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Break out of the stigma

  • Published at 04:41 am July 15th, 2019
Calisthenics BD
Photos: Courtesy

Trying out calisthenics - a non-traditional workout method   

The term ‘fitness’ hits us hard at a certain point in life when we are not happy with the way we look. That feeling leads us to our local gyms. All the traditional gyms in Bangladesh have a specific set of tools and routines for their customers. They even have trainers assigned for each of their customers. Among these gyms, most of them usually hand out the same routine to all beginners. What they miss out is the fact that each individual should follow a routine which is designed according to his/her height, weight, and diet. 

Recently, we have been noticing different methods that are gaining recognition amongst society. One unique street workout method being carried out by a bunch of athletes is ‘calisthenics.’

Calisthenics is a natural method of exercise which does not require any weights. You can use your own body as weights and the results will show way faster than any other traditional method. It is also considered as a non-medicinal rehabilitation method. There is no age limit to this exercise - you can start at any age and all you need is controlled will power. 

Even though this method is new, there are some athletes who have been doing calisthenics long enough to train you. Calisthenics BD is a group of athletes who have recently started to train people on this method. This group was formed by Syed Ahsan Raizan and Shajidur Rahman in 2017. Internet was their source of training routine - following a few websites and with the help of some foreign trainers, they started a full-fledged routine for themselves. Mehedy, one of the trainers, started achieving good results within two months. 

As this is an alternative of lifting weights, it is not an easy way to gain a fit body - it takes a lot of discipline, core strength, and endurance. “Calisthenics started as a part of the workout method that was used by the Spartan army and the Romans gladiators back in their days,'' said Raizan. Back then, wars did not have the usage of advanced weapons - hand to hand combat was used the most. Calisthenics did not teach them how to fight but it strengthened their core, kept them active and in shape which plays a huge role in a battle. Besides, a healthy and fit body helps you in the long-run.

We spoke to some of the members of Calisthenics BD and here’s what they had to say:

Will I lose weight if I start doing calisthenics?

“Yes, weight loss is inevitable if you are consistent. Due to the fact that we do a lot of compound movements and core triggering exercises, weight loss is efficient and natural. Alongside weight loss, our method helps regulate normal energy levels and a healthy heart. Yet, calories intake and output are the most important things to remember about weight loss and gain.”

- Syed Ahsan Raizan

When can I start getting positive results?

Results are totally upon you, it is the amount of dedication and hard work you are putting in to achieve something, the more effort you put the better results you get. Discipline plays the most important role when it comes to calisthenics."

- Zahin Hasan Khan

What’s the difference between calisthenics and regular workout method?

Essentially, it is a gateway to fitness, you can go to the gym, work really hard, and see results with time. But, with calisthenics, you are always learning something new and you can even make it up.” 

- Mehedy M Jesan

Can I use Calisthenics for combat?

If you are good at calisthenics, it doesn't mean that you’ll be a good fighter by default. Calisthenics is something you do before you become a fighter, it just enhances your physical performance. It’s the foundation of your basic bodybuilding evolution. You are always training harder to progress into something new. You never know your limit, you are always working hard to find something new."

- Zahin Hasan Khan

Why should one choose calisthenics?

On behalf of Calisthenics BD, I can say that the people who show up, they have something to achieve. They don’t come here to just work out - they want to change in every way. Whatever they are today, they come here tomorrow with a mission to become stronger, learn something new and that's how life should be - you should always push yourself to be better than you are today. Here, you get the opportunity to test yourself physically and mentally.”

- Zahin Hasan Khan

Till now, to what extent have you been successful with this workout method? 

The success rate is 100 percent. Whoever comes for a day ends up coming on a regular basis. For us, success is showing up every day and taking the same amount of or more pain knowing that we have to expand our ability and that’s what we call a success for our gym.”

- Zahin Hasan Khan

Tell us a bit about Calisthenics BD’s goal.

The goal is to become better every day. We are open to everyone, we work together and make sure that we reach our individual goals. Our idea is to show people that fitness is not as expensive as the high-end gyms make it look like. Fitness is for everyone and it is our right. We don’t charge much which is why we are trying to get more people to get into it.”

- Zahin Hasan Khan

Moreover, Bangladeshi people are still far behind when it comes to fitness - people believe in a lot of myths. Some believe that there are no carbohydrates in vegetables; if you drink green tea you’ll lose weight. They also believe that climbing the stairs makes you lose weight, some think they definitely need protein shakes to build muscles - one of our goals is to eliminate these myths and create awareness.” 

- Syed Ahsan Raizan

How does it work?

Firstly, we want to know about your goal. Then we determine what level you are at. We start developing routines for you based on your form (endurance, ability, weight, diet, and height) and then we give a nutrition plan for being fit. Each member is assessed differently.”

- Mehedy M Jesan

The funny thing is that people know that they are doing Calisthenics every day but they do know that they are doing it.”

- Shajidur Rahman

Why is fitness important for you?

When it comes to fitness, it’s not just about looking good for the pictures. When you have good aesthetics, it gives you a level of confidence, which helps you out in every single aspect in life, so, when you have that kind of confidence, you can walk into a meeting and get a different level of respect. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but people do that. It’s more like we are psychologically programmed to do that.”

- Mehedy M Jesan

How did you start and what brought you here?

I started with resistance training and cardio, anaerobic and aerobic training. Cardio helps with lung capacity and stamina. What resistance training does is that it prepares your entire body and affects each and every muscle as well as helps with lung capacity and stamina. When I first started, I did squats, different types of push-ups, I tried and I failed many times but I was learning. When we couldn’t do pull-ups for the first couple of weeks we did other versions like Australian pull-ups and jumping pull-ups. I also did a few abs workout. From there on, we learned about muscle-ups, front lever, back levers, etc, and we kept at it. Later on, we saw that we could even do harder variations of pull-ups.”

- Syed Ahsan Raizan

What type of diet should one follow to lead a healthy and fit life?

The basic things people need to stop having in their diets are sugar and food that includes a high level of high-density lipoprotein. One thing you should do is drink water regularly. Fitness is not about eating vegetables and chicken every day - you can eat rice, roti, cheese, and all types of meat but you have to control the proportion of your meals. Nothing really is off-limits.

- Syed Ahsan Raizan

Calisthenics BD operates throughout the week and as it is a natural method, they work in an outdoor gym. They offer a monthly subscription scheme which costs Tk3,000. This includes nutrition plans, four programs (introduction, beginner, intermediate, and advance), and individual trainers for each of their clients.

You can find them on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/cbd.defygravity/, and Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/Calisthenicsbd/?hl=en

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