Calisthenics personal trainer and successful business operator, Vic Vale shares his experience of discovering his niche after graduating from AIF with a Master Trainer Qualification.
I knew that when I became a fitness professional, I wanted to have an edge over other trainers – I wanted to explore something different. During my time studying with AIF, I was heavily invested in gymnastics, having practiced it since I was a young child. I started wondering whether there was a more accessible version of gymnastics for adults that I could incorporate into my personal training services.
Surprisingly, I found my answer in the recommended videos section of YouTube, which suggested a channel called THENX. This led to my discovery of calisthenics, a bodyweight training regimen inspired by gymnastics.
What is calisthenics?
Calisthenics can be broadly broken down into fundamentals, statics, and calisthenics freestyle (sometimes also called bar flow or dynamics).
Fundamental training consists of a bodyweight regimen of push ups, pull ups and other bodyweight strength exercises. This is where most people start their calisthenics journey, as this training is necessary to build the strength required for more complicated skills.
Statics involve freezing the body in various isometric holds. Think ‘plank’ but 10,000 times harder! Exercises like handstands, human flag and L-sit fall into this category. These exercises require an insane amount of strength, but are achievable for most people with assistance and a lot of practice.
Calisthenics freestyle is my favourite aspect of calisthenics. It’s an artform and an expression of self through movement. Calisthenics freestyle is usually done on a high bar or parallel bars, and involves stringing various dynamic skills together to form a sequence similar to a gymnastics routine (but more improvised!).
In recent years, calisthenics has gained serious traction and legitimacy as a highly effective training method in the world of professional sport.
Its establishment can be likened to breakdancing, where underground movements converged and kindled something new and exciting. Its rapid growth has seen many internationally sponsored tournaments, and its impressive flagship moves have sparked curiosity in the general public.
A general trend in the world of fitness has been the shift away from wanting to look like Arnold Schwarznegger, towards developing functional strength. As leading proponent of bodyweight training Ido Portal has said, “What business do you have moving the objects around you, if you cannot move your own body?”
In 2020 the pandemic furthered this trend. While gyms were closed, many people took up calisthenics as a substitute for their regular weights floor-based strength training. Their discovery of this fun, challenging and sustainable system has changed the way they train forever.
My journey from AIF Grad to successful business owner
AIF planted the seeds of business ownership in my head early on in my studies. In the business component of the Master Trainer course, I was infatuated by the idea of creating a fitness business that was entirely my own.
Initially, I worked at some well-known commercial gyms after graduating. While this equipped me with some excellent experience, I soon realised that I needed to put the business elements of my AIF Master Trainer course to use and pursue my dream of running my own unique business.
After making the decision to take the risk, I began building what is now a successful online business, blog and fitness presence around calisthenics called Street Workout St Kilda.
Now, I coach people all over the world on a topic I adore.
My advice for those considering a career in fitness
For those that travel off the beaten path, there are always greater rewards. Greater risk, yes, but that’s half the fun! If you put yourself out there, if you challenge yourself with creating something of your own, you will never feel like you are working a day in your life! I absolutely love being my own boss and sharing my passion for my particular niche of the fitness industry.
Vic is a Melbourne-based personal trainer, calisthenics athlete and founder of Street Workout St Kilda. He is passionate about bodyweight training and the art of movement.
Where you can find Vic on socials: