Podcast Interview with Danielle Gray

DANIELLE GRAY

Podcast Interview with Danielle Gray

Hi everyone!  On today’s Podcast, I’m interviewing fitness expert Danielle Gray on how to avoid burnout and reach big goals in sport, fitness, and life.

Welcome to the perform happy podcast where athletes and their support squad come to learn the secret weapon for sports success.  I’m your host, Rebecca Smith.  First I was a scaredy cat gymnast, then a coach. Now I’m a sports psychology expert and a parent.  Athletes, whether you’re feeling stuck or you’re having the best season of your life, I’m here to help you reach peak performance and maximum enjoyment.

Introduction

Hi everybody.  Welcome to a special episode of the PerformHappy Podcast.  My guest today is Danielle Gray.  She is a former gymnast, dancer, actor and founder of Train Like a Gymnast and the 10.0 Podcast, which I recently had the pleasure of recording an episode for, so definitely go check out her podcast.  She has started this movement that helps women believe that they can physically, mentally, and emotionally do so much more than they think they can, which is what drew me to you, Danielle, so thank you so much for being here.  Would you tell our listeners a little bit more about you?

Danielle:
Yeah, absolutely.  That was a wonderful introduction and I’ll just say everything she said and… I started gymnastics when I was four, and I was a little bit slow in the progression.  I didn’t get to teen or preteen until I was 11 years old.  I competed from 11 to 14, and I retired when I was 15, training level 8.   At that point, my coach was like, “Why don’t you take two weeks off and you know, see how you feel.  You might come back, you might not,” and after two weeks, I decided to come back.  My coach was like, “No, I don’t think you should.”  So that was the end of my gymnastics career actually.  At that point, I was kind of done.  I had lost the love for the sport, but over time, I got so much extra free time.

Free Time

I was like, “What do I do with myself?”  So I dove into acting and dance and this and that.  After a while, I knew that wasn’t where my passion was.  My passion was in gymnastics, so that transitioned me into coaching and judging.  I got my certification, I started judging.  I actually started judging the girls I was coaching as well at some meets, so it kind of came full circle.  I tried to give my girls what I didn’t have from my coaches.  And then I got a real person job and, and same thing, I was like, “This is just not what I want to do.  It is not my passion,” so I took the leap.  I turned down a promotion at my desk job and I dove into fitness full time.

Following My Passion

I got my personal training certification and kind of started training people in a “gymnastics” way.  So, you know, more general population fitness, but bodyweight and functional fitness focused.  So Equinox is where I ended up. They taught me so much, and same thing, “This is not what I want to do!  I want to really focus on this and I want to be my own boss and everything!”

Train Like a Gymnast

So Train Like a Gymnast developed and that’s kind of where I’m at today.  It’s a health and wellness brand, company, business.  We have a VIP program that is like the inner circle where girls can have basically everything.  They get mindset coaching, nutritional coaching, and they have a program of progressive gymnastics, strength and conditioning drills, and then there are different touch points where people can get involved with us, where they can do in person workshops with us.  They can download certain programs and preprogram guides as well as we have products so if you want to train at home body weight resistance wise, you can do that as well.  So that is like the big schpeel that has led me to where I am today.

Rebecca: 
Awesome.  You’re such an inspiration.  Another reason why I was drawn to you is that it’s so amazing to see what gymnasts are capable of post gymnastics.  You know, we’re pretty unstoppable beings.  Nobody like a gymnast can prove that you put your mind to something and you go do it and you don’t do it just okay, you do it great – you become the best at what you do.  It’s amazing that you’ve been able to bring this whole thing to non-gymnast’s, and bless them for wanting to try to do a gymnast to do because it is not easy.

Now you, you asked me a question that I want to ask you.  For those of you who don’t know or haven’t listened yet, I was on Danielle’s podcast and she asked me, “What does it mean to train like a gymnast?”  So I would love to hear your answer to that.

What does it mean to train like a gymnast?

