SOA’s 500th Post: How Far We’ve Come And Where We’re Going

August 28, 2014

Today marks a huge moment in my life.

For most of my life I’ve been a leaf floating in the wind. I did something until I became bored and then I moved on. I never gave anything a chance to work, whether it was fitness, business or schooling.

Well, today I publish my 500th post!

It’s hard to believe. I don’t know how many hours it takes to write 500 posts, but I’m sure it’s a lot.

In this post, I’d like to remind you how far we’ve come, and share with you where I plan on going with both the site and my own calisthenics training.

The History of the SOA Site

You may have thought that SOA was the first website that I started, but when I was in Nursing school, I started a site called SourceofVitality.com (someone else owns that URL now).

Here’s a screenshot of that site:

Source of Vitality

I started Source of Vitality in 2006. I had a lot of knowledge to share and this was my outlet.

A few months after starting it, I asked my professor, Dr. Hamilton, what she thought of it. Her email reply hit me like a brick.

“Todd, you have no authority to start a website like this. You have no credentials and don’t know what you’re talking about. You have ADD and need to get focused. Shut the site down and focus!”

What?! How could she say this?! I became defensive.

“My website is helping people! How could you say that?!”

The truth is that not many people were visiting the site. I soon lost interest and just left the site collecting dust.

A year later, I wanted to see if anyone had been visiting the site. To my surprise, thousands of people were visiting! The most popular section was the bodyweight exercises. I wondered where these people were coming from, so I checked the stats.

Some GIF clips that I’d created to demonstrate certain exercises had been shared in hundreds of Chinese and Indian forums. It was so bizarre seeing a bunch of Chinese text and then a moving GIF image of me doing dive-bomber push-ups.

My jaw hit the floor. I knew I had something special.

I was in the middle of my studies, so I didn’t act on it. However, I always kept this tidbit of knowledge in the back of my mind.

Version 1: Extreme-Exercises.com

In the summer of 2011, my passion for teaching bodyweight exercises grew. I knew I had something special, and I felt obligated to share it with the world.

I started a site called Extreme-Exercises.com.

Here’s what the site looked like:

I used "Wayback Machine" to find a screen shot of the old site. It didn't have a black background. Not sure why it came up like this.

I used the Wayback Machine to find a screenshot of the old site. It didn’t have a black background, so I’m not sure why it came up like this.

After working on the site for around 10 months, I was blown away. The site continued to grow and had reached about 750 visitors each day. I thought to myself, “Maybe this could be a business.” I’d always dreamed of being an entrepreneur.

Extreme-Exercises.com stats

After doing quite a bit of research, I found a guy named Corbett Bar. He ran a website called ThinkTraffic.net, which has now turned into Fizzle.co.

I worked with him directly, and he helped me rebrand. A Shot of Adrenaline was born. The name was catchier and encompassed more than just exercise, which is where I wanted to head.

Version 2: Old AShotofAdrenaline.net

I hired someone on Elance.com to design the site. Regretfully, I went for beauty over readability.

Here’s the design. A lot of you have followed me for a while and will remember this version.

Shot of Adrenaline old

In March 2012, I officially switched over to AShotofAdrenaline.net.

Visitor numbers continued to grow and we’re now up to about 4000-5000 a day. I’ve been blown away by this and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Here are the stats from the switch-over until now:

Shot of Adrenaline traffic

Version 3: New AShotofAdrenaline.net

I knew the content on the old SOA site was hard to read. It was hard to read for me and for you. I know this because many of you told me. I’d wanted to redesign the site for a while, so as to make the main purpose of the site more readable and accessible.

In April 2014, my wife and I prayed about redesigning the site. After prayer and discussion, we knew it was time. I was excited.

I knew exactly who I wanted to redesign the site. Her name was Mindy and she created the BodyweightBundle.com. She is highly skilled at designing.

We went through many versions and finally released what you see today.

new SOA site

I believe we achieved our goal of readability.

What Next: My Vision for the Future of Calisthenics?

