'Wholesome' Fitness Influencer Praised for Removing Shame from Personal Training

One fitness influencer has grabbed the internet's attention with his patient, kind approach to working out and training others.

Fitness influencer Hampton Liu, who creates content under the brand name Hybrid Calisthenics, routinely posts fitness tutorials for his audience across various social platforms with the aim of building a strong and supportive community.

"I chose to use the word 'calisthenics' in my brand name because I believe it implies that we already have the power to improve ourselves," Liu told Newsweek. "It feels like a lot of companies try to sell us our fitness through expensive products. Some of these are really cool and useful, but I think calisthenics reminds us that we already have all we need to be healthy, fit, and strong. We have our body, the floor and gravity."

Liu's tutorials range from teaching his audience how to increase their pushup numbers to giving practical advice on building self-esteem. However, one video, in particular, gained traction on Twitter, with many commenters feeling inspired and empowered.

One Twitter user who goes by the name of Jeeves Pfizer Gang re-posted one of Liu's TikTok tutorials called, "You can do push-ups." The Twitter user said of the video: "Now THIS is a fitness influencer."

The tweet has received more than 200,000 likes and over 60,000 retweets, and the original video has received over one million views on TikTok.

now THIS is a fitness influencer 👏 pic.twitter.com/SnGDNombw3

— Jeeves 🇪🇺🇲🇽🏳️‍🌈 Pfizer Gang (1/2) (@jeeveswilliams) May 12, 2021

The goal of the video is to dispel the discouragement people feel from not being able to do traditional push-ups. In the tutorial, Liu shows a variety of regressions people can make when building upper-arm strength and learning proper form.

Liu begins the video by saying, "My friends, if you can't do push-ups, just like everything else in the world, you can build up."

"There's no reason to be ashamed if you can't do a push-up," he continues. "Fitness is a journey and we all start somewhere. Plus, there are many kinds of push-ups."

For beginners, Liu demonstrates wall push-ups. In the video, he recommends completing three sets of 50, to get the body used to the pushing motion. Liu then demonstrates incline push-ups, which he says can be done on a railing, table or stable surface. "The lower the object," he says, "the harder."

Next, Liu demonstrates how to do kneeling push-ups on the ground. Often referred to as "girl push-ups," Liu says, "No, I do not call them 'girl push-ups.' This is a great therapy exercise that we don't need to shame, and I've never met a girl who likes them being called that."

He recommends working these push-ups until it's easy to complete two sets of 25. After which, he says, the student should be strong enough to complete a regular push-up.

In the video, Liu emphasizes the importance of proper form, and not falling victim to frustration or embarrassment. He also recommends that if joint pain becomes regular when doing push-ups, to go back to an easier variation. "Muscles develop faster than joints," he writes in the caption.

"My approach is based on me genuinely wanting to help the person watching the video," Liu told Newsweek. "I believe it's really important for viewers to be motivated by the right things. Insecurity and shame can be motivators, but I don't think they're healthy ones. I've found that if you show most people how simple it is to progress, they naturally want to try it."

Liu appears to have hit the nail on the head: with the feeling of shame removed, many commenters feel inspired to work out.

One Twitter user commented: "I'm 400 pounds, I've always been obese. I've never, ever in my life been able to do a push-up. Gym class was always a nightmare, it was humiliating. I f***ing wish someone like this could have been there to walk me through just like he did. This makes me want to try."

"I'm actually tearing up right now," tweeted another user in response to the shared video. "I have NEVER heard someone speak this way (words and tone) about starting where I am and making gentle progress. No condescension at all."

I'm actually tearing up right now. I have NEVER heard someone speak this way (words and tone) about starting where I am and making gentle progress. No condescension at all. 🥲

— not big-boned—just fat (@DrKevJoeMan) May 12, 2021

In response to those who have had negative prior experiences with fitness, Liu has this to say:

"To those with bad experiences, I'm sorry that you had to suffer at all. Fitness CAN be fun and enjoyable. It doesn't have to be a struggle. Don't feel like you're too behind. Fitness is a journey and we're all at different places. All you need to do is find the next right step and keep going in that direction."

"You can love yourself NOW, my friend," he continues. "That doesn't have to take away from your work ethic. You can love yourself and push yourself hard at the same time."

Hampton Liu
hybridcalisthenics/TikTok Screenshot

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