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Guest Post: Back to Gym after 83 Days Away

Kyleigh Giraldo is a ten-year-old competitive gymnast living in Virginia. She was away from the gym for three months during her area's covid quarantine. In this Featured Contributor post, she shares about her experience participating in weekly video workouts with her teammates and coaches, and working through a mental block when she was able to return to in-person practices. 

Going Back to Gym During Covid-19

83 days. That’s how long I was out of the gym due to covid. It was only suppose to be two weeks. Those two weeks turned into almost three months. My last meet was canceled. My state meet was canceled. I worked so hard this past season. It was hard to not know when I was going back to the gym. But I wasn’t going to give up now that the gym was closed. I was prepared to do whatever I needed to keep my strength and flexibility. 

Everyday my gym posted a workout and everyday I did them. We did weekly zoom workouts. It was great to see my coaches and teammates, even if it was through a computer. I worked on my shapes, handstands, press handstands, my flexibility and strength. I was determined to come back to the gym just as I left it. 

Kyleigh Gymnast featured blog post training at home

I finally heard that gyms would open in phase one and I was so excited. Then on the day our governor announced phase one gyms were no longer included. The next two weeks were really hard for me but we finally entered phase two. At first we were only allowed to have outdoor practices. I was so excited to finally see everyone, even if it was from 10 feet apart. Thankfully that only lasted two weeks and then we entered phase three and were allowed back inside the gym! 

Overcoming Mental Blocks and Regaining Skills

The first day back to gym was great. We started off slow and I was able to all the skills we had to that day. But as the days went on I started getting mental blocks. The beam was higher than I remembered. Some girls looked like they never even left the gym. It was hard for me to know I had all the skills I was trying to do but my body just wouldn’t let me do them. Before leaving the gym I was ready for level 6. Now I couldn’t even do a back walkover on beam without a spot. It took 5 weeks before I even attempted my back handspring on beam. It was a lot harder going back into the gym than I thought it would be.

I was really down on myself and struggling mentally. Thankfully I have amazing parents and coaches and after having a few talks with them things started to get better. I realized I needed to concentrate on myself and what I was doing, not what other people were doing. Once I did that my mental blocks started going away and I was able to do all the skills I previously had. 

It took five weeks of being back in the gym to get back to where I was before the gym closed. Now I’ve been back for eight weeks and it feels great! 

Thank you for sharing your story, Kyleigh!

Kyleigh gymnast overcoming mental blocks gymnastics covid closure

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