T Nation

Calisthenics and Cardio for Strength and Weight Loss


#1

Hey Guys,

Can you help me make a training with bodyweight and cardio for more strenght and to lose some weight? I am almost 22 years old, 194cm and 100kg.. Endomorph (I dont like to call ppl with those types but I am one of those that get fat when not eating healthy). What I do now is Fullbody calisthenics workouts with low reps (I am beginner.. cant do a single pull up) every MO-WE-FR at late afternoon and in morning 30min of jogging in those days.

I actually get better at jogging, but i feel that i dont have any progress in my bodyweight workout. Maybe its a problem in eating? I get up at 6 every day. Got my breakfast in work at 8 (Some mashed oats, with jogurt, peanut butter and protein mixed togheter with banana) Then some salad with meat on lunch. Some fruit for snack or some homemade peanut butter and eggs or some livers on dinner. I also want to add Rope jumping.

Should I just make one day cardio and other my workout day? Like Jog in morning + some HIIT with rope in the afternoon and next day bodyweight with Sunday off?

Thanks guys!


#2

Are you keeping track of your daily or weekly weight? Are you keeping track of what you’re eating everyday and have a rough estimate of your caloric intake? This may not be accurate but it allows you to have a baseline, based on your own measurements, to make change. Are you taking tape measurements of your body? How long ago did you start and how much progress have you made? Are you eating veggies for dinner and how much protein are you getting in daily?

What are all of the exercises that you’re actually doing? What does your body weight training progression look like?

You need to keep track of weight and tape measurements so you can make weekly adjustments to food intake and cardio work in order to continue losing weight and/or building muscle. The body weight training has to have some sort of progression in order for you to get stronger. Is there a reason why you want to stick with only body weight training? Using other methods may allow you to use intensities reasonable enough for you to do enough work to progress more easily. If you haven’t made progress so far, you may not be training enough or using a relatively high intensity where you fail early and feel fatigued but didn’t create a great enough training stimulus.


#3

[quote]Meti wrote:
I am one of those that get fat when not eating healthy[/quote]

No shit.

There’s so many routes you could go here, but I think the most effective route would be to buy a kettlebell, read a few books by Pavel on how to use it, add a few sprints (jogging is doing nothing for you, except teaching you how to jog), job done. In a few months, you should probably be in a position to add some push ups and pull ups in. I am fully aware that this a big departure from your current approach, but I think it will serve you well.


#4

@lift206 I do not track my weight and any measurements, I am fine with mirror. I use some resistance bands with my push up, do some negative pull ups and also horizontal ones, launges, squats. Every workout another mixture of these excercises some with bands some without them. I do not also count my calories… I eat healthy as I think its working for me… without any weighting or counting.

@dagill2 Well I do not find attraction in KB although I’ve heard only good things about KB. So you thing that my jogging is useless then? That it doesn’t help me to burn some fat in morning when going empty for 20-30mins?

Also If I want to add some rope-jumping… Should I do it after workout or on my rest days as cardio? I want to build some fuctional muscle and strenght but also condition…


#5

[quote]lift206 wrote:
Is there a reason why you want to stick with only body weight training?[/quote]

This.


#6

Well I plan to go to gym and lift some steel… but I dont wanna go there before I can do single pull up or muscle up… Then I am planning to do some mixture of bodyweight training with some explosive things with dead lifts and heavy squats. Thats the plan for future (1 year from now ±)


#7

[quote]Meti wrote:
@lift206 I do not track my weight and any measurements, I am fine with mirror. I use some resistance bands with my push up, do some negative pull ups and also horizontal ones, launges, squats. Every workout another mixture of these excercises some with bands some without them. I do not also count my calories… I eat healthy as I think its working for me… without any weighting or counting.

@dagill2 Well I do not find attraction in KB although I’ve heard only good things about KB. So you thing that my jogging is useless then? That it doesn’t help me to burn some fat in morning when going empty for 20-30mins?

