Following a terrible injury, Hans was told he’d never exercise again

And then he found Calisthenics…

Hans

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletes – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

This is story of Hans, – Calisthenics Academy

Hans, a 39 year old company coach from Belgium, has had to face some pretty extreme physical challenges in his life. When he was xx, he experienced terrible consequences from a momentary physical action.

“As the result of a quick and unexpected movement, my neck turned sharply away and I heard a snap. The next day I literally had to drag myself out of bed by the hair. Since the hernia was pressing against my spinal cord, it needed quick fixing, so a week later I was in surgery.”

It took him a very long time to recover from that accident, and he was repeatedly told that he’d never be able to work out again. “Bit by bit I proved them wrong. Actually, the more (sensible) I [work out], the less back pain I have.”

So how did Hans defy medical expectations and face his physical challenges? Calisthenics! Hans is also a big proponent of holistic living and plant-based nutrition and Calisthenics Academy is a program that allows him to incorporate these principles into his exercise routine while protecting his neck prosthesis and his back.

“[Our body] is a great device we get at the beginning of our lives, and there is so much potential we don’t (or forget to) use in terms of mobility and flexibility.”

Hans believes that life is meant to be lived holistically. He’s been in search of the kind of exercise that would allow him a true exploration of his body, and would help him move towards a greater, long-term goal. It was during this search that he discovered Calisthenics Academy.

“There is no limit to what the body can achieve at any given age, given the right time, the right training and the right goals.”

“As most people I started out with the intention of doing a human flag as soon as possible. But now the mindset has changed to mastering the current exercise sets. and then progressing to the next, and the next. All thanks to Calisthenics Academy”

The 3 benefits Hans gained since starting calisthenics

His body doesn’t hurt him anymore

Following Hans’ terrible accident and spinal surgery
he was repeatedly told that he’d never be able to work out again. “Bit by bit I proved them wrong. Actually, the more (sensible) I [work out], the less back pain I have.”

“I’m no longer troubled by back pain which helps my self confidence a whole lot—those who have suffered from back pain, they surely know what I mean.”

He’s in a state of constant learning and self-betterment

Hans believes that the body is constantly improving and learning. But it needs to be motivated to do so. He’s gained that motivation thanks to Calisthenics Academy. “We are never finished, we are becoming. And that is represented in your program.”

“The real gain for me are the thank yous I get from my own body.”

The principles of calisthenics translate into a code of ethics into his work life

Hans, along with Philippe (whose story you can find here), is a company coach, offering support in the design of organisations. “We help organisations in adaptive challenges. We create progression paths with them in order to see which steps they can take in a continuous change path.”

He sees a correlation between his work and the principles behind calisthenics. Once goals are hit, either in business or calisthenics, then what?

“We are never finished exploring and building, that is why the way forward is more important than the end product.”

“I’m more focused on the updating process of my body than in the final product. As long as I keep moving forward, keep learning, I’m on the right path. Within our organisation progressiondesigners.com, we try to integrate a few concepts such as Biomimicry, lean concepts (continuous improvements) and calisthenics/gymnastics.”

“Discovering calisthenics was the result of a few converging principles in my life.”

Holistic, plant-based living

Holistic principles follow the idea that you must look at your life as a whole: the mind affects the body, the spirit affects the mind, the body affects the spirit and the environment affects it all.

“I believe in a holistic approach to life, living a plant-based life, having a respectful approach to all living things, with my own body as a good example. Respecting my own body is something I found translated very well in calisthenics and The Movement Athlete Manifesto. I read your Manifesto and got hooked.”

“Secondly, I have a prosthesis in my neck and a mild back issue. So weight lifting is not only extremely boring but also quite tricky for me.”

When looking at life from a holistic standpoint, Hans simply doesn’t see the value of training at the gym following traditional weight-lifting programs.

“I’ve always asked myself the question what the attractive goals in weightlifting are—keep on lifting more and more until your body collapses? That’s a road to nowhere for me.”

