How to Become a Successful Calisthenics Athlete

Hi! I am the author and founder of Old School Calisthenics

Table of Contents

To be successful in calisthenics training, exactly like in any other sport or physical activity, involves commitment, determination and time. The training itself may not require more than an hour of your time in a day, but the whole effort that has nothing to do with working out will definitely require more attention, like preparing the food, learning a little about muscle physiology or about physical effort, studying the proper technique and execution of certain exercises. Everything takes time and you really need to be passionate about bodyweight resistance training if you want to stay on the path. It has to be a lifestyle, otherwise, it won’t work as expected.

For example, doing 10 pull-up workouts will not cause great differences in your body composition and strength, but I guarantee that 50 pull-up workouts will produce solid results. The problem is that you might need 3 months to do those insignificant 10 workouts that don’t produce many changes and maybe over a year to do those 50 workouts that really can modify the way you look and perform. If you train for 2-3 months only and stop entirely, then it’s a waste of time.

You really need to cultivate the pleasure of working out and trying to focus on every training session in particular, to optimize it as much as possible, to give it your best. Do not focus on results more than on what you have to do when you train.

Calisthenics Training

Organize your schedule well!

A great training routine will always require planning. Pro athletes increase their fitness by so much because their whole life or day revolves around getting as performant as possible.

I am not saying that you should do the same, but being organized and planning ahead will help. For instance, if I know that tomorrow morning I do a very intense workout, then I have to take into consideration that I need to consume some carbs and minerals 1 hour before. Nothing that a few bananas and spring water can’t provide, but I need to think ahead as I may very well not have any bananas left. Or my equipment may not be dry yet and it’s the only clothing I have to face the harsh temperature. I think you understand my point.

Then get a training agenda and start tracking your routines day after day. It will give purpose and sense to your whole effort.

6 Commandments when training with calisthenics

  1. Do simple compound movements. All the pros practice their basics faithfully and consistently;
  2. Your results depend on your overall lifestyle more than your workout routine, like dieting and resting properly;
  3. Progression is the name of the game, so always seek new methods to challenge yourself;
  4. You will have to find ways to overcome the obstacles that are or will appear on your path, like weather conditions that could stop you from an outside training session;
  5. Always remember that small daily steps are better than irregular heavy training. Whenever you are free try to squeeze in a little workout. It will all add up in the end, and you will be surprised by the results.
  6. I reiterate how important nutrition is because it sustains all physical and psychological effort. After all, the nervous system is affected as well. Therefore, you need a sustainable diet if you want to build performance. In the video below I show my nutrition principles for breakfast, lunch and dinner:

Cultivate Passion for Calisthenics

My commitment to fitness lies down over the rest of my life, so there is no rush for me. Such a level of commitment can only be sustained with passion (not an obsession, that stresses you out and generates anxiety). I developed a hobby around fitness, and I am also building a career with it. This makes my heart grow even bigger. You also must act with passion, because it is the only way to ensure that you will be good at it.

So, please do not get frustrated when it goes wrong, because if I were to count the days in which I wasn’t mentally and physically able to train, then you would be surprised to find out that they surpass the ones in which I was in an excellent state of mind. Getting over these issues will require discipline and persistence.

Motivation drives people to act. Unfortunately, motivation doesn’t last. I recommend you to jump over motivation and do the things required because you have goals to accomplish. Perseverance and ambition will keep you on the right path.

Also, be innovative in your training. Even if you followed one of my training programs, use it to learn and then tailor your own journey. Maybe you will bring something new to the routine.

Adapt and Change!

Monotony will always find its way into your life once a routine is established. You can avoid that by smiling at it and choosing never to get angry or frustrated. What can you do? Again, be innovative and continuously change your routine:

  • redesign your weekly training log
  • try a new meal recipe
  • change the training environment, or maybe pause calisthenics for 2 weeks
  • introduce something new into your workouts. Maybe a couple of new exercises and even an original training method
  • take a full week rest or walk and hike during that period.

Whatever you do, don’t get stuck and expect to always become better and stronger. It simply won’t happen. Plateaus are real and you will face many of them. Just continue to do what you like, the best you can, train for the sake of training, for the love of training and for health, not because you want to look better. Improving your aesthetics is a noble goal, maybe the ultimate goal, but sometimes it is okay to simply want to enjoy exercising, without being stressed of any goal.

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