We invited Matiss Krumins, a 21-year-old calisthenics enthusiast and future health sports specialist, who has a background in boxing, karate and rowing, but who inspires thousands of people to lead active and healthy lives every day, even if they don't have access to sports equipment at home.
For people who don't know you, who is Matīss Krūmiņš?
I am a young man who has dedicated his whole life to sport, currently studying at RSU in the Health Sport Specialist programme and creating social media content on a daily basis. My mission in life is to inspire and help thousands of people to change their lives for the better, to make them understand the importance of health in our lives and that we create our own reality and no one else is responsible for it.
You do calisthenics, a form of exercise in which the main "sports equipment" is your own body weight. How did you get to this point?
I used to do rowing, karate and boxing, these were the 3 main sports in my life that helped me become the person I am today.
It was in karate and boxing that I often had to do exercises with body weight, that's definitely why I like it better than lifting weights, and also personally calisthenics exercises feel more natural to me. With calisthenics people can build muscle mass, lose excess weight, learn a lot of different exercises that look impressive. You can train anywhere without equipment, there is a great variety of exercises, less strain on the joints, flexibility and athleticism, and great mental health benefits.
Is that why the closure of gyms during the pandemic was less painful? Because you don't need space, extra weights and machines to get a full workout. Or maybe there were times when you struggled with a lack of motivation?
Actually, when the gyms closed, I felt even more motivated to train. Before, I used to go to the gym, but I had to push myself very hard every morning and I often skipped workouts, I didn't really feel the desire to go to the gym, but I did it anyway because I know how important sport is for both physical and mental health.
I think people need discipline because that's the key to success, but motivation is something that comes and goes, you can't really control it. We all often have that zeal to make huge changes in our lives, but it's hard to make the changes happen.
That zeal and motivation comes, but just as quickly it disappears, and then we find ourselves doing all the old habits and we don't know what to do anymore. That's when discipline comes to the rescue, because that's what will allow us to carry on when we think we've run out of powder. Build as many good habits as you can and then they will build you and your reality!
Many people who cannot imagine their workouts without the presence of a gym, a trainer and equipment will now return to gyms after a break of several months. Do you think there is a recipe for a successful return to an active lifestyle after such a long break?
If you've had a long break, you have to realise that you can't start training the same way straight away. It's definitely important to be realistic, to go into training with a goal and to remind yourself of your "why?" all the time. You need to increase your training load gradually, you need to warm up and recover, and it is very useful to write down how much and what exercises you do during your training so that you can keep track of your progress.
To stay regular with your workouts, it is important to find and do what gives you the most pleasure. Once exercise becomes a habit and part of your life, it will become much easier.
Where would you recommend someone who has just decided to take up calisthenics to start?
Be sure to follow the form of the exercises, because quality is more important than quantity. In the beginning, stick to basic exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, dips, squats, etc. Work on these exercises and then progress to harder versions - examples can be found on YouTube or on my Instagram account. Don't worry if you can't do the basics yet, as there are plenty of progression exercises to help you develop the strength you need to do them.
It's important to set a goal to aim for and I highly recommend strengthening your wrists!
"Without sport I..."
... would definitely not be the person I am today. Sport keeps people on the right track, sport builds new friendships, teaches discipline and respect for other people. I am at a point in my life where I feel that every competition, every achievement, every serious injury, experience, sweat, tears and blood was worth it, this is the stage where I am taking my life to the next level and I am ready for it. Sport is part of a happy and healthy life.
A lot of people who are active in sport now could not bear to take sports lessons in their primary school years. Do you think that the education system's approach to sports lessons is a bit wrong if, instead of children loving sport, they start to dislike it?
I think there are many factors. It is not easy to impress upon a child the importance of sport for his health and for life in general. It is also understandable that if you put 30 different children together in a sports class and give them all the same sport, someone is not going to like it.
That is why children should be allowed to try lots of different sports, and it is likely that they will stick to one of them and stay with it.
Imagine a situation where you get a few million euros and you can safely forget about paid work for the rest of your life! What would you do?
I would make sure that my family could also forget about paid work for the rest of their lives. I would invest wisely, buy only organic food of the highest quality and try to optimise my lifestyle as much as possible. I would explore the world and meet new people, and I would definitely start my own business and buy the car of my dreams.
Is there anyone in the world of sport who inspires you?
There are many people, but the first that come to mind are Daniel Lazan, Conor McGregor, Chris Heria and David Goggins. I also have very good friends who inspire me, support me and hold me to high standards.
I want more people to understand the importance of the people you hang out with in your everyday life: show me your friends and I'll show you your future!
We thank Matthijs very much for taking the time to do this interview, and we encourage you who are reading this to follow Matthijs' Instagram account to get inspired to be physically active every day! Search @mathiasthetics