Calisthenics For Aesthetics & Strength




  • Calisthenics means “beauty and strength” and helps to develop an aesthetic physique
  • Don't dismiss the benefits of body weight resistance – it can be brutally effective!
  • Calisthenics can be a stand-alone workout plan or used in addition to weight training
  • Can be performed at home, in the park or at the gym

If you're looking for a training style that burns fat, builds ultra-lean muscle and develops a seriously aesthetic physique, body-weight based 'Calisthenics' is well worth considering. Take a look at the origins of this simple concept, and learn how to use it to build a physique with 'golden ratio' proportions......


From Greek statues of muscular gods, to Da Vinci’s concept of the ideal male ratios (“The Vitruvian Man”) – the desire to build the perfect body has existed since humans first saw the physique changing impact of intense physical work. Interestingly – a person’s love for training and good nutrition nowadays, has encouraged the re-emergence of the original form of resistance training, known as 'Calisthenics'. When translated from its origins, the word means “beauty (kallos) and strength (sthénos)” – which is exactly what it delivers if combined with a nutritious protein-rich diet... a physique that's athletic, hard, defined, functionally strong and chiselled like a stone!


Depending on the exercises you choose, Calisthenics workouts can be performed in the gym, at home or in a park (especially if you're lucky enough to live near one of those awesome outdoor gyms that are gradually appearing). Equally, they can be structured, or you can freestyle it when you have the time and energy for an extra session, on top of your usual training plan.


A massive benefit of Calisthenics is that you can easily target different parts of a muscle group – such as the upper pecs, by changing the angle of press-ups, or the biceps/back just by changing your grip whilst doing chin-ups. The options are endless – so use a wide variety to develop your own definition of the perfect body.

Using a stand-alone Calisthenics plan can build a great physique, and if you're looking for an all-in-one workout that develops fitness, athleticism, strength and muscle – it's awesome! Even if you don't want to take a break from the heavy weights, you can still reap the rewards; try a 10 minute circuit at the end of your regular weight training, or perform a Calisthenics workout once a week


Calisthenics can be an amazingly effective way to build lean muscle and reduce body fat levels, but the results it delivers are dependent on consuming the right balance and quantities of nutrition.

Calories > Consuming a maintenance level of calories in combination with Calisthenics is an excellent method of enhancing body composition, resulting in a leaner and more muscular body, despite retaining a similar body weight. Alternatively, to shed the fat, create an energy deficit of 250-500kcals. Boost them by 500-1000kcals if you want to gain rapid muscle from body weight training.

Regardless of your goal, a balanced macro nutrient intake will provide you with the best results in terms of quality training and physique improvements:

Carbs > Calisthenics is a high rep, whole body training system that burns-up large amounts of stored muscle glycogen. Without carbs in your diet, your workouts will be ineffective and you'll probably hate them! By eating a sensible amount of carbs, and opting for the right carbs at the right times, you'll be able to train with maximum intensity. Furthermore – the carbs you consume will be stored as muscle glycogen – not body fat!

Carb strategy:

Consume a palm-sized serving of complex carbohydrates with your main meals (e.g. ½ sweet potato, 1 cup oats, 1 cup quinoa). Post-workout opt for higher GI carbohydrates to elicit an insulin spike and promote glycogen re-synthesis, nutrient uptake and repair/growth (e.g. an ULTRA WHEY™ PROTEINshake with 2 bananas followed by a post-workout meal such as one large jacket potato, lean chilli mince and roasted vegetables).

Protein > Calisthenics boosts your daily protein requirements to support repair and growth/maintenance to in excess of 1.8g per kg of body mass. Consume at least 20g per meal/snack through the day (free-range meat, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, protein shakes/bars). Protein before and after training is key to maximising protein synthesis in response to the high degree of micro-trauma that's likely with high-volume body weight training.

Fats > A moderate approach to fat intake will yield optimal changes in body composition. The easy way to consume quality fats is to eat a variety of quality protein-rich whole-foods such as free-range eggs, meats, oily fish and nuts. Then, simply optimise your essential fat intake by consuming functional fats with TRI OMEGA EFA™ and CLA 1000 LEANCORE™... and don't forget - a little butter on your vegetables enhances the uptake of anti-oxidants and vitamins!

Calisthenics workout nutrition > Calisthenics workouts need attacking with serious intensity, so loading-up with a guarana-enriched pre-workout (X-PLODE RIPPEDCORE™ or X-PLODE HARDCORE™) will enhance your training by boosting focus and reducing perceived effort. Next-up, due to the large amount of protein catabolism created by high volume muscle contractions, flooding muscles with BCAAs will support anabolism and concurrent growth/maintenance – have a serving of AMINO INTRA RIPPEDCORE™ or BCAA INTRA HARDCORE™ during your workout, sipping continuously throughout. Finally, trigger effective post-workout muscle build-up with a hit of fast- acting protein such as ULTRA WHEY™ PROTEIN, combined with at least 50g of easily assimilated carbs (e.g. 2 bananas or 8 rice cakes).

Example meal plan:

Breakfast: Porridge + 1 scoop whey protein, 1 spoon ground almonds, 1 cup berries

Snack: Yoghurt with almonds or PRO 2GO® FLAPJACK + piece of fruit

Lunch: Pre-baked sweet potato with pesto chicken

Snack: ½ punnet blueberries + protein shake or 1 cup cottage cheese

Workout nutrition: Use a pre-workout, intra-workout and post-training shake

Dinner: 1 cup Basmati rice, curried fish + 1 frozen banana blended with Greek yoghurt

Snack: Handful of home-roasted nuts + 1 cup cottage cheese or GRS 9 HOUR PROTEIN™


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