Danielle:
Train Like a gymnast is a concept.  I base it off of consistency.  You know, you show up to practice, you show up to workouts, you don’t skip workouts if you want to be successful.  It is dedication.  So you’re committed to this.  It is forward thinking, so you’re not just working out to work out.  That’s where a lot of people fall off because you don’t have a purpose.  You don’t have a “why”, you don’t have intention.  So it is forward thinking in the sense that, “Okay, I am doing these drills because I want to get this skill and I’m working towards something,” and then once you get that skill, that skill becomes a drill for something harder.  So you’re always moving forward.  That’s what training a gymnast is.

Thinking Like a Gymnast

If you are thinking in the identity of a gymnast or an athlete, you make decisions based on that identity.  You’re not going to ask your parents to go drive through at Mcdonald’s after practice.  That’s not the thinking of a gymnast or an athlete. You make these decisions based on how you want to perform.  So it’s a whole concept, a whole kind of mental identity of what train like a gymnast means.

Rebecca: 
Awesome.  Now I have a question about nutrition.  I know this is something that you at Train Like a Gymnast, you have a team set up, you have a nutrition expert.  But I want to ask you – a lot of these aesthetic sports that I work with, gymnastics, diving, figure skating, there’s a lot of emphasis on the physical body and so you do need to fuel your machine properly in order to get the maximum output.  Do you have any suggestions on how to not get sucked into over restricting or getting really wrapped up in the body image piece that can then take away from the performance piece?

Danielle:
Yeah, absolutely.  So first off, next week on my podcast, we’re going to have my friend Autumn Bates on and we’re going to be talking about this in particular, we’re not going to be obsessing, and it talks about anxiety and nutrition and how it affects you.  So just know that that’s coming up as well.  From my personal opinion to not obsess, it can be tough because it depends on your personality type.  It depends on your surroundings, totally.  For me, I did not have that kind of pressure to restrict.  I was the complete opposite.  I ate horribly when I was a gymnast.  After practice, I would have a microwaveable frozen dinner. Sometimes we would stop at Wiener Schnitzel or Krispy Kreme.  It was not good. So thinking, “What if I actually ate well back then, where would I be?”

80/20 Principle

So if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum, like, “I have to eat this or I will not perform well,” I get it, but also, you need to allow, this is what I tell my clients all the time, it’s an 80, 20 principle, or if you think of it on a grading scale, okay.  A lot of you will understand the student/school method here.  If you’re wanting an “A” body or an “A” performance, right, you make 90% of your decisions on track.  Maybe a test has a hundred questions.  You can get 10 wrong and still get a 90, which is an A.  You can make 10% of your decisions by indulging, by enjoying, by going out with friends, by having something that you enjoy and you love, and you can progress and be better if you don’t really care that much.

If you’re okay with a “B” body or “B” performance, you’re okay with high eights, that’s fine.  Then you can make up to 20%.  If you think of it like a grading scale, it takes a lot of that pressure off because you understand, “Oh, I can still do this, this, this, and still be here.”

Rebecca: 
I love that.  You don’t have to be perfect.  You can just be human.  You can have the cookie, you can go have the fries, as long as it’s not that your entire diet is cookies and fries, then your machine is not going to work that well.  You don’t want to eat a bunch of Nachos before you dive into the swimming pool to swim. It’s just not going to turn out very well.  But you’re free to, as long as you’re okay with the D+ feeling in your tummy during the race.

So there are some ladies out there with incredible dreams, like collegiate dreams or elite or Olympic dreams… big life dreams, myself included.  I’m always a dreamer.  I always have my vision boards up.  How do you help women do the impossible?  I know that’s something that is important to you.  What are sort of the pillars or the tenants behind how you help people do what they might feel like is too big or too good or too scary?

