How this busy single dad was able to transform his body by transforming his approach to exercise

Neil

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athlete – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

This is story of Neil – Calisthenics Academy

Neil is a single dad working a traditional 9-5 desk job at North Island Credit Union. In spite of his responsibilities at work and as a father, he’s managed to commit to four to fiveworkouts per week. But this wasn’t always the case.

“Just have fun with it. Learning a new progression is like learning a new workout move. It gets easier the more you do it.”

Neil started out doing traditional weight training. He’d go online to the most popular websites and pick a training program he enjoyed.

“Most are your typical compound movements like bench press, squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses, etc. It would either be one that builds muscle or loses fat. Most workouts would last around an hour.”

Despite that very traditional approach to working out, he was intrigued by the idea of calisthenics.

“I’ve always been fascinated about gymnastics and the bodies of gymnasts. They’re alway buff and could perform awesome looking moves.”

“I joined the Academy because I was interested in learning the 8 fundamental calisthenics moves.”

“I like how there are lots of progressions and I can make an honest assessment of whether the progression was easy, doable or too hard.”

The 2 main benefits Neil has gained from calisthenics

He learned the importance of daily movement

Joining Calisthenics Academy really made a difference to his progress.

“I’m doing exercises that I’ve never heard of and I’m getting stronger every day! Plus the program is easy to follow.”

At first he continued to follow traditional fitness schedules with calisthenics, but the results just weren’t what he wanted. He now trains at least five days a week, moving and playing the other two.

“If you only spend one or two days a week, you won’t make very good progress and you can regress really quickly on your moves.”

“Once I started doing the program four to five times a week, I was seeing great results!”

He’s learned the importance of committing to healthy eating

Eating right isn’t something that comes naturally to Neil. “My biggest struggle with my fitness journey is the nutrition part. I tend to eat when I’m bored and I don’t realize how much I overeat.”

He’s found ways to cope with that issue, though: by eating less and better, he’s losing weight, which will ultimately help him hit his fitness goals. “I know that being lean will help me achieve the calisthenics moves I am trying to accomplish. I know I have to eat right.”

“The lighter I am, the easier the moves will be…I am definitely getting stronger and much leaner.”

YouTube: great for inspiration, not so much for training

Neil really discovered calisthenics by watching video tutorials on Youtube, where he first encountered specialized calisthenics skills like the typewriter and archer pull-up. The level of mastery shown on those videos drove him to try them out himself, but video tutorials just weren’t enough for him to succeed. He’s been struggling to achieve a handstand since 2010!

“I would watch YouTube video tutorials and try it every morning, but I would get discouraged after many failed attempts and give up.”

Frustrated that these video tutorials weren’t offering enough information for him to gain the skills he wanted, Neil joined Calisthenics Academy.

“My biggest fear was that the program was going to be like all the other YouTube videos out there and just show a couple of progressions without helping me actually attain the move.”

“Just have fun with it. Learning a new progression is like learning a new workout move and it gets easier the more you do it. Having fun is what gets me through the workout.”

My 12-week transformation challenge ended today and here are my results.

My 12-week transformation challenge ended today and here are my results. During the first 4 weeks, I combined traditional weightlifting with the Calisthenics Academy program. Then I stopped touching the weights and strictly did the Calisthenics Academy program daily for. The remaining 8 weeks, logging in the website on my phone and just doing what it told me to at the gym. The program really works and I’m still far from achieving some of the moves, I attached screenshots to show you my progress of each move.

Trust the program and the process! 

 

Neil Before and After

Follow Neil on Instagram

Here’s Neil’s advice for anyone interested in calisthenics

“Give calisthenics a try. It’s a fun way to learn new moves while getting stronger and leaner at the same time. You will be amazed at what your body is capable of doing, plus you’ll look cool doing it!”

“I’m doing exercises that I’ve never heard of and I’m getting stronger every day! Plus the program is easy to follow.”

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!

You’re never too old to train

Don is a grandfather AND a Calisthenics Athlete

Don

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletes – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

Don works in the healthcare industry as an engineer. A father of three and grandfather of four, he’s always been an athlete.

“If your life remains static you wither and die spiritually, physically and mentally. Keep moving, keep learning and enjoy life with zest.”