Also If I want to add some rope-jumping… Should I do it after workout or on my rest days as cardio? I want to build some fuctional muscle and strenght but also condition… [/quote]

Well it doesn’t hurt to keep track and it can come in handy in the future. If you don’t need measurements and understand your body well enough then it probably doesn’t matter. I like using measurements because it allows me to remain objective about my progress - especially when I was still learning how my body reacted to changes I made each week.

How do you know you’re making progress with strength if you don’t keep track of what you’re doing? Again, it’s not necessary when you understand your body well enough and know exactly what it needs. With that said, I still see elite athletes taking notes of what they do for training - even if the training sessions aren’t rigid, they’re usually still documented.


#8

A few things.

Jogging may work at first, but it looses it benefits at an increasing rate for several reasons.

  1. Your body has evolved to be efficient and to adapt. your body wasn’t designed to burn calories or change, but to store energy and maintain an equilibrium that’s minimum amount of maintenance necessary.

  2. As others have said, you get good at things you do often. The more efficient you become at something, the less your body needs to adapt.

  3. Jogging is tough on the joints for skinny folks. For heavier people? Worse.

That’s your call on not going to the gym, but you’re missing out. There’s no rule that says you have to be able to do a pull-up, and hell I’m still working on a strict muscle up. Luckily, there are tons of exercises that you can do which will increase said ability. If you’re hell-bent on doing only bodyweight stuff, check out some military calisthenic training programs, but sub pull-ups for fat man rows (google it).


#9

[quote]Meti wrote:
Well I plan to go to gym and lift some steel… but I dont wanna go there before I can do single pull up or muscle up… Then I am planning to do some mixture of bodyweight training with some explosive things with dead lifts and heavy squats. Thats the plan for future (1 year from now ±)[/quote]

Wouldn’t worry about it. Everybody has to start somewhere. A gym has the equipment to help you reach your goals more efficiently. Lots of people at a regular gym can’t do a single pull-up and 99% can’t do a muscle-up.


#10

[quote]Meti wrote:
Well I plan to go to gym and lift some steel… but I dont wanna go there before I can do single pull up or muscle up… Then I am planning to do some mixture of bodyweight training with some explosive things with dead lifts and heavy squats. Thats the plan for future (1 year from now ±)[/quote]

I think you have a misunderstanding of why body weight work is done when people use it for foundational strength. For small/lighter athletes, body weight training works well because it allows them to work with a light to moderate intensity that allows them to put in significant work to build muscle and strength. They don’t weigh much so it usually takes less effort to do body weight exercises.

With heavier people, the body weight work can be much higher in intensity because the person isn’t strong enough to handle their own body weight. Heavier people generally have a lower strength to weight ratio so this makes sense. The intensity can be too high to put in significant work to build muscle and strength.

The only thing you need to worry about is to put in significant work that ranges from low to high intensity, not only high intensity. Body weight training is only one method for training - it’s not the only way to train to build a strong foundation. Would you rather do what you’re doing for 1-2 years and risk not being able to do a pull-up or muscle-up or would you rather using any training method that allows you to build muscle and strength so that you might even be able to do a pull-up or muscle-up in much less time.

Making goals is fine but don’t limit yourself in ways to reach them.

Edit: If you’re truly set on body weight work and pull-ups, I can still help with figuring out a way to help you progress. Just layout what you have done in the past few weeks to give me a better idea of your current state.


#11

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]Meti wrote:
Well I plan to go to gym and lift some steel… but I dont wanna go there before I can do single pull up or muscle up… Then I am planning to do some mixture of bodyweight training with some explosive things with dead lifts and heavy squats. Thats the plan for future (1 year from now ±)[/quote]

I think you have a misunderstanding of why body weight work is done when people use it for foundational strength. For small/lighter athletes, body weight training works well because it allows them to work with a light to moderate intensity that allows them to put in significant work to build muscle and strength. They don’t weigh much so it usually takes less effort to do body weight exercises.