Danielle:
A lot of the time I use personal experience to help them understand that they’re not alone.  Also reminding them that they’re not the first person to come up with this thought.  It’s the thought of the mind.  It’s not your thought.  It’s not your opinion.  You’re not the only one who thinks this way.  For example, if we never knew that anyone could climb Mount Everest, we would think it’s impossible.  It would take that one person to actually push their body to the limit to do it, to say, “Oh, this person did it, so it is possible… so then why can’t I do it?”  Then it puts the thought in your mind, “Okay, this is possible.”

If you are thinking, “Oh I can’t do that because I don’t have enough upper body strength,” I hear this all the time with gymnastics and with pole and with aerial.  It’s like, “Oh, I’m not strong enough.  I don’t know how to do that.”  How do you think I knew how to do it?  I didn’t know how to do it.  My first pole I thought my skin was gonna rip off.  My first aerial class, I felt like I broke my foot because the silk was wrapped around so tight.  Gymnastics, I can show you some videos of when I was four and it’s just… okay.

You learn and you get better by practicing.  Just like anything, you weren’t born into this life with, “This is your maximum potential.  This is all you can ever achieve, this flatline, this glass ceiling.”  So what has to change is your beliefs. Your beliefs can switch like that because, like I just said, you can think that something’s impossible and then you see someone do it, ow you believe that it’s possible.  That can totally happen with any skill that you’re thinking of.  I mean, just look at Simone biles because we didn’t think any of those things are possible, but they are.  A lot of times when I’m trying to get people to think differently or believe that they can do the impossible, it starts with their beliefs and we write down all of those things that limit them from getting there, all the things that they’re thinking that they can’t do, why they can’t do it.  “I can’t afford this. I don’t have enough strength,” and then we turn them into empowering beliefs.

Turning Negative Thoughts into Empowering Beliefs

This is a method that Tony Robbins actually uses a lot with his followers.  I went to one of his events and I’ve been teaching my girls these methods and it’s been helping tremendously.  A lot of this starts from the mental, and your physical fallows the mental.  If you don’t believe it, you’re not going to do it.  But if you do, then your body will follow.

Rebecca:
Would you give us a quick sneak peek of how you do that exercise?  So taking the beliefs and turning them into empowering statements?

Danielle:
Yeah.  So let’s see, I did this recently with my girls too.  There are a couple of that are my favorites.  If you have a pen and paper, go ahead and write a line.  You’re going to draw a line down the middle of the sheet.  On the left side, at the top, you’re going to write what’s unacceptable in your life moving forward from this point moving forward.  What are all the things that are unacceptable?  On the right side, at the top, you’re going to write all of the things that are musts, that you must do, if you want to get to somewhere, what do you have to do?

Once you’ve written what’s unacceptable moving forward and what you must do, you’re going to draw a line horizontally across the paper and have four quadrants.  In the bottom left quadrant, you’re going to write what the obstacles are that you’re facing, that are stopping you from getting to where you want to be?  What are all these obstacles standing in your way?  What are your beliefs that are most likely holding you back?  Then on the bottom right, you’re going to write all of your opportunities, everything that you have going for you.

1. Unacceptables

I’ll read some that are from my example.  My unacceptable moving forward column says: being mean to myself, not training or skipping workouts, and not getting fresh air outside.  A lot of times I feel like I’m stuck inside and I’m not doing all that I can to get to where I want to be.

2. Musts

All the things that must happen are: setting a daily routine, having booths, getting exposure out there for Training Like a Gymnast and sharing what I know.  I must share what I know because I feel it’s a disservice if I go to my grave with some of the things that I know that could help others.

3. Limiting Beliefs (Obstacles)

The obstacles that I face that are: I wasn’t a college gymnast, I wasn’t an Olympian, so why would anybody listen to me?  Why would anyone care?  I haven’t gotten to those levels, and I’m only one person.  So those are those limiting beliefs that hold me back from doing things because I feel like I’m not enough.  And that is that shame talking.  So that’s the unacceptable column of not being mean to myself.

