Hey Lee, welcome! Pleasure talking to you here on my blog. For the people who don’t know about you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi guys, I’m Lee Wade of London based Calisthenics team ‘Recession Proof Body‘ and I’m 38 years young!
I first got into Street Workout around 2009 after stumbling across some videos of Bartendaz, Bar-Barians
& H4K on YouTube. At the time I was looking for ways to improve my pull ups and ended up seeing all this crazy stuff that I’d never seen before – muscle ups, levers, freestyle etc! I became addicted like many others have, all over the world – instantly!
At first I started training in this way alone in my local gym but in 2011, I moved from my home town of Clitheroe in Lancashire in the North West of England, closer to London where there are more parks with workout equipment and also more people training in this way. Now I get to train with many more like minded people that love Street Workout.
What does your regular training session look like at the moment? Is there any special stuff you’re working on?
At the moment I’m training at my local gym rather than the park as it’s winter and in London you certainly don’t want to be outdoor training during the winter months!
For a while now I’ve been focusing on the handstand – something I should’ve spent much more time focusing on when I first got into Street Workout but unwisely didn’t.
I’m finding it very challenging but I’m definitely progressing although watching guys like Niroc and LittleBeastM shows there’s still a very long way to go yet!
I’m usually training 4 to 5 times per week and my sessions last between 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours long.
To me and many others you’re famous for the “Ultimate set”. Where did the idea for this set come from and what’s the story behind it? A lot of people would like to know with which kind of training did you achieve this set?
The Ultimate Set’ wasn’t my invention … I only named it ‘The Ultimate Set’ … and it stuck!
Back in 2010 I was part of the ‘Bar-Barians’ team and I used to set up ‘monthly challenges’ and friendly competitions on the B-B forum. People from all over the world would take part and it was good fun testing yourself against each other.
I stumbled across a YouTube video from one of the old school NYC bar athletes – (possibly a ‘Team Wingate’ member but I’m not sure and can’t remember who’s channel it was on) … This routine was the one described in the video and you had to try to complete the set with as little breaks as possible – I don’t think anybody had completed it on one go back then.
I thought it would be a good idea to try the set as one of the monthly challenges on the B-B Forum and that’s where I first started to attempt it … Nobody completed it that month although a few guys got to the final 5 muscle ups but didn’t have the endurance to do it all in one!
It’s certainly a huge test of anybody’s muscle endurance and you have to respect anybody who’s able to get through all 45 reps without leaving the bar!
With challenges and goals like the ”Ultimate Set” reached how do you stll stay motivated?
I don’t find it hard to keep motivated, my obsession with working out started at around the age of 15 – 16 and I can honestly say I’ve never taken a break from it to this day.
Even when I was abroad travelling for a few years I still made time to train, in fact it was when I was in Australia around 1997 that I first came across my first workout park – Bondi Beach, Sydney although back then it was all reps and sets, I don’t recall seeing any freestyle stuff going on at that time.
There’s always something to work at and improve on in bodyweight training … Be it sets like ‘The Ultimate Set’ or working on perfecting your handstand, I simply don’t loose motivation, training my body is in my blood and luckily for me there are quite a few others in London who feel the same way about it as me and we motivate each other.
Can you tell us a bit about your calisthenics project “Recession proof body”? Who else apart from you is involved, and what is the idea behind it?
Recession Proof Body is the name of the workout team I represent.
Along with Sai Ngo and Ranjit Bhachu we train together, run weekly & monthly classes at two different CrossFit gyms in London & also Street Workout Workshops all over the UK and Europe.
The three of us bond well together and RPB have recently been featured in Muscle & Fitness Magazine and we we’re also invited over to Russia in the summer as guests to a national competition and opening of a new Street Workout park which we we’re truly honoured to be chosen to attend.
Being away on a regular basis at the weekend for the RPB workshops, working during the week and on top of that your own training You seem to have an extremely busy schedule. How do you balance family life and street workout? Are there agreements with your family?
It’s true, I do have an extremely busy schedule with a lot to fit into each week.
I’m lucky that my girlfriend, Simone knows how much my training means to me and let’s me get on with it. To be honest though, it’s not like I’m training every day of the week for hours at a time … I usually train 4 times a week for and hour and a half to two hours each session and the workshops are only usually once or twice a month so again it’s not like I’m away for days upon end. I’d say my weekly schedule is pretty much the same as the average working family man in the UK – the weekends are usually ‘family time’.
Everywhere in Europe the street workout/ calisthenics scene seem to be exploding with new people getting involved, new styles like “barhopping” evolving, people trying to earn money from it and also new videos and tutorials popping up on youtube everyday..
Looks like the more the sport grows the more challenges it has to face . What do you think of the direction the sport is taking at the moment? And what will be the future of street workout?
Yes the whole ‘Street Workout’ movement has moved very quickly indeed with many different styles and different ways in which people are working out.
It’s no secret how myself and the guys I train with choose to workout. We concentrate firstly on the fundamentals and correct form on the very basic exercises like press ups right through to the gymnastic elements like planche and front lever and we train hard … Very hard! … I believe the term ‘Hard Hitters’ started here in the UK with a select few athletes and is now a term used world wide to describe the certain way some people train.
