In the past, you may have heard people blaming their weight on their “slow metabolism”. But what does that really mean? Is metabolism really the culprit that determines the rate of your weight loss?
According to the National Library of Medicine, metabolism is the total reactions that occur throughout the body within each cell and provide the body with energy. In simple terms, it is the operation by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. Although metabolism may affect the chemical processes in your body, what you consume, along with your level of physical activity, will ultimately determine how many calories you burn.
Calisthenics is great for building muscle, strength, and increasing muscular endurance. If you have a little bit of excess weight around your stomach, chest, waist, or legs that you want to lose, then I will show you the movements that you’ll want to incorporate into your calisthenics training to shed that fat away!
How Many Calories Does Calisthenics Burn?
Indeed, higher intensity workouts will burn more calories than light intensity workouts. Below are the statistics conducted by Havard Health on how many many calories are burned in 30-minute activities:
Before I dive into the best exercises that burn the most calories, we first have to understand how calories are burned while we work out. In general, there are three main factors that will determine how many calories you actually burn:
- Body composition (height and weight). People that are larger or have more muscle mass are going to burn more calories.
- Age. The older you get, the more your metabolism slows down and will burn fewer calories.
- Training intensity. The higher the intensity, the more demand for oxygen and muscle exertion which will burn more calories.
A 2015 study compared caloric expenditure of aerobic, weight training, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and found that HIIT training increases caloric expenditure, heart rate, and rating of perceived exertion than the form of exercises.
Calisthenics Exercises For Fat Loss
The best exercises for burning the most calories are compound exercises. These are movements that use many muscle groups when moving through space. The more muscles are engaged in an exercise, the more calories will be burned.
Now, compound movements such as mountain climbers, jumping jacks, and burpees are effective for burning calories, but they’re usually hard to sustain for a long period of time. This is why you should focus on the quality rather than the quantity of each rep to become more effective in burning more calories.
Here are my five top picks for the best bodyweight exercises that can help you shed fat efficiently.
This exercise is a combination of a squat thrust, push up, and a squat jump, which is essentially a full-body exercise. You’ll be training your arms, legs, chest, abs, thighs, and glutes.
- Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outwards, and arms down by your sides.
- Lower down into a squat by bending your knees, and place your palms on the floor right in front of your toes. Shift your weight into your hands and jump your feet back into a push up position. Don’t let your back sag and butt up too high.
- Lower your body down into the bottom push up phase, keeping your core engaged, followed by explosively extending your arms to lift your body off the ground and jump your feet back in so that they’re just behind your hands.
- Extend your arms overhead and explosively jump into the air.
- Land softly by lowering into a squat to cushion the landing for your next rep.
- Perform this between 45-60 seconds.
- Squat Jacks
The squat jack is an extended family member of jumping jacks as it contains a slight twist: that is you will be lowering down into a squat followed by jumping up into the air. This would tone glutes, thighs, and burn more calories.
- Stand with your feet together and hands down by your sides.
- Bend your knees slightly to jump up and spread your feet wide until they’re wider than shoulder-width apart. As your feet touch the floor, descend into a squat by bending your knees and lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground, while extending your arms out to the side and overhead.
- Explosively drive through your heels and jump up to the starting position.
- Perform this between 45-60 seconds.
- Mountain Climber Twist
Mountain climbers is one of the ultimate compound exercises that is calorie-burning and gets your heart rate pumping. It also develops your core strength, targeting the stubborn lower belly fat area.
- Begin in a push up position where your shoulders are stacked on top of your wrists, your legs are extended, and your feet are together. Brace your core to keep your body in a straight line.
- Bend your right knee and draw it towards your left elbow while keeping your left leg straight. Your torso should twist slightly to the left.
- Return your right leg back to the starting position followed by repeating on the opposite side, while keeping your core tight.
- Alternate this movement between 45-60 seconds.
- High Knee Taps
This exercise engages your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and hip flexors. Also, it will develop your muscular endurance, balance, and get your heart rate pumping for greater cardiovascular health while standing virtually in one place.
- Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart, and weight being placed on the balls of your feet. Place your hands in front of your body at approximately hip height. This will measure how high your knees will rise up to,
- Drive your right knee up towards your right hand as high as you comfortably can while keeping your left foot on the ground. Followed by lowering your right foot back down to the starting position.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Alternate between the right and left leg for 45-60 seconds.
- Sideway Jacks
This is a cool exercise that you probably haven’t encountered before. I’ve saved the best exercise for last! Sideway jumps combine jumping jacks with jump squats.
- Stand tall with your feet together and arms down by your sides.
- Jump and spread your feet out into a wide squat stance while in mid-air. Cushion the landing by bending your knees and lowering into a squat while simultaneously extending your arms out to the side and overhead. Keep your core tight and lower down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Explosively jump up and rotate your body 90 degrees to the right. Land into a squat, followed by jumping and returning back to the starting position.
- Repeat steps 2 and three, but this time rather than turning right, you would rotate your body 90 degrees to the left
- Perform this movement between 45-60 seconds.
Bodyweight HIIT Workout
Here is an example workout based on the 5 exercises that I’ve mentioned above. You will simply work between 45-60 seconds on each exercise with 15 seconds rest in between. Once you have finished all 5 exercises, rest for 2 minutes before repeating for 3 more rounds.
You will definitely see the benefits of this workout if you implement it at least twice a week. With that said, if your goal is to build muscle, then I wouldn’t recommend doing this style of workout. Instead, focus on slower compound movements if size and strength are your main concerns.
However, for pure fitness and calorie-burning, you can’t beat this routine. You can personalize this by changing the exercises in the plan. For more exercise inspirations, check out the Gymless exercise library to discover new and fun exercises that anyone can master with a little practice. I recommend you check the lower body category for a start.
For those who are looking for a comprehensive training program that is individualized for your body and fitness goals, you can book a consultation with one of our expert coaches today.
I’m Pat Chadwick, a qualified Level 2 and Level 3 calisthenics coach and athlete from London, England, with six years of experience. I’ve competed in various UK competitions, including the Kalos Stenos Championships, where I achieved third place in the lightweight category. My passion is highlighting the beauty of calisthenics as an authentic and pure form of body expression. I believe that everyone has the potential to become a champion of their body and mind, and that calisthenics opens the door to personal empowerment.