There's a reason little kids are better at gymnastics, people.
Did you read “gymnastics for grown-ass adults” and get real excited? Like, where can I find this? How can I do this? This sounds awesome!
Yeah, that’s how I felt when I found out about it too. But you need to curb your enthusiasm right now because gymnastics classes for grown-ass adults are decidedly less magical that you’re thinking. Especially if you’ve birthed children. Or you don’t have the flexibility of a small child and/or rag doll.
If doing flips and feeling like Simone Biles is what you are imagining right now, let me lay some truth on you, this will not be your reality. OK, maybe it will be, I don’t know your life, but this was decidedly not my reality.
I was seduced into the idea by a much fitter mother, who was very Simone Biles-esque in her abilities. The kind of woman who seems normal out in the real world, but put her in a gym of any sort and she transforms into some majestic beast of athletic wonder. This is a far cry from the kind of woman I am.
I did gymnastics once upon a time in my youth, but in the 15 or so years since I left that sport behind, I have done very little to keep up my athletic physique. I did running for a while, and every now and again I’ll try doing some pushups (like 5) or a plank for good measure. I’ve attempted P90X a few times, failing within a week or two. I’ve done some workouts I’ve found on Pinterest. Like, I’m not a totally lost cause, but probably not the fittest friend you know by a long shot.
I took the front flip line as an opportunity to excuse myself and attempt to empty my bladder, but once you have birthed three children, there is no amount of bladder emptying that will save you from the leakage that comes with jumping on a trampoline.
Yet, despite my lack of athleticism, the idea of returning to the mat excited me. I had my son’s birthday party at a gymnastics center a few months prior and was apparently still riding the confidence of doing a small flip around the mini-bar. I secretly imagined that my gymnastics background from many years ago would put me at the head of the class, because for some reason, I assumed this would be an enthusiastic but unskilled group of adults looking for a fun workout class.
This was not the case.
This was a group of goddamn superhumans and retired Olympians (I’m assuming). I realized this very early on in the evening as I watched an elderly Russian man run and do three front flips in a row. Then all the people in line behind him began running down the track and doing front flips like it was no big deal. This is clearly their average Thursday night. I don’t think anyone was even sweating. I had peed my pants doing warm up jumps and was out of breath from doing a few somersaults.
I took the front flip line as an opportunity to excuse myself and attempt to empty my bladder, but once you have birthed three children, there is no amount of bladder emptying that will save you from the leakage that comes with jumping on a trampoline. No matter how determined I was to brace my kegel muscles, as soon as I attempted to do even the simplest of stunts, my brain and body decided to fail in harmony. I went to the bathroom at least five times, mostly to stuff toilet paper down my pants as a makeshift diaper for the night.
Then, of course, being around all these legitimate adult gymnasts made me want to show off, despite the fact that there was precious little for me to show in terms of tumbling ability. So even though it was amply clear that I was not in any sort of shape to attempt a roundoff-back-handspring combo, I went for it. I did so on the trampoline, because hey, I’m on a trampoline, what’s the worst that could happen?
I landed on my ass. I peed so much I was afraid it would start running down my leg. I pulled a hamstring and abdominal muscle simultaneously.
I did not know pulling an ab was a thing that could happen. It is. And to be honest, a pulled ab was a welcome diagnosis, because I was convinced I had punctured my innards with one of my ribs and was internally bleeding to death in addition to deeply wounding my pride.
When I hobbled into my house after the grueling hour and a half class, I felt certain I would never walk normally again. Yet, when the next week rolled around, with my sore limbs still healing, I went again. Now every week, against my better judgment, I put my kids to bed and head off to a gymnastics class for grown-ass adults. The longer I do it, the more I am convinced that this is a terrible idea.
But despite peeing my pants and losing my pride, despite this being an awful challenge for normal-ass people like myself, it was fun as hell.
While I still maintain that gymnastics for adults is something no mother should ever attempt (because of peeing, pulling muscles you didn't know you had, looking like a damn fool), the truth is you might just love it anyway. Bad decisions be damned, you get to jump on a trampoline, and let’s face it, you want that in your life.