Though the practice of calisthenics isn’t new, doing it consciously is becoming more and more popular in the fitness world. Today, we’re going to take a deep dive into conscious calisthenics to find out what it is, who it’s for, what its benefits are, and more.
In addition, we’ve included a section for basic training. This will give you a general idea of how to get into the practice, and what it will look like during your first few weeks of implementing it into your daily routine.
What Is Conscious Calisthenics?
You’ve likely taken part in quite a bit of calisthenics throughout your life. In early childhood, it is required in most elementary schools during gym class.
Do you remember the days where you were tested on how many push-ups you can do? Maybe you got nervous when it was your time to try to complete 50 sit-ups.
If you’ve heard of mindful breathing, conscious calisthenics is similar. It is a practice where you’re aware of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and it is your sole focus. Whatever your feelings were in elementary school, those are two examples of calisthenics.
In definition, calisthenics is a kind of exercise that involves several types of movements that focus on large muscle groups. Some examples of calisthenics are standing, pushing, grasping, and running. These are often done rhythmically and with little to no equipment, similar to bodyweight exercises.
Who Is It For?
Calisthenics can be done by just about anyone. It doesn’t matter what your age, skill level, or physical history is. If you can move your body, then you can take part in calisthenics. In fact, many people who have busy schedules enjoy using calisthenics instead of heading to the gym.
Calisthenics is something that can be done anywhere, at any time, without the need for any equipment. It is also a great fitness method for those who haven’t worked out in a long time. If you haven’t done a single sit-up since elementary school, practicing calisthenics is the perfect workout that you can start doing now.
The more you practice calisthenics, the more flexible you will become. It is also amazing for weight loss and muscle building, but we’ll talk more about the benefits later on.
Where Can It Be Done?
Calisthenics is unique from many other fitness methods because it can be done just about anywhere. This is actually why many people choose to incorporate it into their daily lives.
Do you find yourself stuck in your office for hours on end without time to hit the gym? You can simply use your office as a gym by doing a couple of reps of planks or crunches during a few minutes of downtime.
Some people even choose to get their workout done on their commute home. Obviously, this is only safe if you’re taking public transportation, like a subway, train, or bus. While this may not be the most hygienic method, it does show how versatile this fitness routine is.
A big plus to calisthenics is the ability to do it at home at any time of the day or night. You don’t need any special equipment or trainer to do calisthenics. You can easily look up a few workouts or watch a Youtube video of someone leading a calisthenics class. You can then throw on some workout clothes and get started from literally any room in your home.
The Benefits of Conscious Calisthenics
Now that you know what conscious calisthenics is and where you can do it, you’re likely wondering what the physical benefits of this practice are. Below, we talk about five of the best benefits that calisthenics can bring to your life. There are plenty more, but we figured you’d want to hear about the best of the best first.
One of the biggest benefits of conscious calisthenics is endurance. The fitness method alone increases endurance, but when you do it consciously, you’re also increasing the endurance of your mind.
You may only be able to hold a wall-sit for 10 seconds when you first start calisthenics. This is normal and shouldn’t cause you to feel ashamed or weak. Over time, you will build strength throughout your body. This will cause your endurance to improve and you’ll be able to hold a wall-sit for several minutes at once.
Being able to do this shows your brain that you’re capable of doing whatever you set your mind to if you focus hard enough.
It’s important that you add in rest time between sets and between workout days. This allows your body to recharge and helps prevent exhaustion in your muscles and your mind. During these times, you can practice mindful meditation to increase the endurance of your mind better.
Yoga, Pilates, and gymnastics are a few of the most popular types of conscious calisthenics there is. All of these regimens include specific motions that are repeated. You may not notice how flexible you are until you break down what you’re doing; that’s the conscious part of it.
Let’s say you’re doing a set of sit-ups. You will have to work your neck, arms, upper chest, and core during a sit-up. Though it seems like one fluid motion, it is actually several motions put together that equals a sit-up. This increases the flexibility in all areas of the body that you’re using for that specific calisthenics.
Just like endurance, the more you practice calisthenics, the more flexible you will become. It’s important that you also incorporate stretching before and after a session of calisthenics. This can prevent muscle strain and improve blood flow for the rest of your day.
Another amazing benefit of conscious calisthenics is brain health. Cortisol is a stress hormone that our body releases when we’re anxious or stressed. A corticotropin-releasing hormone is a hormone that is tied to depression.
