If so, you might wonder how your lack of gymnastics experience affects your chances when it comes to contending in fitness competitions. Relax, say WNSO judges and FAME Fitness athletes - while a gymnastics background can certainly help your performance, years of training is definitely not a necessity for success in this versatile sport.
"You could have a background in cheer, skating, [the Brazilian martial art of] capoeira, jump rope, gymnastics or any kind of dance," said Lyzabeth Lopez, a WNSO Pro, FAME Fitness Athlete, WNSO Judge and FAME Camp Leader. "Any one of these fields would give you a leg up in a Fitness competition - one is not really better than any other."
So where does that leave the role of gymnastics in fitness competitions?
The general consensus agrees with Lopez - a background in gymnastics can give you some advantage, but it's an area you can catch up on if you have strengths in other disciplines.
"I think having gymnastics training helps with coordination, strength and flexibility and can also help you add wow factor to your Fitness routine," said Sheri McCall Vucick, a WNSO Pro and the 2006 FAME Fitness North American Champion. For these reasons, learning and incorporating some basic gymnastic moves into your routine can be beneficial.
At the same time, you can draw upon many types of training to create a killer routine that includes all the mandatory moves and demonstrates your stamina and creativity, even if you haven't spent decades learning to tumble through the air.
"The mandatory flexibility moves in your routine, for example, could include a great back walkover from gymnastics or a spectacular high kick coming from a background in martial arts," Lopez said. "The possibilities are virtually endless."
If your routine lacks the sensational effects of handsprings, flysprings and aerials, can you still win? WNSO Pro and FAME Fitness Athlete Sylvia Tremblay, who only started competing in her 30s, found out she could when she took first place in a FAME Fitness contest in 2002.
"My routine didn't have any big gymnastics moves because, at that time, I was simply not able to do them," she explained. "I had only basic moves such as a cartwheel and a round off. But I won with only basic gymnastics and a lot of dance."
If you have a desire to compete and succeed in Fitness but worry about your lack of gymnastic ability, fear not. We asked our experts for their top tips on gymnastics training and how to incorporate some of these make-your-mark moves into your Fitness routine effectively:
Get Educated. Properly!
"Make sure when you set out to learn gymnastics, you learn from a certified gymnastics instructor," Lopez advised. "There are various levels of instructors and the person you work with should be at least at level 2. A level-1 gymnastics instructor is not certified to teach tumbling."
Practice With Persistence:
"It doesn't matter how many weights you lift or how many miles you run, gymnastics becomes easier only with consistent practice," said McCall, who also advised patience and persistence.
"Everyone is different," McCall said. "One person might learn how to do a trick the first day whereas someone else might take weeks. Don't be discouraged and don't give up. Stick with your goal and you'll master it."
Save It Until It's Perfect:
While you may be anxious to incorporate more complex displays of gymnastics into your routine, those moves will not help boost your score on stage unless you can execute them flawlessly.
"Keep in mind there will always be at least one WNSO Judge on the panel who's very familiar with gymnastics," Lopez said. "That one judge will easily be able to spot an inexperienced gymnast trying to do something beyond her skill level. Performing a move poorly will only cost you points, so don't use it until you can do it 110 percent."
Stay Focused On Your Strengths:
Even if you do decide to work on improving your gymnastics, don't forget to make your routine sparkle with the skills you already have.
"In my first year of competing, I worked so hard and put so much time into learning gymnastics that I didn't practice my dance moves enough," Tremblay admitted. "I thought I was a good dancer so I didn't have to practice much. But later, when I watched a video of my routine, I knew I needed to put just as much effort into perfecting the dance components."
And If You Are A Gymnast...
- How Do Gymnasts Train? - Started By HolyMoly
"Those guys are pretty strong, muscular and ripped, does anyone how their workouts are like?"
- Gymnasts have the most upperbody strength. - Started By anikey
"I'd like to see a powerlifter try this."
- Any gymnasts/former gymnasts? - Started By DanishThorn
"My 7-year-old daughter is a competitive gymnast/cheerleader. She is in GREAT shape for a 7-year-old little girl. Her tumbling coach is getting onto her and her teammates about their diet already!"
Channel your abilities into adding innovation and creativity to your routine. "Use your skills to make your routine stand out," Lopez said. "If you have the strength to do high-power gymnastics, add your personal flair to develop interesting or unusual moves that take your routine to the next level."
If you're still learning how to smoothly execute that impressive forward flip landing in the splits, know you still have more than a fighting chance at winning, as long as you still incorporate all the mandatory moves, great stage presence and some eye-catching creativity into your routine.
"I know how it feels," Tremblay said. "Seeing other girls almost floating across the stage with their impressive gymnastics moves can make you question yourself if you can't do the same. But I absolutely believe you can win competitions if you have a really great routine, no matter what skills you use to create it."
Creating Fitness Routines:
You can find more valuable tips on FAME Fitness and routine requirements by visiting the FAME website. You can also get hands-on coaching in these areas and much more by attending a FAME Camp or taking our exclusive Online FAME Camp courses. For more information, visit www.wowFAME.com.