Sunday, September 6, 2020

ylikunto & uupumus


Moiks kaikille, 
Tsemppiä syksyn alkuun!

Kirjotan tällä kertaa suomeksi, koska saan selitettyä kaiken huomattavasti helpommin. 

Haluun nostaa tän ylikunto asian esille, koska tästä ei mun mielestä puhuta tarpeeksi, eikä tätä tiedosteta / haluta tiedostaa. Informaatiota jakamalla voitais toivottavasti ehkäistä voimistelijoiden uupumusta paremmin. Jaan omia kokemuksia & mun tavoitteena on vain auttaa muita! :)

Ylikunto telinevoimistelussa liittyy osittain varmasti meidän lajikulttuuriin. Valmentajat ja urheilijat saattavat sivuuttaa ylikunnon oireet & toisaalta niitä ei välttämättä aina edes tunnisteta... Liian usein pelon ilmapiiri estää voimistelijoita kertomasta valmentajille omista tuntemuksista. Urheilija voi pelätä esimerkiksi leimautuvansa "huonokuntoiseksi" tai "heikoksi" kertoessaan, että ei jaksa. 

Miten me Suomessa voitaisiin edistää avointa keskustelua urheilijoiden ja valmentajien kesken? Onko meillä loppujen lopuksi urheilijoiden hyvinvointi aivan ensimmäisenä prioriteettina & osataanko me ottaa huomioon yksilöllinen kokonaiskuormitus?  

Yleisesti ylikunnosta:  

Ylikunto tarkoittaa sitä, että kroppaa on rasitettu enemmän kuin mistä sillä on mahdollisuudet palautua. Ylikunto johtuu siis liiallisen treenin aiheuttamasta alipalautumisesta (englanniksi: overtraining syndrome - OTS). 
  1. Ylirasitus = ei palaudu kunnolla muutamista treeneistä / leiristä. 
  2. Ylikunto = akuuttina kestää yleensä 1-4 viikkoa.
  3. Krooninen ylikunto = voi kestää 3 kuukaudesta jopa vuosiin...
Ylikunnossa yksilön autonominen hermosto on sekaisin - on sympaattista ja parasympaattista ylikuntoa. Ylikunnon oireet ovat yksilöllisiä. Sympaattinen & parasympaattinen ylikunto voivat myös sekoittua.

- Sympaattinen ylikunto = stressihermosto käy ylikierroksilla & ilmenee rauhattomuutena. Tällöin sykkeet ovat esimerkiksi korkealla. 
- Parasympaattinen ylikunto = oireilee päinvastoin, eli sykkeet eivät nouse & ihminen on flegmaattinen. 

Mun omia kokemuksia ylikunnosta: 

Mulla oli ensimmäisen kerran pientä ylikuntoa, kun olin 11-vuotias. Treenimäärä oli juuri noussut ja muistan, että olin kokoajan pienessä kuumeessa sekä jatkuvasti tosi väsynyt. Oman uran aikana mulla on ollut monesti ylikuntoa, mutta kaksi loppuunpalamista (2015 & 2019).

Tässä alla oon listannut mun omia oireita ylikunnosta/uupumuksesta. Haluun jakaa nää oireet, koska osa ei välttämättä tiedä, mitä ylikunto käytännössä tarkoittaa 

Nää toimii myös yksittäin hyvinä varoitusmerkkeinä ylikuormituksesta!!!

