Every Gymnast’s Holiday Wishlist

Not sure what to get your gymnast for the holidays? While we have had some success finding gymnastics apparel and merchandise in store (leotards at Target and Walmart and clothes and accessories at Justice), we have looked into some online and DIY options for you that just might be on your gymnast’s wishlist (like they haven’t already told you). While there are a lot of great options out there, here are a few we came up with:

 Finding a gift for your little gymnast can be overwhelming, so hopefully these give you some direction. From home equipment that allows your gymnast to put in extra practice (without using your bed, sofa, wall, etc.), to a fantastically wonderful onesie repping their favorite sport, any of these gifts will have your gymnast somersaulting with joy into the holiday season. Happy shopping!

Written by Natalie Martinez.

What Our Kids Are Thankful For

We’ve all sat around the table at Thanksgiving and discussed what everyone in the family is thankful for. Some years it’s difficult to choose just one because you feel thankful for everything, other times it’s easy to lose sight of our blessings. Well kids don’t have that dilemma, they say what they mean and mean what they say. We interviewed seven different athletes and here’s what they said they are thankful for..

We have so much to be thankful for and as we get older, our perspective changes. Take a minute to consider…what are you thankful for?

We are thankful for all of our gymnasts and are committed to offering gymnastics programs for children with and without special needs. Our goal is to embrace inclusiveness and create a positive and safe place for children, independent of their ability or financial situation, to have fun and be celebrated.

In the spirit of giving thanks, we hope you will consider making a donation to our year-end fundraising campaign. Your donation will allow us to provide our services to more children, train more team members to work with our athletes, and bring in experts as well as additional specialized equipment.

We are thankful for YOU!

Written by Julie Walter. 

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Coaches Confessions

Everyone has their secrets, and coaches are no different. We spend thousands of hours with tiny human beings, who although they are adorable, can also be a handful. Each coach has their own tricks, and here are just a few of their confessions. 

Despite all of the ups and downs, when all is said and done, we love our jobs and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. The ability to share our passion with children is truly a gift and an honor. Let us know in the comments below if you could have guessed any of our confessions.

Written by Julie Walter. 

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Taking the “Road Less Traveled By”…

What does taking the “road less traveled by” look like?

At Balance 180, a dedicated group of people’s paths have crossed and together they are taking the road less traveled by. The journey down this road started with a vision. A vision to provide children with and without special needs the opportunity to have fun, to be a part of a team, and to build confidence using gymnastics as the catalyst.

The snapshots we have taken along this journey to capture the special moments have been humbling, rewarding, and absolutely amazing. The most recent snapshot for the scrapbook of our journey brings us to last weekend.

Take a quick walk with us while we explain…

Earlier this year, Balance 180 made the decision to partner with Special Olympics Florida (SOFL), Alachua County to bring SOFL Gymnastics to our area. This program would give our gymnasts with special needs the ability to compete on a local and state level.

Last weekend, five gymnasts on Alachua County’s inaugural SOFL team competed at the State Fall Classic at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando. The awards ceremony was so much more than watching the kids receive medals. It represented giving all kids the opportunity to be a part of a team and to reach their potential in sports.

Also happening last weekend, we had a competition for our USA Gymnastics gymnasts in Tallahassee. Regardless of ability, all of our competitive team athletes were showing off their gymnastics, representing their hometown, and making special memories with their coaches, teammates, and families.

Will you join our journey?

Together with an awesome team of people and supporters, Balance 180 is committed to “taking the road less traveled by” by providing an encouraging and positive place where all kids can enjoy and excel at gymnastics.

Will you help us on our journey, and consider making a donation to Balance 180? Our goal is to raise $20,000 fundraising goal by December 31st so that we can continue to offer high quality recreational and competitive programs to children with varying needs and abilities.



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Eat Like a Gator Gymnast: An Interview with Cassy Hunter

When it comes to nutrition there’s so much advice out there that it can get pretty overwhelming, especially when it comes to feeding your kids before sports practice. Children are a whole other species that have the energy to run around in circles for hours (why can’t we adults still have this energy?). Finding the right type of fuel for your athlete who is always on the move can be a challenge. We interviewed former Gator Gymnastics dietician, Cassy Hunter, and here’s what she had to say.

Q: What is one common mistake you notice in an athlete’s diet?

Q: What advice would you give to a parent who has a 9- or 10-year-old gymnast training 4 days a week for about two or three hours each practice?

Q: Does the same apply to a 3-year-old who is going to practice 1 hour a week?

Q: What would you recommend before a competition?

Here are some of Cassy’s favorite snack suggestions:

To recap, here are the main takeaways:

1.  Although carbs can be scary it’s time to conquer that fear and realize the right type of carbs are actually good for you and give you energy!

2. Hunter suggests eating every three to four hours throughout the day. Oh, what a perfect excuse to snack (HEALTHY) all day.

3. She notes the importance of establishing and maintaining a healthy and positive relationship with food from a young age. (By those standards, I must have a really healthy relationship with food then because we spend A LOT of quality time together.)

4. Hunter teaches us to beware of boredom eating, especially before a competition! (Instead, perhaps try distracting your kids by listening to music or visualizing the competition.)

5. She tells us to always make a snack with a combination of carbs and protein, like the examples above! (And no, the mozzarella sticks can’t be fried.)

Written By Mercedes Leguizamon.


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