How To Start Your Own Calisthenics Community With Lex Lauron

Start your own calisthenics/parkour community and empower the people to take charge of their own health!

If you have ever wanted to make a positive impact on your local community, try implementing the bodyweight exercises and parkour, and teach people how to do it. It’ll bring them together – regardless of their age, gender, religion, sexuality, social status and fitness level. Imagine a gathering of people from all walks of life and ages engaged in physical movement purely for the abundance of health benefits, and they’ll be having so much fun that they won’t realize they are working out.

That is how to start a workout community. And the journey towards building it can be amazing and rewarding. Your community can grow each day by welcoming new and different people. It will create a unique set of characteristics and routines. Community brings people together, makes them take care of themselves and people around them and everybody can learn so much from that experience.

But why would you be the one to build it – you may ask yourself.

Why you should create your local workout community?

There is no greater feeling than having a positive impact on individuals and your community

When was the last time you had a positive impact on someone? Giving that one advice that helped your friend so much, teaching a child how to socialize with other kids or stand up to a bully, helped your parents switch to a healthier nutritional regime by going with them through it. Isn’t so fulfilling, right?

Imagine what can happen when you spread that positive impact and change to a community that shares your same goals and values. You can actually do a great deal for all of those people.

How would it impact your life if it’s on a larger scale?

The positive impact on your own life will be stronger than ever, it will make you achieve your full potential and reach your main goals.

Here are some reasons I’d like to point out:

REASON 1 – People will learn that exercise can be fun and free for everyone



I have been working out for over 4 years 3-4 times a week and I have never had a gym membership or a personal trainer. Calisthenics and parkour never require anything but your own body and can be done indoors or outdoors.

You can start with a simple workout plan that will engage people, encourage them to do the exercises together, and help each other out. They won’t realize that they are working out!

When your community develops a mutual connection and gets in physical form, you can start creating workout variations and more challenging workouts.

REASON 2 – People inside a group will feel less self-conscious and motivated

When you get all these different type of people working out together, all the differences will be gone. People will forget about their own insecurities and start working harder if they see someone who is working harder than them.

The best thing is that people will feel way more motivated to not only exercise but to push themselves harder.It’s been scientifically proven. We tend to put more effort because we are in an unspoken friendly competition with others and ourselves, so there will always be someone to shout out a word or two to increase the motivation level.

calisthenic community

REASON 3 – We are all influenced and influencers

By creating a positive space for people to gather together and exercise, have fun, connect and work towards a common goal we’re creating a community – one with a profoundly positive impact. When you talk to, see or engage with someone who eats healthy you most likely are  inspired and motivated to eat healthy.

This influence can happen with good or bad actions. When I workout at the park people walking by or hanging out try exercises I am doing. I became aware of this influence a few years ago before calisthenics, so I figured our society can always use more positive influencers.

You can be that positive influence on your family, friends or strangers.

Now, when you know why – let’s talk about how to actually successfully build your own workout community, step by step:

calisthenic community

How I successfully built my workout community and you can too

1. I chose a name that motivated me a lot!

When I decided I wanted to start a community, I wanted to come up with a name that personally pumped me up, and something anyone could connect to. I named it Train like Gods!

2. I used social media to share events

Social media was the fastest way to get the word out there, so I began a YouTube channel. I made videos of my training and made sure to share that I’m looking for other people to train with, where I trained at and my  an email address to contact me.I used Facebook and Instagram to share events I created.I started a Facebook page to share my videos and meet events. In the events I made sure to include that it’s free and open to anyone. I would invite everyone, share it on relatives and a few friends page.

3. I made it as simple as possible

To create an event, all I did was choose a day, time, and  place. Most of the time I held the events at the  parks or schools. Once in awhile local gyms would let us train there, but I still preferred  the outdoors way better.

4. I interacted with as many people as possible

I would talk to and invite people I would see at parks exercising. Tell them about the community I’m was creating. I would also invite people from my job site.

5. Then I turned to Instagram

I used my Instagram to share my trainings clips and events. These sports happen to be more enticing to a younger generation so this helped spread the word quicker.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to make friends with the people you meet at the park.

calisthenic community

Now it’s your turn to build YOUR workout community

When you create a community around exercise, you’re not only working out, you’re asking what each other’s fitness goals are, you’re sharing diet tips and ideas as well as injury prevention, and eventually about work, school and other more personal questions down the road.

