I was recently asked how much progress can be expected by just doing calisthenics (bodyweight only workouts). Many of my online clients have been wondering the same thing so I thought I would share my response in a more detailed way
After one month of doing just pushups you should notice a more defined and larger chest, shoulders and even upper back, your core will even be stronger and more stable. There have been some great before and after pictures of "100 push ups a day for 30 days” challenges all over the internet. And that is just one exercise.
The go to workouts of wrestlers for hundreds of years have been calisthenics based and they are arguably the most athletic all round athletes in the world, with great bodies to boot. The most famous workout in wrestling circles is the Gotch bible, which involves choosing 4 bodyweight exercises and attributing them to a suit from a deck of cards. When you turn over the top card from the deck you do the corresponding exercise for however many reps specified by the value of the card. eg. 10 of diamonds is 10 push ups.
If you want a cardio workout you choose slightly easier exercises and double the value of the card or if you are going for strength half the value of the card with difficult exercises.
For a beginner after a month of running the Gotch bible or similar calisthenics workouts you should expect to pack on a lot of muscle in the shoulders/pecs and if including chin ups bigger biceps/forarms and lats. Running it for a longer term you the growth from the workout is pretty much endless as you can include handstand push ups for the shoulders and add jumping to hindu squats to increase difficulty and keep growing.
One of the advantages of using calisthenics instead of a gym based programme is you can do it anywhere, anytime and there is no equipment your environment can’t provide, like branches for chin ups/dips and soft ground to do core work. Plus its free, unless you need a $1 deck of cards or a rope for climbing.
'I get asked two things regularly in consultations. "How do I lose belly fat?" and "how do I tone my legs?"
We already know you can't spot reduce body fat from specific areas of the body like the stomach. But it is entirely possible to tone any part of the body you like.
What is toning?
Toning is a marketing buzzword you see everywhere to draw the female eye to fitness posts. It is the antithesis of the male targeted buzzwords such as ripped and jacked. The toned look needs two things to happen to be achieved, fat loss and building muscle.
Building muscle makes you think of oversized steroid-using bodybuilders, but every toned person is also building muscle, although not at the same rate. Bodybuilders have muscle building as a priority and will eat with that in mind. Lifting weights will not make you HUGE like a bodybuilder. There are many other factors at play and specific types of training and nutrition required to achieve these rare and extreme physiques and most people that actually have an aim to be like that can't actually do it.
Building muscle for toning in Edinburgh.
If you are starting from absolute 0 and need to start building muscle in the legs walking around Edinburgh and taking the stairs wherever possible will help a lot. It will also help with weight loss which is the second thing needed to tone.
If you already walk a lot, my next suggestion will take your toning up a notch. Cycling.
Currently, less than £2 per ride you can take a bike from the centre of the city to the beach, whether its Portabello or Crammond you can get there by bike and get a great workout for your legs and burn a hell of a lot of calories. If you know anyone who cycles regularly you will have noticed their legs will have great definition.
Next up is Yoga, Its great for toning the whole body but there is a real focus on the legs in almost every movement. There are yoga studios right across Edinburgh and if you look on ClassPass there are some great deals for introductory session packs and if you go onto the specific yoga studio a lot of them do unlimited months for first time customers. Make sure you go to the more dynamic classes for quicker toning.
I know of several people that use these offers all the time and never stay at the same studio, essentially having unlimited yoga, all the time, on the cheap.
The quickest and most efficient way to tone the legs in Edinburgh is use a Personal Trainer, there are loads across the city but obviously I am biased. Here at Grady B PT I bill myself as a weight loss and toning expert, nothing else, I eat, sleep and breath weight loss and toning.
Things like the Bulgarian split squat which has been around since humans have been lifting weights are one of the most underused and badly coached exercises that if done correctly, get results extremely quickly.
It works. But not for the reasons you think.
There is no magic to intermittent fasting. No re-balancing hormones, giving the body time to detox, going into ketosis (it takes between 2-4 days to be in ketosis) or fat burning zones. It simply makes it harder to consume calories.
It's all about timing
The most common length of a fast is 16h from 8pm-12pm. So that’s an 8h window starting at lunchtime for feeding.
The reason this is the most common window is that it gets results! How does it do that if it's not doing all the magic I said above?
It simply stops you snacking after dinner and most importantly stops you eating breakfast. If you think about it, most of the fasting happens while you are asleep, when you wouldn't be eating anyway.
For the most effective fast, it should take place during the most obtrusive hours, BUT it needs to be easy enough to stick to. If the conditions of a diet are too harsh then medium/long term adherence decreases massively over time. For a short term fix the One Meal A Day diet can work for some people. Find out more about the OMAD diet here
Recommendations for faster results
I recommend to my clients moving their fast to start and finish 1h later if morning and lunchtimes are the main issue or one hour earlier in the evening if snacking after dinner is the issue or their social life leads them further from their goals.
To get through the longer fast in the mornings it is perfectly acceptable to have a black coffee or 2 with sugar as they are less than 20kcals each and if you are having that compared to a full breakfast and a mid-morning snack/calorific coffee you will still be reducing your calories massively.
Still log your calories throughout your intermittent fasting and you can see a big dip when you start. As long as you don’t see the feeding time as an “I must get as much in as possible while I can” time, you can expect to lose weight quite quickly.
If you have any quiestions about intermittent fasting or how to do it while training please contact me.