Barlerina Twins – Strong like Bars, Flexible like a Ballerina.

calisthenics, femalecalisthenics, health, motivation, siblings, twins

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People ask us how long we’ve been doing Calisthenics, thinking we’ve been doing this all our life. Nope. We couldn’t do one pull up! We went jogging, almost every day, until we were fed up with it. As kids we did a bit of gymnastics, here and there, but when hitting the gymnastics hall for the first time at the University of Trier 3 years ago we knew we totally lacked strength.

Our trainer was Markus. He taught us pretty much all we need to know about body-weight training. The requirements were set. We knew what we had to do – to work the core! The heart of the human’s body was felt like never before;) Forget the usual abs exercises like sit-ups or crunches, no, we were sent to do rope climbing. The most difficult exercise were pull-ups. However, that was not the main goal. The main goal was, after pulling yourself up, to swing your legs around the bar. The abs and other parts of the body became stronger but the excruciating pain endured every time we worked out – We’re not exaggerating. It hurt a lot. For women it’s way harder to pull up because we have more body-fat. We are built differently; we weigh more in the lower body and men have naturally more strength in the upper body.

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We were fed with handstands, no joke, every session swallowing many variations of handstands. The back and trapezoid became strong the fastest. It felt nice to get a feel of all the different muscles. The soreness though, one week! We trained once a week when we started, every Tuesday, and we were sore until Monday. Then on Tuesday we were able to train again. We were sore on spots we didn’t know they existed. We laughed about the Adam’s apple feeling sore – from all the bridges and handstands we had to do (because the head was pushed back at that point).

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And heyy, never leave a training without stretching! – was the unspoken but most obvious principle. We did splits on wooden blocks with different heights to measure the centimeters that were left. Time by time the chumps got smaller. Nevertheless, until that moment, the pain doing splits and other leg stretches were at times worse than pulling yourself up on the bar. Why we did it? We saw the results and the great feeling after every training. You felt the control over your body, you walked through the streets knowing your arms are bigger than the guy passing you:) Especially walking at nights, we felt a bit more safe.

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This was only the beginning. When coming to Berlin to start our teaching career, we found the coolest streetworkout crew ever, the BarLiner. We went hard training with the guys. They had super powers. They trained really hard, yelling, motivating each other, and did exercises we were not used to – It was more basic strength training and less techniques which we were used to from gymnastics back home. We liked training with men because they were better and we wanted to prove that girls can do it to. And yes we definitely can.

Some were careful with us, don’t do this too much, don’t do that too long, that’s enough, but we were like: “nope, we good“. We listened to our body and came up with the boys. The flexibility decreased, especially during the long winter months but the body became strong. We began working towards the muscle-up, the human flag, the front or back lever. There was not always time due to the enormous amount of work teaching at our new school but we’ve noticed that the energy you gained from training was used at work. You felt better coming to work. The kids and colleagues felt it.

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It’s really worth it to work out, it makes you better step by step. You automatically eat healtier, you prefer to sleep than going for drinks at night, you surround yourself with people who want you to be healthy, you strive for better and better.

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I suggest you all become Barlerinas!:) Stand every day on your hands leaning against the wall (with your stomach pointing to the wall) until your muscles shake and stretch every day a bit and you’ll see how fast your body will need more.

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Calisthenics changed our lifestyle. It was @Barstarzz that inspired us.

calisthenics, femalecalisthenics, health, motivation, siblings

IMG_2126In life we are always expected to aim for bigger goals, to be better than others, we are told that life is about what you do in your future. We work harder, we study harder, we neglect friends and especially we fail to enjoy moments of life.

Whenever we come back from work or university, we feel stressed and all we know is we have to go back to work tomorrow again.

To escape life’s pressure and continuous competition, it’s important to find something in life that de-stresses you, something that fulfills and challenges you what you love to do.

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Three years ago we encountered “Calisthenics” or “Streetworkout” on Instagram through the famous Calisthenics team @Barstarzz. The word “Calisthenics” was new to us. It means working out using your own bodyweight. These guys from @Barstarzz inspired us. We were gob smacked. The only thing they trained with was their body and a bar. They did pull-ups and pushups in the most amazing and creative ways.

We tried to do one single pull-up but we were not able to do it. We have always thought to be sporty but why couldn’t we do a pull-up? Also, we have noticed that it is basically men who do Calisthenics. This motivated us and now we cannot stop.

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Training has become our way to get out of daily stress. We started training outdoors in parks in the fresh air. After training we feel great, full of energy to go back to our studies with a fresh mind, a stronger will and determination to achieve everything we want. Calisthenics is not only sports for us, it has become a lifestyle. It changed our nutrition routine, our circle of friends, our likes and dislikes, our attitude towards life. Calisthenics is new for many but it is booming and the Cali-wave is overwhelming. Each city should encourage young people to do more sports. Calisthenics or Streetworkout parks should become accessible for everyone. This would change the lifestyle of many youngsters to live a healthier life!

A healthy lifestyle for us is doing everything in moderation. Healthy means training not too less but also not too much or too fast. We give 100 % when we train and sometimes we are unstoppable. But we always give our body time for regeneration. We listen to the signals our body says. We can train almost every day if we train with variation.