It’s important to not only care about how much muscle everyone is gaining or pounds they have lost. It’s called cohesion. When you talk about goals people have in other areas of life, and support and encourage them in reaching those goals and do things other than train together.

Now create a name you will love, make a Youtube channel, Facebook page, Instagram and any other social media account you like. Choose a day, time and place, make events share it with everyone you can. Have fun no matter if it rains or shines. Start making your community and our world a little more empowered, peaceful and more connected place.

Have you created a community of your own? We want to hear about them. Share with us your stories in the comments.

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9 Reasons Why You Should Start Doing Handstand Push-Up

9 Reasons Why You Should Start Doing Handstand Push-Up

Have you ever experienced going to a park, to a beach, or to a gym, or just simply watching online these ultimately strong or scrawny dudes who can do a handstand push up as if it’s nothing? Most probably, you asked yourself,

  • “Why in the heck they are doing that to themselves?” or

  • “How can they do that? I can’t even do a regular push-up.”

But you are still impressed as to how strong they look like, then keep on reading.

You want to know why they are doing that complex movement when you can’t even find motivation in you to do your first push-up. You want to know why they look so cool and strong doing that and how you can also look so cool and strong. You want to know how long they trained before they were able to do their first handstand push-up and if it will take you an entire lifetime to learn that so better just give up now.

It’s normal to be intrigued. But mind you, handstand push-ups will change the way how you think about the world of fitness.

But mind you, handstand push-ups will change the way how you think about the world of fitness.

Let me show you the real deal about handstand push-ups and why this movement is a must-learn among all the other calisthenics movement. 

Handstand Push-Up? But which one?

I’ve been mentioning handstand push-up for several times already.

But let me discuss briefly what is a handstand push-up as there is a bit confusion on how to actually perform it.

I get asked all the time:

  • Do you have to do a handstand first then let go and do a push up?
  • Do you have to do a push-up first then move to a handstand position? Or do you have to do both at the same time?
  • Do you need a wall to support you or do you have to do it freestanding?

The truth is that there are few types of handstand push-ups such as wall handstand push-ups, freestanding handstand push-ups and   kipping handstand push-ups. However, we will stick with the basics for this article. I want you to understand the fundamentals of a handstand push-up before dwelling into different variations.

The fundamentals of a handstand push up

Basically, a handstand push-up is just like a normal push-up but instead of doing the push-up parallel to the ground, you have to do the push-up inverted. Yep. You read it right. INVERTED.

Come on, it doesn’t sound so bad right? I know that a handstand already sounds so cool but you can be COOLER by performing handstand push-ups.

Muscle Groups Involved in a Handstand Push-Up.

Before we get into the whole fiasco of why we should start doing a handstand push-up, let us first look into the muscle groups involved in this compound movement.

Push-ups mainly activate the arms and the chest while handstand warms up the shoulders, backs, arms and chest. Having these two upper body movements into one complex movement, you will not only activate your upper body muscles.

You will have to activate your entire body to perform a handstand push up.

These are the major muscle groups being used when performing a handstand push up:

  • Shoulders.

  • Your shoulders carry most of your weight in a handstand position. What more if you do a push-up while in a handstand position. Your shoulders will surely feel the burn for the movement but I assure you that your shoulders will be as strong as a bull.
  • Pectoralis Major.

  • Simply, your pecs or your chest muscles are also activated in doing a handstand push-up just like when you are performing a normal standard push-up.
  • Triceps Brachii.

  • When you dip for a push-up while in a handstand position, your triceps give your elbows the power to lift yourself back up in a handstand position again.
  • Lateral Deltoids.

  • This muscle group can be found above your biceps. To be able to maintain your balance and do that press for the push-up, your deltoids are ready to serve you.
  • Trapezius.

  • Look at your back in the mirror. If you can visualize a V-shaped muscle from the base of your back deltoid down to your middle back, that would be your Trapezius. This back muscle stabilizes your shoulders to carry your weight.
  • Serratus Anterior.

