My name’s Fi. Or Fiona. Or Fifi, if you must. I live in London and train exclusively with my bodyweight (ok, and the odd 10kg plate attached to a dip belt). This blog’s about my journey into the world of calisthenics: about the things I’ve learnt and want to learn, general training, nutrition and living a healthy and rewarding life.
With it I hope to share what I know and to inspire and motivate other people to start or continue on their own journey towards becoming strong and awesome. I’m passionate about helping other people reach their potential, and to make them realise that they are capable of the things they always wanted to do, and if this even goes a little way towards doing that then I’ll be happy. Despite the name, I don’t consider it to be aimed at just women – I hope that the information will be helpful to anyone who reads it.
That was the short version – here’s a slightly longer one:
I got into bar calisthenics sort of by accident. Whilst researching the best ab exercises, I came across hanging leg raises. Obviously when I say “researching” what I actually mean is “surfing through videos on YouTube”. Somehow I ended up at the channel of Jay Anthony, one of the UK Bar-barians, and after half an hour spent watching videos of insanely strong people (insanely strong men, specifically) I sent a message to Jay asking if I could come and train with him some time. We ended up mailing back-and-forth a bit, and he said that he trains every Saturday at Primrose Hill with a bunch of other people, including the other two British Bar-barians. I figured I should probably be able to do four or five pull-ups if I was going to meet people who did this stuff seriously, so trained hard and in late March, somewhat apprehensively, went to meet the guys. The rest, as they say, is history.
Before getting into bar calisthenics I mostly did martial arts. I started karate about seven years ago – another accident that came about when I googled my Kickboxercise instructor after figuring out he was over-qualified for teaching that class, and discovering he was the British Karate Open champion. I started training with him (actually, he allowed me to train for free, awesome as he is) then moved to another dojo to train more. Eventually, though, I got frustrated with classes only being held twice a week. So I did what any sane girl would do – moved to Japan so I could train every day. I lived there for two years (this blog originally started as the blog I kept when I moved away – if you go back far enough (2010-) you can read all about my crazy little life in Nihon), but after training in an incredible dojo with insanely talented karateka, coming back and not being able to immerse myself, nor be surrounded by that level of talent, sucked. So for the time being I’ve put on hold my training towards becoming a nidan to swing around the bars and get strong. Bar calisthenics, where no equipment, training schedule or instructor is required was a green light to being able to immerse myself as deeply as I wanted, and time (and sore muscles) is really the only thing that stands in the way of progress. That’s pretty satisfying.
There are a few things I’ve learnt through my journey in martial arts that I try to bring to all aspects of my life and training – you will hear me talking about them regularly, so it seems only fair to warn you here! Probably the most important, and the one that has been the biggest realisation for me, is the fact that you can do anything you put your mind to. I’m neither flexible nor coordinated, but I realised that by doing something again and again I could eventually get good at it. I think this applies to anything in life – from learning a new skill to getting good at your job – and I’m passionate in sharing this message and helping other people get to the same realisation.
What goes hand-in-hand with that level of determination is positive thinking – in order to do something you need to believe that you are capable of it. I’m also really passionate about empowering people to make changes in their life and to reach their goals. I hope that this blog helps people to do that, and gives them some strength, knowledge and motivation along their journey, whatever that is.