Calisthenics is holistic exercise

Calisthenics doesn’t only focus on the body. In fact, if you read the Calisthenics Academy’s second edition of its ebook, you’ll get to learn about the importance of focusing on both your diet and your mindset in order to successfully reach your calisthenics goals.

“In our professional life we’re also approaching things systemically and holistically, and that translated for me in a search for a movement method that doesn’t isolate muscles and integrates flexibility/mobility, strength and skill.”

Train anywhere

Calisthenics training requires so little material that you can virtually do it anywhere.

“You can do the training everywhere, so it becomes part of your daily routine easily. “

“The hardest part was/is discipline in following up to mastery skills with the exercises. I’m prone to experimenting with new things and like to try out new things, so here the Calisthenics Academy app was a great tool to straighten out my program.”

Calisthenics is more than just training – it’s a lifestyle

“This quote from the original Calisthenics Academy ebook did the trick for me:”

“Soon, calisthenics became so much more than just a training program for me. It became a way of life. I will teach you the rules and lessons I have learned over the years. You will learn how to set your own goals and how to work out, but there is just one thing I want you to keep in mind: we are each a work in progress. Be in the moment. There is no competition. Train hard, move, eat healthy food, and love life! Go get it!”

“As most people I started out with the intention of doing a human flag as soon as possible. But now the mindset has changed to mastering the current exercise sets. and then progressing to the next, and the next. All thanks to Calisthenics Academy”

Here’s Hans’ advice to anyone curious to try calisthenics out

“There is no limit to what the body can achieve at any given age, given the right time, the right training and the right goals…Learn to listen to your body. Why? Because I think these are the basics to keep progressing.”

“Calisthenics Academy has really helped me in streamlining my movement routine for the rest of my life.”

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!

The most important lesson Thomas learned with calisthenics

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletes Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletes – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

This is story of Thomas – Calisthenics Academy

Thomas is a banker living and working in Frankfurt, Germany. He was a paying member at a gym he never attended for several years before setting his sights on bodyweight training and running.

“Moving continuously in the right direction is more important than speed which you may not be able to hold and that eventually makes you stop.”

At 44, Thomas began to pay more attention to his fitness, even taking a friend’s bet to take on a daunting goal.

“My friend challenged me to finish a half-marathon. I had never finished a run of this length before.”

He’s been a regular runner ever since, although it wasn’t enough for him.

“Now I focus on bodyweight training. I still go running but only as additional cardio-training twice a week. Even now, I still have enough stamina to participate in half-marathons.”

Tom wanted a different body than a runner’s body, which is why he’s focused his attention on calisthenics.

“The body I am aiming for is more athletic than a runner’s: between a swimmer and a gymnast with well-defined muscles and low bodyfat.”

“After looking at several websites and programs I found that Calisthenics Academy is closest to my preferences: It offers a structured approach and clear path to defined goals (the eight exercises). Small steps to continuously progress strength and skills and simultaneously considering that the body (the joints) needs time to adapt to the growing challenge and so to reduce the risk of injury.”

The 3 main benefits Thomas has gained since joining the Calisthenics Academy community

He no longer struggles to be consistent

When it comes to his exercise routines, Thomas is a man of extremes. He will either be training intensively or doing little to nothing at all. “My biggest challenge is to train consistently. I have a pattern of training very hard for a few months and then swinging to the others extreme of working out very little.”

Since joining Calisthenics Academy, Thomas has succeeded in finding the right balance between consistent and fixed timeslots to train and his sometimes changing schedule.

“I pencil my training days in four weeks in advance. I then plan my other dates around the training. If there is a collision with dates I still have the flexibility to move the training to other dates.”

He has become more patient with himself

Because of his challenging schedule and his all-or-nothing tendencies, Thomas has often felt very impatient with himself. His flexibility in setting his schedule has given him the chance to rethink his view of exercise in addition to understanding “consistent training” a little differently.