For now, I have no desire or need to change the site around again. I do, however, see a hole in the calisthenics industry.

Many years ago, I taught the internal martial art of Tai Chi Chuan. One memory will stick with me for the rest of my life.

It was early in the morning. I’d already been practicing for an hour and working through my form (aka “kata”). All of a sudden, energy rose up from the ground and into my body. My muscles were relaxed but the energy levels in my body went through the roof. I was fluid, like water, but could have hit with the force of a locomotive. I felt like a tornado.

To this day, I’ve never experienced anything like it again. The power was unbelievable, indescribable.

In Eastern martial arts, emphasis is not placed on muscular development or physical performance, but instead on energy control, focus, balance, deep breathing, and many other elements.

One of my favorite calisthenics experts is Ido Portal. The mantra that he shares with the world is to MOVE! “Movement is life.”

I agree fully, but so much is left out. Movement is not the be all and end all.

Traditional Western fitness emphasizes:

  • Strength
  • Power
  • Muscular growth
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Mobility
  • Explosiveness

Traditional Eastern “fitness” emphasizes:

  • Balance
  • Energy control
  • Breathing
  • Fluidity
  • Relaxation
  • Body oneness
  • Mind control

My deepest question is: Shouldn’t we be focusing on BOTH?

If you could control your internal energy at a high level, could this also improve your strength? If you breathed deeply from your lower belly (thereby pulling in more oxygen), would this improve your handstand, front lever, and other tricks?

Over the coming years, this is where I’m heading with my personal practice.

As a community we’ll still focus on building strength and muscle and dropping body fat.

Recent research shows that 35% of the entire world (not just the US) is overweight. There is definitely a need for traditional fitness, but fitness is so much more than just jumping jacks. It’s about exploration.

Even after 500 posts, I’m continuing to realize this.

Come and join me on a remarkable journey, and dive deeper into the world of calisthenics.

-Todd

Show/Hide Comments (22 comments)
L
22 Comments
  1. Matt

    Awesome Todd, congrats! I just launched my own website in May and just the other day I was thinking of how rewarding it was that only a few months prior I had an idea to start a website, and now I have published over 30 posts… I can only imagine what publishing 500 posts feels like!

    It was great to read your story, but I will say to all those who aren’t familiar with Corbett Barr and Fizzle, working with him to re-brand and build out your blog is basically a cheat code for finding ultimate blogging success! I am sure that was an incredible experience for you. I am very familiar with his work and Fizzle which has put me in touch with some incredible people.

    I just subscribed to your site and look forward to reading more. I myself am a lifetime fitness addict and fitness is one of the primary focuses of my site. While I am a huge fan of weightlifting, I am always looking for new ways and alternative ways to improve my fitness & bodyweight training is one of my favorites.

    I would love to connect and feature some of your content on my page! Look forward to chatting soon.

    Reply
  2. Dave

    Congrats Todd, I’m new here so don’t remember the old web sites but I’m sure glad I found this one. As I told you via email in just one month I have see increases way above what the gym was giving me. Others have also noticed and I directed them to your site. To make a mental note of the changes I have see in ONE MONTH;
    – Reduced midsection two full notches in my belt.
    – Extraordinary (really unbelievable) increase in arm, chest, and leg size and definition.
    – Less over all joint pain and feel very energized.
    You called the first month “What Was I Thinking” I agree but believe me at the end of the month I was calling it unbelievable, remarkable results. If done Insanity, tried the whole gym thing and have never even come close to seeing this kind of results, and to think I’ve only completed month ONE of the three month plan!!! This is just so unreal I’m only doing around 30-min a day three times a week seeing great results, that’s 150-min less than I was doing and I’m seeing three times better results.
    Thank you so much,
    Dave

    Reply
    • Todd Kuslikis

      Dave, I’m so happy my man!!! Glad you are seeing the awesome results!! Thanks for sharing the site with your friends and keep up the amazing work!!!

