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PEOPLE+ | One different hobby: Calisthenics

“Whether you think you can or you can't you're right.”

Henry Ford

This is something I say to myself every day. Why? Because countless of times I have seen the impossible become possible.

Maybe one of the brightest examples I can give is when I was in sixth grade. During one of our breaks in school, I overheard two of my classmates talking about a friend of theirs who was capable of performing something that I found virtually impossible. What was it you might ask? The answer is a one-arm pull-up. At first, I thought to myself that this was a complete non-sense and they did not know either what they were talking about or were not having in mind a clean one-arm pull-up, but some type of assisted variation.

After I got home however, I was deeply interested in this exercise and did a little research. To my complete surprise, not only did I find out that it achievable, but also I ran across of thousands of examples of different people executing the move with perfect form. I was shaken to the core. Something that four or five hours ago had seemed unobtainable turned out to be perfectly manageable. That was the moment when something sparked inside me.

From that moment on, I decided to become stronger and bigger (since I always was a skinny person). I did not really know where to start so the first step I took was educating myself. I read a couple of articles about fitness and watch a good amount of videos on YouTube related to this topic. I tried working out at home and at the beginning I was very motivated but after a month or so, my motivational tank was depleted.

The time passed by, I finished sixth grade and was in summer break. Coincidenally, during that time my best friends, Kevin and Mario, also had received some type of inspiration and had set similar goals to mine. There was a gym just around the corner, which made the picture even simpler. We all bought memberships and started going regularly. At that time, we did not really know what we were doing, but we were having fun, while getting slightly closer to our desired results. The summer ended and we had got a lot stronger and a little bit bigger, but nowhere close to the aims, we had in mind.

School started and the first month went on as if nothing had happened during the summer. No workouts, no training sessions, nothing. Then, however, I decided it was to continue working out. The whole process repeated itself, only that this time it lasted only a month. I noticed some gains, although it looked like the gym just was not the right thing for me. It was around that time that another, and may be the most important, nail was put in my workout coffin. My aunt gave me one book, which was like the Bible for me in terms of training. Its name is “Convict Conditioning” and highly recommend it to you as well.

It was this piece of paper that turned the spark into a fire, which has never stopped burning until then. I got serious with my training, which was solely bodyweight exercises, and while my workouts were not that efficient (considering the maximal results I could have achieved), the most important thing was that they were consistent and I did not plan to stop ever again. I had my difficulties like everyone else and while I made some (actually a lot of) very stupid mistakes which hindered my progress, with time I obtained the necessary knowledge and upgraded my sessions a little by little.

Now, four years later, I look back and see that all the struggles that I had, all the obstacles I had to overcome, all the hard work have paid back immensely. I am looking better than ever and am able to perform advanced calisthenics elements such as front lever, back lever, freestanding handstand push-ups and so on. It literally feels and looks like I am defining gravity. Starting my calisthenics journey was the best decision I have made, which has enhanced every single aspect of my life. What happened to the one-arm pull-up you ask? I GOT IT.

by: Atanas Atanasov


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