“I have become more patient with myself considering my training and my progress: Even if I have to miss scheduled trainings due to the circumstances (e.g. business travel, sickness/flu) I am not blaming myself for not taking training seriously enough or losing faith in reaching my training goals.”

He no longer feels guilty, which gives him a healthier mindset about his training. It’s a lifelong journey, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for missing a day.

“As long as I move towards my goal and do not lose sight of the goal, there’s no drama when I have to miss a training session.”

He feels supported through the entire experience

Tom has found a training program that fits his needs perfectly. Calisthenics Academy is as personalized as it can get without paying a trainer to constantly monitor your progress. “Calisthenics Academy promises and delivers. After looking at several programs I consider it currently to have the best platform and approach.”

But more than that, Calisthenics Academy is a community of athletes and trainers who are all working towards a common goal: getting fit, getting healthier and gaining amazing new skills in the safest possible way. We all want to support each other in our efforts, pick each other up when we’re down and push each other forward when we might need a nudge.

Thomas has experienced this support first-hand from the Calisthenics Academy team.

“The Academy staff is very devoted to bringing its members to success and are sincerely interested in receiving feedback to continuously improve the quality of their service.”

Finding Calisthenics Academy

Thomas searched the internet for different training programs. He was already familiar with bodyweight training, having used other programs in the past. However, none seemed to fit his needs as well as Calisthenics Academy.

“After looking at several websites and programs I found that Calisthenics Academy is closest to my preferences: It offers a structured approach and clear path to defined goals. Its small steps continuously progress strength and skills while giving the body time to adapt to the growing challenge and so to reduce the risk of injury.”

“The changing demands of my professional schedule and the structured approach of the Calisthenics Academy are the best fit I have seen so far. I am glad I found you”

Tom’s advice to anyone curious about calisthenics

“Don’t be too hard on yourself when training does not always go the way you want (e.g. you cannot train as planned; you feel too exhausted to train although you have planned it; you do less repetitions compared to the last training), but stay consistent and alway keep coming back to your training.”

“Moving continuously in the right direction is more important than speed which you may not be able to hold and that eventually makes you stop.”

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!

Be humble and get strong

how calisthenics helped Noah

Noah

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athlete – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

This is story of Noah – Calisthenics Academy

Noah is a software engineer whose time is spent coding, volunteering at his church and playing or watching basketball.

“It is really humbling how hard even the simplest exercises are.”

Noah has always been lightly active over the years, never really sticking to a specific program or training regiment.

“I was thin, and I played basketball, but overall I was eating fairly unhealthily, was not exercising regularly, and spent most of my time in front of a computer screen.”

Diet is just as important as working out

Tracking Progress

Before changing how he was training, he improved how he was eating. “I started by changing my diet to stop eating sugar. I went cold-turkey and didn’t eat a dessert for three months. I started eating healthier breakfasts and lunches focused on eating more fruits, vegetables, eggs and less processed meats.”

He then paired his healthier eating habits with healthier training habits. Early in 2016, he discovered the Convict Conditioning training program. It was his first introduction to progressive calisthenics. But it didn’t quite stick until he found out about Calisthenics Academy.

“I liked the additional steps in between progressions and the materials available to learn the moves.”

“I’m learning to craft my own programming for my workouts. I care more about progressing than pushing out a bunch of reps. For me, 3x12 of an exercise seems to work well, and then I progress to the next exercise. I’ve found this to be very helpful and keep me motivated instead of getting stuck forever on earlier exercises that require 3x30 on the program.”

The 3 main benefits Noah gained since starting calisthenics

He’s learned to prioritize his time

Consistency is a continuous struggle for Noah. But he’s pushing forward, refusing to let procrastination or any kind of mental resistance stop him from doing what he needs to do. “Doing something is better than doing nothing and then waking up to realize you’ve not exercised for an entire week.”

