A workout that could be done at any time, anywhere and that comes with so many benefits? Yes, please!
Any healthy individual could start practicing calisthenics. Beginners could start slow and steady. They can then gradually increase the duration and intensity of their workouts.
If you have any medical conditions, get your doctor’s approval first.
With consistent exercises, calisthenics could help build muscle strength and improve muscle endurance – the duration of how long the person could keep up the workout.
A study showed that calisthenics improves mental well-being. Another study found that individuals using weight training machines reported experiencing low back pain compared to those practicing calisthenics.
It also helps to improve your strength, flexibility and burn some calories.
How many calories you can burn with calisthenics?
How many calories you burn mainly depends on your age, gender, basal metabolic rate, weight, intensity and duration of your physical activity.
In general, practicing calisthenics for 30 minutes burns:
135 calories if you are 57 kg
167 calories if you are 70 kg
200 calories if you are 91 kg
Practicing vigorous calisthenics for 30 minutes burns:
240 calories if you are 57 kg
306 calories if you are 70 kg
400 calories if you are 91 kg
A person who weighs 68 kg will burn around:
324 calories in 1 hour during a moderate calisthenics workout
576 calories in 1 hour during a vigorous calisthenics workout
So, the higher the weight of the individual and the higher the duration and the intensity of your workouts, the higher the number of calories burned during your workouts.
Adjust the nutrient intake according to your goals
Not everyone who exercises has the same body goals. Some want to lose weight; others gain weight and the rest just want to maintain it.
If you aim to lose weight, you’ll have to burn more calories than the ones ingested from foods. In this way, your stored fat will be used for energy. Thus, you will start losing weight.
If you aim to gain weight, you’ll have to increase your caloric intake from foods versus the calories you burn. In this way, those extra calories consumed will be stored as fat. Thus, you will start gaining weight.
If you aim to maintain your current weight, the calories burned should be the same as the calories consumed.
No matter your body goal, there are certain recommendations that you need to follow in order to get the best results including an improved body composition, shape and appearance. Not to forget your overall health.
It’s highly recommended to consume mostly whole foods like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes. These foods are the least processed. Processed foods, in general, contain preservatives and added ingredients.
Stay away from fast foods and fatty food options as much as possible. In fact, these foods increase the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol levels, hypertension and so on.
Limit your refined carbohydrate and added sugar intake. These options significantly increase your blood sugar levels which in turn increase the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, blood pressure, etc.
Get enough protein per day. One way is to include protein such as meats, dairy products, beans, seeds and nuts in every meal.
Hydrate well. It is crucial to drink enough water daily for your overall health, muscle function and better performance.
Include a variety of foods and practice food moderation. Different foods will get you different nutrients including vitamins, minerals and fibers.
Also, a strict diet without some fun foods will become boring and non-sustainable. This is why you need to focus on following a healthy diet most of the time by choosing healthier substitutes but also keeping room for some foods that you really enjoy despite their nutritional value. Balance is key. This will keep you satisfied and motivated.
Limit your overall intake of empty caloric foods and drinks that are high in calories, sugar, sodium and fat and low in nutrients. Some examples of empty caloric food and drinks options are alcohol, soft drinks, fast foods, etc.
Depending on your body goals, you need to distribute your macronutrients in a certain way.
If your goal is weight loss, you need to be in a calorie deficit and focus on a ratio of around 40-50% carbohydrates, 30%-35% protein and 20-30% fats.
If your goal is weight gain, you need to be in a calorie surplus and focus on a ratio of around 45-50% carbs, 35% protein and 15-20% fats.
If your goal is weight maintenance, you need to consume as many calories as you burn daily and focus on a ratio of 45-50% carbs, 25-30% protein and 20-30% fats.
Your exact protein needs vary based on your weight and physical activity level.
In general, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein of an adult is around 0.8-1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
If you are a person who is physically active, you might need more protein than the usual RDA. You might need between 1.2-2 g of protein per kg of body weight per day. The more you exercise and the higher the intensity of your workouts, the higher your protein requirements.
So, what should your meals look like for calisthenics?
Some good examples of breakfast are:
- Whole wheat bread with turkey slices, avocado and vegetables
- Oats with yogurt, nuts and seeds
- Smoothies made of milk, peanut butter and fruits
Some good examples of lunch are:
- Grilled chicken breast with sweet potato and a green salad
- Oven baked salmon with steamed brown rice and oven baked vegetables
- Grilled steak with mashed potato and grilled veggies
Some good examples of dinner are:
- Quinoa salad with tuna and avocado
- Egg sandwich with avocado and veggies
- Beef salad with noodles
Some good examples of snacks are:
- Greek yogurt with berries
- Hummus and carrots
- Cottage cheese toast and veggies
How soon before your workout should you eat?
Usually, it’s not recommended to eat directly before your workout because it could be challenging for your muscles and performance. Plus, you may experience some gastrointestinal discomfort while training.
Ideally, you should consume your pre-workout meal 1 to 4 hours before, based on your body tolerance. This meal should consist of carbs and some proteins.
Carbs provide the main fuel to your body. Proteins help improve muscle protein synthesis and stop muscle damage. The latter also promotes recovery.
When should you have your post-workout meal?
Since your body uses the stored glycogen in your muscles during your workout, you need to replenish them. That is why you need to get enough carbs and proteins within an hour of finishing your workout.
Do you need protein supplements?
Supplements are there to supplement our diets and not replace them. Their main purpose should be to enhance our way of eating.
If you’re able to reach your daily needed protein intake through your diet, then there is no need for extra supplements. However, if you have difficulty consuming enough protein, you might need to go for protein supplements.
Some examples include: whey protein powder, casein protein powder, creatine, Branched chain amino acids, etc.
To sum it up, calisthenics is the ideal exercise to move your body without any equipment needed. It has so many health benefits.
It also helps you to manage your weight and burn some calories. For optimal results, you have to prioritize your diet in parallel as well.
Depending on your body goal, you need to follow a certain eating plan, distribute your macros differently and get enough proteins daily. Your protein needs vary significantly based on your weight and physical activity level.