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5 Life Lessons from Calisthenics Training

5 Life Lessons from Calisthenics Training

Discovering Calisthenic training was a formative experience for me. Not only for its physical benefits in terms of fitness, athleticism and health. But, also, for its whole philosophy.

The name Calisthenics come from the greek words Kalos – meaning Strength and Sthenos – meaning Beauty.

So, in essence, the calisthenic philosophy is “beautiful strength” .

Now, many people think that this applies only to Physical beauty and Physical strength. But, I would like to show that the “physical” is only one element. Actually, both strength and beauty come in a variety of non-physical forms too; such as the strength of character, the beauty of mind, and so on. With this in mind, I would like to share five ways in which physical Calisthenic training can help you in other

With this in mind, I would like to share five ways in which physical Calisthenic training can help you in other non-physical areas of life.

1. It promotes discipline

Say you set yourself a target of completing 300 full range of motion bar dips in a single workout. Or, perhaps your target is 500 push ups or 1000 squats. Maybe even your target is to attain a more advanced strength skill, such as a one arm chin up, or the Planche.

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Whatever the goal may be – it is clear that you not only need physical fitness to be successful. You also need mental discipline.

You have to be prepared to dedicate yourself fully to your training – completing set after set, rep after rep, hour after hour until you reach your target. No matter how much pain you may be in, or how much you may want to try something different. This kind of mindset is important – especially in today’s multi-tasking, easily distracted world. If you can instill dedication and discipline into your training – you will soon see the carry over into all areas of your life.

Whether writing an assignment for work, reading a book for school, or working towards starting your own business – you will be able to draw on the discipline you have already cultivated from your calisthenic training. And, in doing so, you will be a lot better equipped to work over and over again until you achieve your goal.

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    2. It teaches you to control yourself

    Calisthenic training is about being in total control of your physical body. Being able to lift it, maneuver it, and push it in a variety of different ways. But, again, the Calisthenic philosophy of being able to handle yourself extends far beyond the bars.

    The ancient Stoics used to write that we cannot control the external world around us – the only thing we can seek to control is ourselves. And, this self-mastery (also expounded by Platonic, Buddhist, Christian, Zen, and Hindu thought) is what Calisthenic philosophy encourages us to strive for too. Not only to be in control of our physical self. But also, our internal self. To be in control of our emotions, and in control of our desires.

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    To no longer be at the mercy of fears, lusts, and impulses. That is self-mastery.

    3. It shows you true strength and beauty

    As eluded to earlier, Strength is not just about being able to lift heavy things. Real strength is to be kind and caring – and to stay calm and composed, even when being provoked or persecuted.

    Real strength is taking a stand for something you believe in, and remaining yourself in a world that is always seeking to change you. So, if you do not have those qualities too – then, no matter how much you can lift, or how big you are physically – you cannot be classed as truly strong.

    And, it is the same with beauty.

    It is no good being physically beautiful if, in your heart, or in your attitudes towards other people, you are ugly. Real beauty is having a beautiful mind, and a beautiful soul. It is being graceful with every step you take, and every word you say, and with everyone you meet.

    If you have that level of inner beauty – then, it doesn’t even matter what you look like. Because everyone will plainly see that you are beautiful.

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      4. It helps you manage the fear of failure

      If you wish to attain more advanced calisthenic skills – you are going to fail.

      This does not mean that you will never reach your goal. It just means that along the way, you are going to have to deal with failures. You’ll try a certain hold – and fall. Or, you’ll aim for a certain rep count – and run out of energy. It is all a natural part of progressing. And, if you wish to continue to improve, you must actually make failure a part of every training session.

      So too with life. How many times do we simply not start something for fear of failing? But failure is not our enemy. In fact, the only sure-fire way to avoid failing is if you never have any ambition, and never do anything. In that situation, you will never fail – you will just be a failure.

      So, start to see failure through calisthenic eyes – as a sign that you are trying to learn ,and trying to grow. Then, you will actually embrace it.

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        5. It teaches you not to rely on externals

        Someone who lifts weights in the gym undoubtedly receives a lot of benefits from their training. So too does someone else who uses cross trainers, and other such modern fitness gadgets.

        But, in relying on those things to improve your fitness – you are, in essence, relying on externals. And, if someone takes away your gym membership, or closes down your weight section, or breaks your machine – you are lost. You don’t know what else to do in order to maintain your shape.

        Whereas, when you train Calisthenics, you never need to rely on anyone or anything else to get in shape. All you need is yourself.

        And, fortunately, wherever you may go – you’ll always be there.

        So, translate that to the life outside of fitness. In the same way, as many people say “i cannot get fit unless I have an expensive gym and a treadmill” – we all have a habit of saying “I cannot feel good unless I have expensive clothes, or possessions, or so and so’s approval”. But, in reality, you already have everything you need to get fit – and you already have all you need to feel good.

        You just have to learn how to correctly use what you already have.

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        Last Updated on May 22, 2019

        10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

        10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

        There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

        One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

        In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

        Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

        1. Cat Camel Stretch

        Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

        Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

        Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

        Here’s a video to guide you through:

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        2. Go for a Walk or a Run

        This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

        Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

        The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

        Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

        Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

        3. Jumping Jacks

        Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

        Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

        4. Abductor Side Lifts

        Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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        Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

        5. Balancing Table Pose

        This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

        Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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          6. Leg Squats

          Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

          Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

          The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

          7. Push Ups

          You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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          An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

          Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

          This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

          8. Bicycle Crunches

          There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

          Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

          9. Lunges

          Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

          Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

          This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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          10. Bicep Curls

          You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

          Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

          Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

          Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

          Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

          These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

          You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

          Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

          More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

          Reference

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