He’s healthier in body and mind

His habits for both eating and exercising have drastically changed since he first started calisthenics. He’s found a few specific tricks that help him keep moving forward, and without restricting his eating or his workouts.

“- Going to sleep the same time every night
– Waking up the same time every morning
– Preparing lunches the night before
– Prep everything you need for your morning routine and set it out the night before
– If you don’t do any of the above four things and you aren’t hitting your schedule perfectly, take a second. Relax. Come up with an alternate plan and at least do something to work out that day.”

He’s committed to a long-term lifestyle

Noah has sees the benefit of pursuing calisthenics as a lifestyle. “I’m learning to craft my own programming for my workouts. I care more about progressing than pushing out a bunch of reps.”

Working out is more than exercising, and the learning process is in fact more important than the outcome. “It is really humbling how hard even the simplest exercises are.”

But the outcome will help keep you motivated, and Noah sees this too.

“I feel stronger. I’m not huge or ripped or anything. To the eye, I look fitter but nothing impressive, but my body just feels stronger.”

How to overcome the challenge of consistency

Noah thoroughly enjoys his new training program. But that doesn’t mean that he’s suddenly acing all his challenges. Consistency is a big struggle, even to this day. “I work out by myself and there are weeks where I really have to fight to even get one workout in.”

In order for him to succeed, he needed to change his way of thinking. He began to think more about how to hold himself accountable. “I read somewhere about the ‘Myth of Monday’. The myth is that you can just start next week, you can change it next week. No, if you miss a day of a workout, just work out the next day. Don’t wait till next week to do it right. This is a great lesson for everything in life actually. Make the changes you need to change as soon as possible and don’t let past mistakes breed future mistakes.”

“If you can commit to this program, you will learn a lot about exercising, about gaining strength, about gaining flexibility. You will create the habit of exercising. None of that will be wasted.”

“If you can commit to this program, you will learn a lot about exercising, about gaining strength, about gaining flexibility. You will create the habit of exercising. None of that will be wasted.”

Here’s Noah’s advice to anyone curious about calisthenics

“Know why you are doing calisthenics. If your answer is that you want to look ripped and get huge as quickly as possible, don’t do calisthenics. If your answer is that you want to feel stronger, more flexible, more connected to your body, then calisthenics is the way to go.”

“If you can commit to this program, you will learn a lot about exercising, about gaining strength, about gaining flexibility. You will create the habit of exercising. None of that will be wasted.”

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!

How this busy single dad was able to transform his body by transforming his approach to exercise

Neil

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athlete – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

This is story of Neil – Calisthenics Academy

Neil is a single dad working a traditional 9-5 desk job at North Island Credit Union. In spite of his responsibilities at work and as a father, he’s managed to commit to four to fiveworkouts per week. But this wasn’t always the case.

“Just have fun with it. Learning a new progression is like learning a new workout move. It gets easier the more you do it.”

Neil started out doing traditional weight training. He’d go online to the most popular websites and pick a training program he enjoyed.

“Most are your typical compound movements like bench press, squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses, etc. It would either be one that builds muscle or loses fat. Most workouts would last around an hour.”

Despite that very traditional approach to working out, he was intrigued by the idea of calisthenics.

“I’ve always been fascinated about gymnastics and the bodies of gymnasts. They’re alway buff and could perform awesome looking moves.”

“I joined the Academy because I was interested in learning the 8 fundamental calisthenics moves.”

“I like how there are lots of progressions and I can make an honest assessment of whether the progression was easy, doable or too hard.”

The 2 main benefits Neil has gained from calisthenics

He learned the importance of daily movement

Joining Calisthenics Academy really made a difference to his progress.

“I’m doing exercises that I’ve never heard of and I’m getting stronger every day! Plus the program is easy to follow.”

At first he continued to follow traditional fitness schedules with calisthenics, but the results just weren’t what he wanted. He now trains at least five days a week, moving and playing the other two.

“If you only spend one or two days a week, you won’t make very good progress and you can regress really quickly on your moves.”