      Reply
  3. Raza

    Todd,

    This is a really inspirational post. 4000-5000 visitors a day is incredible. I don’t know how you did it, but your success is inspirational.

    I’ve recently gotten into strength training, but was a kung fu practitioner in high school and college so your emphasis on both eastern and western fitness philosophy will be a great read.

    Looking forward to your new blog posts.

    Raza

    Reply
    • Todd Kuslikis

      Hi Raza. You are well on your way buddy! I have a similar background so we’ll have to trade notes! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Abhijit

    Todd, I not only congratulate on the milestone (quantity) of 500th post, but also on the quality of each one. You are an unselfish, humble human being and may God bless you and yours for all that you do.

    Reply
    • Todd Kuslikis

      Awww.. Thanks so much Abhijit! I’m so glad you are enjoying the content. God bless you and your family too!

      Reply
  5. Nick

    This is REALLY AWESOME! This is trully inspiring to me.
    You are a testimony of concistency and hard work.

    Reply
  6. Sara

    Todd, you “gift” so much information and insight to your readers that exceeds just the physical realm. As your insight and wisdom grow, so too will this site and your success.
    I look forward to your incorporation of Eastern elements of “fitness” ( energetic, mental and spiritual, as well as the physical) into your pratice and site.
    Thank you for all you have shared. May you continue to be blessed in all your endeavors.

    Reply
    • Todd Kuslikis

      I’m happy to do it Sara! I know there is a huge unexplored world out there and I intend to dive deeply into it. Of course, we’ll still unearth traditional bodyweight insights too.

      Reply
  7. Peter

    Thanks for the great work, keep it up! 🙂

    Reply
    • Todd Kuslikis

      Will do Peter!

      Reply
  8. Beverly

    Congratulations on 500 posts. I will be looking forward to your exploration of a blend of both worlds.

    Reply
    • Todd Kuslikis

      Thanks Beverly!! I’ll definitely be sharing my insights. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Dylan

    Congrats, Todd! 500 posts is quite a milestone. I have been following you for about a year and a half, honestly you and Coach Wade are the ones who got me into calisthenics in the first place. It has been really cool to see your development as both an athlete and a writer from this end of things, you have come a long way. It is great to see some quality information and effective exercises all in the same place, and your video demonstrations library awesome. Thank your for the hard work you do, both for individuals and to further spread calisthenics and advanced bodyweight exercise. Keep on rocking, man!

    Reply
    • Todd Kuslikis

      Awesome Dylan! Coach Wade is one of my favorites. Glad you are enjoying the site!

      Reply
  10. Len

    Congrats Todd on your 500th post. That is a real milestone. Thanks for sharing your journey with your readers. I find your information here both relevant and entertaining. I came to know of you through your product Bodyweight Overload which I recommend to friends who want to start working out but don’t want to go to the gym or buy equipment. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Todd Kuslikis

      Thanks Len! I appreciate you recommending Overload to friends and for being part of the SOA community!

      Reply
  11. Dibyesh

    I do think we should be focusing on both. In fact I think some way or the other controlling your mind and breathing is a better way to be powerful. I do know one thing being and Indian, that by controlling your breathing (yogic meditation) you can just let your stress out and I use it everyday for 15 minutes. Also I had heard that if you know how to use CHI, which is again related to breathing control, can give you tremendous defensive power.

    Reply
    • Todd Kuslikis

      Hi Dibyesh, Yeah, I do Tai Chi for 15 minutes every morning before my strength work and its incredible. I’m definitely no yogi but have practiced the art for several years. Chi can definitely be manipulated for healing or defense.

      Reply
      • Dibyesh

        I had seen in a National Geographic TV program, Fight science, where a Chinese martial arts expert took a hit from a base ball bat, equivalent to 800 pounds of force, and there was absolutely no pain to him!

        Reply
        • Todd Kuslikis

          Yeah, I’ve seen that same thing. Its really sweet stuff. Great proof of the effectiveness of eastern martial arts.

          Reply
Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *