Some of you already read PART 1 of Andrei’s success story. He is a friend of mine and a couple of years ago he hired me as his personal trainer. I can say a few things about him that impressed me. It’s not easy having a very stressful and highly responsible job while simultaneously doing a great job as a father and husband. Still, he never neglected his workouts although sometimes it meant coming from work and family after 12 busy hours to boost a high-volume workout as I had him do.
He had his ups and downs and occasionally interrupted his training but he always came back. He is a hard gainer but results still showed up after all and I am a believer that he will gain a lot more even though I am not training him anymore. Our lifestyles differ a lot now; there is no time to catch up especially now that he has his second son.
However, you can read the first part of his story below. I know that many of you have read it already, but the intriguing thing is that he came back with the second part of his success story. Now he is training using slightly different techniques learned from Matthew Schifferle from Red Delta Project, who is an athlete and YouTube motivator that I highly respect. Check out his channel and learn how it’s done properly. Enjoy the read!
My name is Andrei Pop and I was thinking it would be helpful for some of you busy guys to present my experience with calisthenic training, as I am a busy guy too.
I will tell the story of how I met Adorian, how I started to workout in the Old School Calisthenic way and also how I managed to squeeze the workouts into my very busy schedule and how I was able to achieve a balance between my mind, body and soul.
For me, mental work is my job, workouts are for my body and the soul represents my family.
So here we go! I work as a maintenance manager at a prestigious aerospace production company and my main job is to make sure that equipment runs properly 24/7/365. I am married and have two loved sons, one of whom is 4 years old and the other 6 months old and thus, you can imagine how busy I am during the day. I was always an active person, skinny and never muscular. However, during college I reduced my physical activity to almost 0 hence I became a skinny fat guy. My dream was always about achieving a muscular and shredded body. About 2 years ago, in 2015, I started training with Adorian as my personal trainer. I knew him when he wasn’t in such good shape like he is today.
I witnessed his body transformation for two years doing only bodyweight training without supplements, so I was convinced that I could achieve similar results following his methods. Working with him was tough and I understood the reason why few people reach their fitness goals.
What you see in the pictures above is my transformation during my time training with Adorian as my personal trainer.
I worked out for a whole year, 3 times per week. They were all hard or very hard workouts and obviously I had moments when I wanted to quit. But Adorian helped me overcome those moments. There were times when the progress was present and those days felt like heaven.
In this period of time I built the foundation and I learned most of Adorian’s applicable knowledge, exactly what you will find, described very, very nice and easy, in his new book: High-Volume Calisthenic Workouts.
The results came, but harder and over a longer period than in comparison with Adorian’s. This is normal, as we are all different, but the results came in the end. The results come to all human beings. Why? Because we are all made the same. Same muscles, tendons, bones, blood, organs, same processes of building muscle, same digestion and nutrition processes.
At that time I had only one son, but I managed to workout 75 minutes/day, for 3 times per week. I did the minimum training required by him but still in the High-Volume Calisthenics style. I did hundreds of pushups, pull-ups and squats per each training session.
After my second son was born, it all changed. In that period we moved from one house to another and all that took a lot of my time. I stopped working out.
I made multiple attempts to restart my training, but it was only for 2-3 workouts, then something appeared and my time for training vanished. I learned from Adorian and then saw it in me as well, that consistency is very important.
Considering these circumstances I had to find a new approach, because I never felt better like when I was working out. And I started using my mind and thinking about what worked best from my past experiences and how can I make it simpler, easier, shorter and more effective. I still wanted to progress and have results.
As I was saying, the busy guy is back and has found a window of time in which to write down his thoughts, about how everyone can train, indifferent to how busy they are.
First of all, this new method is Old School Calisthenic style even if at first glance it doesn’t seem to be. I will explain to you, just be patient, or at least I will guide you where to find answers.
This training method is based on Convict Conditioning (CC) steps, which, from my point of view, is the Bible of progressive calisthenics. Progressive calisthenics is similar to weighted calisthenics, but instead of putting weights on, you control your technique for making the exercises harder. Both are good, but for busy people, progressive calisthenics gives more independence. For more details about CC please read the book of Paul ” Coach” Wade. This method of training is Old School Calisthenic style because it is high volume and sticks to the basics and has the Old School mentality. Why is this approach high volume? Because per week, you do at least 8 sets and at least 100 reps, per each muscle group, if you train for muscle building.