  • Responsible for your stabilization in performing the handstand push-up itself, this muscle group can be found at the side of your ribs extending to your back.

activated muscle groups in a handstand push-up
For the record, the mentioned muscle groups are not the only ones involved in performing a handstand push-up. YOUR WHOLE BODY is required to perform the deed.

Ready? Set… Go!

Obviously, you won’t be starting with the handstand push-up right away.

Since this is a compound movement, you have to familiarize yourself first with the let alone movements of push-ups and handstands.

Make sure to watch this very short video on how you can perform a standard push-up.

After that, let’s familiarize yourself with a handstand position. Handstand itself is already a challenging movement. If you are not used to doing this, it is better that we prioritize SAFETY before progressing to a handstand push-up.

If you can’t do a handstand, that is totally fine. You can check out our fundamental course on Calisthenics Academy.

Take the assessment so we can provide you a fully personalised training program professionally and efficiently to help you get where you need to be and to see how you stack up on the road to the handstand and other fundamental calisthenics moves.

Once you are comfortable with the two movements, you can start training for your first handstand push-up. Don’t be overconfident though. Always be safe in executing these movements.

The PROPER FORM of a Handstand Push Up

Despite knowing how to do a handstand, we strongly encourage you to master the proper form first before advancing to the handstand push-ups. This is the perfect freestanding handstand:

perfect freestanding handstand

Your GOAL is to be able to do this position in a COMFORTABLE manner. You have to make sure that you build up on our strength to be able to support yourself in the handstand position and to sustain that position long enough for a handstand push-up.

Be mindful in keeping your body alignment straight. Your hips must be fully extended as well as your elbows and wrists. Your spine must be in a neutral position and NOT LIKE THIS:
bad handstand

 

The ultimate step for you to reach before performing a handstand push-up is to be able to sustain the handstand position in PROPER FORM.
good handstand

REMEMBER!!!

The 45 degree angle during the handstand position before you do the press is VERY IMPORTANT for a SUCCESSFUL HANDSTAND PUSH-UP. This angle will help you to stabilize while pushing yourself towards the ground.

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To help you even further, this handstand push up progression can lead you to the right track..

It’s perfectly fine to start with a push-up, then to a handstand, before attempting to do a handstand push-up. In this way, you will be stronger and more capable after learning and mastering the fundamentals.

Check this out to see how COOL a handstand push-up looks like.

 

Why bother doing handstand push-ups?

After the lengthy discussion on what and how do you perform handstand push-ups, here are 9 MAJOR REASONS why doing a HANDSTAND PUSH-UP daily can help you to be STRONGER AND BETTER:

1.Very effective to build strength in your shoulders and upper body.

       Since a handstand push-up is a compound movement of a handstand and a push-up which both target the upper body, performing this can obviously strengthen your shoulders and upper body. According to B.K.S. Iyengar, the venerable founder of Iyengar yoga, sustaining a handstand itself requires you to have stronger upper body muscles. Whatmore if you are performing handstand push-ups.

2. Improve your balance, focus, and brain function.

Being in an inverted position means that blood will rush to your brain. Abundant oxygen supply will be delivered to the brain which will be used to function and to focus effectively. Aside from that, the inverted position also elevates your mood and reduce the risk for depression as discussed by the “Yoga Journal.”

Hanging upside down will totally give you a different perspective on how you see the world. LITERALLY. Hence, performing handstand push-ups motivate you to focus more to maintain your balance.

3. Increase your glute and core power.

Handstand push-ups are more challenging than normal push-ups and crunches mainly because you are performing the movement against the gravity.

Simply put, you are putting more work for your glutes and core when you have to pull yourself up after pressing for a handstand push-up. You have to engage your core and glutes completely to maintain your balance and power.

This additional work makes this movement beneficial than the other movements.

4. Being comfortable with the uncomfortable.

We all know that challenges excite us. Doing the same things over and over again will make us resistant to the effect that these things can give us. If you are so used to doing push-ups or handstands and they don’t challenge you anymore, the benefit of building stronger muscles doesn’t really show.

Trying to do something uncomfortable like handstand push-ups will continuously keep your interest and challenge you to do better at it. Let’s just say that it’s similar to dating. You don’t want to always do the same thing every single time and still feel the excitement and engagement from your partner.