4. Opportunities

And then the opportunities I have going for me are: showing people how to shift their lives, doing workshops, doing the podcasts and staying one chapter ahead of everyone.  You can always teach somebody something if you’re one chapter ahead, so maybe you don’t know how to play the guitar but you’re on chapter two and someone else on chapter one.  You can teach them what you learned in chapter one and still teach guitar because you’re just that much further ahead to where you can still teach.

So that is how you can look at your life and make sure that you are operating at your full potential and not letting yourself be limited by what’s up in your head.

Rebecca: 
Oh my gosh, I love that example.  Thank you so much for sharing that with us and that makes so much sense.  I love the one chapter ahead analogy because that’s why I have these live group trainings around overcoming fear in the PerformHappy community.  Half of the girls are already two, three chapters in and they are like, “You got this, don’t worry about it,” where there are a couple of new girls who will come in and be like, “I can’t do anything,” and the other girls will say, “Don’t worry, you just take a baby step.  No chucking!”  It’s like we have this whole language because we’ve already got some success.  And no, you’re not at the Olympics yet, but oh my gosh, you have so much to offer the people right there with you.  I mean it’s such a disservice for anybody listening who thinks, “I’m not ” ____ ” enough.”  They could be ” ____ ” enough to help somebody for sure.  I mean perfectly the right amount.

Danielle:
For that too, even as a teammate, even if you’re not the best on the team, but you know that there’s someone in a lower level who looks up to you, that can be your purpose for going to practice is being an inspiration for that girl.  I knew I had a couple of girls who looked up to me and I was like, “I don’t know why you’re looking up to me.  I cry like every practice,” but these girls are still my friends today and now they’ve graduated college and they’re like, “Dani, I’ve always looked up to you and you’re so amazing,” and I’m like, “Oh my gosh!”  So you never know who’s watching.

Rebecca: 
Oh, that just brought me back actually, because I was never the best.  I didn’t even get to level eight, so you’ve got that on me.  You know, we’ve got all these stories, right, that can make us not good enough.  I had these couple of girls who were like my little ducklings.  I was too tall and too old for my gymnastics team and there were these little ducklings that would follow me around and I just adored them, and it was mutual, and that brought me so much joy.  Watching them get their metals because they were little and amazing and talented and I was the one who was crying on the beam, but we all have our purpose.  We all have our value and on a team of any sort, gymnastics or otherwise only love that.

Training

I want to talk a little bit about training.  When you train people, I’m sure there have been those days where you’re like, “I do not want to work out today.  I don’t want to do it.  I don’t feel like it.”  You just want to cross your arms and dig your heels in and watch Netflix and cuddle up in your comforter.  I’m sure there are some gymnasts out there who have had a moment like that where they just don’t feel like it.  How do you get through it?  What do you recommend?

Danielle:
So in the sense of “I don’t want to like go to practice” or once they’re already at practice, “I don’t want to do what my coach is saying”?

Rebecca:
Oh Gosh.  Either, both of them are valuable.  That motivation when you just feel like you don’t have it, where can you pull it from?

Danielle:
This is something that has stuck with me that I keep reminding myself.  Even though I did miss practice today, I’m going on Thursdays because I was working on building out Train Like a Gymnast and I was super motivated here and I wanted to bring it to people, so I’ll be motivated on Thursday to go.

Don’t Negotiate

So, what motivates me to go and I don’t feel like it?  Sunday I didn’t want to go to the beach because it was raining.  It was cloudy and gray and gross and it was going to bring down my mood.  But I told myself I was going to go.  I knew that I had people expecting me and when I tell myself to go, I don’t allow myself to negotiate with my brain because your brain can make up all the reasons why you shouldn’t and why you can’t, but if you’ve scheduled it in, if you’re committed to it, if it’s part of your lifestyle, you don’t negotiate.

Just like when you wake up to go to school or go to work, you gotta wake up at some point!  You can stay in bed, you can tell yourself you have five, 10 more minutes, but eventually, you’re going to have to get up and go.  When you say, “I’m going to the gym today, I am going to work out.  I’m going to practice my handstand.  I’m going to stretch,” you set a time, you set an alarm and boom, you go.  One of my clients actually in the program, about a year ago she brought up this technique.  It’s called the five-second rule.  Have you heard of it?

