I'm proud to present one of the great propagators of female street workout: Natali Pashkof. She founded the Barsisters web community, requested a female category in competitions and posted great videos of the female participants in both world championships on her YouTube channel. Read her own story below!
In daily life: I work as a tattoo artist and stretching trainer. I’m in love with my Maine coon cat, I’m keen on fashion design, I cook healthy food and practice meditation. I like reading psychological literature and choosing advices that really help to make my life better. I regularly meet my friends - some of them are doing street workout so we train together. I’m now a volunteer in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Russia and at least once a week I’m meeting a girl from an orphans house.
How athletic were you before you started with street workout? Did you do any sports?
Before I joined the street workout community I was a pole dance trainer - not pole sport but so called "exotic pole dance". Long ago I used to be a dancer and a choreographer in night clubs, so when pole dance started to be popular as a kind of fitness I became a trainer. Of course I was fit, but not as strong as pole sport athletes and much weaker than I am now.
Why did you start with street workout, how did that happen?
My way in street workout started with a guy on the playground, where I was doing pullups and human flag just to be more confident on the pole, who asked me if I was doing street workout. I never heard about it before and asked him back what this was. He answered I was doing something very similar, so I googled "street workout" and fell in love at first sight - not with that guy but with workout!
What do you like most about it?
I like it for many reasons. First, I got two hernias and street workout is the only sport that doesn’t hurt me. I ain’t got pain during and after the training - I mean my back doesn’t hurt, but my muscles do! Second reason is that I got a very weak immunity because of genetic depression and its medical therapy, so I need to raise it somehow. In Russia we got only 3-5 warm months a year, but even in winter I train outside. It helps me a lot to prevent cold. These are my personal reasons, but the main is that street workout is a full body training. Even if you do pullups you use your abs, your back and your legs if you try to hold it straight. It gives a very fast result if we are talking about a good looking body and it gives much more physical strength than gym or fitness.
How often do you train, how many hours a week?
I usually train three times a week, and during a cold season I train outside at least once a week. In summer I prefer to train only outside - alone or with my team. My training is "go hard or go home" so I cannot say how many hours I spend on the bars. I train till I cannot do even a single pushup - one day its two or three hours non-stop, the other day its thirty minutes. During and after training I stretch my whole body to prevent injuries. If I’m stressed I do only stretching and self massage to reduce pain from the myofascial pain syndrome I got. Before competitions and performances I give myself at least three days rest.
What’s your favorite exercise to do?
My favourite exercise is muscle up. Sounds funny because it was the hardest exercise for me all these two years I’m working out on the bars. Second one is Russian dips on parallel bars.
What’s your least favorite?
Least favourite are different static exercises - front and back lever, planche. I’m working on it just to continue winning in competitions, just to have a "good level", I got some progress but I really dislike it.
Did you ever compete? Where? What was your best result?
When I started doing street workout there were no female competitions in Russia, so I just performed or "competed" with guys. I had a dream to compete with girls - not to win but just to have rivals, to feel the adrenaline, to do my best and to exchange experience. I created a group to promote female workout, held online competitions for beginners and advanced athletes and asked my team to add a female category to all street workout competitions in Saint-Petersburg they were organizing. Now there is much more interest to female workout in Russia and much more girls that are able to perform even on the world championship. I was not the first and not the one who performed in my country but I was one of the first who was talking about female competitions.
I competed a lot, I won first and second places, I didn’t pass the pre-selection to both world champs but I cannot say that competitions are the reason why I train or my favourite part of workout. I like much more events and festivals that include performances, master-classes and open trainings with the athletes - it gives a chance to learn something new.
Do you have an example, someone you look up to (in street workout)?
I never took anyone for an example just because people are different and cannot have the same result, the same style and the same goals. But there are two persons in female workout I really admire: Alexia Evans and Madeleine Leander. Alexia helped me a lot with the BarSisters online competition and is always inspiring me with her positive way of training and living. I’m really happy to know her via Facebook and hope to meet her one day in real life! Madeleine is in my humble opinion the strongest girl on the bars ever and I was very sad about her trauma on the world champ.
Any tips for beginners?
Giving advices to beginners is my profession, but the only one thing you need to know is "people are able to do it so why aren’t you?"