“Once I started doing the program four to five times a week, I was seeing great results!”

He’s learned the importance of committing to healthy eating

Eating right isn’t something that comes naturally to Neil. “My biggest struggle with my fitness journey is the nutrition part. I tend to eat when I’m bored and I don’t realize how much I overeat.”

He’s found ways to cope with that issue, though: by eating less and better, he’s losing weight, which will ultimately help him hit his fitness goals. “I know that being lean will help me achieve the calisthenics moves I am trying to accomplish. I know I have to eat right.”

“The lighter I am, the easier the moves will be…I am definitely getting stronger and much leaner.”

YouTube: great for inspiration, not so much for training

Neil really discovered calisthenics by watching video tutorials on Youtube, where he first encountered specialized calisthenics skills like the typewriter and archer pull-up. The level of mastery shown on those videos drove him to try them out himself, but video tutorials just weren’t enough for him to succeed. He’s been struggling to achieve a handstand since 2010!

“I would watch YouTube video tutorials and try it every morning, but I would get discouraged after many failed attempts and give up.”

Frustrated that these video tutorials weren’t offering enough information for him to gain the skills he wanted, Neil joined Calisthenics Academy.

“My biggest fear was that the program was going to be like all the other YouTube videos out there and just show a couple of progressions without helping me actually attain the move.”

“Just have fun with it. Learning a new progression is like learning a new workout move and it gets easier the more you do it. Having fun is what gets me through the workout.”

My 12-week transformation challenge ended today and here are my results.

My 12-week transformation challenge ended today and here are my results. During the first 4 weeks, I combined traditional weightlifting with the Calisthenics Academy program. Then I stopped touching the weights and strictly did the Calisthenics Academy program daily for. The remaining 8 weeks, logging in the website on my phone and just doing what it told me to at the gym. The program really works and I’m still far from achieving some of the moves, I attached screenshots to show you my progress of each move.

Trust the program and the process! 

 

Neil Before and After

Follow Neil on Instagram

Here’s Neil’s advice for anyone interested in calisthenics

“Give calisthenics a try. It’s a fun way to learn new moves while getting stronger and leaner at the same time. You will be amazed at what your body is capable of doing, plus you’ll look cool doing it!”

“I’m doing exercises that I’ve never heard of and I’m getting stronger every day! Plus the program is easy to follow.”

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!

How an overweight, busy dad took his life back

with Timo Vlot

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletes – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

This is story of Timo – Calisthenics Academy

Timo joined Calisthenics Academy shortly after the online platform was created, and his life-story is one of challenges, injuries and familial responsibility, being a husband and the father of an 8-year-old girl and a 4-year-old son.

“You don’t have to lift weights to be bad arse.”

From a fit kid to an overweight dad

Timo was active as a child, but playing field hockey for most of his life had wrecked his knees and ankles. He couldn’t play without braces, and the pain just killed any enjoyment he gained from the sport.

His life became more sedentary, full of self-indulgent living.

“I quickly gained weight. No longer was I the 50kg 17 year-old.”

“Soon I was the 85kg 39 year-old with two kids.”

“If I had known about calisthenics, and the awesome tricks you can learn…I’m sure I would have reached handstand push-ups and maybe even a human flag had I started back then.”

3 ways Timo has benefited from joining Calisthenics Academy

“While before joining Calisthenics Academy I had strength, I now have control”

Since starting, he’s retaken the introductory assessment, and although he’s progressed immensely, Timo realized that his form was off in some of the exercises.

“I reset that progression to allow better form and control, but I keep pushing and progressing in the other areas.”

“You don't have to lift the heaviest weights to be bad arse.”

Like many calisthenics athletes, Timo acknowledges that muscle gain simply isn’t the same as you might expect with weightlifting. However, you’ll experience many benefits that go above and beyond the physical appearance of your muscles.

