Adam Raw – Interview about Training, Workout, Nutrition

Adam Raw

Adam Raw   Hi Adam, it’s great to talk to you! How did your workout journey get started and when did it all become the „RAW Workout“?

Salute, I started around 2010/2011 with most motivation coming from Ukrainian videos – festivals in Dnepropetrovsk, as well as Lord Vital’s, Team Beastmode’s and NY Workout Team’s videos, not to forget Hannibal’s famous video and the time I first met LittleBeastM on his trip to Slovakia(Czech Republic neighbor country).

That time I started with bad knowledge and everything was based more on a passionate super-energy which led to some serious injuries later on, but still – I love those times the most. The whole game was different back then. I don’t have idols, only people that I truly respect, due to seeing their mastery of particular movements or their all-round abilities.

You’re a pretty big guy in the workout game. What are the greatest difficulties, size and weight wise, you have to deal with?

Well most of my past I tried to do everything possible and what is shown in street workout game because I simply liked it. Just a few people are aware and really respected that I did everything weighing around 90-96kg.

I consider the bodyweight factor the biggest obstacle in calisthenics overall. I always struggled on many movements just due to my body composition. But genetics plays a big role and we can only change things to a certain degree, that’s why by time I’ve chosen my own path of Raw Workout – being well rounded and focusing mostly on basics and most important on movement patterns.

You’ve got a huge following and many close friends that see you as a role model and a strong athlete. What does this support mean to you and which responsibility comes with this?

Adam RawI am glad for any support, of course, but admirers and fans are only one part of our community. I regard all people in the community as family, we are all in the same boat and are trying to give our best with the sport we love. I am not glad about the hate and the many misunderstandings that happen in the game quite often – it’s sad. I am not responsible for anything but Raw Workout with its community, events and movement.

A lot of people want to be like you and wonder how they can achieve this. Which, would you say, are the three most effective exercises a fresh beginner should add to their regular workout routine?

Pull up, Squat and Pushup for anybody who ask, no matter what. Everybody should try to be original and find his own path though. The paths and results of others should only ever serve as motivation and inspiration energy.

Not too many athletes in calisthenics seem to care a lot about any leg workout. You even include weighted pistol squats into workout events like the „Czech Workout Battle“. Why do you think should people train their legs beside their regular calisthenics training?

We’ve used our bodies since we were born and will continue to do so until we die. We use our whole body 24 hours a day, so I don’t see a point in training only one half of it. A lot of people in calisthenics neglect it because they know well that it gets much harder when you’re putting some mass on your legs and are gaining weight overall – it’s maths and physics, plain truth.

So it’s just them not being honest – that’s all in most cases. Of course there are many who keep their training real or who just don’t give a fuck at all and only want to be best in one particular thing. So called ego and records chasers. Huge neglecting of legs is one of the main reasons why I call pro street workout game the crippled sport and broken up gymnastics. Informed people know that this is about conditioning and workout – and one just simply can’t condition only half of his body, and if so, he is not true athlete.

Clean form is a term which seems to be always worth a discussion, not only at power competition events. What does this term mean to you and why is this something athletes should be aware of?

Adam RawClean form means proper form. There is only doing it right or wrong. If you do clean form you’re doing it right, if for any reason you don’t use clean form, you are just not on the level of what you want to do and are trying to hide the truth behind cheating. Clean form is an absolute necessity on competitions; it’s the only way to guarantee fair play for everyone and there have to be strict rules.

I also believe that without clean form there is no true progress, doing movements sloppy will usually lead to injuries or stagnation. Clean form on other hand takes time and is a slow process but it’s stable, proper and offers the greatest potential.

In the past you suffered form a biceps tendon tear. How did it come to this and how did you recover from it?

I was overtrained from summer events, camps and workout park openings. I did too much and over-combined goals in my life and workout. On top of that I was at 95 kg and doing elements like straddle planche, one arm pull-ups, levers and weighted calisthenics- this led to micro-tears in my overloaded tendon and than I ruptured it completely by going from bent arms to straight arms back lever – this is the worst and most risky movement which I totally don’t recommend to anyone since then.

I met many more people who got injured the same way as me on this very same movement. It’s very risky. I was really unlucky because I did not plan to do it and had micro-tears already. I got back with surgery, patience and a healing special diet.

From time to time you post photos of the food you eat on Facebook. What kind of diet do you follow and what role does the right nutrition play for you? Any opinion on additional supplements?

This is very big topic and I can’t explain it in detail here. I studied nutrition deeply for over 10 years and tried many different kinds of special diets and approaches. With time I created my own way, due to knowledge and the personal experiences I collected along the way. I focus on organic food but safe ones without anti-nutrients, allergy substances, toxins and dangerous phytochemicals that many organic foods contains(for example grains and vegetables). I am against any factory and man made food if it’s not made the proper way and fully natural (like some high quality supplements for example).

I am promoter of healthy fats as a must to keep healthy hormone balance, as well as for the rest of the body – especially fat soluble vitamins from nature sources(A,D,K2) and non-complicated sources of carbs only as fuel for my workouts, other than that I support low carb ideas. I don’t support veganism as I went through it with bad experience. My best advice is to keep it colorful, modest and as organic as possible. Try to get the most from just a little – for this I use many superfoods in tiny amounts only.

You travel Europe and the world for training and you judge on many international competitions. Where do you think is the street workout scene at the moment and where will it be in the future? Are there differences between Europe, America and Asia ?

There are big differences, but one thing always stays the same: there are people doing it for conditioning and as lifestyle and there are people doing it for show, competitions and as self realization in their lives. The future of street workout as sport and competitions will always be complicated in terms of freestyle, since there is no professional system like in gymnastics for example; there is too much freedom and it’s all based on personal opinions of various judges.

Adam RawIn my opinion the professional calisthenics sport has been for here long time and its perfect, so is pro gymnastics. What freestyle competition shows, will always be just a lesser kind of gymnastics if someone doesn’t create specific rules. That’s why I support mainly basics with added weight for reps or any other kinds of counted sets and reps when it comes to competition, because this will always be fair and it’s easy to make proper rules and enforce them. I also mostly support and promote the movements that makes the workout game special and that’s clean explosive and pulling movements like muscle ups, one arm pull-ups and connections of reps in sets (like the old Hannibal routines for example) – these are skills that we can find in no other sports and that are making calisthenics workout special, nice, elite and different.

I hope that the system of freestyle competition will understand one day that weight categories are necessary and will demand longer sets, as well as connections of classical and old-school workout movements. Only with that, there will be hope to make a really great and professional sport out of it, but as I said many times: real workout from the parks and streets will always stay there as personal conditioning of individuals, teams and groups.

There are always big discussions about real workout and freestyle, what would you say is the difference?

Real workout is training for trainings sake, mostly for personal development. Freestyle is a display for people and the judges on the competition, done for others, as well as for credit, trophies or ego.

Any last words; upcoming future projects?

There is much to come, but mostly in my home country. After I will have realized the most important projects here, we plan to spread more around the World and to other countries. The RAW family is growing fast because we don’t exclude anyone due to their body composition and we promote well rounded training that can benefit anyone in real life or in various sports.

I hope that more people will, by time, just stop competing against each other, trying to get to the number one spot and will focus more on helping others and making others stronger with the abilities they obtained on their path. The number one spot is not even any fun when you stand there alone. We all are a family and in the same boat of loving movement and an active healthy lifestyle.

Adam Raws favorite workout park in Ostrava.

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Paul Böhme
About Paul Böhme
Co-Founder of Calisthenics-Parks and chief of editorial staff.

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