How to Become a Successful Calisthenics Athlete

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

Table of Contents

Everyone can become a successful calisthenics athlete. It involves small daily habits that sustain that outcome. After all, being a successful calisthenics athlete means achieving whatever the fitness goals are through bodyweight training.

To help your effort, I can share my journey in calisthenics and wisdom accumulated over years of consistent and dedicated training.

You have to cultivate daily habits that belong to any successful athlete. One of them can be nutrition:


I found that the secret to success was replacing all my bad habits and health-destroying activities with good habits and health-promoting activities. A master of calisthenics is always aware of his general lifestyle, which involves an adequate diet to sustain that intense training, as well as a good training schedule.

The rest was discipline, commitment, and maybe one of the most essential things of all: patience. You need a lot of time to schedule and plan. If a new year starts and you to make sure that you won’t quit in a few months, then I have some tips for you below:

I stopped wasting my time and energy on non-productive activities like watching too much TV, indulging in fruitless entertainment activities, drinking too much, useless partying, etc. I started imitating the lifestyle of the pro calisthenics athletes and slowly exchanged all my bad habits for good habits like daily exercise, a healthy diet, getting proper sleep and rest, never skipping workouts.

In short, I stopped finding reasons why others were more successful than me and started looking for solutions.

So what I learned from all this was that hard work, along with a good lifestyle over the years, is the actual key to success in calisthenics, as in other sports too. You will get no results by following Mr. X’s training advice nor by following Mr. Y’s workout routines in a short time, no matter how good they are. You will get results when you stick to them for a long time.

If your goal is mastery in calisthenics and achieving a Greek God physique, then you must follow several rules like:

  1. Do simple compound movements. All the pro’s 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.

Last but not least, don’t get trapped in the quagmire of shortcuts to an excellent physique. Consistency is the key, and you can’t speed up your body’s natural potential without side effects. Make calisthenics a habit and it will reward you generously.

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The importance of these technical things is paramount. But, there is more about being successful and honest, I think that without some values and personality characteristics, everything is in vain and you are doomed to failure.

The characteristics of a successful calisthenics athlete

I managed to overcome all the obstacles and build a great lifestyle that enhanced my progress. It changed my entire character and mentality; hence it is time to talk about them so you can be successful too.

Frederick Douglass says:

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress”.

It is unbelievable how right he is. During my journey, I had so many struggles that I can’t even count. Let me breakdown the iceberg!

Hard Work

I lived my life doing a variety of things. I tried different sports, such as football, athletics, trail run, and swimming.

Then, time passed and I needed to work to make a living. No matter what I did, everything brought me to where I am today. This website is my job, and if there is something I have learned throughout the past decade, it is that nothing can ever be achieved without struggle and hard work.

Doubt and fear of failure had always been two of the factors that negatively influenced me, but without passion and dedication, I wouldn’t have found the courage to pursue my dreams. In Romania, few people are doing bodyweight training because here everybody else is convinced that you can’t achieve a strong and muscular body without lifting weights.

That fear of not getting the desired results makes them try different approaches. I was told a lot, in the beginning, not to waste my time playing on a bar because I was never going to get anywhere. I chose to ignore that hateful and cowardly advice and follow my own beliefs even if doubt was always present.

I was right and I gained more results from my actions than they would ever imagine. When you believe it can be done, then you will find the strength and energy to move over absolutely everything. There is simply no other way!

Eliminate doubt, confusion, or fear because these three-flaws values will get in your way of becoming who you want to become.

As for more practical advice, I encourage you to train hard. Don’t look for shortcuts and easy training routines because from my own experience, I know that without putting all of my physical efforts, I wouldn’t be here today, writing this article for you.


You must take the risk of pursuing your beliefs without second thoughts. Courage comes from assuming those risks and deciding to act accordingly even though the future is uncertain. And even so, don’t just quit because you haven’t gotten anywhere in a matter of months. Be honest with yourself and think about if you are truly giving your everything.

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The mighty One-Arm Pull-Up unquestionably stands amongst the hardest strength exercises . I never explicitly trained to achieve this magnificent strength feat and yet unlocked it as a byproduct of my basic bodyweight training. Boosting only one repetition required years of consistent training . I am thrilled with the result. It's proof that my training program works even though gaining a colossal level of strength isn't my general focus. Health and general athleticism is my primary goal, and ever will. I care more about complexity and variety rather than mastering impressive feats . I will continue to work the one-arm pull-ups indirectly, till it becomes smooth and easy . . . . . . . . #onearmpullup #onearmchinup #onearmchinups #onearmchinuptraining #onearmpulluptraining #onearmpullupprogression #strengthtraining #strengthandconditioning #strongman #strong #pullups #heavypull #strengthfeat #calisthenics #streetworkout #pullupsprogression

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Everybody wants to be approved by society and especially by those closest to them. But if your entourage is not worth spending time with because it is toxic, then get a distance from it and make new friends. Or learn to be alone and progress from there.

Toxic friends are the ones that will always offer their opinions freely regardless of the consequences. Here is an example of how they can indeed influence you in a wrong way without being aware of the strong impact they might have upon you:

Go to the gym and start a conversation with the most passionate weight-lifting guys, about building a great and shredded chest that performs as well as it looks by only doing calisthenics. I bet that the majority of them will advise you to cut the crap because such things are impossible.

If you asked them enthusiastically, hoping for approval, then you will leave the gym with a bitter taste in your mouth. And if you are weak and in doubt, later succeeded by influencing you to quit what you first thought is good. If you are a strong self-believer, their opinion will equal 0. So then, what’s the truth? Be autodidactic!

The reality is that you must always seek more answers, especially from guys that are already involved in things you want to believe are possible. I was in that spot too, and I saw their ignorance as a weakness of their character. I did build a fabulous physique and got the strength to bench press enough to impress any bodybuilder, although I never do it in my training. The truth is that there are no limits on what you can achieve if you are willing to pay the price.

You will always get criticism regardless of your intentions and actions, but nothing will change until you prove the contrary. You will gain respect if results speak for themselves. Then everybody will start to listen to what you have to say because you made natural progress. Earn that respect by working hard and being patient and do it in silence. Approve your actions and stay trustworthy. Cheat and sell false illusions, and you will get haters as well.

In the picture below, I am lifting a pretty heavy log to train my shoulders, lower back, triceps, and chest. Do you think I needed to ask someone if it is okay to do it? I never care because I designed a workout routine based on that, and then I listen to my body’s signals. If I get soreness in my muscles and feel my muscular energy-draining little by little, then I know I am doing something right.

lifting heavy weights, calisthenics athlete


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.

I eliminated absolutely everything that caused me discomfort whatsoever and decided to get genuinely involved in what I am passionate about. Of course, fitness is not the only thing that I love, but no matter what I do, I give my best, and this is why I came out victorious. All these good habits will enhance your actions if you do things only out of love.

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. To get 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.


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
  • replace certain meals, foods, ingredients
  • change the training environment
  • 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
  • have some late nights out occasionally. Go party or enjoy your evenings with the closest. But do it in moderation. Or maybe life itself will stress you enough to continue on the path.

Now having the iceberg explained from my point of view, based on my own life experience, the only things left for you are to get started. When you forget the reasons why you are doing it, come back and reread this article.

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