He’s now working on unlocking and achieving the handstand push-up by his 44th birthday in June this year. “I’m 84% there now!”

“Take it slow, and listen to your body. Aches and pains are there for a reason”

He’s learning to pace himself and autoregulate his training.
This doesn’t come quite naturally to him yet, but calisthenics is the safest training method he’s found where he can push his body without hurting himself.

“I need to remember I’m not 18 anymore.”

“I’m also back at doing assisted single leg pistol squats. This time I am injury-free doing it, which I attribute to a longer progression cycle than the calisthenics book I was following.”

Losing weight to get his life back

It started with calorie control. After losing 15kg (33lbs), he changed his focus to “30-day challenges” every morning. It was an easy way to get moving again and see tangible progress from the get-go. “I was quickly hooked to these, and felt the need to increase my exercise time.”

“I joined the local gym and got given a very generic workout by the local PT. I followed this for a few weeks, adding weight pretty randomly to keep from getting bored.”

He developed strength, but not in any structured way. Six months later, and he needed a change.

“After a while I got so bored, I started looking for random exercises online.”

Take time to find the right exercise program for you

The first thing Timo found that worked for him was the book New Rules of Lifting Supercharged. “It was a godsend.”

Timo and his son with the Star Wars squad

Thanks to that book, he was able to play with his program, organize his workouts based on a menu of exercises and explore the concept of an evolving system.

But…something still wasn’t quite working for him.

Amazing as the book was, Timo’s body just wasn’t ready for the weightlifting program the book offered. It caused him some issues, mainly to his knees and ankles, which were a problem for him even when he was younger. He’d spent years completely inactive, and working out came as a shock to his system.

It was obvious that something was wrong and he need to adjust his approach.

“It was a godsend.”

Adjusting your approach

Weight-lifting was just too much for him at that point of his training. “My shoulders could not handle the weights I was carrying.” He could accomplish some spectacular weight-lifting moves, but they would put him out of action for several weeks afterwards.

He still finished the book’s program, but chose to move on and search for something else. He needed a program that would help him progress more safely, without triggering any old injuriess he might have hidden within his body.

“As you get older, your training needs to change and evolve.”

Down the path of calisthenics

He started with the book Complete Calisthenics. At that time, Calisthenics Academy had just published the first edition of the ebook, though the platform hadn’t gone live yet. Timo bought it too.

Timo Climbing Trees

 

The challenges Complete Calisthenics offered were interesting, the program was fun “but then I hit the single leg pistol squat (assisted) and my old knee issues flared up.”

This forced him to take yet another break from exercising, the injury being quite paralyzing.

It was right around the same time that the Calisthenics Academy web platform went live. Timo didn’t hesitate before signing up.

“Calisthenics Academy lets me be more focused on my goals.”

Timo found a program he enjoys and that pushes him a lot. As his body wasn’t fully recovered from his injury he started with maintenance workouts before he could officially get started on his own training program.

“I started slow. I set myself a goal of one session a week. Once that became easy, I slowly increased it.”

Making exercise and movement a habit

Having a family and two young children, finding the time to workout was quite a challenge. Timo tried working out after work, and even after his children had gone to sleep. It just didn’t cut it, though.

And so, he began waking up and working out earlier and earlier.

“I now love my 3:30[a.m.]—I know I’m crazy!—wake up workout.” Mad as it sounds, he claims that it gives him a moment of peace and quiet before the day’s true craziness begins.

“I started slow. I set myself a goal of one session a week. Once that became easy, I slowly increased it.”

“I can control my body much better than before, and am more confident about lifting things (like my kids in play) without a risk.”

Timo’s advice to anyone who is curious about calisthenics

“Go on, give it a try. Start slow and don’t set your goals too unrealistically. Try, and have fun!”

“Thanks to the program, I have managed to strengthen my knees and ankles, which were a problem for me when I was younger.”

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!

