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As part of Men’s Health Week 2015 we take a look back at a young man turning physical fitness into an art form. Meet Jose Jimenez the Parkour Artist

As most doctors will tell you maintaining your health is equal parts diet and exercise. But what if you don’t have the means for fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships? Well let us introduce you to the art of Parkour and the artist behind it – Jose Jimenez. Growing up in a concrete jungle like New York City, no one would have guessed that Jimenez, would use his natural environment to become a renowned Parkour artist and extreme calisthenics competitor. Forget about free weights or gym machines. Jimenez uses playground equipment, buildings and healthy competition with his friends, to push his body, and others, to the limit.

The Washington Heights native started working out to avoid being picked on in school. At 16 Jimenez discovered Parkour, an art that uses the body to navigate across buildings and other physical obstacles. He took to it like a fish to water and joined NY Parkour just a year later. He’s been teaching and performing (movies, videos, events) ever since. Parkour connected him with the extreme calisthenics group New York Bar Stazz a few years later. “Extreme calisthenics is taking body weight exercises to a whole new level,” Jimenez explained. “It’s being creative, breaking what was thought to be impossible, having complete control of the body.”

If you think getting into shape without being a gym rat is impossible, think again. “Both [arts] are easy to get in to,” Jimenez says. “All it takes is willpower.” His advice is to start simple. “Do simple work outs like push-ups, dips, pulls ups, leg raises, etc. Once that gets easy start doing a little more advanced stuff like muscle ups, back levers, front levers, handstands, then start getting more creative by combining moves together.”

Jimenez credits these arts with changing his life, taking him from a “bad kid” to one with a purpose. “My journey here on earth is to motivate, encourage, inspire, and teach people about themselves,” Jimenez said. “The human body is capable of so much that we are unaware of and people tend to forget that and instead live their life through technology.”

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