As long as you are motivated to do better at something you are not, the results of that hard work will surely pay off.

5. Doing a handstand push-ups makes stronger!

Let’s stop pretending that doing a handstand alone doesn’t impress you at all. We all know it is pretty challenging to balance yourself in an inverted position.

What more if you can do a handstand push-up? Trust me, after you manage to do your first rep, a wave of pride will immediately rush through you and you’ll feel stronger more than ever.

6. Significant back pain reduction

Being inverted releases the gravitational pressure off your nerve roots and discs in your space. As discussed by Dr. Lakowski of Mayo Clinic, you will have more space between your vertebrae hence decompressing your spine relieving back pain. Although, this is not advisable for someone who has high blood pressure and glaucoma since blood will be rushing to your brain.

7. Definitely a stress-reliever.

According to published medical studies of Teeter, stress is typically related to increasing tension in your muscles that can cause pain and inflammation. Being inverted in a handstand push-up helps the body to circulate the blood to reach the sore muscles. Aside from that, this blood circulation helps the lymphatic system to flush out the toxin build-up from the muscles that cause tension and stress.

Performing a handstand push-up enables your body to rehydrate the discs, reduce nerve pressure, realign the spine and relax the tense muscles which definitely reduce stress.

8. You can grow taller!

In one of the podcast episodes of Jeff Sanders<, he interviewed Dr. Lockhart who claimed to grow 1.5 inches for being inverted.

If you perform handstand push-ups daily, your back is frequently decompressed, relieving pressure from your back and increasing the space in your vertebral discs. Hence, this particular movement can help you to lengthen your spine and grow taller. How amazing is that?! You still have hope to achieve that dream height!

9. Stronger body, better posture.

Helping your spine to take a break for standing as always, doing handstand push-ups can reset your spine by decompressing and realign it to aid you in having a better posture. No only you are training for a stronger body, but you are also giving your spine a favour by having a better posture.

To sum things up…

You should not have a second thought of starting your training for handstand push-ups. Aside from looking cooler and becoming stronger, handstand push-ups can also help you physically and physiologically. This compound movement does magic to your spine, balance, brain function, flexibility and strength. Handstand push-ups are one of the most effective and reliable calisthenic movements that will strengthen and improve your body in no time.

Before I end, I want you to DECIDE NOW that you will start your training to your first handstand push-up. Take note of your starting prowess and then comment on this article weekly regarding your improvements. In that way, you won’t forget to look back into the fundamentals and the benefits as you progress your skills in performing handstand push-ups

calisthenics assessment

Gymnastic Rings vs Bar

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Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned to the calisthenics lifestyle, learning the differences between using gymnastics rings vs bar would certainly be of interest to you. Note, first, that in this article, we’re going to give you some information from calisthenics websites, and as well as discuss insights from workout enthusiasts and online influencers for a more relatable, holistic view.

One thing is for sure: rings and bars are useful in their unique respective ways.

 


At the end of this article, we want you to get a better picture on why some people would prefer 
rings and others the straight bar, and we’ll give you our take on it as well.

Two relatively simple training implements, but actually really difficult to perfect.

The gymnastic rings don’t disappoint when it comes to building the strength, stability, and coordination simultaneously. It is a highly effective abdominal and core workout. But so is the straight bar which pushes you further into your fitness regimen.

 

Some noteworthy comparisons

How affordable is it?

The first comparison we’re going to make is how affordable the two are. It’s a deciding factor especially for beginners, and it might sound obvious but the straight bar goes for cheaper compared to the gymnastics rings.

 


The straight bar 
works out best for beginners on a budget, because the stability enables you to progress faster on simple workouts. The rings take longer to get used to but for those who have been doing it a long time, the way it can focus your workouts on specific body parts is certainly a plus.

How convenient is it?

We would say that the rings are worth the investment mainly because it’s portable and adjustable. On the other hand, the straight bar is rigid and adjustable.


Most of the time, rings require
high ceilings for you to maximize your exercises such as the muscle up, because without a high ceiling room, it will serve the same purpose as a straight bar.

What are the specific exercises I can do?

The gymnastic rings vs bar argument might still be quite hazy at this point, but let’s talk about some advice from real people to give you a better perspective.

