Striking a Balance as a Competitive Gymnast
Last fall, we shared our gymnastics space with former competitive gymnast Krista Jasper, as she rehearsed for her off broadway show Breaking (in) the Body. Krista trained for the 2008 Olympics and her show was a coming of age story about her experience. With many young gymnasts at Gymtime, we asked Krista to share her tips on how to balance gymnastics with school, family and friends.
SHARED by: Krista Jasper, former competitive gymnast
Training as a competitive gymnast, working to get A’s in school and finding the time to hang out with friends can be overwhelming, but finding a balance is most definitely possible! First and foremost, it’s important to remember that you are not only a gymnast, but a friend, daughter and student. It is just as important to incorporate these other elements into everyday activities because as much as you might want to be a gymnast forever, you have many other talents yet to be discovered!
When I was in grade school, I loved drawing, writing and acting, almost as much as I loved gymnastics! It became a challenge to make time for these hobbies when I started training eight hours a day for the 2008 Olympics. Although I was super excited, I felt like something was missing. I missed performing at school plays. I missed family holidays. I missed sleepovers with friends. I let it go way too long before I realized, it doesn’t have to be like this! I found a way to prioritize my Olympic goals and make room for the people and things I love. I gave my full focus and commitment to gymnastics during practice and competitions, but when practice was over, I left “gymnast mode” in the gym where it belongs. I allotted the rest of my day to school work and family during the week, with time for friends on the weekends. I liked to think of my weeks as my job, dedicating my time and efforts working super hard as a student and gymnast, so that when the weekend came around, I could have a mini vacation with friends and family to celebrate all the hard work I had put into that week.
My gymnastics career gave me the structure and organization skills needed to make all my passions fit into my life. That is why I am here today, performing in a gymnastics show off Broadway that I wrote and am starring in! I’ve combined the three things I love most, writing, acting and gymnastics. And although gymnastics doesn’t last forever, it certainly lead me to my next career… ACTING!!! But if I didn’t make the time and effort to work on these other hobbies while I pursued gymnastics, I wouldn’t have a show today. I wouldn’t be ready to thank gymnastics for what it has given me and eager to move on to the next step in my life.
Remember, it’s ok to take a break and celebrate the hard work you’ve put into a passion of yours. Always be honest with yourself. Are you working too hard or not enough during the week? Are you making time for yourself, your education, and your friends and family? It’s all about balance. You just have to find the right balance for you! One day you’ll be looking back and saying the same thing I am: THANK YOU GYMNASTICS!