Meet Travis E. Horn aka The Balancing Guru – able to perform balancing acts that will make you question what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.
Meet Travis E. Horn, aka The Balance Guru. Ever seen a video clip of a man performing a handstand atop a pillar of stacked barbells? That’s probably Travis Horn. Or how about a clip of a man climbing a rock wall backwards? That’s probably Travis too. And the clip of a man performing a walking handstand on a moving treadmill? Yes, you guessed right – Travis Horn. The ex-Marine Sergeant is causing a stir on social media through the videos and images he posts performing seemingly impossible feats of balance, strength and movement.
The real strength, however, lies deep within Horn’s life story, which began in a family that ‘was caught up in the system’ of Las Vegas. Having spent much of his early childhood in the care of a foster family, his father gained custody of both he and his brother and Horn spent his childhood and adolescence raised in HUD housing and growing up on Food Stamps. This tough and often bleak experience only served to ignite his work ethic and his desire to want more out of life. Early on he recognised his talent for sports, particularly in amateur tennis and American Football. However, living in the shadow of poverty quashed his progression in sports due to an inability to afford basic sporting equipment. ‘As a teenager or child coming from a family with no money it definitely effects direction in terms of having the money to be on actual teams. I remember making the High School football team and the pads were too big. Going to one of the worse schools in Las Vegas they could not fund pads.’ Horn sought support from his family, but quickly found this not to be an option either. ‘My dad then became the dream killer that he didn’t want to be. Because he couldn’t afford them at that time, he did not move forward with that path’ and like many living on the fringes of society, Horn found himself without a clear path toward any progression in his life. Consequently, he chose one of the only available options – military service. ‘After high school I followed my brothers footsteps into the Marines and then I lost communication for almost the entire 4 years we both served. He was either deployed or I was.’
It was during this time that Horn truly began to understand his desire to strive for something more meaningful. Once more, he found his ambitions quelled by an uneasy divorce and a disconnect with civilian life upon his return from the Marine Corps. In order to find an escape, ‘my brother hit me with the idea to take out his frustrations and pain of being alone out in the gym.’ For once, it looked as though Horn was gaining some stability in his life as he put his energy into not only himself but also building his sons dreams. Realising his passion and talent for calisthenics, Horn aspired to take part in the grueling American Ninja Warrior challenge, only to have this goal once more crushed by a life-threatening jet ski accident. Having so many setbacks may have deterred others but not Horn. ‘From that moment, I told myself in a hospital bed that I, just like many others, am alone in this life and needs to focus on how I can contribute while maintaining happiness. ‘
Struggling to pay the medical bills and losing everything, Horn locked himself into a daily routine of walking 2 miles to and from his gym. He did this ‘for 3 years straight becoming completely obsessed in becoming stronger and more focused than ever.’
Many chase stardom or attention for their achievements and often those who do not achieve immediate recognition will stop trying to achieve their goals. Horn’s approach was different. ‘Many know me as a laid back, balanced, minimalist. I have definitely mastered the art of no excuses.’ This attitude served him well when posting hundreds of videos without any acknowledgement. When he finally did achieve recognition, the outcome was not as he expected. ‘I became sickened with the negativity of the planets assumptions of me just trying to gain attention . Yes, attention is a key step in selling yourself however I am is committed to pushing the limits and being a DOER.’
As his reputation grows Horn aims to spread the awareness of calisthenics, specifically within India’s fitness industry. ‘I want to revolutionize the fitness industry by teaching proper movements in all forms, from a simple sit-up to how you sleep at night. I would like to travel the world opening gyms and changing the way that other countries look at fitness, specifically India. I choose India because they have no history or background in this form of fitness.’ Closer to home Horn continues to inspire his followers by encouraging them to push themselves to their limits, most recently in the GuruChallenge in which he challenges followers to perform a simple balancing act to improve overall health and fitness.
Travis Horn is pushing calisthenics to limits not often seen as a way of exorcising his own personal demons and giving those who watch the belief that they are in control of their lives, pushing and motivating other individuals to find their limits. In every way, this is a balancing act but if there’s one person who you could rely on to deliver, it would be The Balancing Guru.
Our thanks go to Travis Horn for making this interview happen.
You can check out his work on Instagram @thebalanceguru
Article © IYO Magazine