This Calisthenics Trainer Wants to Help the Philly Area Get Healthier

Meet Evan Harden, one of our 2020 Health Hero semi-finalists.

Evan Harden, founder of National Bar League, an organization that hosts freestyle calisthenics competitions, is one of our 2020 Health Hero semi-finalists.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be chatting with our semi-finalists in the 2020 Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge brought to you by Independence Blue Cross to give you a glimpse of the people who are helping Philadelphians live healthier lives. Vote to help decide which of these 10 semi-finalists become one of three finalists — and get a sizable donation to a charity of their choice — here. Remember, you can vote once a day until October 1st!

Name: Evan Harden, local athlete and founder of the National Bar League, an organization that hosts freestyle calisthenics competitions.

Nonprofit of choice: Tahirih Justice Center, an organization providing a broad range of direct legal and social services, policy advocacy, and training and education to protect immigrant women and girls fleeing violence. They have served over 25,000 individuals fleeing violence since 1997 and are committed to serving as many immigrant women and girls as possible.


What motivates you to try and make Philadelphia a healthier place?

What motivates me to make Philly a healthier place is the love I have for the people in my community. When I began to see and understand the health conditions that plague African Americans and low-income communities, I knew I wanted to concentrate my energy on making a change. My mission is to help educate these very same people on how they can be more self-reliant in taking control of their overall health.

Describe a health or fitness related turning point in your life.

A turning point for me was when I was shot at 16. I was shot through my right arm and the bullet went down my back, stopping just short of my spine. With the bullet left in me, this event had a mental and physical impact on me. It wasn’t until seven years later that I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself as a victim and take control. I discovered calisthenics in 2013 and haven’t lifted weights since. I have dedicated my days to pushing my mental and physical limits.

What policy would you institute to make Greater Philadelphia a healthier region?

The policy that I would institute to make Philly a healthier region is making health and wellness a priority in education. I believe a lot of issues stem from poor childhood habits and a lack of education which later lead to health problems down the road in life. This also leaves people susceptible to misinformation and being taken advantage of through gimmicks.

What’s the most important part of your health or wellness regimen?

The most important part of my health regimen has been writing my workouts and goals out. I kept a daily log for past 7 years which has kept me consistent and focused. This also allowed me to see where I have improved which kept me motivated and where I should challenge myself which kept me hungry for improvement.

What is your number one piece of health-related advice?

The largest piece of advice I can give is be consistent in your movement. Push yourself, be patient, stay consistent, and understand that it’s your lifetime journey. We can all get distracted and discouraged but staying focused and giving yourself a tremendous amount of love during the process will help a lot. Don’t compare yourself we are all unique and different with our own individual strengths, weaknesses, goals and interests. You can’t drive a car to your destination if you are exclusively focused on the cars in the other lanes. You have to keep your eyes on the road ahead of you.

Check out all the semi-finalists, and remember to vote HERE now. (Remember, you can vote once a day until October 1st!) Stay in touch with @bewellphilly and @phillymagevents and be sure to follow the challenge using #BWPHealthHero!

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