  • Jatkuva väsymys 
  • Huono palautuminen treeneistä 
  • Treenit tuntu ÄLYTTÖMÄN raskailta 
  • En tuntenut treeneissä omaa kroppaa / jalat eivät toimineet (tää oli mun mielestä treenien kannalta pelottavin ongelma!) 
  • Laskenut suorituskyky
  • Treenien jälkeen lihas- ja nivelsärkyä - joskus jopa aamuyöhön asti... 
  • Yöllä polttavaa tunnetta jaloissa
  • Ei ruokahalua 
  • Hiusten lähtö 
  • Unihäiriöt
  • Liian korkea leposyke
  • Rytmihäiriöt
  • Syke ei noussut treeneissä, mutta nousi joskus jopa yli 185, kun en edes urheillut
  • Pientä kuumeilua (37.0-38.0) monta viikkoa putkeen, vaikka en ollut yhtään kipeä
  • Huono vastustuskyky 
  • Muutokset hormonaalisessa toiminnassa: mm poikkeavat kuukautiset
  • Mielenterveyden ongelmat: mm ärtyvyys, mielialan vaihtelut, ahdistuskohtaukset, masennus 




Treenaus on jokaselle ihmiselle yksilöllistä ja henkilökohtainen asia. Jokainen urheilija kehittyy omassa tahdissaan ja etenee omaa polkuaan. Itse oon tajunnut, että on myös tärkeää ymmärtää kokonaiskuormitus, johon kuuluu koko elämäntilanne & muu stressi - ei pelkästään harjoitukset. Kannustan valmentajia kiinnittämään enemmän huomiota henkilökohtaisiin tarpeisiin & kokonaisuuteen! Myös entistä parempi palautumisen seuranta olisi tosi tarpeellista :)

 


Oon ollut todella itsepäinen urheilija (tai vieläkin oon välillä...) ja tiedän, että myös voimistelijana on vaikeaa levätä/pitää taukoa treeneistä, jos on motivaatiota ja halua kehittyä. Yleensä väkisin tai esim väsyneenä/loukkaantuneena tekemisestä ei kuitenkaan loppupeleissä tule mitään ja käteen jää enemmän negatiivista kuin positiivista... Tähän liittyen toivon, että valmentajat jarruttelisivat innokkaiden voimistelijoiden treenaushimoa ja antaisivat positiivisella asenteella kunnon mahdollisuuden levätä. Toivottavasti urheilijoiden tuntemuksia kunnioitetaan eikä kenenkään tunteita aliarvioida! 

Oon myös oppinut, että urheilijana on tosi hyödyllistä tiedostaa ne tilanteet, milloin on syytä jatkaa ja tsempata vielä pari toistoa & ne, joissa on syytä lopettaa tekeminen oman kropan ja mielenterveyden vuoksi. Voimistelijat tekevät itselleen ison palveluksen sillä, jos uskaltavat rohkeasti kertoa kaikista pienistäkin asioista valmentajille. Ei oo yhtään noloa sanoa, että nyt ei jaksa tai että väsyttää! 

Oma kroppa mahdollistaa lajin harrastamisen, joten sitä on todellakin syytä arvostaa ja kuunnella. Terveellisen tasapainon löytäminen on jatkuvaa opettelua! 

Tsemppiä treeneihin kaikille & nauttikaa joka hetkestä :) 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Breaking my bubble!


Hi you, 
I hope you are healthy & doing something nice this summer! 

I haven't posted in a long time... I am really happy that I wrote things down when I was training in the US. During this summer I've had more time to think about my gymnastics journey & I thought that I could continue this blog. Many of my friends have been asking for my next post - so guys... here it is ;) I think it's also nice to write something down for myself & funny to read those years later... and perhaps I can develop my English at the same time :) 

So it's been like 1,5 years since my last post which was right after I came home from my gymnastics trip to the US. After that, A LOT has happened. 

In this post I thought that I could write more about my year of 2019:

At the beginning of 2019, I changed back to my old club Estt (Espoon Telinetaiturit). I felt that STVK (Suomen taitovoimisteluklubi) in Helsinki was just too far from home during the weekdays... Also this big new gym near to my home was tempting and many of my friends still trained at Estt, so the decision definitely felt more comfortable for me. Nowadays my coaches are Taina Teräs & my childhood coach Outi Leiste. I am glad about my decision to change clubs and I absolutely love the atmosphere of my new group!

Still want to give a big shoutout to the girls & coaches at STVK -  you are all amazing. Good luck to practice!