Don has always been an active person. As a teenager, he played soccer and ran track, then later focused more attention and energy on martial arts, which he still trains today. “I have worked out my whole life.”

“I wanted to find a form of exercise that would give me functional strength and flexibility that would fit well into my martial arts.”

Life always takes over, but Don still worked out

Even though he raised his three children with his wife and worked a full-time job, Don never neglected his workouts. In fact, as a weightlifter, he trained like a bodybuilder.

“I got real serious about lifting weights and increased in size until I was up to 240lbs and could throw some heavy weight.”

However, weight training became counter-productive for Don. Being a martial artist, he needed mobility more than he needed a body heavy with muscle.

“It slowed me down big time doing martial arts.”

“I have seen so many guys that lift lots of weight in the gym but cannot do a push-up or one pull-up. I can, which translates to functional strength that you can use in real life.”

“I absolutely love the program. It fits well with my martial arts training and is challenging.”

The 3 main benefits Don has gained since starting calisthenics

It fits with his martial arts training

Don has explored many different training programs, but none of them meshed with his martial arts training. “It complements my martial arts where I need flexibility and added strength is a plus.”

When he weight trained, he actually lost some of his range-of-motion, which is so important to martial arts.

“I think functional strength is extremely important for life and complements many other athletic activities. I teach self-defense and the calisthenics is the stuff that keeps a man in shape and prepares him for whatever comes his way.”

It’s always challenging

Despite being a lifelong athlete, calisthenics is a challenge to Don. The Calisthenics Academy program has actually forced him to start at the very beginning, despite being in very good shape. “Doing a plank for me for 10 seconds was easy but holding for 30 seconds is more difficult.”

“It was a slight blow to my ego to start at the very beginning but I really wanted to learn from the bottom up.”

He’s learning new skills

Don might be able to train and teach in martial arts, but he acknowledges that he still has a lot he can learn. “[The] hardest part of the journey is learning exercises I have never done before, like headstands.”

Over-training with weights can lead to injury

Don explored many forms of exercise over the years, but focused his attention on weight training. It helped him gain massive amounts of muscle, but caused him to lose range-of-motion in martial arts.It also caused him to injure himself by over-training. “I started getting injuries from weight lifting that forced me to stop all exercise for up to 4-6 weeks at a crack.”

These injuries started piling up and dogging him. “After a couple of years of back injuries, I started looking for other forms of exercise.”

He tried a variety of training programs, but none were motivating or attention-grabbing in the long-term. They also felt didn’t complement his martial arts training, not really helping him progress.

“I wanted to find a form of exercise that would give me functional strength and flexibility that would fit well into my martial arts.”

Don doing the side plank

Finding Calisthenics Academy

Before Don started with the Calisthenics Academy, he tried another program. “I came across a course I could do at home that promised I could do one arm push ups, one arm pull ups, muscle ups, etc in 9 months.”

However, once he started the course, he kept getting injured. Taking a step back from the program, he realized that he was going through the program too quickly to learn proper form. “[I] realized [I] needed the help of experts in gymnastics and calisthenics.”

And so Don went to find a program that would support him in his needs.

“I stumbled across Calisthenics Academy and started the program…It fits well with my martial arts training and is challenging.”

Don Doing Dips

“Give it a try. If you really want to master functional strength and improve your health this is the way to go. I have tried just about everything in my life and this is the very best way to get in the best shape that translates to real life.”

Don’s advice to anyone interested in starting calisthenics

With any workout discipline, you need to train consistently and be disciplined. “Be patient, it’s a journey not a 12-week wonder makeover workout.”

“If you want anything in life you must be disciplined. If you take on the challenge to pick a time during your week and make this a priority you will see results.”

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!

How an overweight, busy dad took his life back

with Timo Vlot

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletes – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

This is story of Timo – Calisthenics Academy

Timo joined Calisthenics Academy shortly after the online platform was created, and his life-story is one of challenges, injuries and familial responsibility, being a husband and the father of an 8-year-old girl and a 4-year-old son.

“You don’t have to lift weights to be bad arse.”

From a fit kid to an overweight dad

Timo was active as a child, but playing field hockey for most of his life had wrecked his knees and ankles. He couldn’t play without braces, and the pain just killed any enjoyment he gained from the sport.

