Break out of your shell
When I first started in fitness, I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. All the lingo, the exercises, the nutrition, and even the will to do it was foreign to me. Through all my work in the fitness industry, I now know that this is a similar feeling for a lot of people. Whether you end up becoming a trainer like myself or simply take fitness as a lifestyle to stay active and healthy, this stage can be intimidating and paralyzing to the point that we procrastinate on how, when, why we are going to start. Next thing we know, a few years have passed by and we’re still holding a membership to the local gym that we haven’t used in 8 months. We go in and out of diets and we keep telling ourselves that tomorrow is the day! Well, that was me until I found calisthenics.
Calisthenics is basically any movement that uses your own body weight as resistance to create strength, burn fat and build endurance. The beauty of calisthenics is that you don’t need a fancy gym membership. You don’t need any equipment and you don’t need lots of experience to get started. All you need is your body, some open space and the desire to transform.
If you search the word “calisthenics” on Google, you will find lots of videos of crazy skills, incredible strength and unseen movements that can seem intimidating at first but also super entertaining. The key point here is that it all really stems from basic movement patterns and exercises that can be done anywhere. Planks, push-ups, pull-ups, dips, and squats are pretty much the foundation of calisthenics and where all the magic happens. Once you master these, the world of opportunity in fitness opens up hugely.
Why is calisthenics so great to start?
These are just some of the reasons why I believe calisthenics is so important. Not only did it give me a very approachable way into fitness. It also did it in a simple and effective way. In calisthenics, you can pretty much do full-body workouts as much as you crave, wherever you are, whenever you can. I found myself waking up and doing as many push-ups as I could, going through door frames and trying to do pull-ups (before I could even do one I’d just hang) and trying to do a few sets of sit-ups before jumping in the shower. Soon enough, after incorporating these simple movements in my day to day, I felt confident enough to go out of the park and try it some things out there too.
Creative challenges, variations of push-ups and fun ways to use the pull-up bar came to me naturally. It turns out too that in these parks I ended up meeting people that not only gave me free advice on how to finally get more than a single pull up, but also became friends and training partners. The inclusiveness in the calisthenics community was unlike I had seen before when trying to go to the gym.
I never got sized up, felt intimidated by other people or was scared to step in because I knew that I was getting stronger every day. I had people by my side and I had fun doing it. This knowledge of the calisthenics foundations has been key in my development around fitness, my confidence, my body awareness, my approach to weight lifting and advanced training in calisthenics skills that have made me improve as an overall athlete and trainer.
I quickly realized also that to accelerate my process I needed some extra support.
With some research and help from my training partners, I created a program that helped me evolve in my training. I use these methods to help other people break over the fear of starting their fitness journey. Doing it digitally has become invaluable because like I said, it can be done anytime, anywhere. Often my clients who travel a lot or don’t have access to equipment, follow similar programs to the ones I had. It yields incredible results.
Calisthenics has so many regressions and progressions (ways to make exercises easier or harder) that it becomes accessible to anyone. It’s beautiful to see people starting with calisthenics and using these and foundation movements and skills to crush it in other fitness areas like kettlebells, HIIT, and even weightlifting. Even for potential clients, my typical advice if they’ve had trouble getting into fitness, is to simply get started with what you have, your body.