Although my gymnastics trip to the US in 2018 was an incredible and very positive experience, I came home really tired... Turned out that I had overtraining syndrome/burn out. I know that many gymnasts can be going through the same, so I will do a whole other post about that. I would be really happy if the post can make some readers realize their own situation of overtraining earlier or maybe some gymnasts can prevent those situations and enjoy our beautiful sport even more :)

Now back to my year of 2019: At the start of February I got ankle surgery and it was a tough time getting through the recovery and stuff.

I think the surgery was a good thing (it also forced me to rest) but at that time it definitely sucked... I was really sad because I made so much progress in the US - so I was afraid that everything was wasted. 

It's always mentally really difficult to be injured. In our sport, injured athletes are always at the gym with the healthy gymnasts... so it's not nice to watch when everybody else is practicing and having fun when you are doing stretching or conditioning. Honestly, that was one thing killing me last year.

I have had so many injuries so I didn't think that was THE ONE stopping me. The thought of competing was definitely driving me forward! I think that I was also aware that gymnastics is more about the journey. I would still be lying if I say that was easy. It was really depressing... But I believed that I still have a chance to reach my own potential and enjoy gymnastics again - and I did! 

+Ps. My family & friends have been SO BIG help for me during these setbacks in my career. I can't thank them enough...

I was able to start doing more with my ankle during the summer of 2019 & it felt great to do gymnastics again! After my two weeks long summer holiday, I started getting ready for fall competitions. Me & my friend Lea Bernards had fun and productive practices with our coach Heikki Niva. Thankful for his help during that summer!

I competed after a long time which was a REALLY big deal for me. It was obviously very scary to go & raise my hand to the judges! My performances went pretty good, especially on bars because I managed to do many new skills to my routine. I was really proud of myself & it felt amazing to compete with my friends!

I was also super happy that Lea reached her own goal (getting into the Finnish national team). We became closer after I changed back to my old club Estt. I love the vibe that we give each other in practice! (haha even though we are a real double trouble to our coaches at times...) 



Then in September, I visited MG Elite while I was in NYC with my family. I realized how much I missed everybody, and from the start of November till the end of December, I traveled back to practice there again. It was funny to be back in New Jersey, it felt like I never left. It was a lot easier to be back because nothing was completely new. I already knew almost everybody and I was more prepared for what to expect in practice. I practiced there for about two months & got a lot of good stuff done. I made progress especially on vault and bars. I appreciate that I got a chance to improve my skills at MG Elite again! 


I stayed with my friend Ariel Posen's family. I always feel like home there! So grateful that I was able to share my experience with them. 

+ Ps I love their humor, and we were able to make so many inside jokes in such a short period of time... That was awesome :D



Overall, I think 2019 was great for me. The year definitely started ugly but the rest of it was wonderful. Super glad that I didn't give up! 

My experiences reinforced one thing that I had already learned: YOU CAN'T TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED. 

If you are a gymnast please remember to enjoy the WHOLE journey. Enjoy all the basic moments... the difficult practices & the hard conditioning... the sweat and the pain & the blood on your grips... the failures & MOST OF ALL enjoy the happy moments!

Make your journey look like you!

I wish you lots of strength & happy holidays. Be safe & stay healthy! <3

Monday, December 31, 2018

MG Elite part 2

Moi 
That means "hi" in Finnish. This is my last post before the new year. I am now back home in Finland. I am really happy to see my friends and my family. I missed them a lot!


Our group (Ariel is missing)

Last month in the USA was not easy, though I do love everything about MG Elite. The biggest challenge for me was that I was so tired all the time. One reason is the English language. My English was not good when I arrived and it was extremely tiring to push myself every day to understand and speak a foreign language. In the evening I felt that my brain was boiling... In the evenings I was so tired that I was ready to bed already after dinner, before 8pm. But every week was a little bit easier. 


Some other reason is that the training at MG Elite is physically so much harder than at home. There we practice 33 hours per week while in Finland we only have 25h per week. This means that my weekly practice hours were 30% more than before...