His life became more sedentary, full of self-indulgent living.

“I quickly gained weight. No longer was I the 50kg 17 year-old.”

“Soon I was the 85kg 39 year-old with two kids.”

“If I had known about calisthenics, and the awesome tricks you can learn…I’m sure I would have reached handstand push-ups and maybe even a human flag had I started back then.”

3 ways Timo has benefited from joining Calisthenics Academy

“While before joining Calisthenics Academy I had strength, I now have control”

Since starting, he’s retaken the introductory assessment, and although he’s progressed immensely, Timo realized that his form was off in some of the exercises.

“I reset that progression to allow better form and control, but I keep pushing and progressing in the other areas.”

“You don't have to lift the heaviest weights to be bad arse.”

Like many calisthenics athletes, Timo acknowledges that muscle gain simply isn’t the same as you might expect with weightlifting. However, you’ll experience many benefits that go above and beyond the physical appearance of your muscles.

He’s now working on unlocking and achieving the handstand push-up by his 44th birthday in June this year. “I’m 84% there now!”

“Take it slow, and listen to your body. Aches and pains are there for a reason”

He’s learning to pace himself and autoregulate his training.
This doesn’t come quite naturally to him yet, but calisthenics is the safest training method he’s found where he can push his body without hurting himself.

“I need to remember I’m not 18 anymore.”

“I’m also back at doing assisted single leg pistol squats. This time I am injury-free doing it, which I attribute to a longer progression cycle than the calisthenics book I was following.”

Losing weight to get his life back

It started with calorie control. After losing 15kg (33lbs), he changed his focus to “30-day challenges” every morning. It was an easy way to get moving again and see tangible progress from the get-go. “I was quickly hooked to these, and felt the need to increase my exercise time.”

“I joined the local gym and got given a very generic workout by the local PT. I followed this for a few weeks, adding weight pretty randomly to keep from getting bored.”

He developed strength, but not in any structured way. Six months later, and he needed a change.

“After a while I got so bored, I started looking for random exercises online.”

Take time to find the right exercise program for you

The first thing Timo found that worked for him was the book New Rules of Lifting Supercharged. “It was a godsend.”

Timo and his son with the Star Wars squad

Thanks to that book, he was able to play with his program, organize his workouts based on a menu of exercises and explore the concept of an evolving system.

But…something still wasn’t quite working for him.

Amazing as the book was, Timo’s body just wasn’t ready for the weightlifting program the book offered. It caused him some issues, mainly to his knees and ankles, which were a problem for him even when he was younger. He’d spent years completely inactive, and working out came as a shock to his system.

It was obvious that something was wrong and he need to adjust his approach.

“It was a godsend.”

Adjusting your approach

Weight-lifting was just too much for him at that point of his training. “My shoulders could not handle the weights I was carrying.” He could accomplish some spectacular weight-lifting moves, but they would put him out of action for several weeks afterwards.

He still finished the book’s program, but chose to move on and search for something else. He needed a program that would help him progress more safely, without triggering any old injuriess he might have hidden within his body.

“As you get older, your training needs to change and evolve.”

Down the path of calisthenics

He started with the book Complete Calisthenics. At that time, Calisthenics Academy had just published the first edition of the ebook, though the platform hadn’t gone live yet. Timo bought it too.

Timo Climbing Trees

 

The challenges Complete Calisthenics offered were interesting, the program was fun “but then I hit the single leg pistol squat (assisted) and my old knee issues flared up.”

This forced him to take yet another break from exercising, the injury being quite paralyzing.

It was right around the same time that the Calisthenics Academy web platform went live. Timo didn’t hesitate before signing up.

“Calisthenics Academy lets me be more focused on my goals.”

Timo found a program he enjoys and that pushes him a lot. As his body wasn’t fully recovered from his injury he started with maintenance workouts before he could officially get started on his own training program.

“I started slow. I set myself a goal of one session a week. Once that became easy, I slowly increased it.”

Making exercise and movement a habit

Having a family and two young children, finding the time to workout was quite a challenge. Timo tried working out after work, and even after his children had gone to sleep. It just didn’t cut it, though.

