What is going on?
This post has been a couple weeks in the works because I’m so excited and really didn’t want to eff it up! This is going to be a new series (if that’s what you call it?) for my blog – interviews of people around me, that inspire or have a fun perspective on things! Who better to start this off with than my best friend and one of the best tumblers in the country and world?
Cat and I met in 2006 through a friend that also compete at the time, Megan. We were MSN messenger friends and bonded over our love for Law and Order: SVU (her e-mail at the time was a Law and Order reference so ya know the love ran deep). We met IRL (in real life) in 2007 and she had no idea who I was when I said hi (pretty typical for this friendship). We travelled to WAGs together to Russia in 2009 and had the best time ever – along with a cast of other crazy’s. She retired in 2010 (boo!) but made a fresh-ass comeback in the last few years! (I knew it wasn’t the end of her career, as adamant as she was!). We competed together this year (her first year back competing) and we spent the whole weekend together in Montreal a few weeks ago and it was like nothing had ever changed, except our perspectives have changed on the whole game! She’s one of the people that inspire me – both in and out of sport. Cat is the hardest worker and most disciplined person I know. She’s my therapist half of the time and helps me keep my head on straight – especially when training and competing, it’s nice to have someone that just “gets it”.
I think she’s a great role model and Team Player in and out of the gym – so if you (or you kid!) don’t know who she is, get on it!
Background on C-Nutts
Catherine McNutt is a Senior Elite Tumbler from Ontario. Catherine (Cat), has been a National Team Member, a Senior National Champion and a World Cup Finalist. After a brief hiatus from the sport, she’s back and getting after it!
RS: Who are you and why are you here? Just kidding. But tell us a bit about yourself…
CM: My name is Catherine McNutt, and I’m a senior elite tumbler from Mississauga, On. I grew up in Brandon, Manitoba, but moved to Mississauga as a child for my parents to pursue their careers. I started gymnastics when I was 5, in an artistic program, and fell in love. I am a store manager at Starbucks, which is my full time career, and I also coach a tumbling group at my gym, Futures Gymnastics.
RS: What got you started in Gymnastics?
CM: I got started in gymnastics when my parents got tired of me trying to do flips on anything that had a spring in it in our house. I was young and had a lot of energy and my parents thought that putting me in gymnastics would calm me down at home. I was 5 at the time and spent only a couple months in a recreational program before being noticed by the head coaches at Gymnastics Mississauga. I was put in a pre-competitive program when I was 6, and never looked back.
RS: What was your inspiration to come back after taking time off?
CM: I quit very abruptly, and felt like I had unfinished business in the sport. Nothing moves me like gymnastics did, and I felt I owed it to myself to go after my goals and get back to where I wanted to be physically and mentally after leaving before my time was up. I always loved gymnastics and without it I felt like a part of me was missing. I had serious goals coming back and a plan to get there, which helped my coach bring me back.
RS: How or has your mindset changed from when you were younger to now?
CM: My mindset is completely different now. I am more coachable now than I ever was. I can accept and apply feedback better than ever and have more articulate conversations with my coaches. I am also in a position where I can influence my teammates in a positive way and it makes my training much more satisfying. When I was younger I didn’t always understand corrections or how to make changes in my tumbling, but now that I’m older and more aware of my body, I am more willing to take calculated risks to get a better result.
RS: What is your current training and work schedule? What’s a typical day?
CM: I usually start my day at either 5, or 7. I work for 8 hours at Starbucks, and then head off to the gym. If I start at 5, it gives me the chance to come home in between and hang out with my dog, Wilbur. Training and coaching usually start at 4:30, so I have a few hours in between work and tumbling to relax. Training is 4 hours, usually about half an hour to warm up, and then 45 minutes on the rod floor, depending on the day. I then spend about an hour conditioning and 45 minutes on Fast Track. After that, if I have time and haven’t had to spend anything extra on Fast Track or rod floor, I head to tramp or work on new skills. Currently I am prepping for a World Cup, so my trainings have been a little bit shorter to keep my body free of unnecessary pounding. My days can sometimes go as late at 9pm before I leave the gym, and then I start again the next day.