Our group is very small so Maggie has lots of time for everyone. She is a very intense coach so we have to concentrate on clean technique every minute. This is what I love about her and MG Elite. This type of coaching suits me perfectly but it's really hard.

Maggie & me
We also have more time for each event which means much more repetition. It is a good thing, but I can tell that your body feels that too! In Finland, we have for example 30min time slot for vault - for the whole group. And some days with Maggie I could practice my vault even 1,5 hours if needed. 

But now it feels good to be back home and spend time with my friends and family. It is so great to hug my cute little brother and talk in Finnish, finally... But I am already missing back to MG; Maggie, Vicky, and our team! 

This has been an amazing experience, and it will be nice to see what is knocking on the door next year.

Happy and healthy new year to everyone! 

Maggie Haney, Olivia Greaves, Riley McCusker, Danae Fletcher, Ariel Posen & Zoe Gravier. 







Sunday, December 30, 2018

My highlights in New Jersey

Hello 

This post is not only about gymnastics but also about my great experiences.

Since the end of October, I have been living without my family here in New Jersey. My mom and my brothers left on October 22. My dad stayed with me one week longer but then he had to go back. 

My brothers with my mom
So I've been living for two months with my "host" family. Their daughter Ariel is in Maggie's team too, so it is good to live with them because we have the same training schedule. It has been great to get to know Ariel better and become friends with her. I am happy to live in this supportive family. It's also interesting to live in another kind of family than my own. Ariel has a little sister and two big sisters. Her little sister Jolie is 11 years old & she is a really funny person. The big sisters are now at college in New York and I got to see them quickly around Thanksgiving. The Posen's family lives in a really nice neighborhood here in New Jersey. 

Me and Ariel 
I got to experience American Halloween here and it was really fun! Halloween is so much bigger holiday here. Some houses are decorated totally crazy. On October 31st I got to go trick or treat with Ariel and Jolie. We went from house to house saying "trick or treat" and everybody gave us candy. There were soooo many kids doing that & they had really cool costumes. It's so fun holiday for kids and teenagers.

For Halloween, we all from Maggie's and Vicky's team spent a day at Zoe's house after training. In the evening we went to a "haunted house". It was a school building where the students had made a scary tunnel and you had to walk through it. It was so good! We walked all together through it which took like 15 minutes. There were people in the tunnel who scared you and jumped at your face. They were not allowed to touch you but they could come really close. It was amazing how the students were able to make it that real!

Haunted house!
Another new and fun holiday was Thanksgiving. I spent the holiday and a couple of days with Riley's family. I like her family a lot and we went to their cousins on Thanksgiving day. We ate dinner together and played some cool games. It was exciting to taste new dishes and experience this traditional American holiday. It was also great to get to know Riley a little bit better. Warm thank you to their family for making that possible :)

Riley & her sister Erin

One girl from our group, Zoe, had her birthday party at her house one weekend. We went to a restaurant called Ichiban where the chefs are doing the food in front of you. It was so cool! We also went to the movies. Nice celebration between all the hard work at the gym.

My host family (Posen´s) are Jewish, so they don't celebrate Christmas but their holiday is called Hanukkah and I got the chance to experience that too at the beginning of December. It lasts eight days and every day they put one more candle to Menorah. They also give little presents every night. I got some little presents too which was very nice.

The next post is more about my training at MG Elite! :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

MG Elite


Hi from New Jersey


Vicky with our group
After a week in Minneapolis, we flew to New Jersey. My third and final trial in the US was at MG Elite. I had been emailing with Maggie Haney, the head coach of MG Elite, about coming to train with her Elite team.

Honestly, I was the most nervous before the first practice at MG Elite, because I was most excited about it. I went to the gym for the first time on Monday, October 1st. I was supposed to try for a week and then decide which club of these three (Texas Dreams, Twin City Twisters, MG Elite) I would stay until mid-December. It was actually Maggie's suggestion to try out these three very different clubs before making the decision. But after my first practice at MG Elite, I said to my mom that I wanted to stay here. I was really confident in my decision.

