Calisthenics, or street workout, is a fitness movement that is relatively new to our area. However, Robbie Preston discovered it via a video he found online and decided to give it a go.
After participating in some Australian Calisthenics competitions, he was then selected for the Australian team to compete in the World Super Final held in Egypt!
Hey Robbie. What’s your background in the Coffs Coast region?
My background in the Coffs Coast region consists of being a part-time barista and casual hospitality worker. Half of my time would be focused on working for a steady living, and the other half would mostly be focused on fitness; as to me, it’s not just about training in a gym, but more as a lifestyle. Fitness takes up a fair chunk of my life, but I do my best to juggle working, socialising and keeping fit and active.
Where did the interest in Calisthenics begin for you?
What sparked my interest was stumbling across a Calisthenics and street workout transformation video on YouTube. It was of a teenage boy who was very skinny and started Calisthenics. Over a period of one year, he gained an incredible amount of strength and weight from it and completely changed his body in such a way, that it inspired me to do the exact same. It inspired me, as I too was very skinny and just recovered from three ’weeks’ worth of Glandular Fever. I could not eat or drink anything, which had me just laying in bed all day every day, starving. I was disgusted with how I looked by the time I recovered; I was extremely skinny and weak, and that’s what drove me to want to change for the better. You could say with the timing; it was meant to be.
So I thought I’d give it a try and start off with the basics like pull-ups, push-ups and dips and to my surprise, I eventually started getting a lot stronger and put on weight quicker than I thought I would.
For those who don’t know, what is Calisthenics, and where did it originate?
Calisthenics/Street Workout is a form of fitness that uses only bodyweight exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups and dips. Also hence the informal name “Street Workout”, as it can be done almost anywhere; for example, doing a pull up on a tree or a simple push up in your living room. It is, in my opinion, the most natural way of working your muscles and body.
Calisthenics has been around for decades, but I’m very sure that people have been doing it for much longer than what is recorded on paper.
Aside from the workout Calisthenics, “Freestyle Street Workouts” have become a professional sport in which you compete in. How is a competition run?
Freestyle Street Workout Competitions are performed as a staged event that can consist of a 16 man tournament, one versus one battles, or a two to three minute display in which you use the elements of Calisthenics and Street Workout to freestyle and perform advanced Calisthenics skills, such as muscle-ups, levers, and other various freestyle moves such as spins and flips.
Each competition has a few judges who usually judge on different techniques, such as Dynamic, Static or Flow, but each competition can be judged on a different basis. Whoever performs best and meets the judges’ criteria better would be the winner.
You have been lucky enough to be selected for the Australian team and head over to Egypt. What was it like competing against countries from all over the world?
Yes, I participated in my first competition in Brisbane and placed second. I was the only Australian in the top three places to have qualified for the World Super Final held in Egypt in 2018. It was such an amazing experience, being able to meet some of my idols whom I have followed for quite some time, being able to travel to another country and experience the tourism and most of all, being able to participate in a World Final held right in front of the pyramids!
What is the Freestyle Street community like here on the Coffs Coast, and how does it compare to the rest of Australia?
Unfortunately, to my knowledge, not a lot of people are aware of or do Street Workout on the Coffs Coast. I first started Calisthenics on my own and gradually started inviting some of my friends: Dylan, Vigor, Jack and Cooper, who have since joined me in Street Workout as I didn’t know anyone local who did this kind of fitness. It is very big in Europe and America but is still very new to Australia. I have met some amazing Australian athletes through some of the competitions that have been held in Australia, but this sport will only grow bigger and bigger each year!
What would be your advice to somebody starting out in their Calisthenics journey?
My advice would be to stay motivated and determined because if you train smart and correctly, you will achieve results quicker than you would think. Start with the basics and never stop doing them, as they are the foundation of what Calisthenics is and will always keep you strong.
Always do your workout with correct form and set small goals at a time and if you can only do a few pull-ups or push-ups, push yourself to that rep limit each time, more and more. You only get stronger if you push to your limit. No more than two rest days, depending on how you feel after your last workout day, as your body will get too comfortable and lazy and will not feel as strong as it could be.
Lastly, what does the rest of the year hold for Robbie; are there any other big plans on the horizon?
I will continue to participate in the competitions held around Australia and possibly travel overseas to participate, but at the moment my biggest plan that I have in mind is studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer in the Calisthenics community, so I will be able to work with what I love doing most; Street Workout and Calisthenics.