Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
My name is Orry Zickefoose, I am 32 years old from San Antonio, TX.
I have been training calisthenics for just under four years now. I have always been an active person, either outside skateboarding or running around outside with friends.
One thing I was never a big fan of was going to the gym and lifting weights; I always preferred to be outside and doing something more exciting.
I discovered calisthenics about four yars ago on youtube and watched videos of incredible athletes doing handstand pushups and pulling themselves up and over the pullup bar with amazing strength.
I was really captured by the way these athletes could control their own bodyweight, their natural looking physique, and the way they combine mobility, strength, and power. I knew right away what I wanted to get into!
Describe a typical day of training
When I first started training I would split my days between push and pull exercises, which is fairly common in the calisthenics community. I rarely do this anymore, as I prefer to train full-body in each session now.
It is a good idea to switch it up; maybe one month you want to focus more on split training and the next you want to focus on full body sessions. This keeps things from getting boring.
It is also important to listen to your body. One day I may feel like doing full body and the next I may feel like just doing pull exercises. It can vary depending on how I am feeling on that particular day.
If I am working on a particular skill, such as a handstand pushup, then I will begin the session doing skill-training.
Skill training takes place first because it is important to have all of my energy and strength to make each attempt at the skill count.
It involved attempting the skill as well as progressions and exercises that help to gain the strength and control needed for that particular skill.
I recently uploaded a video on my youtube channel on my learning the “90 degree handstand pushup”, which shows a raw skill-training session.
After skill-training for about thirty minutes (at-least and depending on how much time I have) I go straight to the rest of my training which normally involves all of the basics: pushups, pullups, dips, and squats, as well as many of their more challenging variations.
An example would be: Pike pushups, archer pushups, type-writer pullups, pistol squats, and russian dips. There are many different variations of the basic exercises that you can switch between to keep things interesting.
I have been doing alot of “weighted calisthenics” lately. This involves wearing a weighted vest or a dip belt for exercises. This helps to add overall strength and muscle. My current max weighted dip is 3 dips at +150lbs.
I train about 5-6 days a week and my entire training sessions usually lasts around two hours.
Some days I choose train sporadically throughout the day in shorter sessions rather than one long session. I do this based on how much time I have in a day and how I am feeling on a given day.
Switch it up so that training does not become so routine and boring.
How do you keep going and push harder?
We all have the ability to surprise ourselves. The idea is to not give up before we manage to do so.
There are few feelings as good conquering a challenging goal.
One day you will look back at something that was once so difficult and realise how easy it has become. This makes you realise that you can do that with any challenge!
I remember when I first started training for my handstand that I would fall over and over again. I could not hold it for a split-second at first. Then one day I could get into it after many attempts for just a few seconds.
Nowadays I can hop into a handstand and hold it for minutes. Looking back and seeing how far I have come makes me want to keep going and push harder.
Remember, the key is to not quit before we surprise ourselves!
Keep pushing your limits, and don’t give up. Progress may look slow at first, with almost anything, but if you keep going and keep pushing, then you will inevitably notice great results.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
One quote I have always liked it “Fitness is not a destination, it’s a journey.”
The fit-life is a journey of never-ending goals and challenges. I have noticed that my goals will change from time to time. One moment I want to focus on skill-training, the next – Mobility and Flexibility, and then the next moment I just want to put on more muscle mass.
Of-course one should train all of these things, but our main focus tends to shift from time to time. This makes the journey all that more interesting.
One of my shorter term goals, lets say within 1 year, is to be able to perform a one-arm handstand hold for ten seconds. I would also like to increase my handstand pushup max from 6 repetitions to 10 repetitions.
Getting really big and muscular has never been a main goal of mine. I have mostly been focused on skill-training, mobility, and over-all body control.
Recently, however, I have been putting more focus on hypertrophy which brings me to one of my next goals:
To increase my bodyweight from 155lbs to 170lbs and be at around 10% bodyfat. This is a longer term goal that may take a few more years, but it will be that much more satisfying it when I reach my goal!
A really new goal of mine is running long distance in short time. I recently ran my first mile in 8 minutes, which I am pretty proud of.
A goal I have in within about 3-5 months is to run 4 miles in 30 minutes. Keep in mind, cardio is not my strong point! I will most likely start documenting my cardio progress on my youtube channel.
