UT Men’s Soccer Player Practices Holistic Journey Through Listening and Self-Love

By: Cameron Andrade

A member of The University of Tampa’s men’s soccer team, senior forward Omar Thali, has discovered a journey of his own. A calisthenic workout technique that approaches the holistic ways of the body.

Calisthenics are exercises that focus a great amount on the importance of the body and the mental flow state. The core focus of this technique involves mobility, flexibility, and strength, helping an individual achieve bodily fitness and a grace of movement. 

Many users of calisthenics refer to the exercise as a journey, as they are improving their body not only physically but also mentally. 

“Once you really enter this journey and break the first barriers there is almost no going back because there is so much to discover, ” said Thali. “I created a relationship to pain on a basis in which it really became my teacher. This is about listening, people distract themselves when all they should do is listen.”

Born in  Zug, Switzerland, Thali was able to find his journey in calisthenics through some of his friends, a workout that tends to be popular amongst European countries.

“I have friends back home in Europe that do calisthenics competitions on a regular, so training with them made the path inspiring and easier,” said Thali.

Thali has had the pleasure of traveling all over the globe to places such as Egypt, Antigua, and Colombia — meaning brand new opportunities to add to his own personal journey by learning new techniques and experiences from people in different cultures as well as building a more holistic train of thought. 

“Traveling and seeing different cultures widens one’s perspective which is also holistic thinking,” said Thali. “It’s about perspective and understanding others, so you can better understand yourself.”

Developing a holistic mind and developing his journey through calisthenics has not only helped Thali off the field, but has also helped him recover from injuries many may not have been able to recover from.

“My movement practice helped me reduce my injury rate to a level which I never thought was possible,” said Thali. “I had three knee surgeries and several more knee injuries. I have torn all ligaments in both of my ankles and I had constant back problems. I was barely able to walk at a certain point.”

Thali emphasizes the importance of listening, specifically with listening to your body and how it responds to certain situations. The mind muscle is an important factor into the art of calisthenics, since this type of workout often calls for you to open your concentration and a mindfulness for your body.

“I started to listen, so today I feel better than ever which obviously helps with performing on the field,” said Thali. “Going through a lot also helps to develop a mental clarity which helps make the right decision in the right moment on the field.”

Throughout his journey Thali decided to bring his knowledge of calisthenics to social media. After posting different workouts and routines online, Thali began to gather a large following. He has now collected over 100,000 followers on Instagram and almost 20,000 on TikTok. 

Thali now shows his holistic journey while giving tips to his followers who are going through their own journeys. Social media was another way that Thali could learn in his holistic journey. 

“I started to share content on social media because I wanted to learn and I learn by creating,” said Thali. “I have been through a lot of pain in my life on different levels and everything is just the self love I developed over the years to myself.”

One thing that Thali plans to express throughout his journey on social media is the art of self-love. Believing that today’s society may not have the chance to experience their true potential and true individuality. 

“I think one big issue today at universities is that people do not seek individuality and creative expression,” said Thali. “This might be because everything is handed to today’s generation and they have never experienced pain in which they could rethink and transform themselves, so they can express their true individuality.”

Thali wants to set an example for his social media following, to help his followers understand that they can love themselves and be who they want to become instead of who the big mainstream accounts expect them to be.

“Sometimes, it makes me sad how the mainstream and big institutions promote and influence people’s subconscious decision making,” said Thali. “So even if other people think differently they point their fingers at them.

Thali encourages people how to love themselves and listen to their bodies to learn their true self. As he goes through his own holistic journey, Thali is still learning and still continues to bring his knowledge and journey to light through the ways of holistic performance.

“Moving forward we have to start celebrating being different, individual expression, and self-love,” said Thali. “Self-love meaning removing layers [subconscious programs] which hinder you from expressing your true self.”

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