From injured weight-lifter to calisthenics athlete

the value of starting over

Braden

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletes – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

This is story of Philippe – Calisthenics Academy

Braden is an army officer and former weight-lifter, whose injuries caused him pain and problems for years, until the day he found calisthenics.

“A journey of a thousand miles start with the first step”

The path from weight-lifting to calisthenics

Braden started his fitness journey weight-lifting and relay racing in high school, until joint pain and a shoulder injury caused him to rethink his view of exercise and movement.

“When I was in high school, prior to my injury I was 169lbs benching 300lbs, squatting 2 x 325lbs, and deadlifting 475lbs. I was one of the strongest kids pound for pound. I was very successful with weight lifting and was showing more progress as the weeks went on. I was weight strong but not body strong.”

While in full sprint during a relay race, he made a wrong movement, which caused his hip to pop. This resulted in disparity and imbalance in his entire body, particularly affecting one of his shoulders. His form changed, and weight-lifting was putting extra stress on one side.

“I injured my shoulder from heavy lifting. I was at my strongest, and from then on, I haven’t gotten back to that strength. I didn’t plan to rehab, because I loved the gym so much, and didn’t want to step away. My stubbornness kept me from getting it fixed. Not a smart move. It didn’t get better until I started calisthenics…I realized the benefit of having less stress put on my joints, ligaments, and tendons.”

– “I found that with calisthenics I was able to still workout hard and also have my shoulder heal.”

“My workouts are sometimes 20-30 minutes. That’s the beauty of bodyweight. Just keep moving.”

The 3 main benefits Braden experienced with calisthenics

He’s able to train his body intensively without aggravating his shoulder injury

Calisthenics was a challenge to him and his expectations; progress in calisthenics just isn’t the same as in weightlifting. “It isn’t an ego builder. You do not put on size as fast and it takes a while to master moves.” But he discovered the long-term benefits that came as a result of his calisthenics journey;

“I found that with calisthenics I was able to still work out hard and also have my shoulder heal…My body has become more proportioned and I am much more mobile than I was as a weight lifter.”

He’s still interested and committed to using calisthenics years later

Braden considers himself to be a ‘wherever the wind takes me’ kind of person. When something became boring to him, he’d simply move on. And yet, two years later, Calisthenics Academy has helped him stay focused, interested and constantly improving.

“It is simple. It has good descriptions in the video and the progressions are realistic…The majority of the moves in calisthenics I cannot do yet. I am starting at square one.”

He’s learned to pace himself

Calisthenics Academy seems to have helped Braden immensely in his overall training habits, and what he’s now capable of, mentally and physically. He’s experienced first-hand the benefits of periodization; he’s no longer too rigid in his training and appreciates the importance of allowing his body to rest and recover.

What his workouts look like

His workout routine now is just naturally built into his everyday life:

“first thing when I get home, I make a pre-workout cappuccino and get to my garage, get some music going and jump some rope to warm up. Then I am ready to rock and roll. My workouts are sometimes 20-30 minutes.”

Training as a Family

His workouts don’t take over his life, but they’re a valuable part of it.

“That’s the beauty of bodyweight. Just keep moving. Go through the circuit quickly. Do not take a rest if you don’t need it.”

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Training as a family

Nowadays, Braden regularly works out with his wife Tawnee. She too is a calisthenics athlete, who loves acroyoga and was recently accepted to the ninth season of American Ninja Warrior! Check out her awesome Instagram account @tawneeleo.

“That’s the beauty of bodyweight. Just keep moving. Go through the circuit quickly. Do not take a rest if you don’t need it.”

“Calisthenics is great when it comes to the Army because you need to be mobile and strong in all positions.”

“I am much more mobile than when I was as a weight lifter.”

Here’s Braden’s advice to anyone wondering if Calisthenics Academy is for them

“Just go for it. You won’t regret it. A journey of a thousand miles start with the first step.”

“I was weight strong but not body strong. I am very glad I switched to calisthenics because my body has become more proportioned and I am much more mobile.”