A Reddit bodyweight fitness submission question read,Is there any point in using the bar or anything else other than rings once I get them? I mean, will ring dips/pushups/pullups always be better to do than the same on a bar or anything else?”

Some of the things we’ve gathered are that first, it was said that muscle ups are easier to do on the rings than the bar because, with rings, one can pull yourself straight through, versus having to go behind the bar. Levers and pull-ups are better on a bar because of the stability it provides.

 


Giving the bar the credit it deser
ves in this gymnastic rings vs bar issue, one contributor shared, It’s fun to play around on bars sometimes. It’s also pretty fun to move a skill that you learned on rings to bars. Levers are so much easier on bars that you’ll be amazed at how much stronger you’ll feel.”

The contributor also added, “Swinging is also much more fun on bars. So while rings are definitely superior in pretty much every way, you can mix it up with bar stuff.”

 

Can it improve my body stability?


“Frictionless Plane Effect”

As Joshua Naterman shares it, “What the rings do is create a “frictionless plane” effect. This is because there is very little horizontal force acting on the rings to keep them in place, which means that your body has to stabilize the joint while also producing enough force to perform whatever movement you are performing.

That requires greater activation of all muscles involved, sometimes to a large degree, especially in the stabilization muscles surrounding the shoulder joint.


“Rings Are More Challenging”

The reason why many people feel that in gymnastic rings vs bar, the rings are more challenging because it takes more effort from your body’s stabilizers to make you perform the exercise. The bar, being as stable as it is, allows your body to focus all its energy and stabilizers into doing the exercise. Less of a toll on your body means making the exercise feel more attainable.

Final Recommendation

Given all that’s been said, we would recommend you invest in buying RINGS. You heard it right!

Your workouts can have increased intensity due to the activation of multiple muscles simultaneously. The fact that it’s adjustable and flexible can target specific areas of your body for more advanced workouts, which we feel is its best advantage. Lastly, rings provide for more natural movement and help avoid straining certain muscles.

We wrote down some very useful tips on buying rings from Bass of SPS Gear and summarized it for you. The three things you need to look at are the webbing, buckle system, and the rings itself.

WEBBING

What you want is that there is zero stretch in the straps, such that when suspended, doesn’t add to the instability that your body will have to compensate for.

BUCKLE SYSTEM

The buckle system should be easy to use and can specifically be adjusted quickly. If you want to reap all the benefits of the portability of the rings, it’s best that they feature quick and easy adjustment, because no one wants the hassle before a workout. The rings featured from SPS gear even have line guides to make sure your adjustments would be at perfectly equal height for both rings.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE RING

You want to thoroughly inspect the construction of the ring. How smooth or how rough and its overall quality to see if it’ll work for you and if it’ll last. Plastic usually gives nylon burns so timber is more recommended. Some people prefer to work with smoother rings and some rougher, so it’s important to get used to what works best for you.

We hope we’ve given you enough to help you pick a side in this gymnastic rings vs bar decision. Remember, there are multitudes of resources for more in-depth information, and  Calisthenics Academy provides a free assessment to get you on board!  

Best of luck and let us know how it works out for you!

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See what our users are saying:

“Would you rather have the ability to boast of bench pressing 300 pounds or to do a one-arm pull-up? To me, pulling my entire body up with one arm is much more impressive. – Michael – Calisthenics Academy User”
“Calisthenics Academy is not the kind of program that demands you to be this physically fit to be able to perform. Instead, it caters to your own strengths and capabilities and keeps track of your progress.”
“Stick with it! It is hard at first, especially if you are stuck on a lower-level, high rep exercise. But persevering is worth it! Finally reaching each goal is so exciting.”

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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.”

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.”

The Lean and Mean Calisthenics Diet – 4 Minimalistic Principles to Get You Started!

The Lean and Mean Calisthenics Diet – 4 Minimalistic Principles to Get You Started!

The Lean and Mean Calisthenics Diet

One thing that attracts people to bodyweight training is its simplistic nature.

There’s no need for a gym membership, and you don’t need any special equipment. All you need is your body and your mind. Put those two things together and you can hammer out some of the most intense muscle and strength-building workouts based on calisthenics.

