June is Men's Health Month. To celebrate, we (with a little help from our friends in the UK) caught up with London-based calisthenics personal trainer, Garvin Blacklion, to learn more about his own wellness rituals, love for calisthenics, and advice for anyone recovering from a sports injury.
What is your daily wellness practice?
So my personal wellness routine is, firstly, having a glass of water when I wake up in the morning. I know that sounds ridiculous, but being hydrated is like, key, and then I kind of visualize what my plan for the day is. Let's say I am attempting a new trick or I'm going to start a workout. I see myself doing the workout before I start it. And as I start it, it becomes a lot easier, like I've already done it before.
How has CBD affected your training?
So my relationship with CBD, first of all, it started as a pain reliever. Because recently I got an injury with my arm, I had a slipped disc injury, doing a front flip on the bar, but I landed and it just didn't work well. So the CBD allowed me to relax, and then I gradually worked on my recovery. And I found massive benefits from it, a lot on the mental health side as well, just having a calm, relaxed outlook to life, you know. My head was clear, and I obviously was not in pain. That helped me really get on with my life a lot easier.
What do you love most about calisthenics?
So, I guess what I love about training is freedom, really. I think training brings me freedom to move my body. That's what it was created for us to do—to move it. And what's rewarding about that is just being satisfied with a good training. After a good train, you're satisfied with your day. So, I mean, I'm able to use that to conquer bigger challenges. For example, a simple one is cooking. After I've finished my workout, I have energy to cook because I'm hungry, and I want to put some good food into my system. That's my reward, really!
What advice would you give someone recovering from a sports injury?
I'm currently recovering from an injury at the moment, a slipped disc injury. And I believe that your injuries are there to teach you what you're lacking, really, because I was lacking lower body strength, because I'm upper body heavy. So what I took from that injury was: focus on my lower body as well. Get the balance, you know? Your injuries are there to teach you. And of course, not all injuries are lessons. Some of them are, you know, just coincidences, really, but you can look at it in a positive way and focus on your strengths instead of the weakness.
"That's one of my biggest dreams, really. I think that's one of the reasons I'm here on this Earth, to give back to where I was born."
How can calisthenics help you recover?
With injuries calisthenics is perfect. They're a mated couple, because right now you're using your own bodyweight. You're not adding any stress to it. You're going with what your body can do at the time, and this is the beautiful thing about calisthenics. You can start as a complete beginner. When you start at your level, you start at your advanced level. But your body, your your body weight is your equipment, you know, in the most fundamental way your body is your equipment. So you just use your body to get stronger, really, and recover.
Any cool, random facts about you that you'd like to share?
So up until the age of 18, I wanted to own a lion. And obviously, it's a joke because lions are meant to be free. And so I learned that. My biggest dream is to own a school in my hometown where I'm from, in Santa Lucia, and to be able to give back to my community. That's the fun fact. That's one of my biggest dreams, really. I think that's one of the reasons I'm here on this Earth, to give back to where I was born.
Explore Garvin's calisthenics personal training here: https://www.blacklioncalisthenics.co.uk/