And so, he began waking up and working out earlier and earlier.

“I now love my 3:30[a.m.]—I know I’m crazy!—wake up workout.” Mad as it sounds, he claims that it gives him a moment of peace and quiet before the day’s true craziness begins.

“I started slow. I set myself a goal of one session a week. Once that became easy, I slowly increased it.”

“I can control my body much better than before, and am more confident about lifting things (like my kids in play) without a risk.”

Timo’s advice to anyone who is curious about calisthenics

“Go on, give it a try. Start slow and don’t set your goals too unrealistically. Try, and have fun!”

“Thanks to the program, I have managed to strengthen my knees and ankles, which were a problem for me when I was younger.”

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!
The Lean and Mean Calisthenics Diet – 4 Minimalistic Principles to Get You Started!

The Lean and Mean Calisthenics Diet – 4 Minimalistic Principles to Get You Started!

The Lean and Mean Calisthenics Diet

One thing that attracts people to bodyweight training is its simplistic nature.

There’s no need for a gym membership, and you don’t need any special equipment. All you need is your body and your mind. Put those two things together and you can hammer out some of the most intense muscle and strength-building workouts based on calisthenics.

But developing a well-sculpted physique takes more than just working out. To really build the kind of body that shows off your muscles and all your hard work, you’ve got to eat right. The calisthenics diet isn’t complicated, but it still requires the same kind of hard work and mental toughness as doing bodyweight workouts.

Commit to the Calisthenics Workout Diet To Achieve the Calisthenics Body You Want

Calisthenics Diet requires commitmentIf you’re ready to follow the calisthenics diet and want to maximize your workout efforts, commit yourself to eating right and declare war on junk food. That’s a good place to start.

Once you’ve got your mind right about eating healthily, the rest is easy. It’s like bodyweight training in some ways; there are hundreds of ways to eat healthily, with lots of foods to choose from, just like the many bodyweight exercises you can make use of for your personal workout.

The calisthenics diet isn’t anything complicated.

There’s no complex system to follow, no pills or supplements to take, and no expensive pre-packaged food you need to buy. Here’s the strategy for success with this diet:

Principle #1 – The War on Junk Food – Eat As Natural as possible

You don’t get to be lean and mean by rolling through the drive-thru, ordering a hamburger, soft drink, and bucket of fries. And that ripped look isn’t made from chocolate bars, energy drinks, and pastries. If you’re serious about following the calisthenics diet, you’ve got to declare war on junk food.

An estimated 70 percent of all adults in the United States are overweight or obese, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. About 26 million people have diabetes, and another 79 million are prediabetic, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Controversies may well always abound over whether artificial ingredients, food additives, and pesticides are healthy or unhealthy.

convict conditioning diet

Some argue that it depends on the TYPE of chemical you’re considering, as well as the AMOUNT of said chemical you’re ingesting.

Me? I’ll let scientists continue their seemingly never-ending debates about which ingredients are OK to consume and which are not, but I’ll follow the safe route and avoid them all as much as possible in favor of eating REAL FOOD. The stuff that grows on the ground, on a tree, or comes from an animal. The stuff that only lists one ingredient on the package. The stuff we humans have been eating for tens of thousands of years.

How many times have food manufacturers promoted alternatives – mostly aimed at the weight loss market – that promise to be healthy substitutes for things like fat and sugar? As recently as 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – the agency in charge of telling Americans which drugs and foods are safe to consume – allowed for the fat substitute Olestra to be used in place of oils in things like chips. Soon, people discovered it “negated the body’s ability to absorb essential vitamins” and gave side effects including “cramps, gas and loose bowels.” Despite this, the ingredient is still legal in the USA. In 2010, Time Magazine called it one of the world’s 50 worst inventions of all time, yet it’s still included in a variety of processed foods.

While this is perhaps one of the more extreme examples of an undesirable food additive, I’ll play it safe and stick with nature-made foods. Yes, you’ll hear about the occasional e.coli-infected spinach or beef recall, but even these are the result of contamination with man-made industrial pollutants and dirty water sources (e.g. sewage), not a problem with the food itself.