But developing a well-sculpted physique takes more than just working out. To really build the kind of body that shows off your muscles and all your hard work, you’ve got to eat right. The calisthenics diet isn’t complicated, but it still requires the same kind of hard work and mental toughness as doing bodyweight workouts.

Commit to the Calisthenics Workout Diet To Achieve the Calisthenics Body You Want

Calisthenics Diet requires commitmentIf you’re ready to follow the calisthenics diet and want to maximize your workout efforts, commit yourself to eating right and declare war on junk food. That’s a good place to start.

Once you’ve got your mind right about eating healthily, the rest is easy. It’s like bodyweight training in some ways; there are hundreds of ways to eat healthily, with lots of foods to choose from, just like the many bodyweight exercises you can make use of for your personal workout.

The calisthenics diet isn’t anything complicated.

There’s no complex system to follow, no pills or supplements to take, and no expensive pre-packaged food you need to buy. Here’s the strategy for success with this diet:

Principle #1 – The War on Junk Food – Eat As Natural as possible

You don’t get to be lean and mean by rolling through the drive-thru, ordering a hamburger, soft drink, and bucket of fries. And that ripped look isn’t made from chocolate bars, energy drinks, and pastries. If you’re serious about following the calisthenics diet, you’ve got to declare war on junk food.

An estimated 70 percent of all adults in the United States are overweight or obese, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. About 26 million people have diabetes, and another 79 million are prediabetic, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Controversies may well always abound over whether artificial ingredients, food additives, and pesticides are healthy or unhealthy.

convict conditioning diet

Some argue that it depends on the TYPE of chemical you’re considering, as well as the AMOUNT of said chemical you’re ingesting.

Me? I’ll let scientists continue their seemingly never-ending debates about which ingredients are OK to consume and which are not, but I’ll follow the safe route and avoid them all as much as possible in favor of eating REAL FOOD. The stuff that grows on the ground, on a tree, or comes from an animal. The stuff that only lists one ingredient on the package. The stuff we humans have been eating for tens of thousands of years.

How many times have food manufacturers promoted alternatives – mostly aimed at the weight loss market – that promise to be healthy substitutes for things like fat and sugar? As recently as 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – the agency in charge of telling Americans which drugs and foods are safe to consume – allowed for the fat substitute Olestra to be used in place of oils in things like chips. Soon, people discovered it “negated the body’s ability to absorb essential vitamins” and gave side effects including “cramps, gas and loose bowels.” Despite this, the ingredient is still legal in the USA. In 2010, Time Magazine called it one of the world’s 50 worst inventions of all time, yet it’s still included in a variety of processed foods.

While this is perhaps one of the more extreme examples of an undesirable food additive, I’ll play it safe and stick with nature-made foods. Yes, you’ll hear about the occasional e.coli-infected spinach or beef recall, but even these are the result of contamination with man-made industrial pollutants and dirty water sources (e.g. sewage), not a problem with the food itself.

And that’s because too many people gobble up burgers, fries, soft drinks, and sugary snacks every day like it’s going to be their last meal. Obesity and diabetes are both diseases that can lead to serious health problems, including death. And no matter how hard you workout, you’ll never achieve your ideal body if you’re eating junk.

The takeaway point:

Read the labels on everything you plan to buy. Go for foods that contain as few ingredients as possible (I personally shoot for five or less). Keep the words of fitness legend and bodyweight calisthenics master, Jack LaLanne, in mind: “If Man makes it, don’t eat it.

Principle #2 – Eat Produce, Organic when Possible

When was the last time you ever heard about someone overdosing on celery or dying of eating too many raspberries? These stories aren’t exactly making headline news! We evolved to eat fruits and veggies in abundance. These foods are absolutely loaded with all sorts of essential vitamins and minerals your body needs, not only to build quality muscle but also to regulate its every function. Small wonder every medical agency routinely talks about the anti-disease and general health-promoting benefits of nature’s wonder drugs.

So we know fruits and veggies are good, but let’s go one step further. Whenever possible, eat organic produce.

convict conditioning diet

Quite simply, these are foods that have been grown (or raised) on farmlands and pastures free of synthetic chemical pesticides, food additives, or antibiotic agents for at least three years. You can read more about what being organic means here. Again, there is debate as to how healthy/unhealthy pesticides and other man-made chemicals are, but why not play it safe and avoid them altogether if you can?

