Calisthenics New Fitness Fad In Town
While doing pull-ups, imagine yourself hanging at the edge of a cliff and if you let go, you will surely fall. Being able to pull your own body weight becomes an almost life or death scenario. Bulky muscles built by lifting weights can come in your way and for a clean lean body; the art of Calisthenics is the way to go. With the dawn of the humankind, the aspiration of a man to be fit and most importantly, to look fit has always hovered their minds in all the eras. Tracing the path of human evolution, the early man had no specific schedules or trainers but the human instinct to hunt or rear communities or doing chores. Looking back in the mirror of history, staying healthy and fit has been an important personality trait especially for men going to war. And fitness techniques started from the Greek and Roman empires, which are going on till date.
What is Calisthenics?
Callisthenics has been derived from a Greek word kallos (beauty) and sthenos (strength). People these days consider workout without any equipment as boring. But it is the best form wherein your workout is not restricted to any area or dependent on any outer support. Callisthenics is a way of life which not only makes you fit physically but mentally and spiritually strong. Training as a concept requires the strengthening of both mind and body which can be done anywhere anytime with or without any equipments. Callisthenics is basically bodyweight exercises; the major advantage is that you can work in all the anatomical planes. Unlike weight training which has to work on a single plane. Callisthenics workouts consist of making use of body weight exercises to gain strength, power, and flexibility.
Ramesh Gajrai, Founder, TrainMe says, “Calisthenics, in my opinion, should be the workout for everyone. Not everyone’s goal is to be a bodybuilder and hence being able to lift your own body weight shows a general level of fitness which everyone must adhere to. And the best part is, for those who wish to lose weight, the stronger you get, the more body weight you lose and easier it gets to lift your body.” Hereafter, we all require a properly toned body, but do we really know the basic difference between being fit and getting toned. Let me help you, fitness is a relative concept of having all the important nutrients, minerals, vitamins, proteins etc along with acquiring physical strength. On the other hand, getting toned also requires a lot of body-building techniques for each muscle.
Diet for Calisthenics
Callisthenics is one of the most popular bodyweight exercises, done in a simple and natural way without the use of the equipment and large space; hence the diet one needs to follow who does callisthenics should also be simple and natural. One can tailor make the plan from thousands of body weight exercises depending on body composition. Similarly, one can choose a menu plan from the variety of foods available keeping nutrients into consideration rather calories.
A protein-rich diet is essential for any kind of workout, but it is crucial when working out with bodyweight. Calisthenic workouts can be highly demanding if the intake of water is good. A reservoir of energy in the form of carbs should be consumed before the workout, and at regular intervals throughout the day. When feeling highly sluggish, a shot of black coffee can add the extra oomph to your workout (especially if it’s leg day). Diet is the most important aspect of a Calisthenics workout and its significance lies in the intensity and the frequency of regime. Dr Deepti Bagree, HOD - Healthcare, RESET talks about the aspects of a Calisthenics diet and significance of each element.
1. Complex carbohydrates: Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, tubers are all good to be included to provide sustained energy for callisthenics without muscle fatigue. Keeping a check on insulin release is a must for callisthenics’ especially for those who eat frequent meals as the excess of insulin blocks leptin (that inhibits hunger) making one hungry soon.
2. Protein: The macronutrient has always been an integral part of all the fitness regimes but at the same time are utilised too much by the body. Going on a high protein, low carbohydrates diet is being the trend among the new enthusiasts and have been a matter of concern due to overload on kidneys to flush out its metabolic waste. So, an adequate amount of Protein is a must.
3. Fats and its types: The most forbid nutrient by fitness freaks is fat but they are not as bad as they are thought to be if used in absence of refined sugars and starches as they can help cut down extra pounds. Healthy fats help in curbing cravings and give energy in abstinence from refined sugars and processed foods. There are good and bad fats but not all are bad as one thinks them to be. Transfats needs to be avoided as they aren’t of much importance to health. They lead to thickening of arteries and are the culprits behind heart ailments. Saturated fats though once considered as a villain are not indeed, cholesterol is an important component for brain function. Unsaturated fats being the best of the lot, can be taken as a part of the day to help boost energy for workouts and help those special vitamins (A, D, E, K) to get absorbed as they need a fat medium. Examples of good fats are avocado, almonds, walnuts, cold pressed coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil etc.
4. Water: One of the most important of all nutrients is H2O. It's required for almost all biological functions and is a callisthenics’ workout buddy. Adequate hydration is important to maintain electrolyte balance to avoid muscle cramps.
5. Processed food: As they are loaded with calories without being much of a help in improving strength, stamina and doesn’t even enhance muscle recovery to carry out workouts. Our body isn’t programmed to eat or absorb processed food loaded with preservatives, flavouring agents etc. Although we have evolved over the decades culturally but not biologically. Fresh and organically grown fruits and vegetables have all possible antioxidants, vitamins, minerals etc. for improved performance and we need not depend on processed ones for the extra dosage.
Workout plays a significant role in any fitness programme. But while talking about Calisthenics, the workout has to play a major role as it is a composition of both body and mind. Training both body and mind is an art which has to be achieved through regularity and perseverance.
A Calisthenics expert, Devon Van Onselen, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach – Prosport Fitness Centre elaborately informs about important facts on Calisthenics workout.
1. Elements of Calisthenics workout: The most important part of a workout is to have a good structural plan for your workout to reach your end goal. He recommends initiating with the mobilisation of the prime joints that will be used in the planned workout.
Making sure you mobilise your S.I.T.S or your rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, sub scapula) around the shoulder. Another area of focus should be elbows knees and hips. Keeping these joint mobilised will help you sustain the workouts and reducing injury risk.
2. Precautions for Calisthenics workouts: The most important part is staying injury free. Because there will be a lot of volume and high reps on moving primary joints and muscles, making sure you take care of small niggles before they become an injury that prevents you from training. Don’t be scared to do small structure and prehab work to prevent the injury. To prevent slipping and falling, make use of gym chalk if your grip strength is not there yet.
3. Muscle grooving through Calisthenics workout: Since you will be doing a lot of the same movement, you will build up muscle memory and your nervous system will take over. It will become like riding a bike. To change this, there are many ways to make that bike ride go uphill. Start by adding weight to your waist while doing pull-ups or putting weight on your back during pushups. When your own body weight becomes easy to handle add weight to it or add resistance. This will add some grease to the groove and will make you stronger along the way.