MG Elite is not a big club and they don't have a big gym either. There are not many girls, but all of them are amazing. Maggie has just five girls on her team and the other coach Victoria, Vicky, Levine has her own group. We have practice usually from 8:30 am till 1 pm and second practices from 4-6pm three times a week. Sunday is the day off.

The gym
All of the girls from Maggie's and Vicky's team were so nice and kind! I absolutely love training with all of them. A warm thank you to Riley who guided me in the first week when I was a little lost because everything was new...

Maggie's goal is to teach perfect gymnastics and that's why her girls are so perfect on their skills. We are not that clean with our skills in Finland so that's why the coaching felt really different. During my first month I really just did some basic stuff focusing on the right technique and cleaning my skills. It was frustrating sometimes, but I realized that it is totally worth it. I really love the way MG Elite coaches do their work and teach kids to do things perfectly.

I was surprised how much MG Elite girls do legs in their conditioning. I was extremely sore after the first week because I was not used to that... They stretch soooo much more than the two other clubs where I went. Luckily, I am usually ok in stretching so I survived, haha.

After the first week, we asked Maggie if I can stay on her team and she said yes. I was super happy and I am beyond thankful that she took me to her team. I love her style and their training schedule really fits for me. I really never thought that this could happen so this is a dream come true.

In October Maggie and Riley McCusker traveled to the World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Riley's gymnastics is absolutely amazing... She was part of the US team that won the gold team medal at World Championships. It was really interesting to see how they prepared for the competition! Riley and Maggie were away for one whole month. Me and all the other gymnasts from Maggie's team practiced with Vicky's group while Maggie and Riley were gone. Vicky is also an amazing coach and I really loved training with her. She teaches everything just like Maggie and I think that my skills really improved during the month with her. 


New Sylvia P leotards 

At the Jersey Shore in New Jersey 
New posts coming soon about my journey at MG Elite!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Twin City Twisters, Minnesota


Hello from Minnesota

My week at Twin City Twisters has come to an end!


On Sunday after a week in Texas, we flew to Minneapolis, Minnesota. On Monday I started training at Twin City Twisters. TCT is one of the most successful gymnastics clubs in the States. The vibe and the feeling at the gym were so warm and welcoming!

The Twin City Twisters gym was definitely smaller than in Texas. Despite that, the gym was really busy all the time. The training schedule was also different than in Texas. In TCT we trained from Monday till Friday from 1.30pm till 5.30pm. So just 4 hours a day plus morning practice twice a week and on Saturdays from 7am till 12pm. This adds up to 29h per week which is almost the same as my normal week in Finland. All the girls from Level 9 to Elite are training at that time and the gym is dedicated only for them. The small children and recreational are training in a separate section at the gym (the gym is divided with a wall into two sections). I was really happy that I was able to train with the Elite girls every day and learn from their training. At TCT they also had many gymnasts close to my age, meaning girls from 16-18 years. In Texas, the average age is perhaps closer to 12-15y. Because the training started later, it also allowed the girls to go to school in the morning. Most of the girls did the rest of their school online.

Coach Sarah & me 
Our main coaches were Sarah Jantzi and Steve Hafeman. Sarah is such a calm and warm-hearted coach. She doesn't make a big number of herself, but she has certainly been really successful on the national and international level. Without Steve, I would have never been able to travel all the way to TCT. He made me feel so welcomed already months before I actually traveled to the US.

Girls started every practice with rolling ... The conditioning was not as bad as in Texas Dreams, so I survived better, haha. Most of all, I was so happy to see that the team spirit at the gym was so nice! All girls were supportive of each other and they really seemed like a little family. I felt a lot like home with all my gym friends giggling and supporting each other. Greetings to all my friends in Finland btw :-)

The whole competition group came out for a photo for me!
The second thing that I was really happy to experience was mental coaching. On Thursday the team took little mental time at the beginning and at the end of the practice. We discussed topics like gratitude and hard work. It's so important to understand that gymnastics is our passion and we all work hard for success, but it's still just a sport and we should not define each other's personality based on our success or failure. All girls were participating in these discussions... It was very instructive!



