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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.