We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Stephen Hughes-Landers - a pro street workout athlete from the UK's South Coast, who's currently dedicated to travelling the world and supporting street workout scenes across the globe. Relatively new to the street workout scene himself and a vegan, he's forging his own unique path and is accomplishing incredible things along the way.
1. Hey Stephen! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm from Eastbourne, UK. I'm a pro street workout athlete and a calisthenics instructor. Bizarrely, an internationally published cover model too. I'm an OFFICIAL member of BARSTARZZ and I'm on the advisory board of the World Street Workout & Calisthenics Federation (WSWCF)
2. You’ve only been focusing on calisthenics for a couple of years now, having previously been involved in basketball, BMX and strongman. How and why did you make the shift?
Natural movement and functional fitness has been pushed aside by evolution. People see huge muscles and lifting heavy weights as 'fit/healthy'. I want to be a part of the revolution that helps humanity learn to use their own bodies and to master them.
3. Despite it only being two years, you’ve had some huge personal achievements, including coming 2nd in last year’s Street Workout World Cup in New York. What have been your proudest moments?
Second place in the World Cup stage is memorable because I got to share the stage with all of my dynamic inspirations. After the comp was one of the greatest moments for me. Visiting Dyckman Park for the first time. That's a mecca to me. Recently I performed at Miami Heats half time with my BARSTARZZ family. This I will never forget as it was against San Antonio Spurs who I've supported since '91.
My proudest moment ever though - my mother. A few months ago she told me she was proud. I've lived my whole life trying and always feeling I'd disappointed her. This has fueled me to do more and put more in to what I love.
4. You’ve also worked hard in developing the street workout scene. How have you noticed the scene changing over the last couple of years?
The scene globally is growing rapidly. 14 times more per year. High level freestyle comps are seeing unbelievable talent, strength and skill. There are a lot of people drawn in by the freestyle element who jump straight in. I feel people need to keep educating so fundamental basics are mastered before anything else.
5. Street workout seems to have a sense of camaraderie and friendship that’s incredibly rare in other sports and fitness – even in team sports, there’s not much love beyond each individual team – why do you think this is, and how is it fostered?
The bond is indescribable. The WSWCF work hard daily to see the movement's growth reach every possible person that they can. Making the sport bigger means so much more interest. Regardless of style/goals/background - one bar, one love.
When I first saw BARSTARZZ I was addicted to them and the movement through them. To me, they're about making something bigger than themselves and not just themselves big.
6. In the last couple of years you’ve been to more countries and cities than most people do in their whole lives – which have been your favourite places to visit and work, and which have had the strongest street workout scenes?
The scene in New York means a lot to most people. Eastern Europe too have set levels and inspired so many. Spain and France are producing some of the strongest and most talented athletes. For me, the Miami scene is my favourite. Relaxed, fun, all day, every day.
7. You’re also vegan – what made you shift to a vegan diet, and do you feel it’s affected your performance? What do others in your sport think to this?
I switched as an experiment and after two weeks, my mental and physical energy was higher than ever. Almost euphoric. I don't force it on anyone. I'm happy to help others where I can. I get a bit of stick from a few. Just banter. Miami BARSTARZZ gave me the most over a vegetable pizza with no cheese!
8. Talk us through a diet plan – what macros do you shoot for? What do you eat in a typical day?
A typical day for me...
Meal 1: Oats, coconut milk and banana.
Meal 2: Tofu, sweet potato and mixed vegetables.
Meal 3: Wholegrain brown rice, asparagus, mushrooms and soya mince/seitan.
Meal 4: Avocado, hummus and green salad.
Meal 5: Red lentils, tofu, broccoli and tomatoes .
Pre workout: Apple/espresso/beetroot juice
During workout: Mixed nuts
Post workout: SunWarrior shake with hemp milk.
Lots of water
Also spirulina, maca, super greens, wheatgrass and acai daily from BodyMe
9. Has it been challenging travelling and eating vegan?
Don't. The struggle's real!!
10. Finally, what’s next for you Stephen?
So much coming up. Valencia, Hong Kong, Latvia, Russia, Switzerland, Miami, NYC, Kentucky, Alabama, Fitpro to present calisthenics to fitness professionals, South Coast Calisthenics training facility opening and SO much more that I can't remember or can't announce.
A huge thanks to Stephen for taking the time to speak to us. Stay tuned to the social media links below to find out more about Stephen's work and where he's going to be next