Challenges to buying organic produce
1. I know that there are a few challenges to consuming only organic food, the first of which is cost. Typically, organic produce will run you about twice as much as its conventionally-grown cousins. The best way to cut down on cost is to buy it in bulk.

In the last two years or so, bulk retailers like Costco have increased their selection of organic produce tremendously. I can now buy a 1.5-pound bag of organic baby kale for just over what it would cost me to buy two bunches (1/4 pound each) of conventionally grown kale. I buy 90% of my organic produce at Costco, as they carry reasonably-priced organic beets, apples, bananas, carrots, celery, spinach, kale, and several other items.

2. The second challenge is availability. Maybe you don’t live near a store that has access to many varieties of organic produce. If this is you, buy what you can organically, and stick to conventional produce otherwise.

As the University of Illinois reports here, it’s still far better to eat (well-washed) produce containing pesticides than to forego them altogether. Try buying organic varieties of things that you have to eat the skin on (such as apples, peaches, lettuce leaves, etc.), and buy conventional varieties of things that you’ll throw away the skin/peel (melons, bananas). You can also check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of the top best/worst produce items in terms of pesticide residues.

In fact, I’d encourage you to check them out, either way, their website being an amazing resource for all information pertaining to the consumption of organic produce.

The takeaway point:

Eat organic produce when possible, especially when you have to eat the skin/peel of the item. If you can’t buy organic, eat conventional produce. Just be sure to wash and scrub it well.

Principle #3 – Get Your Protein IN!: Eat Meat, Organic, Wild, and Grass Fed

It makes sense that if humans should eat and do what they evolved to eat and do, the same should be said about the animals we eat!

convict conditioning diet

Sadly (from a nutritional and ethical perspective), this is not often the case. For example, cattle in commercial feedlots are often bulked up on a diet of grain (which they don’t naturally eat – cows eat grass). They’re given growth hormones to further fatten them up. Finally, given their unhealthy diet and the crowded facilities they live in, they’re pumped full of antibiotics.

Sound appetizing? It will sound even less so when you look at this sometimes funny, often very scary video of inhumane, filthy feedlot conditions.

Unsurprisingly, animals not exposed to this sort of treatment seem to be nutritionally more beneficial for the humans who eat them. As explained in this CNN article, grass-fed beef may contain more beneficial fats and vitamins than grain-fed beef.

Fish, too, aren’t immune to the effects of man-made pollutants and practices. You may have heard how our oceans contain toxins and waste, perhaps most famously mercury, which find their way into the fish we eat. Nevertheless, it seems as if eating wild-caught fish (fish caught directly from the ocean) instead of farmed fish (fish raised in sometimes crowded and unhealthy “fish farms” similar to feedlots) may be healthier. Wild-caught fish tend to be higher in Omega 3 fatty acids and proteins, both of which are key ingredients to building muscle mass.

Your muscles need protein to repair the damage done during a tough bodyweight workout. Pull-ups, squats, lunges, push-ups and other exercises can challenge your muscles. And that’s what you want from a workout. But you need to feed your muscles after a workout with the essential amino acids found in protein.

The International Society for Sports Nutrition suggests that athletes consume about 0.64 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. That means a 150-pound person should get between 96 and 150 grams of protein per day. And it’s doable on the calisthenics diet. Foods high in protein include eggs, dairy and soy products, nuts, fish, lean meats, and poultry like chicken and turkey.

So instead of de-beaked chicken, artificially fat cows, and commercially-raised fish, stick to eating animals that have been living the way nature intended: feeding on grass (cows), roaming (chickens), or swimming free (fish). As with organic produce, eating these kinds of meat will be more expensive.

So, once again, stick to buying in bulk when possible (Costco has a great selection of organic/natural meats). Or substitute some animal-based proteins for plant-based ones, such as beans, almond butter, hemp, and chia seeds.

You don’t need to ingest huge amounts of protein to build muscle and be healthy….even if lots of fitness magazines and supplement companies try to scare you into believing so for the sake of making a profit.

The takeaway point:

Eat animals that have lived the way nature intended. To cut down on costs, buy high-quality animal meat in bulk and eat more plant-based protein.