And that’s because too many people gobble up burgers, fries, soft drinks, and sugary snacks every day like it’s going to be their last meal. Obesity and diabetes are both diseases that can lead to serious health problems, including death. And no matter how hard you workout, you’ll never achieve your ideal body if you’re eating junk.

The takeaway point:

Read the labels on everything you plan to buy. Go for foods that contain as few ingredients as possible (I personally shoot for five or less). Keep the words of fitness legend and bodyweight calisthenics master, Jack LaLanne, in mind: “If Man makes it, don’t eat it.

Principle #2 – Eat Produce, Organic when Possible

When was the last time you ever heard about someone overdosing on celery or dying of eating too many raspberries? These stories aren’t exactly making headline news! We evolved to eat fruits and veggies in abundance. These foods are absolutely loaded with all sorts of essential vitamins and minerals your body needs, not only to build quality muscle but also to regulate its every function. Small wonder every medical agency routinely talks about the anti-disease and general health-promoting benefits of nature’s wonder drugs.

So we know fruits and veggies are good, but let’s go one step further. Whenever possible, eat organic produce.

convict conditioning diet

Quite simply, these are foods that have been grown (or raised) on farmlands and pastures free of synthetic chemical pesticides, food additives, or antibiotic agents for at least three years. You can read more about what being organic means here. Again, there is debate as to how healthy/unhealthy pesticides and other man-made chemicals are, but why not play it safe and avoid them altogether if you can?

Challenges to buying organic produce
1. I know that there are a few challenges to consuming only organic food, the first of which is cost. Typically, organic produce will run you about twice as much as its conventionally-grown cousins. The best way to cut down on cost is to buy it in bulk.

In the last two years or so, bulk retailers like Costco have increased their selection of organic produce tremendously. I can now buy a 1.5-pound bag of organic baby kale for just over what it would cost me to buy two bunches (1/4 pound each) of conventionally grown kale. I buy 90% of my organic produce at Costco, as they carry reasonably-priced organic beets, apples, bananas, carrots, celery, spinach, kale, and several other items.

2. The second challenge is availability. Maybe you don’t live near a store that has access to many varieties of organic produce. If this is you, buy what you can organically, and stick to conventional produce otherwise.

As the University of Illinois reports here, it’s still far better to eat (well-washed) produce containing pesticides than to forego them altogether. Try buying organic varieties of things that you have to eat the skin on (such as apples, peaches, lettuce leaves, etc.), and buy conventional varieties of things that you’ll throw away the skin/peel (melons, bananas). You can also check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of the top best/worst produce items in terms of pesticide residues.

In fact, I’d encourage you to check them out, either way, their website being an amazing resource for all information pertaining to the consumption of organic produce.

The takeaway point:

Eat organic produce when possible, especially when you have to eat the skin/peel of the item. If you can’t buy organic, eat conventional produce. Just be sure to wash and scrub it well.

Principle #3 – Get Your Protein IN!: Eat Meat, Organic, Wild, and Grass Fed

It makes sense that if humans should eat and do what they evolved to eat and do, the same should be said about the animals we eat!

convict conditioning diet

Sadly (from a nutritional and ethical perspective), this is not often the case. For example, cattle in commercial feedlots are often bulked up on a diet of grain (which they don’t naturally eat – cows eat grass). They’re given growth hormones to further fatten them up. Finally, given their unhealthy diet and the crowded facilities they live in, they’re pumped full of antibiotics.

Sound appetizing? It will sound even less so when you look at this sometimes funny, often very scary video of inhumane, filthy feedlot conditions.

Unsurprisingly, animals not exposed to this sort of treatment seem to be nutritionally more beneficial for the humans who eat them. As explained in this CNN article, grass-fed beef may contain more beneficial fats and vitamins than grain-fed beef.

Fish, too, aren’t immune to the effects of man-made pollutants and practices. You may have heard how our oceans contain toxins and waste, perhaps most famously mercury, which find their way into the fish we eat. Nevertheless, it seems as if eating wild-caught fish (fish caught directly from the ocean) instead of farmed fish (fish raised in sometimes crowded and unhealthy “fish farms” similar to feedlots) may be healthier. Wild-caught fish tend to be higher in Omega 3 fatty acids and proteins, both of which are key ingredients to building muscle mass.

Your muscles need protein to repair the damage done during a tough bodyweight workout. Pull-ups, squats, lunges, push-ups and other exercises can challenge your muscles. And that’s what you want from a workout. But you need to feed your muscles after a workout with the essential amino acids found in protein.

The International Society for Sports Nutrition suggests that athletes consume about 0.64 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. That means a 150-pound person should get between 96 and 150 grams of protein per day. And it’s doable on the calisthenics diet. Foods high in protein include eggs, dairy and soy products, nuts, fish, lean meats, and poultry like chicken and turkey.

So instead of de-beaked chicken, artificially fat cows, and commercially-raised fish, stick to eating animals that have been living the way nature intended: feeding on grass (cows), roaming (chickens), or swimming free (fish). As with organic produce, eating these kinds of meat will be more expensive.

So, once again, stick to buying in bulk when possible (Costco has a great selection of organic/natural meats). Or substitute some animal-based proteins for plant-based ones, such as beans, almond butter, hemp, and chia seeds.

You don’t need to ingest huge amounts of protein to build muscle and be healthy….even if lots of fitness magazines and supplement companies try to scare you into believing so for the sake of making a profit.

The takeaway point:

Eat animals that have lived the way nature intended. To cut down on costs, buy high-quality animal meat in bulk and eat more plant-based protein.

Principle #4 – Grains and Dairy?

Recently, things like gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance have received a lot of media attention. Some people promote whole grains (including the gluten protein they contain) and milk (with its lactose sugar) as nutritional powerhouses, while others claim they are bad for your health and promote inflammation. The naysayers’ arguments make some sense based on evolutionary logic. After all, we weren’t consuming cows’ milk or grains until the Agricultural Revolution some 10,000 – 12,000 years ago, so maybe our bodies never evolved to handle these types of food well.

convict conditioning diet

To the question of whether gluten and dairy are friends or foes, I have no definitive answer. I personally eat both bread and milk regularly and have zero problems with them, but I know several others who must steer clear of such foods or else suffer bloating, pain, and lack of energy.

According to this Harvard research, you need to eat more whole-food to be able to get the ripped and toned body you want.

calisthenic diet

calisthenic diet

Here’s the beauty of the calisthenics diet. You can eat a ton of food, as long as it’s healthy. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains are healthy. They contain essential vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants your body needs to repair cell damage and build muscle after a tough workout. Whole foods are also low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, compared to the kind of food you’ll find at a typical fast food joint.

Creating a diet based on whole foods will help you lose body fat. That’s what you need to show off your toned muscles and all your hard work.

Follow Coach Paul Wade’s advice from the legendary “Convict Conditioning”, repeatedly echoed throughout both of his books: Be your Own Coach. Although he advises this as it relates to designing your own workout programs, I extend his advice into the world of diet.

Try cutting gluten-rich grains (products containing wheat, barley, and rye) and dairy out of your diet for 30 days, to see if you feel better than before. The bottom line is you can still get all your carbs, proteins, fats, and vitamins from non-gluten, non-dairy sources – such as meat, veggies, potatoes, and rice – so cutting out grains and dairy from your diet will not have a detrimental effect on your training or your health.

BONUS TIP: Keep a Food Diary

Science Daily clearly shows that having a food diary can really help you achieve those goals.

Get a notebook and record everything you eat. You can do this even without committing to the calisthenics diet. It’s a great way to see what you’re eating, count your calories, and see what you’re doing right and what you need to change.

Calisthenics Diet Food Diary

Calisthenics Diet Food Diary

If you’re record-keeping-challenged, try logging your food intake online, or use a smartphone app to keep track of everything you’re munching on. And be honest.

Record everything you eat, EVERYTHING. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning snacks, afternoon snacks, and even late-night munchies.

Documenting at least a complete week of your eating habits will help you get a clear picture of what you’re tossing down your pie-hole. For many people, it’s an act of self-discovery that can reveal why you’re not getting the gains you want or expect from your workouts. If you’re eating too much junk and too many empty calories, you’ll never get the body you want. And this may be all you need to do to match your eating habits with the guidelines for the calisthenics diet.