Why is it harder for busy people to train so many sets and reps per week? The answer is simple: there is no time free to do it.
What will a smart guy do if he doesn’t have time? Look back in time (old-school mindset) and remember the Latin words: “divide et impera” aka. “Divide and rule”. You have to divide the workouts into small workouts and train daily. Yes, I am working daily, two times per day.
My workouts look like this:
- Day 1: Pushups and Leg Raises;
- Day 2: Squats and Bridges;
- Day 3: Pullups and Handstand Pushups against a wall;
- Then repeat 7/7 days. You can choose 2 exercises per day, from the Big Six (exercises found in the Convict Conditioning chart); for me the ones I told you about fit best.
In the morning before going to work I train the first exercise for 15 mins., then when I come home from work I train the second exercise for 15 mins. that day. Sometimes I train both exercises for 30 min. if I have time (usually during weekends). Sometimes I train after I come home from work and before going to bed. Or I do one of the exercises during my lunch break at work. Trust me, that 15 min. is not a big deal for anybody.
Now let me tell you how to perform them:
- You do 3 sets for each particular exercise, boost max reps for each;
- You should see a drop in reps number at some point, from one set to another. That only indicates that your muscles are starting to fatigue. This is a good sign!
- For one limb exercises you can do 2 sets, as you have to work for each side.
- You can progress as the progress steps are shown in Convict Conditioning 1, the Big Six.
- You also need to control your muscle tension on each rep. and you have to focus on perfect form, because you will improve and you do not want to improve with bad form. You will only cheat yourself otherwise.
- You must log your last workout all the time. And all the time you have to progress from the last workout: form, reps or rest between sets.
You pick the step from Convict Conditioning which fits your needs:
- for strength stick to maximum 6-8 reps;
- for muscle building you need to do between 8-15, maybe 20 reps;
- for endurance do more than 20 reps.
- Adjust the Convict Conditioning step for your needs and progress. After you finish all three sets you do an easier step from CC, with high number of reps, until you feel the burn and the muscle fatigue as much as possible from these total 4 sets. You have 3 sets to give your best. You are with the gun at your head and you have 3 chances. You improve or die. It is that simple and that hard at the same time.
I am sure that you now have a lot of questions and on this subject a book can be written. Some of these questions are:
- What about working to failure?
- Muscle fatigue?
- What is muscle tension and muscle control?
- What happens if I rest longer between exercises?
- Why train daily?
- What about rest days if you train daily?
- How will the muscles recover if you work out daily?
- Reps, form, rest time between sets?
Answers to these questions are to be found on Matt Schifferle’s YouTube channel. I think this is one of the best YouTube channels about calisthenics, as a great alternative to Old School Calisthenic.
If you have questions you can send them to Old School Calisthenic, by email and I will try to answer to you with my best advice.
At the end I would like to give you some hints that I found, from my own experience, that make the difference in training:
- Keep it simple; do not complicate your training only because you see a lot of programs online; stick to the Big Six movements and after you get to the master step, with perfect form, you can look for something different.
- Listen to your body, focus on muscle fatigue; for each training season, you will have the answer for how many reps you should do, how much time you should workout, what step to use; go up and down in steps and see how you feel.
- Be consistent, train daily. When you have a hard day, even if you are on an advanced step of CC, train an easier one, even step 1; focus on muscle tension; this will keep the wheel spinning and you will never stop training, just do not make a habit to train easy. Do not get me wrong, step one with muscle tension is not easy!
- Train smart; your mental focus influences muscle tension more than the weights or the resistance.
- Always progress if you want to see results, that’s why you have to keep a log. Do better than the last time; this looks impossible because most trainers do not explain it; even a little improvement on form is progress; doing the same as last time for a while is progress as your body will adapt eventually and you will be able to do more; embrace the plateau, but do not stick to it.
- The universe is in a state of homeostasis, the same as you; don’t fight it, learn to work with it.
- Just do it, there is nothing worse than not doing it.