Rebecca:
No, I haven’t.

Five Second Rule

Danielle:
She uses it for waking up because she likes to sleep in.  If you give yourself a longer than five seconds, you’re going to talk yourself out of something.  So when it’s time to do something, count backward from five and do it.

Rebecca:
I use that for getting off social media.  That’s good – five, four, three, two, turn it off!  I turn it off and then I like to throw the phone across the room.  I’m like, “I’m free. I made it.”  It can be for doing things you don’t want to do or stopping things that you do want to do.  It’s for five seconds.  I love it.

Enduring Long Summer Practices

Now, there’s a lot of long practices in the summer.  At the time of recording this, we’re getting into the hot month.  Kids are getting out of school and practices are going to be long and grueling and coaches get so evil about conditioning in the summer.  They are much harder.  If you’re not sweating and dying, we’re not doing our job.  At least that was my experience being coached at summer as people approach burnout.  What do you recommend?  How do they stick with it?

Danielle:
So I compare this with gymnastics, I compare this with like career and work.  So sometimes you do have to take a day off and that could mean maybe you do have to miss a practice.  Maybe you just take your off day and do absolutely nothing. For me in particular, working on my business every day, I don’t remember the last day I didn’t open my computer, so I forced myself on Sunday to do absolutely nothing.  I cooked and I had my friends over and I went to do acro and I didn’t work and it felt amazing and I came back yesterday was so much more motivation.  So when it’s coming into summer, yes I know what’s hot.  Yes, I know you probably hate running (unless you’re one of those weirdos who likes running).

Rebecca:
No, I don’t think many gymnasts do.  I can run a good solid 60 feet.

Communicate

Danielle:
Then those girls who quit gymnastics and end up going on the track team… I don’t know what happened to that but all more power to you.  When you have to do the summer conditioning and you feel like your body physically can’t anymore or you do feel like your emotions are going up and down or you’re just totally burnt out, exhausted, have a conversation with your parents and/or your coach and don’t come from a point of whining, which is what I tended to do.  Most gymnasts are mature, so you need to come from a mature angle and say, “I feel like I’m burning out and it’s affecting my performance.  It’s affecting how I’m able to train.  I feel like I can’t be as good as I know I can be because I’m hitting a wall and I feel like I need like a recharge.  What do you recommend?”  Or you can tell them the things that you’ve tried to fix your burnout or feel recharged again or to get better.  And if it’s still not leaving or not changing, come to them with that.  “This is what I’ve tried.  What else do you recommend?”

Rebecca:
Great.  So you get your coaches on board instead of just rolling your eyes and lugging your body around, you actually start communicating.  Oh my gosh, that is the key to getting through anything in gymnastics, I feel like, is communicate.

Danielle:
Things tend to be in your favor also when you’re on the good side of your coach and your parents.  If you come to them before you start to have a tantrum or cry or get sent up to the spectator area (I’m not speaking from experience, never would I ever) that’s how you can keep that relationship with your coaches and your parents and you can still feel successful.  And who knows?  They might say, “Come back on Monday and be ready to work,” and you might just need that.

Rebecca:
And then you’re doing everybody a favor because you show up ready to work. You show up excited, you sat at home for one day and you’re like, “What was I thinking?  I want to get back into the gym.  My friends are going to be ahead of me.  I’m bored.  Get me back.  I gotta move!”

Great.  So take a break, take the day.

What if your coach is not into that but you know that’s what you need to do?

Danielle:
If your coach is not into that then it might be time, if you’re a kid, it might be time to get your parent involved and have them speak on your behalf.  That’s really all I can think because if you do keep pushing, pushing, pushing, it’s going to lead to you crashing and burning.  It’s going to lead you to resent this sport.  It’s going to lead you to not having that love, not looking forward to practice, so it’s absolutely necessary.  If your coach is not into it, I’m sure there’s also another coach and assistant coach or class coach you could talk to who can have more authority and discussing it and maybe talk on your behalf.