In a recent study of 1,700 overweight people, researchers found that dieters who kept a food diary lost twice as much weight as dieters who didn’t. Keeping a food diary can help you keep your calories in check and eat less fat. It’s the kind of visual aid some people need to get their diet straight.

Stick to the Plan

You can get lean and mean on the calisthenics diet. And it’s really not that hard. You’ve got to make up your mind to follow a clean eating plan, and the results will follow.

There will likely always be some controversy surrounding what ingredients, types of meats, and synthetic chemicals pose a danger to human health. It can drive someone absolutely crazy to worry about every point health article X raises, let alone how health article Y (released only one week later) contradicts the claims made by X! That’s why I try to keep things simple and eat mainly foods produced as nature designed them.

Eat fresh, eat natural, eat whole, and you’re bound to see impressive results in your fitness and all-around health.

READY TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

If you’re looking for a complete resource that will guide you through each step on the journey. I have something very special for you.

Renegade Diet is one of the best diets and used by a lot of calisthenics athletes to bring incredible results in a short period of time.

Check it out – it works magic:

calisthenics diet

Diet is absolutely critical in your fitness success. Do you have questions about the diet or how to fit it into your workout schedule? Post a comment, send us an email or reach out through our Facebook Group and we’ll get back to you shortly. 

Stay Strong.

It's TIME to get your DIET RIGHT!

DISCOVER 10 BIGGEST NUTRITION LIES! 

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!

Here’s how you should use calisthenics for legs training

Leg day has become a staple part of bodybuilders’ community over the past few years.

There’s a reason for that: squats and deadlifts are two great compound lifts.

However, they’re two exercises that don’t exist in calisthenics.

So what now?

We look for alternative bodyweight exercises that can be just as effective as traditional weight-lifting.

And guess what? They exist.

Just take a look at Lazar Novovic, a famous calisthenics athlete. He only uses body weight to train his legs and has a powerful and imposing lower body.

Still not satisfied? Then look at gymnasts. Gymnasts have well-proportioned bodies and need strong legs to complete flips.  Their leg training involves lots of calisthenics.

The benefits of training your legs with calisthenics

Calisthenics athletes do not have chicken legs. If you didn’t look before, verify this fact with Lazar Novovic, whose impressive body is almost exclusively developed with bodyweight.

This is one of the most common preconceived notions about calisthenics, and it’s completely wrong.

In fact, calisthenics offers much healthier benefits when training your legs than traditional weight-lifting.

1. It develops your flexibility

Let’s take a look at the deep squat.

Deep squat 1Deep squat 2Deep squat 3

I challenge you to try doing 20 squats, following this step-by-step tutorial.

Harder than it seems, right?

That’s because calisthenics develops your range-of-motion.

Most traditional weight-lifting will have you doing half-reps that will pump up the muscle but reduce the overall ROM of your hamstrings.

To successfully do 20-40 reps for 3 sets, your hamstrings need to be flexible enough to go down as low as proper form requires.

2. Calisthenics leg training helps you improve your balance

I’m sure you’ve heard of the staple calisthenics leg exercise, the pistol squat.

When I first met a friend, he was an extremely strong and active soccer player. And yet, he couldn’t do a single pistol squat.

Strength-wise, he was much stronger than me at that time (not anymore!). But balance and ROM-wise, I was much more advanced than him.

And that’s because I’d trained my legs with calisthenics exercises.

3. Your legs can do more than just look pretty

Calisthenics offers a variety of exercises that trains the body in as wide a range-of-motion as possible.

As I mentioned, this is amazing for flexibility. But developing your ROM will also mean that your muscles have applicable uses outside of just looking big and pretty.

You’ll develop explosive strength, which means that you’ll be able to exert a maximum amount of power in a short period of time.

You’ll have POWER thanks to explosive calisthenics training.

Calisthenics exercises to train your legs

After this, I’m sure you’ll believe that calisthenics can help you develop superhuman legs. Check out a few of the leg exercises calisthenics has to offer!

1. Pistol Squats

A pistol squat is a one-legged deep squat.

Once it gets too easy, you can up the difficulty level by slowing down each rep, adding a jump at the top, or completing the movement while standing on a balancing ball or a low pull-up bar (or high pull up bar if you dare).

