By Erin Townsend
While exploring the campus last year, sophomore Tasha Bewernitz spotted a fellow student doing one-armed chin-ups on a bar. Intrigued by this impressive skill, she walked over and introduced herself. The student, senior Drew Pesale, told her he was practicing calisthenics, a form of working out using only your body weight and exterior surroundings. Pesale is the vice president of Spartans Calisthenics Club, and encouraged Bewernitz to join.
“Right then at that moment I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” Bewernitz said. “My favorite part of being a member is meeting people who are interested in calisthenics, but haven’t quite taken the lunge, and showing them what’s possible.”
Pesale is excited to promote the overall goal of the club: to show people that exercising can be both fun and accessible. The club meetings are held every other week at 8 p.m in Plant Park, but they can also be found in Agliano Park by the new Innovation and Collaborations building when it is available. Official meeting details can be found weekly on their Facebook page, Spartans Calisthenics Club.
“I love seeing people starting from a very basic movement and reaching an advanced level. That type of diligence is what really inspires me,” Pesale said.
Each meetup consists of a workout that is best suited for the surrounding space, and varies from week to week to ensure all parts of the body are trained. The club is hoping to build a community of members that share the same excitement for exercise, and welcomes all levels of fitness. Whether you haven’t done a pushup in a year or can effortlessly do a handstand, you will gain valuable experience from attending meetings.
“We have two types of workouts. The first involves skill training. This is when we teach fundamental movements like handstands, pull-ups, jumping and other movements that people are interested in. The second type is just a nomad workout that will either train the whole body or focus on a certain muscle group,” Pesale said.
Partnering up with the community was a major priority for both Pesale and the club’s president, senior behavioral health major Austin MacFarland. The group meets bi-weekly with a The Muscle Up Misfits, a local calisthenics group, to learn more advanced techniques and continue to build their community connections. The Muscle Up Misfits also hold competitions that the UT club hopes to start competing in soon.
The Spartan Calisthenics Club is redefining what it means to work out and has proven that you don’t necessarily need the gym to build strength and get in shape. Both Pesale and MacFarland have created a sustainable infrastructure and hope the exercise form will become more ubiquitous to the UT population in the coming years.
“The club has become a lifestyle for those who’ve stuck with it. We work as a group, mentally, socially, and physically. As seniors, we hope to leave this club with a sustainable future. We’ve built this club up from the ground and have members to continue the legacy,” MacFarland said.