Rebecca:
Okay, so yeah, stand up for yourself.  Advocate, ask for what you need.  If you’re, listening to this and you’re resonating with like, “Oh my gosh, I do need a break. I need a day,” then communication.

Now, was there ever a time when you were competing where you weren’t sure you were going to make it.  Now I know there was the point where coach said, “No thanks, you’re outta here,” but was there ever any point where you were like, not sure if you were burning out, if your passion was still there, and you were able to get through it?

Danielle: 
That’s a tough one.  I don’t think so.  I was always a better competitor.  I was not the hardest worker in practice, yet I would show up to me and out score my teammates, which caused a lot of issues and a lot of resentment towards me.  So I didn’t really have that feeling of burnout in competitions because that’s what I lived for.  I did have, I can’t remember what level this was, but it was like super hot and back in the day we wore long sleeve velvet leotards

Rebecca:
That was crushed velvet we had, so fancy.

Danielle:
Yeah, super attractive.  So we were up on the floor I think and I was in the middle of my floor routine.  I guess some girl fell off bars and dislocated her elbow.  Her Dad runs across my floor routine to go get his daughter in the middle of the meet. I guess I didn’t notice him.  I just kept going and afterward, the judges said a parent ran across my floor routine and did I want to do it again?  But I was like, “No thanks, I’m good,” and I could not bring myself to do it again.  That could have been because it was so hot, but also I didn’t have it in me to do another routine at that point.

Rebecca: 
Totally.  Oh, I grew up in Southern California and I remember one day looking at the thermometer on the gym wall and it was 111 degrees.

Danielle:
We had air conditioning in our gym.

Rebecca:
We had no air conditioning down in the desert.  When I was coaching in Northern California, people would be like, “It’s 80 it’s so hot,” and I’d say, “In my day…” and they’d all be like, “Yeah, yeah.  111 coach Rebecca.  Got It.”  But yeah, of course, when you’re hot and you’re just done, you’re done.  You’ve done your routine.  You’re like, that’s what we’re going to have today.

So what was it that ultimately took your passion for the sport?

Danielle:
It was my coaches of my teammates.  So it was my environment, my surroundings.

Rebecca:
That the environment is so critical for confidence and satisfaction.  So if you could go back…

Danielle:
And now it’s different.  I love it.  I love it.  It was really them. Like my teammates draw on me at sleepovers.  My coaches would say, “You’re never going to make it to college if you act like that,” or, “If you cry, I’m going to kick you out of this meet.”  It was that kind of thing and I never thought that changing gyms was an option.  Because my mom worked a full-time job, we’d carpool with other gymnasts, and for me and my little kid brain, I didn’t realize these gyms weren’t that far away, but that was just the closest one, so that was most convenient.  I didn’t want to inconvenience my mom was having to drive, get off work early, find a new carpool, that kind of a thing, just switched gyms, that could have been the changing element for success.

Rebecca: 
Isn’t it amazing how the environment is such a big part of being able to be successful?  Now I’m sure that people have been able to endure negative environments and go on to thrive, but oh my gosh, it’s so much harder.

So if you could go back to that girl, maybe when things were just starting to get uncomfortable or just starting to get unacceptable, I guess, to use your word, what would you say to her?  What advice would you give her?

Danielle:
I would tell myself, there is actually meditation I do that’s called “heal your inner child”.  I would tell her, “You have so much potential and everybody else sees it, but you don’t.”  So that still is true to this day.

I didn’t think of myself as being lazy, so I wouldn’t tell myself to not be lazy because I, looking back I was lazy, but when I was in it, when I was in that moment, I was just like, “This is what I can do.  I don’t know how these other girls have so much more… I don’t know how they can do this.  I don’t know why they’re not complaining,” or this and that.  So just recognize your potential. Recognize your worth and keep imagining, because I envisioned going into college and the Olympics, but just know your potential.