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Also, eating clean is very important to us. We cook a lot. But we also like to eat out. We eat a lot of vegetables and fruits. But we also eat rise, whole-wheat pasta, potatoes, meat, fish… basically everything that tastes good and is healthy. After a long stressful day at work we can also eat two pieces of cake and we don’t feel bad! We feel wonderful. We’re active each day spending physical and mental energy. This is why we need our carbs for the rest of the day. After training we try to eat something that has got a lot of proteins or we drink veggie smoothies, or we just eat big tasty salads. We don’t drink any protein shakes. We eat a lot, but we also train a lot. We don’t drink alcohol, but if there is a special occasion, then we don’t feel bad getting some drinks with our best friends. Our favorite healthy meal/snack is Quark (some kind of Greek yoghurt with a lot of proteins) with a lot of fruits, nuts, and dried fruits.

One way we motivate ourselves to accomplish a goal is gaining a “sense of achievement”. We don’t expect big steps from one day to another; it’s the little success each day that keeps us going. For example not only doing 1 pull-up but two pull-ups! Something that is different from yesterday. It’s also not only about achieving success but also about enjoying myself.

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Of course, we have struggled many times with maintaining our ideal body image. Once we felt too skinny. Once we felt too fat. It was hard to find a balance.

The most important thing is to feel strong and healthy. Our motto is strong not skinny! Once we gained a “sense of achievement” at training, we gained a “sense” of self-confidence. We started to learn that every body is beautiful as long as one respects his/her body. Drinking alcohol every weekend or eating fast food each day doesn’t make us happy. If we respect our body, we respect ourselves. We learn to love our body and ourselves.

POWER TWIN SISTERS – Double the trouble double the strength

calisthenics, femalecalisthenics, siblings

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So my twin sister has not been feeling very well lately and today was the third time that I got the taste of training without my partner in crime in  Berlin at the new streetworkout park at Poststadion.

It’s crazy the bond twins have. We motivate each other every time we work out or do anything else. I manage to do 20 push ups, she manages to do 21, so I definitely manage to do 22 the next turn;) It is a competition, a good one, a great one, but also a horrible one. I’ve turned strong because of her, without her I would be totally different. I know so. Growing up it was often like “Oh, Irina, you have 95 points in maths, your sister made 100 points. Why is that??” The look telling you you need to do better next time. We accepted it and we did it. Not just in school but in every aspect you probably can think of, job-wise, friend-wise, boyfriend-wise, and today Calisthenics-wise. It’s good, yes, it is; it’s hard, yes, it is; it’s depressing, yes it is; it’s wonderful, yes it is.

It’s this dialectic in twins. You were born not alone, and so is your life, of course only if you chose to be with her always. No one has so far achieved to be cooler and nicer (seen long-term) and trying to make me better than her. She can turn from being an eloquent, intelligent, heartfelt teacher into a hood chick in a minute, from a soft, crying lil baby into a beast on the bars. I’ve always wondered if these two-faces in us are somehow related to our zodiac sign Gemini, or just the manifold experiences we have made in life and the people we met! I am not going to tell you now the experiences but think of two little girls starting from the deepest spot in a hole and making it up to the stars, as we love to call it:)

But, coming back to today’s training without her. I had leg day. I gave my best, knowing my twin would give her best. I rushed with the utmost energy through it knowing she’s waiting for me at home. The first thing people asked is where is your sister. You are almost never seen as an individual, unless people have known us for a long time. We are very different and yet the same. I wish someone could explain this to me.

Double the trouble double the strength. It’s like I want to climb over a barbed wire fence and she would give me her hand to do it. Of course we achieve it. Of course. She stands first-hand through every bullshit I do, and the other way around:)

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CALISTHENICS IN WINTER – THE BODY AND MIND ARE MADE IN THE HARDEST MOMENTS.

calisthenics, femalecalisthenics

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It’s summer in Berlin now and while working out in the warmth on the bars outside, we recollect the tough training during winter. It took a very long time to warm our body up, the hands were numb until you finally made a grip on the bar. You succeeded to do 10 pull ups, yayy, you felt warm and pumped until the freezing cold hit you again and you had to jump around to keep you warm until it’s your turn again. What a time! Wearing leggings under your thick pair of pants, double pairs of wool socks, a pullover and a hoodie on top, a scarf and gloves, a necessity. The hardest thing was to wake up in the morning knowing you have to put all of that on and the overcoming to go to the training spot.

BUT, we promise you from the bottom of our twins’ hearts, it was worth the effort. The general workout pains combined with the cold left us with an amazing thrill after the workout. We felt fresh, rejuvenated and ready to follow other daily chores. It made you feel proud knowing you did it. Just simply no excuses. The effects on your skin, glowing, the effects on waking up in the mornings, way easier, your blood circulation, way better.

The best thing, we gave all we could, as a team, encouraging each other, knowing we are not the only ones. We all became good friends, fooling around afterwards – as the picture above shows;) The day passed fast, you felt more confident because you know you are strong, not only physically.

You all may find it hard to work out, to work or do any other activity in life you think you must do. But the feeling afterwards is a feeling of accomplishment. Embrace the challenges life gives you guys because they make you YOU.

If you want to know more about our workout – calisthenics, check us out on facebook: BarlerinaTwins