RS: What gets you out of bed on the mornings that you’re sore and tired?
CM: I am constantly reminded of how grateful I am to be actively participating in a sport that I love so much. I am very lucky to have a gym family that cares so much about me, and my life outside of the gym. I often think about how I get to live my passion every day, and it gets it always gives me the motivation I need to get out of bed.
RS: Favorite Gymnastics memory until this point?
CM: I have so many amazing memories from this sport, but I think my favourite memory was WAGS (World Age Group Championships) in St. Petersburg, Russia. Even though I didn’t have the best meet, I had the best time with my teammates and I still constantly think of that trip and that team. What I love about Gymnastics is that it’s not always about the competition or the placing, and sometimes the best memories are about the experiences rather than the tumbling.
RS: What is your proudest Gymnastics moment?
CM: My proudest gymnastics moment was competing at my first world cup in Loule, Portugal. It was probably the peak of my tumbling career and I felt so confident and composed while competing. I made finals and successfully landed both finals passes and I remember feeling so satisfied when I presented to the judges after my last pass. Competing at the top of my sport, alongside some of the most talented girls in the world was such an honour, and I really felt like I belonged on that stage, which was the most important part.
RS: Most difficult Gymnastics moment?
CM: My most difficult gymnastics moment was deciding to leave the first time. I was torn and sore and tired and it felt like the only option at the time. For a long time after that I regretted that decision, even though it lead me to the person I am now, and I really like who I am, and where I am. If I went back, I don’t know if I would change anything, although it’s hard to not think of “what if’s”.
RS: Who is your favorite athlete and why?
CM: My favourite athlete is Marshawn Lynch. I like him for several reasons. He is one of the best football players of all time, but aside from that, he is a physical force. He has a routine and rituals, which I think are an incredibly important part of performing. He is also aware that he is there for himself and for his team – and doesn’t always respond to media. His mental game is tough and I aspire to have a similar mental game replicated in my own craft. He is an incredible athlete but his persona and character are what draw me to say he’s my favourite athlete.
RS: When will you know it’s time to hang up the leotards for good? It’s something I think of the older I get, and I don’t have an answer!
CM: I know for sure that I want to go to World Championships – that was always the end goal. I am so in love with the sport and the process and my progression that I don’t think that I’ll be satisfied with just 1 worlds. As long as I’m still having fun, I will continue to pursue my career.
RS: Ditto! When will you know you’re satisfied with your career?
CM: I would love to go to World Championships, and if I make that team, I will be happy with my career. I would also love to make it to World Games in 4 years. It’s a far off goal but I believe that with my work ethic and staying healthy and on track, it’s an attainable goal. We have amazing talent in Canada, and it would truly be an honour to be able to compete at that level.
RS: How most athletes have the Olympics, is there an end goal or is it ever-changing?
CM: I feel like the end goal keeps changing. Originally it was to just get back to competing at the same level as when I left. I am now back up to that level, and the end goals are changing. I am constantly reevaluating my goals and what I’m capable of, and I would love to represent my country on an international level on a consistent basis. I will be happy when I make the worlds team, and am able to compete at that level, but I’m not confident that I’ll be done at that point.
RS: Favorite quote?
CM: My favourite quote right now is “nothing is so common as the wish to be remarkable”. It reminds me that everyone has a passion and wants to be remarkable at what the do, which grounds me. I want to be considered remarkable in every capacity of my life, but I know that everyone is fighting for the same consideration.
RS: Love that! So what are your words to live by?
CM: The words that I live by are “passion lead us here”. I live by this because I always want to go places with that at the forefront of my mind, and only go after goals that I’m passionate about. I know that if I’m lead by passion, I will never be disappointed by my progress and I will always feel fulfilled in my endeavors.
RS: With a lot on the go, what are you most looking forward to right now?
CM: I am so looking forward to the Loule World Cup, which is September 27- October 1. I am also looking forward to next season, as I hope to upgrade my passes and continue to work on small details to be considered for more international assignments next season. I am looking forward to qualifying for the senior national team in 2018.