Rebecca:
It’s great that you brought that up because I’ve noticed that lazy is something that a lot of coaches think athletes are being when they’re struggling with skills, when they’re afraid of skills.  The most common thing I hear is that these coaches are saying, “Stop being lazy and get up and go for it,” but there’s this internal battle happening inside the mind and heart of each gymnast who is struggling, whether it’s with confidence or with a skill or with passion.  It’s like competing commitments.  You know, you’ve got this one commitment to, “I want to be a collegiate gymnast” and this other commitment to staying comfortable and it’s scary.  It’s scary to think of what it could entail to really be great.

I mean that’s the weirdest thing is that, like you mentioned the beliefs, “Oh, it’s lonely at the top” or “They’re not gonna be nice to me if I’m successful” or “It’ll be too hard” or “What if I can’t hack it?  What if they don’t like me?  What if I don’t get picked?”  It’s like all these “what ifs” that can lead to avoidance behavior, which comes off as lazy, when really it’s just your brain being thinking it’s too dangerous.  No thank you.  Shut down.  Now you’re going to be just fine in mediocre land.

danielle grayDo What You Love

Danielle: 
Yeah.  It’s self-protection and it’s natural.  We’re human and we avoid pain unless again, you’re another weird person who likes pain.  We avoid pain and we go towards what we love.  So really, really put your focus on what you love.  What skills do you love, what skills look good on your body?  Because there were some girls who are super bendy and could do the like rhythmic style stuff and that’s what they do where they twist really well.  Some girls are the power tumblers, some girls were the vaulters.  Do what you love!

Something that another successful, not really a life coach, but another businessman, Dean Graziozsi, he said recently that I just loved, “Focus on your strengths.” Society believes that we should focus on our weaknesses to bring them up and be better, but that usually leads us to that feeling of not enough.  If you’re focused constantly on your weaknesses or you were not as good, you’re gonna feel not as good.  If you focus on your strengths and really, really hone in on those and just get better and better and better, who knows?  You could be a specialist for college or the Olympics.  You could, if your bars is kind of behind your floor or your fault, you don’t have to be like, “I need to get this nine on bars.  I have to work to get my bars up.”

In gymnastics, you don’t have to be an all-around gymnast.  You don’t have to be. So focus on your strengths.  You can acknowledge that you have weaknesses, but if you only put your focus on those weaknesses, same with school, you’re never going to excel in that strength that you have.  You might not find the major for college that you want, that you truly want because you’ve spent so much time focusing on math that maybe you are awesome in science or you were awesome and creative writing, and that could have been your trajectory.  So focus on your strengths.

Rebecca: 
I mean it’s a human thing that we do to think about what we’re not good at and to focus on fixing the problem, fix the problem, fix the problem, fix the problem. Meanwhile, all you know in your mind is “I’m bad at bars” and you forget that you’re actually great at three other events.  Or you’re actually great at 90% of bars, you just have one skill that’s hanging you up.  We’re wired for that negativity.

So I love that, because if you’re focused on what you can do and what’s possible and what’s working, then you’re not going to burn out and lose your joy.  You’ll you’ll have time to get your bars up.  Like Simone Biles, her terrible bars she used to have.  I know that’s like laughable, but, and then she’s like, “Oh, I’ll just go win worlds up on my weakest event, too.  What the heck!”  We’re not all Simone, but, but yeah, I love that she didn’t go, “I’m not good at bars.  I quit.”  She was like, “Well, I’m going to be amazing at floor, go viral, and be the best thing ever, and meanwhile, I’ll get my bars up too.”

So the last question I always like to ask is about happiness and how to perform happy.  For people who are either gymnasts who are training all summer, for the moms who are listening, who are trying to get their butts back in the gym before bikini season, if that is even a thing, how do you get the happiness into it?  What are your tips for how someone can train happy?

