Mental Coaching.
She is a very popular speaker at USA Gymnastics Conferences and is a member of the training staff for Gym Momentum.