If you were given an opportunity to increase the amount of weight you were able to lift, trim time from your metcons during class, and make drastic improvements to your overall health and quality of life, would you take it?

Now what if I were to tell you that this opportunity would not only transform your level of fitness, but provide a uniquely fun and exciting experience with people who are equally passionate about making the most of life, quick to offer love and support as you strive to achieve (and exceed) your goals together? Would you even hesitate, I mean, it's a no brainer, right?

Of course! That is, until you hear that this opportunity is the gymnastics class offered at DogTown every Wednesday night at 7:30pm. The thoughts that begin to surface go a little something like this: "Gymnastics? Oh dear, there's no way: I'm too tall, too wide, too old, too busy," and the list goes on.

Well, I'm writing to share with you why it's time to lay aside any preconceived notions you may have when it comes to gymnastics, give in, and give the class a try!

Let me begin by introducing myself: fellow DogTowner, Hanna Halteman, here. For those of you who don't know me, I stand just south of 6'3 and was born with limbs that extend further than the East is from the West; I’m pretty much your typical gymnast... NOT. Growing up, however, all I ever wanted to be was an Olympic gymnast, true story! I was enamored by the grace and the beauty the athletes possessed and fell completely in love with the sport! When I wasn’t watching it on TV, I was practicing on my own performing cartwheels on the Duct Tape balance beam I crafted in the living room or choreographing elaborate floor routines, “sticking” every tumbling pass. I convinced my mom to sign me up for classes at a world class, competitive gymnastics club located just across town, and I was determined to earn a spot on the team as quickly as possible.

What came sooner than a spot on the team was a heartbreaking conversation with the coaching staff regarding the realities of my future gymnastic career, or lack there of. Apparently my height was a problem, and I was becoming a liability. “You can be anything you want to be in this life except for two things,” I remember my Momma saying after we left the gym, (one of them being a jockey, haha) and the other, a GYMNAST.”

While I know full well my mother’s intentions were good and her words were spoken with love in response to the difficult conversation that had just transpired with my coaching staff, this was the first day I joined the bandwagon of perception regarding the lies of exclusivity the sport portrays. The truth of the matter is... I AM a gymnast... and you are too!

A common misconception surrounding gymnastics is the idea that the only opportunity to participate exists within the confines of the “sport of gymnastics”, but the beauty of the practice is that anyone can perform gymnastics movements, anywhere, anytime. Pull-ups, push ups, handstands; these are all gymnastic building blocks that construct the foundation of CrossFit. Attend only one CrossFit class at DogTown, and you will most likely execute all three of these movements in the warm up alone! Gymnastics, in addition to being foundational to the progressions used to create CrossFit workouts,  also develops strength, joint stability, and core control.

That being said, let’s revisit the question, “If you were given an opportunity to increase the amount of weight you were able to lift, trim time from your metcons during class, and make drastic improvements to your overall health and quality of life, would you take it?” Get excited, because this question is far from hypothetical.

Every Wednesday night at 7pm Dusty Hyland, DogTown Co-Owner, spearhead of CrossFit Gymnastics, and Co-Author of the phenomenal gymnastics book entitled, “Breaking Parallel,” is helping all participants invoke their inner “gymnast” by instructing, spotting, and encouraging each to be able to perform gymnastic based movements in a safe, fun, and supportive environment - free from the limitations we immediately place on ourselves when we hear the words “gymnastics class.” From my own, personal experience, the once “too tall Hanna”, I can say that in addition to gymnastics class being one of the highlights of my week due to the pure joy that results from the creativity and camaraderie of each session, I have experienced exponential increases in my strength and a heightened sense of stability and body control. My 1 Rep maxes have gone up, I am able to perform skills that had once seemed impossible, and I am noticing considerable improvements in the quality of my movements in both the strength work and metcons we execute during classes. So much so, that I will never doubt the awesome sauce that is gymnastics or my ability to be a gymnast ever again! I can’t get enough of this stuff and am falling in love with the beauty of it all... try it, and you will too!

If you have yet to drop by on a Wednesday night, I encourage you, rather, I implore you to do so! What have you got to lose?  I can attest, from first hand experience, you have the world to gain! What are you waiting for? Like I said, it’s a no brainer!