When you work out, there are chemicals released that reduce both the stress and depression hormones. This is done when the body releases dopamine. Now, if you add in the conscious factor of conscious calisthenics, you get even more health benefits.
Being mindful and conscious of what your body is doing and where your brain wanders off to allows you to reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, and can even improve your sleep.
It may be shocking to hear, but conscious calisthenics helps to improve strength all throughout the body. If you’re looking for muscle strength, calisthenics can help build muscles with consistent repetition. It can also improve the strength of your bones and joints.
Making calisthenics part of your daily routine can help you prevent further injuries to your body that may not have been avoidable. By building muscle strength, you’re preventing tears and strains that may have occurred.
More than that, it fights off future diseases. After all, the U.S. Military uses conscious calisthenics in their basic training for a reason.
Conscious calisthenics is also known for being a great way to lose weight. As you read before, gymnastics, yoga, and Pilates are all forms of calisthenics.
Though most people think of running on the elliptical or treadmill as the best method for weight loss, calisthenics brings a fair fight to the competition.
Your heart rate rises when you take part in a calisthenics workout. When your heart rate rises, you will burn more calories. The more calories you burn, the more weight you can lose.
Weight loss is focused on calories in versus calories out, and when you’re burning more than you’re consuming, weight loss will happen.
Conscious Calisthenics for Beginners
This is a general basic training guide for beginners of conscious calisthenics. If you are more physically fit, feel free to increase the amount of calisthenics you do per round.
As you can see, there are days missing. Use these missing days to rest and allow your muscles to strengthen over time.
The first day is the easiest and requires no equipment at all. Do the following exercises in order, four times through:
- Hold a plank for at least 30 seconds
- 7 squats
- 7 lunges per leg
- 5 push-ups
- 10 leg-raises (from a horizontal laying down position)
- 20 mountain climbers per leg
- 5 chin-ups (this requires a bar)
- 5 pull-ups (this requires a bar)
- 8 low dips
- 7 jump squats
- 10 push-ups
- 12 leg-raises (from a horizontal laying down position)
- 10 wide push-ups (arms stretched out wider than a normal push-up)
- 20 mountain climbers per leg
- Minimum one-minute wall-sit
- 20 low squats
- 60-second minimum plank
- 75-meter run (2x)
- 4 low dips
- 10 seconds of knee raises
- 60 seconds of jumping jacks
- 10 push-ups
- Minimum 25-second plank
A Conscious Diet
Just like any other fitness routine, diet plays a major role. To become really healthy, you need to think about what you eat and drink in addition to the way you move your body.
Let’s break it down for you to make it as easy as possible for beginners to follow.
In the Morning
Wake up at 9 AM or earlier and drink at least eight ounces of water. Go about your morning routine as you normally would with tasks such as brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
Get in a pre-workout or bulletproof coffee to provide you with energy throughout the day. Complete 10 minutes of conscious calisthenics and finish your morning off with fruits, vegetables, and protein.
In the Afternoon
Whether you’re at the office or on a day off, you can eat a healthy lunch between noon and 2 PM. This will likely consist of water, healthy fat like salmon, greens, and potato.
After your food has settled, complete 10 more minutes of conscious calisthenics. Drink a large glass of water and continue on with your daily activities.
In the Evening
On your way home from work or during your day-off, drink a glass of water and have yourself a snack. If you take public transportation, this would be the perfect time to get in a session of mindful breathing or meditation to flush away the stressors of the day.
Once you’re home, fix yourself a meal with fruits, vegetables, protein, and a piece of dark chocolate. While it’s cooking, try to finish off the last 10 minutes of your daily conscious calisthenics. Complete any chores or other daily activities you have before a bit of relaxation.
It is absolutely crucial to this routine to stay off of electronics at least an hour before bed. This gives you the opportunity to give your eyes a break and allows your mind to calm down before getting some sleep.
To do this, you can read a book, talk with a loved one, meditate, have a cup of tea, or any other relaxing activity that you enjoy.
Conscious calisthenics is an amazing thing that just about anyone can do in their day to day life. Whether you start with sit-ups, planks, or jumping rope, it’s a great way to lose weight. It also has a myriad of other benefits like lowering blood pressure, improving brain health, increasing flexibility, and more.
We hope that you incorporate some of the basic training we listed to get you started on the right foot. Keep in mind that this is something that you can do practically anywhere, and it doesn’t require ridiculously expensive gym equipment.
Good luck with all of your future fitness goals and adventures!