Youths promote fitness through calisthenics

[L-R] - Dwayne Blackman, Alex Marrast and Melvin Blackman, members of the Grenada Calisthenics Movement

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Grenada Calisthenics Movement formed in 2017 by TAMCC students
  • 3 young men promote calisthenics to achieve bodily fitness and flexibility
  • Calisthenics provide benefits of having a gym membership without the associated cost

In their late teens, Alex Marrast and twin brothers Dwayne and Melvin Blackman are not typical teenagers. These young men have a social media following with their Grenada Calisthenics Movement formed in 2017.

NOW Grenada interviewed Marrast to learn why this type of sport has become part of their extracurricular activities. According to Marrast, the movement seeks to empower young people through robust gymnastic exercises to achieve bodily fitness and flexibility.

Calisthenics is a competitive team sport in which athletes perform elements of cardio workout, push-ups and pull-ups strengthening their muscles in the chest, shoulders and triceps areas. Instead of using external weights to achieve body mass and muscle tone, calisthenics athletes use their natural body weight to achieve the same results without the risk of injuries associated with CrossFit or bodybuilding.

Marrast, who studies Civil Engineering/Building Technology, and his teammates who both major in Physical Education and Sports, started the movement in their first year at the T A Marryshow Community College (TAMCC). “The group already consists of adults and young people. The goal of this group is to encourage fitness. We want people to understand that fitness could be fun, it is something that you can commit to; so that’s the basic purpose of the group: to ensure that people enjoy seeing us and in turn, endeavour to be like us.”

Fitness clubs are not affordable for some people as the average gym membership in Grenada can cost an individual between $160-$200 per month, which does not include the assistance of a personal trainer whose charge is around $50 per hour. Marrast said with calisthenics people can have the benefits of having a gym membership without the associated cost.

“You don’t have to go to a gym to achieve fitness and feel good. Fitness also uses your body weight to develop different muscle mass, so we are encouraging people to come out and join us. We are available to offer our services to anyone interested in learning this technique. We can make ourselves available to fit into your schedule.”

The Grenada Calisthenics Movement’s workout classes are evenings at the Tanteen playground.

Dwayne Blackman displaying his calisthenics workout

Marrast said the requirements to learn this type of bodily fitness are that an individual must first prepare their minds and be open to learning by working hard. “If you don’t have the mindset to push yourself, then you will have a difficult time learning this fitness technique; because if a person doesn’t believe in themselves, then we cannot help them reach their fitness goal.”

Personal trainer Dwayne Blackman became a calisthenics trainer nearly 4 years ago and spoke of what inspired him. “In 2015, I came across a video on YouTube with guys doing calisthenics. I developed a passion for it and immediately started training which I found to be better than going to the gym because you can do it anywhere without the need for a gym membership.”

Blackman said the training process was difficult. “It wasn’t easy because first of all, I needed to train hard to develop muscle tone to be able to execute those moves. I hope in the future this can grow in Grenada since it is not well known.”

Apart from the obvious physical benefits of calisthenics, studies have found calisthenics improves endurance due to improved neuromuscular efficiency which occurs when the nervous system uses the correct muscles to produce or reduce force while stabilising the body.

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