Principle #4 – Grains and Dairy?

Recently, things like gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance have received a lot of media attention. Some people promote whole grains (including the gluten protein they contain) and milk (with its lactose sugar) as nutritional powerhouses, while others claim they are bad for your health and promote inflammation. The naysayers’ arguments make some sense based on evolutionary logic. After all, we weren’t consuming cows’ milk or grains until the Agricultural Revolution some 10,000 – 12,000 years ago, so maybe our bodies never evolved to handle these types of food well.

convict conditioning diet

To the question of whether gluten and dairy are friends or foes, I have no definitive answer. I personally eat both bread and milk regularly and have zero problems with them, but I know several others who must steer clear of such foods or else suffer bloating, pain, and lack of energy.

According to this Harvard research, you need to eat more whole-food to be able to get the ripped and toned body you want.

calisthenic diet

calisthenic diet

Here’s the beauty of the calisthenics diet. You can eat a ton of food, as long as it’s healthy. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains are healthy. They contain essential vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants your body needs to repair cell damage and build muscle after a tough workout. Whole foods are also low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, compared to the kind of food you’ll find at a typical fast food joint.

Creating a diet based on whole foods will help you lose body fat. That’s what you need to show off your toned muscles and all your hard work.

Follow Coach Paul Wade’s advice from the legendary “Convict Conditioning”, repeatedly echoed throughout both of his books: Be your Own Coach. Although he advises this as it relates to designing your own workout programs, I extend his advice into the world of diet.

Try cutting gluten-rich grains (products containing wheat, barley, and rye) and dairy out of your diet for 30 days, to see if you feel better than before. The bottom line is you can still get all your carbs, proteins, fats, and vitamins from non-gluten, non-dairy sources – such as meat, veggies, potatoes, and rice – so cutting out grains and dairy from your diet will not have a detrimental effect on your training or your health.

BONUS TIP: Keep a Food Diary

Science Daily clearly shows that having a food diary can really help you achieve those goals.

Get a notebook and record everything you eat. You can do this even without committing to the calisthenics diet. It’s a great way to see what you’re eating, count your calories, and see what you’re doing right and what you need to change.

Calisthenics Diet Food Diary

Calisthenics Diet Food Diary

If you’re record-keeping-challenged, try logging your food intake online, or use a smartphone app to keep track of everything you’re munching on. And be honest.

Record everything you eat, EVERYTHING. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning snacks, afternoon snacks, and even late-night munchies.

Documenting at least a complete week of your eating habits will help you get a clear picture of what you’re tossing down your pie-hole. For many people, it’s an act of self-discovery that can reveal why you’re not getting the gains you want or expect from your workouts. If you’re eating too much junk and too many empty calories, you’ll never get the body you want. And this may be all you need to do to match your eating habits with the guidelines for the calisthenics diet.

In a recent study of 1,700 overweight people, researchers found that dieters who kept a food diary lost twice as much weight as dieters who didn’t. Keeping a food diary can help you keep your calories in check and eat less fat. It’s the kind of visual aid some people need to get their diet straight.

Stick to the Plan

You can get lean and mean on the calisthenics diet. And it’s really not that hard. You’ve got to make up your mind to follow a clean eating plan, and the results will follow.

There will likely always be some controversy surrounding what ingredients, types of meats, and synthetic chemicals pose a danger to human health. It can drive someone absolutely crazy to worry about every point health article X raises, let alone how health article Y (released only one week later) contradicts the claims made by X! That’s why I try to keep things simple and eat mainly foods produced as nature designed them.

Eat fresh, eat natural, eat whole, and you’re bound to see impressive results in your fitness and all-around health.

READY TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

If you’re looking for a complete resource that will guide you through each step on the journey. I have something very special for you.

Renegade Diet is one of the best diets and used by a lot of calisthenics athletes to bring incredible results in a short period of time.

Check it out – it works magic:

calisthenics diet

Diet is absolutely critical in your fitness success. Do you have questions about the diet or how to fit it into your workout schedule? Post a comment, send us an email or reach out through our Facebook Group and we’ll get back to you shortly. 

Stay Strong.

It's TIME to get your DIET RIGHT!

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