It’s all very well to be able to do flashy moves on the bar and to be honest some of the stuff blows me away in amazement but long after the ‘Street Workout’ phenomenon has wound down and the whole craze fizzles out for a lot of the guys who are just caught up in it at the moment, the real guys will be left, the ones who ‘need’ to train, the ones who have it in their DNA will be left, training exactly the same way they did before and will continue to do so.
For me personally now, the whole Street Workout movement is so big that it’s hard to keep up to date with who’s the champion of this federation or who’s won ‘that competition’ over in ‘whatever country’.
I like to just concentrate on my own workout and my own goals and occasionally get to train with the guys that really motivate me right here in the UK and a select few who I follow on social media/YouTube etc who I’ve been in contact with for some time now.
You live in London and know the local scene pretty well. Who do you think are the strongest guys at the moment that people should look out for and who are the guys you train with?
There’s plenty of strong guys here in the UK and not only in London – Solo, Theo, Miguel, Jay all train in
the same way I do (putting form and technique first) it’s hard to name everyone but also Sunny, Amir, Fred and C Mills are all beasts yet all humble and you won’t find them bragging or showing off about what they can do …
For me personally though I’d have to put the other two members of RPB – Sai and Ranjit right at the top of the pile and I don’t think you’d get too many guys complaining. They are ridiculously strong, have all the holds, progress quickly, both have age on their side and would appear to have freak like genetics!
When someone is visiting London for a weekend trip and to train, what /where would you recommend?
There’s so much to see and do in London I could be here all day answering that one but I personally like the Shoreditch and Camden areas for mooching around and checking out the unique shops and market stalls etc and another big plus for Camden is it’s just down the road from the most popular workout park in London – ‘Primrose Hill Park‘ which is probably most people’s first choice for training in London and has recently been updated with new equipment which I’m hoping to check out soon!
You always look pretty ripped, is this just the result of your workout or are you on some kind of special diet?
Thanks … My body type is naturally a ‘mesomorph’ and the fact that I’ve been training since my early teens and have always stuck at it consistently keeps me in shape!
When I was younger I was very conscience of the way I looked and always aimed to have a muscular /
lean physique so worked hard in the gym to achieve this. I remember looking at boxers such as Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn when I was younger and wanted to build a similar physique to these guys who were childhood heroes to me!
Nowadays I still like to look good but that all takes a back seat to becoming stronger on the bar and achieving my training goals rather than the asthenics. I don’t really follow any strict diet, I just make sure I get my protein, vegetables and fruit each day, make sure I’m hydrated with plenty of water and Green tea and avoid the fast food / takeaways
Its cold winter outside. Where do you train at the moment?
From around November through till late March I stay away from the parks and train in the gym.
I have a gym near to where I live in Essex which has a great CrossFit style ‘pull up rig’ installed in there and plenty of floor space for parallette training and I also train at the CrossFit gym where I run a monthly class so that adds a bit of variety.
Winter in the UK isn’t much fun, cold, wet and miserable and goes dark around 4pm so not ideal for the kind of training I do and also training with cold joints and muscles is only gonna increase the risk of injury.
Many young kids are just about to start with calisthenics. What would you advise a beginner, if he just wants to start training?
My advice is don’t run before you can walk. Get a good basic strength from training basic bodyweight exercises like press ups, pull ups, dips and sit ups before attempting the harder exercises and holds.
If you are young and just starting out then you have all the time in the world to progress so don’t skip progressions or use bad technique to be able to boast of more reps.
Stay humble and enjoy yourself.
When people want to train and learn from you, where can they meet you? I know you’re working as a bodyweight coach in london during the week? And are there any plans to visit Europe with the RPB workshops anytime soon?
So last year we ran 12 workshops throughout England and also Ireland and Northern Ireland and this year we intend to do the same and maybe confirm some dates in other European countries too … Germany we are waiting!!
And like you say we’ve been running a weekly Calisthenics class in South East London at CrossFit Performance 360 for over a year now which Ranjit takes every Monday evening from 7:30-8:45pm which anybody can attend.
Also I run a monthly class which started last November, this class is in Warlingham, just South of London at CrossFit Devils Path and runs every last Saturday in each month from 10-11:30am. Again, you don’t have to be a member of the gym to attend so anybody who’s just visiting London on a break or short holiday can come along and join in – the best thing to do, is to contact us via our Facebook page and we can sort it all out from there.
Feel free to check out my Facebook. And I got some Instagram too: lwt1976
Twitter is @official_RPB
Lee thanks a lot for talking to me! Any last words or useful tips and quotes for our readers?
Thank you and my pleasure. My only advise is to do what you like to do with your training.
Some people like to freestyle – spin – bar hop – whatever you call it, others like to train basics and endless endurance sets and reps. Others will train just weighted calisthenics and then you’ll have athletes combining them all!
There’s no right or wrong way, at the end of the day if your in the park or the gym training rather than sat at home being a couch potato on your games console or out getting yourself into trouble with the law then it can only be a good thing – do what makes you happy and don’t get too strung up when your not reaching your goals … stick at it and perceiver ~ LWT