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    Articles | burn more calories


    By David (Jacko) Jackson

    It’s January we’ve all eaten a little more than maybe we would normally do over the festive period and probably trained less than we normally do too! It’s not a problem, I’m a realist and understand that it happens, I’ve done it. We’ve all been there but what’s important is that we do something about it!

    So we have three options, one involves making a time machine and going back to the festive period and not eating so much… so basically we have two options. The first is a preventative one. Just like we might do good Movement Preparation exercises in our warm up to not only prepare the body for the session ahead but also prevent injury, we can prepare for next Christmas (or any period where we may eat more and train less) and put a plan in place to prevent us from over eating and under training. For some of us that is a realistic option, for others it’s not.

    For myself, it’s something I could do but choose not to. I could do it because I’ve done it before. During my 13 year professional rugby career we often had games on Boxing day or the day after. Eating more and training less wasn’t an option. We always had Christmas day off but that was it. Eating more and training less wasn’t an option for me because I always wanted to try and be at my best whenever I walked onto the pitch. I felt I owed it to myself, my teammates, the coaches and most of all our supporters.

    So because that’s part of my past, I now enjoy the ‘luxury’ of eating more and training less at Christmas. I only retired 3 years ago so I’m still enjoying my Christmas at the moment! For me it has to be option two; eat better and / or less and exercise more after the festive period, with a focus to our training on burning more calories. Burning more calories in a session to off set the additional food I enjoyed over Christmas!

    Saving Time…

    Before we get into the ‘knitty gritty’ of how we are actually going to burn more calories with calisthenics, it’s important to consider time. Time is a realistic restriction for us all. We all live busy lives these days, that’s the reality of modern day life. We’ve not got enough time to do all the things we’d like to and for some of us that means training, going to the gym and getting or staying in shape can take a hit. So being efficient with our time and having a training and exercise routine that doesn’t ‘eat’ into our precious time is important.

    Calisthenics requires little to no equipment so we don’t need to go to the gym to get our workout done. That in itself can be a great time saver as we can get an awesome fat burning workout done at home. Meaning either you save some time to use however you like or the time saved by not driving or getting to the gym can be used in your actual workout. So you can train at home and actually do a longer workout meaning again you’d burn more calories.

    Train anywhere: Outside or at home
    Train anywhere: Outside or at home

    The Science Bit!

    Now it’s time to get a bit scientific (I used to be a science teacher so love this part!) and explain why Calisthenics can be so effective in burning more calories than when compared to other forms of training.

    • Calisthenics due to the complexity of the movements requires more ‘brainpower’. The more you have to concentrate not only helps us to ‘stay in the moment’ therefore being more mindful, it’s also harder and requires more energy.
    • We are always using multiple muscle groups during calisthenics. We are never isolating one muscle group like in bodybuilding or with machine weights. This is more demanding on the body, the more muscles used in each exercise the more calories being burnt.
    • When we use larger muscle groups it’s been shown to burn more calories. That’s why things like squats and lunges, which use large muscle groups like the glutes are great for burning calories.
    • When Calisthenics is done correctly even the upper body movements we do like push-ups and ring rows engage the whole body. If you’ve watched any of our video coaching tutorials you’ll have heard us talking about engaging the glutes and core to stabilise the hips and help maintain body alignment. That means we are hitting large muscle groups like the glutes as well as the core when we are doing our upper body pushing and pulling movements. So the entire body is working the entire time!
    • Losing weight and burning off fat is a calories game. We have to expend (use up) more calories during the day, week and month than we consume. It’s a simple equation that can’t be changed. If you want to lose weight and body fat then make sure the ‘scales’ are balanced in your favour.

    *We wouldn’t however encourage you to try and count every calorie you eat or think you’ll burn. It’s not an effective use of time, it’s just an estimate and you could spend that time actually training rather than counting your calories and that will certainly have a more positive effect on your weight loss goals.

    What training shall I do?

    We want to make it as easy as possible for anyone to start using Calisthenics to get fit and healthy. So below is a ‘Burn More Calories with Calisthenics’ Circuit session that requires no equipment, so can be done at home!

    It’s a total body workout that will alternates between lower body, upper body and core exercises, with minimal rest between exercises and only 1 to 2 minutes rest between sets or ‘rounds’ of the circuit.

    At Home Calisthenics Circuit Session

    The number of repetitions for each exercise is a guide for you to use, everyone is different and has different strengths and weaknesses so make sure you work at a level and intensity that’s appropriate for you. Use the Movement Preparation and Patterning as a warm up for the Capacity Strength Circuit.

    We recommend 2 to 3 sets or ‘rounds’ of the circuit but this can be something that you build up to over time. Maybe in the first week you perform just one circuit once that week, if you’re just starting out or just getting back into exercising. Over a couple of weeks you might be able to build up to 2 or 3 rounds of the circuit and/ or do it more than once in a week.

    If you’ve been training along time you can use more advanced variations of each exercise (like typewriter press up rather than normal press ups for example) and / or complete more reps of each exercise and more sets or ‘rounds’ of the circuit.



    Calorie Burning Total Body Workout


    We’d love to hear and see how you get on with this workout. You can send us videos or pictures, ask questions if you need any help by either emailing us or tagging us in your favourite social media. You can find us actively on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

    If you’ve enjoyed this blog and workout we’d love for you to share it with any of your friends that you’d think would enjoy it. If this is your first calisthenics experience or your first visit to the School of Calisthenics and you’d like to learn more and get more involved, we’d love to give you our FREE Beginners Calisthenics Programme on the Virtual Classroom, which is packed full of educational content as we’ll as video tutorials of all the beginners exercises you need to get started in Calisthenics.

    Finally we just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year! Many of you have been sharing your goals for 2017 and new years resolutions with us on social media and it looks like we’ve all got some big things planned for 2017! The last year has been a crazy rollercoaster ride for us here at the School of Calisthenics and reflecting back on 2016 as we celebrate our first birthday today, we want to thank every single one of your for being part of the school and our growth in this first year. We’ve seen loads of you making huge progress throughout the year and many of you ‘Graduating ‘ in your favourite Calisthenics movements and we look forward to seeing more of you redefining your impossible in 2017.


    Tim + Jacko