With heavier people, the body weight work can be much higher in intensity because the person isn’t strong enough to handle their own body weight. Heavier people generally have a lower strength to weight ratio so this makes sense. The intensity can be too high to put in significant work to build muscle and strength.

The only thing you need to worry about is to put in significant work that ranges from low to high intensity, not only high intensity. Body weight training is only one method for training - it’s not the only way to train to build a strong foundation. Would you rather do what you’re doing for 1-2 years and risk not being able to do a pull-up or muscle-up or would you rather using any training method that allows you to build muscle and strength so that you might even be able to do a pull-up or muscle-up in much less time.

Making goals is fine but don’t limit yourself in ways to reach them.

Edit: If you’re truly set on body weight work and pull-ups, I can still help with figuring out a way to help you progress. Just layout what you have done in the past few weeks to give me a better idea of your current state.[/quote]

^I agree w/ this, but if you’re still looking at bw stuff I saw this in another thread. Sub chins for fat man rows and throw in lunges or bw squats.

[quote]Airborne88 wrote:
In the past I used a Navy Seals workout plan (3x week) and I am using it now after one of my lifting sessions. It works well on its own but could easily be used to form the basis of a 6 week program:

Test your maximum press-ups in 2min (you may rest), max sit ups in 2min (you may rest) and max chin ups (without dropping from bar).

Week 1: 3 sets of 50% max press ups, sit ups and chins (circuit style) i.e. if you did 50/50/10 on the test, you do 3 circuits of 25/25/5 (thereby achieving 150% of your max).

Week 2: Do 3 full sets, plus a 1/4 set

Week 3: Do 3 full sets, plus a 1/2 set

Week 4: Do 3 full sets, plus a 3/4 set

Week 5: Do 4 full sets

Week 6: Do 4 full sets plus a 1/4 set.

You may want to include some harder exercises for 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps (performed before your circuit):

Day 1 - Handstand Push Ups (work up to this by putting feet on a bench like a downward dog), Dips
Day 2 - Inverted Rows, Muscle Ups (work on this using explosive pull ups)
Day 3 - Pistols (using a box to begin with, like slowly stepping off the box), Box Jumps

Ultimately, what is your goal?[/quote]


#12

[quote]Meti wrote:
@lift206 I do not track my weight and any measurements, I am fine with mirror. I use some resistance bands with my push up, do some negative pull ups and also horizontal ones, launges, squats. Every workout another mixture of these excercises some with bands some without them. I do not also count my calories… I eat healthy as I think its working for me… without any weighting or counting.
[/quote]
I think you will struggle to see enough noticeable change in the mirror to keep you motivated. When I’ve lost substantial weight in the past, it can take months for me to perceive any noticeable difference, whereas the scales would give me feedback on a weekly basis.

Have you tried it? I feel like kettlebells are one of those things you have to try to understand, there’s such a “WTF” factor involved in them. If you try one and still don’t like it, don’t use them, there’s plenty of ways to skin a cat.

Yes, your jogging is becoming more and more useless. The reasons TX Iron above gave you may, or may not be valid, I’m not smart enough to know. In my limited mind though, the evidence is pretty clear. People who I see jogging, almost universally, look shit. Especially those that do it at a very high level. This tells me that getting really good at jogging does not make you look better.

[quote]
Also If I want to add some rope-jumping… Should I do it after workout or on my rest days as cardio? I want to build some fuctional muscle and strenght but also condition… [/quote]
All muscle is functional, depending on the function you want it to perform. Defining something as “functional” without defining the function is meaningless.

