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Will Losing Weight Help With Calisthenics (Based on Science)

Yes, according to the progressive overload principle the less extra weight you carry, the easier it is going to be for you to do calisthenics. Especially when you do pull-ups, chin-ups, dips and all exercises where you need to hold your entire weight above the ground. [1]

So losing weight will definitely help with bodyweight exercises and the number of repetitions you can do.

Here’s exactly what to do in order to lose weight and how to combine it with bodyweight exercises.

What You Will Learn

  • Can You Do Calisthenics If You Are Overweight (Truth)
  • How to Lose Weight for Calisthenics (Step by Step)
  • How to Combine Weight Loss with Calisthenics (Most Effective Way)

Can You Do Calisthenics If You Are Overweight (Truth)

Even though it’s more difficult because you are carrying extra weight which will make every rep way harder, it is entirely possible to do calisthenics even if you are overweight. 

Doing calisthenics will help you build muscle mass faster which will help you burn more calories on a daily basis. 

Important Note: According to science, muscle mass burns more calories than fat so the more muscle you can build in your body, the faster you will burn the extra weight you carry. [2]

That’s exactly why It’s highly recommended to add some type of weight lifting or bodyweight exercises while you are doing your regular weight loss cardio workouts.

How to Lose Weight for Calisthenics (Step by Step)

Step 1: Eat only healthy and nutritious foods:

The most important step for you to lose weight is to stop eating junk food and drink only water.

I know you’ve heard this hundreds of times but from personal experience I can tell that if you don’t focus on what you eat, every other effort in terms of exercise and movement will be done for nothing

  • Stop buying processed food. 
  • Find a few delicious healthy recipes and cook your own food. (It’s not hard at all)
  • Drink only water and stick to it. 
  • Don’t limit yourself. Have a cheat meal once every week.

Fact: Depending on your extra weight you carry it is entirely possible to lose weight only by changing the foods you eat every day.

By cutting down all the sugars, carbs and processed frankenfoods you lower hugely the number of calories your body takes which will lead to weight loss.

Step 2: Start walking (Do light jogs if possible):

If you don’t have the strength to do any type of bodyweight exercises, simply walk every day.

Start with 10 minutes around your home and gradually increase that number. Walk 15 minutes the next day, then do 20, 25, 30 … etc.

You will be surprised at how many calories you can burn only by walking if you are very overweight.

Quick Tip: If you want to make things even harder take a backpack, fill it with bottles of water/sand/dirt and do the walks while carrying it on your back. Or simply do your walks uphill. The more difficult you make your walk, the more calories and weight you are going to burn.

Step 3: Add cardio workouts: Once you can walk for at least for an hour, hour and a half without problem it’s time to take your weight loss journey to a new level.

Start doing cardio workouts a minimum of 2-3 times per week.

Because there are many different ways you can do cardio and lose weight, think carefully and choose any one of the activities you like the most.

In order not to quit and stick to your workouts it’s very important to only do things you somewhat enjoy doing to lose weight efficiently.

Example: I really like mountain biking and hiking so I often do both activities. They are great cardio workouts and because I enjoy doing them, I don’t really feel them like workouts.

Cardio activities you can do:  

  • Continue with walking (increase intensity by going uphill, add extra weight or go further) 
  • Go swimming
  • Start jogging
  • Ride a bike (on the mountain on on the road)
  • Go hiking
  • Use a treadmill (or any other type of cardio equipment)
  • Do home cardio HIIT workouts (example workout) – look on Youtube for alternatives
  • Do any other type of physical activity or sport that is very active you enjoy

Simply choose a cardio activity you like and do it 2-3 times per week.

Step 4: Be consistent and stick with everything:

Losing weight and becoming healthy is a long process that takes months and even years depending on many factors. Nobody can tell you exactly how long it will take and what problems you may face.

So don’t quit no matter what. Stick to eating healthy and cook your own food, do regular cardio workouts and activities, sleep at least 7-8 hours every night for maximum recovery [3] and build healthy daily habits. Do everything enough times and you will see results.

Step 5: Keep progressing and adapting to changes:

At some point you will most likely reach a plateau. You will stop losing weight and seeing results. When this moment comes don’t quit. Instead change what you are currently doing and try again.

Example: If you are doing a specific cardio workout that doesn’t help anymore change it. Pick something else that is completely different or simply increase the difficulty by doing it for a couple more minutes, using extra resistance or lowering the rest time.

No matter what happens, always adapt your meals and workouts so you keep progressing. 

After all, according to science without progress there aren’t any new results. [4]

How to Combine Weight Loss with Calisthenics (Most Effective Way)

What works best is to do cardio workouts 2-3 times per week, and do 2-3 bodyweight workouts as well so you can build strength and muscle while burning away the extra weight. 

Do all your muscle building workouts with 48 hours rest so your body has enough time to recover. [5]

Weekly Plan (Calisthenics & Cardio)

  • Monday: Calisthenics (Whole Body Workout)
  • Tuesday: Cardio
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Calisthenics (Whole Body Workout)
  • Friday:  Cardio
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Cardio

Calisthenics (Whole Body Workout):

  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Bodyweight squats
  • Plank
  • Dips (use dip bars (link to mine if interested) if you have access or place your legs on a chair and hold on to something behind you)
  • Pull-ups/Chin-ups (if you have access to a pull-up bar (link to mine if interested) and can do at least one)

Cardio Workout:

  • At least 20 minutes of cardio activity of your choice (see the options above if you haven’t picked one yet)

How many reps?: To maximize muscle growth and strength do until failure to 6-12 [6]

How long to rest between exercises: Rest 30 to 90 seconds for maximum recovery and muscle hypertrophy. [7]

How to guarantee results?: Eat only healthy manually prepared meals and aim for progressive overload with both the cardio and bodyweight workouts. Read my in depth guide on how to progress for more info.

How to do a certain workout/exercise?: If you don’t know how to do a specific exercise or movement go and watch a free Youtube tutorial video, find a mirror or ask somebody to help you out and learn the proper form and execution. Then give your best and do as many reps as you can until you can do 12. Then add resistance and keep progressing. 


Hey there, my name is Bozhidar and I'm a certified online personal trainer with University Degree in Sports and Nutrition.

With the help of my knowledge and over 8 years of workout experience, I can help you get on the next level. I own a home gym, do calisthenics, little gymnastics, and love to ride a bike.

About me