Everyone starts somewhere.
Alexandria’s local heroes come in many forms; the members of Calisthenics Revolution motivate the community by way of fitness and health. Over the past year they have grown from just a few to over a hundred members of all ages, shapes and sizes. They take on several local races, like the recent DC Spartan, and train throughout the week at various local parks, playgrounds and gyms, with the hopes of motivating the community to join them and get active.
For fifteen Alexandria locals, this fitness journey started sometime within the last year. A new and growing fitness group, Calisthenics Revolution, went from just a few members to over a hundred members in the past year. Fifteen of its members decided it was time to show what they had worked so hard for and compete in the DC Spartan Race on August 1st, 2015. Team CaliRev, as they are called, came in strong and ready on race day. Not only did 100% of the team finish the grueling competition, they finished fast and unscathed. This is the story of how they got there.
Like many of the current group members, Matt discovered the calisthenics fitness style after seeing the astonishing and gravity defying moves some athletes had been showing off online. He began practicing on his own until he had mastered a few tricks, but it wasn’t enough, and the fitness group Calisthenics Revolution was formed. It started small with just a few members who had been looking for a group to teach them the same thing. After just a few months, however, the group was holding regular workouts at various Alexandria parks and attracting some real attention.
“When most people look at parks and playgrounds, they see the same old play structure for kids. When we look at them we see new obstacles and training equipment!” – Matt, Founder of Calisthenics Revolution.
Months of workouts continued until one member suggested that the group compete in the Spartan Race when it came to DC in the summer. Not a single member had competed in such an event before, but they knew it was within their reach. So, the Spartan training began. Slides and monkey bars were no longer play structures, but obstacles that could be trained. The group dedicated an extra evening every week to training for the big race.
They traveled to several different parks, gyms, playgrounds, hills and pretty much anything they could envision training on for the most variety. When they couldn’t find an obstacle they were looking for, they build their own including a climbing wall, spear throw target and tire drag. The training went on for over two months.
When some of the members started, something as seeming simple as crossing a set of monkey bars was a daunting task. Though the Spartan obstacles are not revealed until the day of the race, climbing and swinging across things were guaranteed to be involved. Knowing this, the team put everything they had into the training and the weeks went on. Monkey bars were no longer an issue, they cleared walls of almost any height and ran for miles nonstop. Team CaliRev was fifteen strong and ready for the race!
Race day had arrived and the team gathered for their 1:15 PM heat. The five mile course was loaded with more than twenty obstacles, plenty of mud and steep, rolling hills. The obstacles were tough, but nothing that the team was unprepared for. As a group, they assisted each other and several other racers as they powered through challenge after challenge. The race seemed to go on forever until the first of Team CaliRev came through the finish at just under three hours. Drenched, muddy, tired yet undefeated, every single member of the team finished the race. As expected, there were a few minor scrapes and bruises, but well worth the outcome.
Today, Calisthenics Revolution has over a hundred members of all ages, shapes and sizes and hosts four workouts per week, most of which are free to attend. They compete in any fitness events they can and are planning back-to-back weekends of a triathlon and the Savage Race as their next two events in October. Though the races are great, more important than any competition is the fitness and health enthusiasm the group brings to each other and the community. The public honors its heroes for many reasons; community fitness is the mission of these local heroes.