And the answer to your question is: It doesn’t matter. When I do jump rope, I do it as part of my conditioning before I lift, but it really doesn’t matter


#13

I probably should have linked this earlier but here it is https://www.T-Nation.com/training/how-to-train-for-non-stop-fat-loss


#14

[quote]TX iron wrote:
I probably should have linked this earlier but here it is https://www.T-Nation.com/training/how-to-train-for-non-stop-fat-loss[/quote]

That’s a good read. I was going to mention that the jogging is useful until the OP no longer makes progress or can’t progress in a way to minimize impact on strength work. At this point it’s still fine to increase distance or speed but there will come a point soon when he gets diminishing returns and will likely need to move on to something else to continue driving toward his goals. If building strength weren’t a goal he could certainly continue to push running in order to lose weight while becoming better at running.


#15

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]Meti wrote:
@dagill2 Well I do not find attraction in KB although I’ve heard only good things about KB. So you thing that my jogging is useless then? That it doesn’t help me to burn some fat in morning when going empty for 20-30mins?
[/quote]
Have you tried it? I feel like kettlebells are one of those things you have to try to understand, there’s such a “WTF” factor involved in them. If you try one and still don’t like it, don’t use them, there’s plenty of ways to skin a cat.
[/quote]

The kettlebell work does sound like a good addition if the OP chooses to stick with body weight training at home.


#16

You don’t need to do everything all at once for cardio.

When you first start jogging, you’re terrible, so its easy to progress. But like these guys said, as you get more skilled at jogging, a productive jog-workout takes more out of you.

So instead of becoming the best at jogging, switch to jump rope for your cardio. Again, you probably won’t be very good at first. It will be easy to work up a sweat and get breathing heavy. As you get smoother, you’ll need more and more jumps to get a good workout in.

Then you can switch to walking long hills, or sprinting. Or kettlebell swings. Something you’re not great at, and that is different than what you have been doing. This way you can sort of rotate the abuse around your body.

Cardio is cool. But unless you’re training for a sport, at some point you’re just burning more calories to eat more calories to burn more calories to eat more calories…


#17

[quote]FlatsFarmer wrote:
You don’t need to do everything all at once for cardio.

When you first start jogging, you’re terrible, so its easy to progress. But like these guys said, as you get more skilled at jogging, a productive jog-workout takes more out of you.

So instead of becoming the best at jogging, switch to jump rope for your cardio. Again, you probably won’t be very good at first. It will be easy to work up a sweat and get breathing heavy. As you get smoother, you’ll need more and more jumps to get a good workout in.

Then you can switch to walking long hills, or sprinting. Or kettlebell swings. Something you’re not great at, and that is different than what you have been doing. This way you can sort of rotate the abuse around your body.

Cardio is cool. But unless you’re training for a sport, at some point you’re just burning more calories to eat more calories to burn more calories to eat more calories…[/quote]

I agree with all of this, apart from the bit in bold. Cardio isn’t just about shifting calories, a good cardiovascular base is always going to be a good thing.


#18

Agreed. But, the bodyweight stuff is almost conditioning it self. With jump ropes and HIIT and fasted runs this whole routine is turning into cardio. At some point you can’t just continue to add sessions, or to increase the length of workouts. In my experience, that’s not a good way to build strength. Or even to retain muscles.

Especially with no lifting.

Find a way to progress and improve the bw strength sessions. Do enough just cardio to recover from and still make progress. Then increase the intensity, the quality, and the density.


#19

[quote]FlatsFarmer wrote:
Agreed. But, the bodyweight stuff is almost conditioning it self. With jump ropes and HIIT and fasted runs this whole routine is turning into cardio. At some point you can’t just continue to add sessions, or to increase the length of workouts. In my experience, that’s not a good way to build strength. Or even to retain muscles.

Especially with no lifting.

Find a way to progress and improve the bw strength sessions. Do enough just cardio to recover from and still make progress. Then increase the intensity, the quality, and the density.

[/quote]

Yeah, I agree. The OP can use the cardio to increase general work capacity and over time most of the work will become dedicated to strength and conditioning work as cardio work gradually drops to nothing.