Danielle:
So train happy can really stem from your “why”, your purpose.  Why do you want to train?  Why do you need to be ready for bikini season?  Why do you want to go to college?  Why do you want to go to the Olympics?  What is at the end of that? What does that outcome bring to you?  Maybe it does bring joy.  It brings confidence.  If you are trying to get ready for your family vacation this summer, why is that important?  Because you want to take photos with your family.  You don’t want to be the person taking the photo and not in any of the family photos, who just makes the Shutterfly book and has it on the coffee table thinking, “I took all these and I made this,” you want to be in it.  You want to see yourself with your family, with your kids and feel good about yourself.

If you are doing gymnastics because you want a collegiate scholarship, you want to go to the college of your dreams. You want to study there, you want to have those teammates who cheer you on, you want to be at nationals with them, and you want to feel all those emotions.  You want to have friends who get you.  You want to travel… all of those things are your “why” and your purpose.  When you are in that burnout, that overwhelmed, that frustration, you’ve got to take that step back and asl, “What is my “why”?  That’s why I ask my clients all the time, “What is your “why”?  If you don’t have a “why”, you’re done, you have no purpose.  You don’t know why your training, it’s not going to be lasting.  It’s not going to be long term.  So you have to remember and not lose sight of that.  Why? Because if you do, you’re going to burn out and most likely will retire.

Rebecca:
I interviewed Olympian Sam Peszek a little while ago and that was her same answer.  It was like, just know your “why” and then when you’re hurting and you’re tired and you’re bleeding and your bruised, just remember, “Well, I’m going to the Olympics,” and that just puts a smile back on your face and you get up and you try again.  And that’s where the champions come from.

Okay Danielle, how do we find you, for anyone listening who wants to check out your training opportunities?  I know you had talked about having something put in place for younger athletes and younger fitness-minded people.  So where can they get on your email list or find out more about it?

Danielle:
I’m on Instagram.  That’s kind of like my main platform.  @daniellegrayfit is my handle and I do a lot of promotion there for my podcast, programs that I’m releasing, and this and that, that that’s kind of the main hub.  I also have the link to my Train Like a Gymnast profile.  I’m working on building that up as well.  So that’s @dgtrainlikeagymnast.  You can find me at trainlikeagymnast.com.  This is where all of this stuff, all the programs, all of the little guides you can get, all the videos and help and inspiration that you get will be there as well.  So my goal is, as Train Like a Ggymnast grows (right now it’s for adult women) to start getting into the offering the guides to anybody.  My goal before the 2020 Olympics is to have a Train Like a Gymnast Kids in place.  So something for under 18 to be able to do conditioning at home.  Maybe you want to supplement your training, maybe you don’t have access to a gym.  Maybe you moved or maybe you’re on vacation, that kind of thing.  I want to have something in place for, for all of you who are younger and want to train like a gymnast.

Rebecca: 
Amazing.  I know I’m thinking of a dozen girls who were those die-hards that I used to coach who would have been like, “Can I get a little something to do at home like this?”  This is the thing, you can help guide them, for those girls who are want to be so strong

Danielle:
And something to do at home, or the girls who have recently retired as well, but want to stay with the sport or just can’t commit to a full-time job.

Rebecca:
Great.  That sounds amazing.  Well good.  We will keep track of you on Instagram and as soon as that exists we’ll, we’ll definitely check it out.  Thank you so much Danielle, for spending time with me today and sharing your experience, and best of luck as you use your gymnastics greatness to build your empire.

Danielle:
Thank you so much.  You as well.  I appreciate it.

Rebecca:
Thank you so much for joining me for this week’s episode of the perform happy podcast.  If you’re ready to unlock your maximum sport potential, head over to performhappy.com and join us.  You’ll be training alongside world champion athletes and Olympic hopefuls, and I will personally take you through my research-based system for overcoming fear and mental blocks, building confidence and finding your flow.  I’m Coach Rebecca Smith and I’ll see you next time.

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