    

My ankle was still totally stiff from this small injury in Texas, so I wasn't able to practice vault or floor that much. In Texas, I tried acupuncture for the first time in my life - so in Minneapolis, we found good acupuncture too. It really helped and the ankle felt better after the treatment. TCT has also their own sports medicine consulting twice a week. Their physiotherapist Jeff immediately understood what was wrong with my ankle and he rehabilitated it twice during that week.

As a state, Minneapolis was so much different than Fort Worth, Texas. I could say that it almost felt like Finland. It was a bit cold and dark, and it felt like normal September... In Minneapolis, there are lots of lakes and beautiful neighborhoods around. With my mom, we enjoyed our primitive lifestyle during this week. We lived in a cheap Best Western hotel close to the highway. Before the practice, we bought some food from the grocery store and warmed it up in the hotel room microwave & ate it on the floor together. It was kind of cozy on it’s own way... We also went to the Mall of America, the biggest mall in the country. It was huge!!!

  

I really enjoyed my time at Twin City Twisters and I hope to see those girls again someday! 
Big thank you to everyone who joined my week at TCT! 



Thursday, November 29, 2018

Texas, part 2



Hello from Texas 

I wanted to write another blog about my week in Texas Dreams. It was so inspiring, but also very hard physically and mentally. Texas Dreams was the first gym during my US visit, so it made a huge impact on me in many ways. Before the first practice I was really nervous but after meeting my coaches Marcus and Alicia, I just wanted to show the coaches that I am willing to work hard and ready to challenge myself.

As I told in my previous blog, the conditioning was much harder and different than at home. Due to this I actually hurt my ankle (the one that was injured in March) on the third day. I landed my double pike short on the floor. It would have not been bad unless it was the same ankle that was badly injured before. But because being at Texas Dreams was such a big dream coming true, I certainly didn't want to quit. I decided to focus on morning practices because my ankle was hurting. Luckily the gym has its own cold tub and after practice my ankle got some cold bath. Every day I went also get cryotherapy and spot treatment. The ankle injury really made me feel angry, but my coach Marcus was so supportive and encouraged me a lot to hang in there. I am so grateful for his help!

I still learned a lot though my ankle was a struggle... Before the practices, the girls always used those warm pillows on their legs. The pillows warm muscles. I tried those too & I think it was really good for my body before practice! 

Another funny thing was that the skill called Beil on bars was not called that way in Texas. Marcus explained that in Texas they call it "overshoot" and he laughed & said that "everywhere in Texas where we can shoot, we shoot".... Haha and I also got to learn the Texas dialect. Marcus told me that in Texas they always say "Hey y´all." I tried that & everyone burst into laughter... 

After every training, we always formed a line and the coach (whoever it was) said 1,2,3..and then everyone clapped their hands. Also after every event, the girls went to hug the coaches and thanked them. I think that was a really good habit & it was nice because it created togetherness.

Texas Longhorns
Outside of the gym, I have to mention one funny detail. There were sometimes turtles on the roads! It was so unreal! Cars are just casually stopping and moving these turtles to the side of the road :D
We also found some Longhorns of Texas and we saw enormous cowboy ranches...

Our friends took us to a place called "Lumi" which sold dough... It was so funny because the name "Lumi" means snow in Finnish (the staff there did not know that lol). 

But yesss, that was my week in Texas. Now when I am writing this I already know that I will not return to Texas Dreams, at least not this time. It was cool to be able to follow the training at one of the best clubs in the US & meet new people who share the same passion for gymnastics. Such a great experience and warm thank you for everyone who helped me during that week! There were so many of you - special thank you to the girls who guided me at the gym and welcomed me to your group. And thank you Texas Dreams & also family Davis for making this possible.