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    I Trained Like A Professional Gymnast For 30 Days And It Was So Freaking Hard

    This was the hardest thing I've ever done.

    Hey! I'm Spencer, and I can barely put on pants in the morning without tripping over myself.

    This is Paul Ruggeri, a former Team USA gymnast. He's probably never had any issues when it comes to putting on pants.

    I've always wanted to do gymnastics, and Paul recently opened his own training gym in New York, so it was a perfect fit. Our worlds were about to collide.

    Now, at 27, it was time to make my childhood dreams come true. I was going to give myself 30 days to train like a gymnast and learn as much as I possibly could.

    I didn't want to half-ass any of this, so I asked Paul for the exact workouts he did when he trained competitively. This was his morning warm-up:

    But his daily routine didn't stop there. Competitive gymnasts train multiple times a day, so my second session alternated between two conditioning workouts: one for my upper body and one for my lower body.

    My weeknights were comprised of actual gymnastics lessons: a combination of handstand, flexibility, and tumbling classes.

    Tumbling is a cardio-heavy workout, and because I was also doing a minimum of two gym sessions every day, I needed to increase my carb intake. My body was going to need that fuel.

    I also drank two ProMix protein shakes each day to help me hit my protein goal (one gram of protein per pound of body weight, so about 160 grams in total).

    Day 1 of the challenge made me quickly realize just how exhausting this whole project was going to be.

    During my first tumbling class, I kept repeating, "It's just not natural to hurl your body toward the ground," over and over again in my head.

    There are so many little steps to everything in gymnastics, and my mind always went completely blank when I was in the air.

    All of the extra workouts meant that my body was extra sore during the first few days. I also found out that I had been doing handstands wrong my entire life.

    Most of my experience with gymnastics was me knowing exactly how something should be done and then my body saying "No thanks. I'm gonna do this instead."

    Even though I wasn't the best tumbler in the class, I started to fall in love with gymnastics. It was so fun to see my body learn new skills.

    The scariest thing was learning how to do a front tuck. It's all about trusting yourself, and that's incredibly difficult for me.

    By the end of the second week, I was finally starting to notice some physical changes in my body.

    Each week I'd find myself increasing the weights in my workouts, which proved I was actually getting stronger and stronger.

    I always felt like a kid in a candy store during gymnastics classes. Exhibit A:

    One of the trainers told me that you have to land a trick three times in a row before you can officially say you've learned a new gymnastics skill. I finally did that with a front tuck.

    Here's a 60-second compilation video that shows how I learned a front tuck. I guess practice really does make perfect.

    There were only a few days left, so I devoted a lot of time at the end of my workouts to handstands. My goal was to hold an unassisted handstand for 10 seconds.

    Even though I didn't accomplish my original handstand goal, I was still impressed with how much they improved by the end of the challenge.

    I sort of said "screw it" during the final week and forced myself to try everything that scared me.

    There were some days when I really wanted to give my body a rest. Most of the time I wouldn't let that happen, but sometimes it's necessary.

    On the final day of the challenge, I successfully landed a roundoff back tuck.

    Here's a 60-second compilation video that shows the progress of landing a roundoff back tuck, starting with my very first attempt.

    I had no idea what to expect when it came to splits. I wasn't sure if they'd be doable after stretching for a week or a month or even a year.

    Also, as a reward for reading this whole article, here's my worst fall during the 30-day challenge. Enjoy.

    If you want to keep up with the rest of my fitness journey and BuzzFeed challenges, you can follow me on Instagram @SpencerAlthouse.