Thursday, March 3, 2016

All Grown Up: Monica Zeringue, Gymnast

Last week I started my new mini-series, All Grown Up, featuring none other than the husband, a Midwest Rampage wide receiver. This week, I'm excited to be able to feature a gymnast! Monica, or FlippinAwesomeMom, was and IS a gymnast, mother of two, and pretty impressive. I actually came across her Instagram account and had to reach out! 

Me: When did you start gymnastics? How long were you actively involved (originally)? 

Monica: I started gymnastics when I was 7 years old. I stayed active until about 19 years old. So a total of about 12 years. :) 

Me: What is the best part about it? 

Monica: The thrill of flying through the air, and of pushing my body to limits I didn't realize I was capable of until I try. I love that I can use my body as a piece of art, as a form of expression! That there are so many different gymnast styles which bring a different kind of beauty for us to appreciate. 

Also, and perhaps a more sobering aspect of the sport, I love that there is always room for improvement. It really humbles you, because while we realize that while we're capable of so much more than we think, our bodies are still so fragile and can break easily. The paradox is frustrating and fascinating at the same time. I feel it really expresses our nature as humans.

Me: What has been the biggest life lesson you have taken away from gymnastics? 

Monica: If I were to pick just one, I'd have to say that my coaches words from my level 9 national competition. This was right after I fell on my last tumbling pass on floor (my last event). If I hadn't fallen I would have had the silver medal. I reported this to my coach at the end of the meet, and in her cold, Ukrainian accent, and completely blunt tone, replied: "If everyone did not fall, everyone would win first place."

It was hard for me to hear this as a young girl, but it was an important lesson for me to learn. Comparing yourself doesn't serve you or others. Our job isn't to compete against other people, but to do our best, focus on what needs improvement right in front of us. When we loose sight of that, we become jealous, bitter, resentful, and we don't perform as well. I believe this can be applied to literally anything in life.  

Me: So what made you want to get involved again and continue training now?

Monica: Exactly this time last year, I wanted to loose some baby weight after I had my second child. I was really depressed at the time, not happy with myself, and just feeling like I was in a rut (mentally, emotionally, physically, financially). At the recommendation of a friend, I started a Beachbody workout/nutrition program called the 21 Day Fix that unexpectedly and completely boosted my confidence. Normally doing workout programs just flared up old gymnastics injuries, but this one was super low impact while still working very effectively. I lost over 14 inches and 7lbs in 21 days. I continued with a few more of their programs: 21 Day Fix Extreme, PiYo, Insanity Max 30, and now I'm working on The Master's Hammer & Chisel. I lost an additional 10 inches off my frame. 

More importantly, each program helped develop different muscles. I began feeling happier and more confident with my body and slowly just started doing old tricks in my home with my kids. Eventually, I got to the point where I needed bigger/better equipment to try some of the things I felt up to doing. This led me to look for local adult classes nearby. After New Years, I found a gym and signed up. I got to fly over the vault last practice! And I'm hoping to swing some giants today! :) Been having a blast! :) 

Me: Is there anything else about your journey that you'd like to share? 

Monica: When I quit at 19, I was worn out and burned from the politics of the sport. I've since been able to find joy in it again thanks to a renewed sense of purpose I've been able to apply. I'm not doing gymnastics for anyone but myself now, and that really makes it much less stressful, and much more fun. Whatever sport you do, make sure you're enjoying yourself. Competition is great, as long as you're having a good time and treating others with respect and kindness. And whatever you're doing, be sure that it brings out the best version of yourself; let your beautiful light shine!

You can follow Monica's journey via social media:
IG: @flippinawesomemom

1 comment:

  1. Nice job! I love to see someone doing something just for the pure joy of it! Beautiful! That's what life is all about :)