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This Girl Can – Cerys McIntosh

THIS GIRL CAN is a celebration of active women, at all ages and levels of ability. It focuses on health and well-being, encouraging every woman to get involved in exercise in some way, and not to worry about what they look like while they are doing it.

In a world saturated by media telling you how you should or shouldn’t look, this campaign from Sport England delivers a welcome change, by promoting enthusiastic participation in sports to all, rather than hinting a judgmental evaluation of those who don’t fit a certain image already.

I’m sure most women have, at some point in their lives, felt a sense of embarrassment or diminished interest towards having a go at an activity, for an image-based reason.

Perhaps you have hesitated from trying something like gymnastics, kickboxing, or zumba, for fear of being seen as “uncool”, “too fat”, “too thin”, “too old”, “stupid”, “inexperienced”, “untalented”, “unattractive”, “too sweaty”, “too wobbly”, “too clumsy”, “weird”, “not ladylike” or some other negative label.

I know I’ve been guilty in the past of avoiding lifting weights in a busy fitness gym, or avoiding putting my full effort into a dance class, due to worrying about what I might look like to others. But when the pressure to look “right” is removed, the truly beneficial qualities of these activities can be enjoyed and it is extremely liberating.

As THIS GIRL CAN reminds us, it doesn’t matter what you look like, every single woman can embrace an active lifestyle and reap the many benefits of exercise- of which there are so many! Exercise can be a truly fun, engaging, challenging, empowering, social, energizing, refreshing, stimulating, and health-boosting endeavour.

Earlier this week I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview trampolinist Cerys McIntosh, who is featured in the most recent campaign video. Look out for her (sporting a stunning Zone leotard) in the clip below, and read what she had to say…

 

 

Hi Cerys! Thanks for taking the time to talk with The Zone. It’s great to see you trampolining in the latest THIS GIRL CAN video. When did you first take up the sport?

I initially took up trampolining when I was about four, but then moved to gymnastics when I was five. I tried trampolining again about two years ago at an after school club and fell in love with it, so I now enjoy training both disciplines. I bounce three times a week, and I coach too.

Very cool. What was it that inspired you to start?

I just thought it would be fun! I knew a couple of people that went and I thought I would go along and try it out too and see what it was like.

So what is it you love about trampolining?

The feeling of flying. I love the sense of achievement I get when I manage to do a new move but also the same sense of achievement from helping someone else to get a move that they haven’t done before.

Absolutely. What achievements would you say you are particularly proud of?

I think my greatest achievement so far in trampolining is coming 1st in the Regional Team Finals and Second in the National Finals. Oh, and being part of the This Girl Can campaign and advert!

Congratulations! And yes, of course. Were you always keen to get involved with THIS GIRL CAN?

Yes, I really loved the idea and drive of the campaign after seeing the first one, so when we heard there was to be a second one I was really enthusiastic to get involved.

 Why positive messages do you think the THIS GIRL CAN campaign teaches?

I think especially at my age (15) girls become more worried about what they look like during sport, whether it be them slightly red faced or a bit sweaty, this takes over the want to do sport, so I love that this campaign says “so what, yes I’m a bit sweaty, or a bit red faced, or I may not be the best at this, but that doesn’t matter because I’m having fun and everyone is in the same situation and is supportive of each other.”

Yes definitely, that’s a really empowering message for women to hear. And having more women in sport means more women leading happier and healthier lives wouldn’t you agree? 

Yes! Trampolining makes me really happy. It’s not just exercise, I also find it a good distraction from the stress of school and work deadlines and it’s really nice to see everyone at my club as everyone is so friendly and nice, it’s great fun.

And would you say doing trampolining has taught you anything else about yourself, besides the physical skills?

I have gained a lot of confidence since starting trampolining, which I’m really pleased about. I’ve also learned to deal with setbacks.

What setbacks have you had and how did you deal with them?

I have had both injury and mental blocks. I’m currently carrying a left knee injury and have been for about six years, which can get frustrating at times, but I am doing all I can to try and get it better and stronger. It’s a slow but gradually rewarding process!

I also had a mental block on birani’s for about six months which meant I couldn’t move up NDP routines which was very frustrating for me, but I was able to get through it. We worked towards it in small steps and I tried not to over analyse what was happening (or not happening) and slowly it got better until the point where it was back to the standard – if not better – than it used to be, and I could finally move up routines!

Great job, I’ve also found it can really help to take things one small step at a time. What are your goals as you move forward?

I would love to go to the Olympics, so I aim to work as hard as I possibly can to get there, but I also think I will keep trampolining anyway because it’s such a good form of exercise. You forget that what you are doing is actually keeping you fit because its just so fun!

What about outside of trampolining; do you play any other sports? 

Yes, I do netball as well. It is very different to trampolining as you are always working as a part of a team and together with other people rather than competing on your own, but I love it. I enjoy being both part of a team and competing on my own.

What would you tell people thinking about trying out a new sport- should they try it?

I would say definitely go for it, it is so much fun whatever sport you do, especially trampolining, and wherever you go or what ever sport you do, you aren’t expected to be the best at it, or even know anything about it for that matter! The coaches and people there are all there to help you and make sure you have a great time, so just go for it and see what happens and if you enjoy it, and if you don’t, then try a different one!

Thank you so much Cerys it’s been really great to talk to you and I wish you all the best for the future.

Thanks for reading my latest blog for The Zone. Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @zonegymnastics or @jempin515.

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