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The "Perfect" Gymnast Body

"The unrealistic and often dangerous cultural undertones in gymnastics surrounding this idea of getting the 'perfect' gymnast body need to go. It is a toxic illusion, and puts young girls and boys on a treadmill of not ever feeling good enough that may lead to a dark spiral of mental, emotional, and physical health. Young boys and girls are often already struggling with their own sense of self-esteem, self judgment, and negative self talk without gymnastics. When this is combined with the perfectionist and unrealistic expectations some coaches, parents, or gym cultures directly or indirectly suggest, it can amplify problems quickly The negativity surrounding body image in gymnastics is why disordered eating is still so prevalent within the sport. The problems range from nutritional information that is not backed by the latest peer reviewed scientific research being given by coaches/parents instead of licensed Registered Dietitians all the way to well intentioned coaches who may just make off handed comments or what they perceive as jokes to gymnasts about weight body image, and performance. As a community, we all need to work together to push these dangerous practices out and create a healthy, safe environment for everyone involved. It is our responsibility to call out inappropriate comments, actions and practices while building networks of professionals to help athletes best and promote the use of the latest high quality education. The “perfect” gymnast body is a dangerous, toxic illusion that must go." -SHIFT Movement Science and Gymnastics Education In this new short film (Chapter 3 in the series of SHIFT Original Films), these issues are addressed head on and offer advice on how gymnastics can move forward. You don't want to miss this one:

Featured Speakers Include:

Big thanks again to Dave and SHIFT for featuring me in this short film! Be sure to follow him on Instagram @shift_movementscience and Twitter @SHIFT_MvmtSci.


Kerry Bair, RD, LDN, MPH

The Gymnast RD

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