How to do it:

  • Stand on one leg, with arms wide open for balance
  • The other leg is extended in front
  • Go down fully by bending at the hip and knee of the weight bearing leg, till the buttock touches the heel
  • Do not allow the other leg to touch the floor
  • Come up by pushing through the heel and straightening the knee
  • Repeat with the other leg

Pistol squat 1Pistol squat 3Pistol squat 2

2. Box Jumps

This is an explosive exercise, that will have very quick results on your strength, endurance and muscle growth.

If you don’t have a box, you could use anything solid enough to hold you (ie. Rocks, benches, picnic tables).

How to do it:

  • Get into a starting position with your knees hip-width apart, your arms parallel to the floor in front of you.
  • Jump up and forward onto the box, your body relaxed.
  • Use your arms for balance, and always keep your knees bent.
  • Jump back down onto the ground, your body relaxed and your legs kept hip-width apart.

Doing this movement using one leg will test your balance similarly to the pistol squat.  Progression for this exercise is simple; if it gets too easy, jump onto a higher surface, if it’s too hard, jump onto a lower surface.

image01

3. Bridges

The bridge is known as a calisthenics replacement for deadlifts.  It works your glutes and hamstrings, as well as your shoulders and lower back, with the added benefit of working your mobility and flexibility.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back, your knees bent and hip-width apart.
  • Place your hands, palms flat above your shoulders, right by your ears.
  • Push your hands and feet into the ground, raising your hips towards the ceiling.

If the full bridge is too difficult, try glute bridges. It is the same movement except with your upper back on the ground.  Work on your lower back mobility with similar bending stretches as well.

To make it more difficult, you can do it with one leg, one arm, or one leg and one arm.

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4. Depth Jumps

Depth jumps originated from the Russian trainer, Dr. Verkhoshansky.

How to perform it:

  • The movement begins on top of a small box, rock, bench, etc,
  • Take a small leap down to the ground
  • When you land, keep your body relaxed. Don’t tense your knees, or they will absorb too much of the impact.
  • As soon as you land, immediately jump forward or up as far as possible.

This movement was originally known as shock training, because of how quickly your muscles need to react and jump.  The depth jumps, similar to box jumps, will train your lower body explosiveness, and build mass in the entire legs, including the calves.

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5. Sprints

Sprints have a fat burning and muscle building effect.

Typically, you do sprints in intervals, for example, sprint for ten seconds, then walk/rest for twenty seconds, and repeat.

The intensity of the sprinting will keep your heart rate high throughout the entire rest period.

One of the main things Sprinting has over long distance cardio is EPOC, meaning you continue to burn calories after your workout.

But the benefits of sprinting don’t end there.  Sprints work the entire leg, helping build up lower body muscle, lose fat, and improve nutrient partitioning.

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So, there you have it.  You now know five ways to build lower body muscle and strength using calisthenics.

So even a calisthenics athlete shouldn’t skip leg day!

I recommend training your legs at least twice per week if you do split workouts.

If you train with full body routines, make sure to pick an exercise to do every workout for at least five sets.

How do you train your legs? Share your routines in the comments or in our Facebook group!

But what if I can’t do some of these exercises? 

Create an optimal training routine just for you

This is a problem a lot of us run into. We’re given routines – usually based on a standardized level – beginner, intermediate, advanced. Calisthenics Academy used to do that too – because it’s very hard to create a personalized training for each and every person unless we spend a significant amount of time with them.

There was just one problem with this approach (actually there are a lot of problems with it) – it hindered our athletes’ progress. We’ve written extensively on the matter in the blog post, The end of beginner/intermediate/advanced – that is hurting your training.

It simply explains why a lack of personalization is hurting your training.

Imagine if some of these exercises above were too hard for you. Your body will try to compensate with a poor form, movement dysfunction and possibly risk injury if it’s too challenging.

If some of these exercises were too easy they wouldn’t challenge your muscles to grow – you’d simply be wasting your time.

This is why we created Calisthenics Academy: to offer a fully personalized training program reflecting exactly where your level is for optimal performance.

Take the assessment to see how do you stack up on the 8 fundamental calisthenics moves

calisthenics training assessment

calisthenics training assessment

Share the results and comments in our Facebook Group

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!