“It’s important to push yourself further than you think you can go each and every day – as that is what separates the good from the great.” – Kerri Strug, Olympic Gold Medalist 

Renée Quick has been a Registered Massage Therapist with InMotion Health Centre since 2015, she won both provincial and national competitions in gymnastics and now actively coaches and judges with Campia Gymnastics in Mount Pearl.  With the 2016 Rio Olympics underway we thought what a great opportunity to learn about Renée and her gymnastics career and what goes into the preparation of getting ready as an individual gymnast as well as a team for a provincial, national or international competition.

Tell us a little about your gymnastics background.

There are four disciplines of Gymnastics, Artistic, Rhythmic, Acrobatic, and Trampoline & Tumbling; three of those are being represented at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.  I have been involved with Artistic Gymnastics in the province for the past 25 years as an athlete, coach, and judge; I am a part of the Campia Gymnastics Club in Mount Pearl.

I started gymnastics when I was four years old and started competing provincially when I was 7, I have competed in 10 Provincial Championships, I also represented Mount Pearl at the 1998 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games.  As a gymnast I was selected to represent team Newfoundland and Labrador at the Atlantic Championship, Eastern Canadian Championships, National Championships, and Canada Winter Games.

I have won multiple medals and awards at many different competitions, but there are a few that I am very proud of receiving; the 2002 Newfoundland and Labrador 4 time Provincial Champion (Individual All-Around, Team Final, Vault, and Floor Exercise) and 3 Gold Medals in the 2002 Atlantic Championships (Individual All-Around, Team Final, and Balance Beam)

I have retired from the sport in 2005 due to injury, at which time I became a competitive coach and provincial judge, it was in that time that I decided I wanted a career in physical therapy.

What have you learned being a gymnast?

Gymnastics is one of the most difficult sports in the world, it is not just physically demanding but mentally demanding as well; it requires a lot of discipline and dedication beginning at a very young age.  Gymnastics has taught me to never give up, giving up was never an option for me, I have faced too many challenges as an athlete and it has taught me to put one foot in front of the other and if you fall you can always get back up and try again.

Something I always teach my athletes is to never be afraid of trying because you never know what you can accomplish if you only try; that goes for everyday life and not just at the gym.

Have you ever competed on a National Stage and can you offer any insight into what athletes may experience?

I’ve competed on the national stage twice, once at the National Canadian Championships in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and once at the 2003 Canada Winter Games in Bathurst, New Brunswick.  

Preparing for a major competition is never an easy task, training schedules usually increase significantly; fatigue and injury usually start to set in.  With major competitions comes extensive traveling which can easily fatigue the body; these athletes, like myself, have trained very hard and for a long time for opportunities like The Canada Games, National Championships, and even the Olympics, these athletes certainly do not want to miss an opportunity due to an injury.

Getting yourself mentally prepared for this type of event is hard, you are faced with many new excitements that can lead to distractions; you come away with some fun experiences that you will never forget, for me the athlete’s village is always the best.

A few things I always recommend packing for a competition and travel are:

  • Foam Rollers
  • BioFreeze
  • Leg Warmers
  • Heat Packs
  • Good music on your iPod

As a gymnastics coach, how do you prepare yourself and your teams for competitions?

Preparing for a competition takes a lot of time and is hard work, now as a coach and Massage Therapist, I like to focus not only on the routines but the rest and recovery as well.  It is very important that you give your muscles and joints time to recuperate.  

Once competition comes to the biggest focus is to make sure the athletes are warmed up properly and their muscles and joints are ready for the impact and extreme physical test that they are about to endure.  A good run followed by some dynamic movements, dynamic stretching, and some static stretching is beneficial.

As a Massage Therapist, would you recommend physical therapy to a gymnast?

The physical therapy I received due to my injuries is why I became a Massage Therapist, gymnastics is such a physically demanding sport and physical therapy, in my opinion, is an important part of training.  These gymnasts fly high and do things many people only dream about, just like any sport, fatigue, and injuries can happen.

Teaching these young athletes about the benefits of massage therapy to their training routines has been a passion.  Some of these gymnasts are training 25-30 hours a week, and I recommend that they see their massage therapists once a week. this helps combat the fatigue their muscles have endured and it will help with injury prevention.

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Thanks Renée for taking the time to answer these questions and offer insight into your Gymnastics career.

If you would like to book an appointment with Renée for Massage Therapy, feel free to contact, 745-5945 ext. 0.

If you have any questions for Renée please feel free to contact her at renee@inmotionhealthcentre.ca