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Whip It, Into Shape

Credit: Stinkie Pinkie

When I was a little girl, I loved to roller skate. There was no smooth, paved surface that escaped the wrath of my little white skates with the pink wheels. I skated laps around the driveway and garage (in my jean jacket, no less). I took advantage of unfinished basements and dreamed about having an entire abandoned store to myself. (Kmart always seemed a good option for this fantasy.)  School skating parties were always a blast; not only did you get to do the hokey pokey and the limbo, but there was always the possibility that your crush would pick you for the couples’ skate. Those were the days.

I’d been wanting to see the roller-derby-themed Whip It to get my cinematic roller-skating fix. While I know there are few similarities between the rough-and-tumble nature of roller derby and the easy breezy laps I took around the rink, I figured it would be entertainment on wheels. Not only was the super cute Ellen Page adorable in the movie (loved her in Juno), but the movie was crazily star studded. Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon are front and center, and even Juliette Lewis plays a majorly bad-ass derby chick.

The movie, which follows Bliss (Ellen Page) on her journey from seeing roller derby for the first time to being a derby star, also had some great life lessons (some of which can even be applied to your fitness endeavors)! Who woulda guessed?

  1. Do what you love. Maybe you don’t have a mom pushing you to compete in pageants when you’d rather be breaking heads on the track, but if what you’re doing isn’t making you happy, whether it’s running, swimming or playing the piano, take a break and find something you really love. The more you love it, the more you’ll do it.
  2. Everything’s more fun with friends. When Bliss makes the roller derby team, she immediately has group of gal pals with similar interests. They lose match after match, but they have fun doing it. If you’re in a workout funk, get your best girlfriends together and try something new. There is safety in numbers, and you just might find a new passion!
  3. Practice. While Bliss hadn’t skated since her Barbie roller skate phase, she wasn’t afraid to strap on her skates again. After getting her skate legs back, she was in tryouts, proving to everyone how fast she was on wheels. The take home message? When you’re learning (or re-learning) a skill, practice makes perfect.
  4. Wear protection. Always wear that kind of protection, sure, but when you’re in a tough sport, be sure to wear your protective gear. Helmets, knee pads, wrist guards and mouth pieces will all help protect your bod when you’re getting tough, be it on the ski slope, the skateboard park or the derby rink.
  5. Have a tough name for yourself or bad-ass mantra. Maybe you don’t call yourself “Babe Ruthless” or “Maggie Mayhem” like they do in the movie, but maybe you should. If you’re not that brave, simply having a tough mantra to repeat when you’re sprinting at the end of a run or doing that last set of reps will pull you through.

See? You can learn fitness lessons anywhere, you just have to be watching for them. And if you’re interested, yes, there are amateur roller derby leagues all around the country. Would you ever try out? —Erin

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