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I have been pretty good at avoiding injuries so far (knock on wood); but I have certainly trained until I have gotten burnt out!
I learned in the beginning (the hard way) that it is necessary to take rest days. I would train really hard every day and then have to take three days off just to recover from how hard I would push myself.
Going hard every day can work while you are younger or at-least for a while, but eventually you will get burnt out.
I usually take two rest days a week and training days will vary in intensity. You have to work in accordance with how you are feeling each day; sometimes the session will be short and light. Other times the session will be really intense and will require longer rest afterwards.
I have to add that it is important to stretch each day. I do some light stretching after my session, but most of my stretching is done before bed. Back bridges are a life saver!
Besides knowing how to work in accordance with how I am feeling and not go to hard or to light, I drink about half a gallon to a gallon of water a day. You will feel really drained if you are not properly hydrated.
I also make sure to get plenty of sleep! At-least six hours a night; I feel that if I sleep over eight hours that I actually feel more tired than sleeping for six or seven hours.
This is an excellent example of getting “too much of a good thing.” That being said, I have been known to take epic rest days and sleep for eight-ten hours.
Fun fact: The male lion sleeps an average twenty hours a day; Incase you are looking for a great excuse for an epic sleep day, be a beast!
Lack of sleep and lack of water intake can be detrimental to your training and progression.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
To be honest, my diet is not very strict; in-fact I enjoy tacos and pizza quite frequently!
That being said, I do eat a variety of lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. My diet is generally healthy, but I do like to treat myself here and there for being as active as I am.
I am not a big fan of sweets such as pastries and candy, so luckily for me, it is very easy to keep my sugar intake low.
I very roughly estimate my calories and protein intake within a day and try to consume around one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Consuming enough calories has always been one of my biggest challenges and at the moment I am focused on eating more and puting on more muscle mass (as it has never really been a main goal until recently).
Two supplements I recommend, that you may not be too familiar with, would be:
- L-Citrulline – L-Citrulline is one of the main ingredients in most pre-workouts; It boosts nitric oxide production in the body.
It is used to improve athletic workouts by giving your more energy by expanding the blood vessels. It is a vasodilator.
You can buy this online or at most vitamin stores. Although it is included in most pre-workouts, I like to take it by itself in pure form. I have a big bag from Bulk Supplements.
- Colostrum – This one is interesting. Colostrum is actually breast milk fluid produced by pregnant cows before breast milk is produced.
This stuff is actually labed “pre-milk” on the container. Sounds gross, I know! But! This stuff is incredible, you should really look into it.
Colostrum helps with immunity, gut health, and athletic performance. I recommend Symbiotics Colostrum Plus Powder because it mixes easily with my protein shake and it comes in a large amount for the best price.
What has inspired and motivated you?
Looking back at how far I have come really motivates me to keep going. I believe that is most peoples biggest motivator: Progress. The problem is that many people expect results too quickly.
If you are patient while you are persevering then you will have an abundance of this motivation in due-time.
In the meantime, inspiration and motivation can come from watching motivational videos and finding other athletes that are already where you want to be.
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
Just start! You have got to get moving!
Start off by knowing your goal. What is it that you want to achieve?
Next, find other people who are where you want to be and then learn from them!
Stay inspired by watching motivational videos and by having people that you look up to. A few favorite athletes of mine are: Andrea Larosa, Max True, and SImonster.
I will watch their videos, and other videos to get pumped up before each training session which will make me feel even more motivated to improve myself.
Master the basics, drink plenty of water, get plenty of sleep, stretch, and try to laugh! Have fun with training and start your sessions with a positive mindset.
Are you taking on clients right now?
I have been taking on local clients; some for handstand coaching and others for general calisthenics training.
I like focusing on one person at a time rather than a group, because I can put all of my attention into that person and make sure they get the best guidance that they need.
I have not yet taken on any clients over the internet, but I do plan on promoting for that very soon. I love how technology has made it so that we can reach out to any fitness trainer we like across the world.
Where can we learn more about you?
Please subscribe to my youtube channel at Youtube.com/LiftYourselfFitness.
I would love to hear from you and follow your fitness journey as well.