I love watching fitness dudes on Youtube as much as the next person, but nothing is crazier than the jacked gymnasts that compete in the Olympics.
There’s also a bunch of jacked calisthenics-only athletes on Youtube with all their “how-to” workout videos and progressions, but none of them say how long it takes to get that way.
There’s no straight answer on how long it takes to get ripped with calisthenics. It really depends on the person’s current body fat percentage, fitness level, and nutrition (possibly the biggest factor in being “ripped”).
Let’s Get Some Definitions Straight…
There are really two terms that need to be expanded on to fully give an understanding of how long it takes to achieve your outlined goals.
What Does it Mean to Be “Ripped”?
When it comes to defining being ripped, there isn’t one direct answer. It kind of varies from person to person.
There is one common thing that everyone can agree on though when it comes to defining “ripped.”
It’s all about the abs.
That’s the most commonly discussed and noticed aspect of a person’s physique that earns the moniker of “ripped.”
Though different people present health differently, a ripped physique is easily noticed and garners positive attention. It’s also typically seen as a good sign of health.
For men, anything below about 12-15% of body fat, and for women, anything below 17-20% body fat percentage will allow for basic abdominals to show through. There will be some sort of muscular visibility at these broad percentages.
What Exactly is Calisthenics Training?
When it comes to defining “calisthenics,” it’s a lot simpler than defining “ripped.”
Calisthenics is quite simply a form of exercise that involves using a person’s body weight instead of free weights or machines.
I really like the way the School of Calisthenics defines what it means to them in this video.
The best thing in this video is when the gentleman known as Jacko describes how calisthenics removes the significance and focuses on aesthetics. Instead, it focuses on doing different moves and athletic performances instead of how a person looks.
Can you get ripped with calisthenics? Absolutely, you can.
If your body is feeling good and you’re able to perform the progressions, then the aesthetics you desire will simply come along as you continue the fitness journey.
So, being ripped is about having a visible muscle definition. There is a baseline number that is a broad generalization, but the actual numbers don’t present the same for everyone.
Calisthenics is simply exercise using a person’s body weight instead of machines or free weights.
Why Can’t There be a Straight Answer?
I touched on this briefly in the article above, and I will sum it up again right here: there is no straight answer because humans are different.
Now, let’s dig into what this means.
This is the same reason why BMI isn’t used as the standard anymore. The variety of humans and their body types are as varied as the humans themselves.
Actually, the biggest flaw with the BMI is that it doesn’t take body composition into account; therefore, it shows a 6’ 2” pro football player as being “overweight” to “severely obese.”
Which perfectly illustrates my point.
You can’t give a straight answer to anything regarding the human body unless you do all the math and science for each individual.
Secondarily, different people respond differently to the same stimuli. I mean, some individuals may get an excellent ab workout by doing isometric movements such as planks.
Other individuals might do better by doing weighted lifts like crunches or Russian twists.
There is entirely too much individual variation to give a one-size-fits-all answer. Luckily, there are some pillars you can do to ensure you will be on the right path before getting help.
Who knows, you may respond so well to the general recommendation that you don’t even need a personal trainer to personalize your workout routine.
The Pillars of Health
This section can be turned into a full-on book if someone wanted to dedicate the time to write it.
To keep from this turning into a book here though, I’m going to give you an overview of the pillars of health.
They are deemed thusly because pillars are required to hold up a building. That’s the same thing for your health. You need the four pillars to host a healthy lifestyle (and they’re the answer to how you’ll get ripped with calisthenics).
My favorite analogy actually came from a funny and informative Youtube channel called the Buff Dudes. They said, “The four pillars are the legs of a chair. If you don’t balance them out, you’re going to fall out of the chair.”
So instead of falling off the chair, let’s see if we can balance our pillars.
All roads of health lead back to your diet. That old saying, “You are what you eat.” still holds true today.
The biggest problem with nutrition is ALWAYS a new fad diet. There’s keto, Adkins (which is keto if you were wondering), Mediterranean, carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, and pescatarian, among a million others!
In reality, the best option is what’s sustainable for you personally. Typically, a well-balanced diet of both meat and plants is the optimal diet for humans.
There are tons of options though. If you want to try a new one, a doctor should be consulted first to make sure it won’t hurt you.
Secondarily, a nutritionist is the best way to get the best diet recommendation for you.
Ultimately, it boils down to consuming fewer calories than you expend to lose weight and consuming roughly 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of your target body weight.
Here’s the second pillar for your fitness journey. The exercise or calories expended.
Of course, there are numerous options here as well. You could get calisthenics or weights – bodybuilding or powerlifting.
No matter what you choose, it boils down to progressive overload to increase strength.
For any form of weight lifting, progressive overload is all about adding more weight to each lift to increase muscle activation.
In relation to calisthenics, since that is the topic of this article, the way to do progressive overload is by adding reps and doing different variations on an exercise.
The last way to do progressive overload is through time under tension. Or slowing down a rep to increase the strain on your muscles.
An excellent place to start is with the Cali Move Body Transformation Basics Routine. Through the program, there are regressions and progressions to keep you exercising for quite a long time.
This is primarily for the sake of your mental health. Sometimes the exercise portion goes hand in hand with this, but not always.
I like to couple the idea of relaxation with spirituality because different people experience this differently.
Some people think of relaxing as hanging out in a bubble bath with a glass of wine and cheese. While others like to meditate and just breathe.
Then there are those that get mentally rejuvenated by engaging in a worship service.
It’s different strokes for different folks, but the gist of it is to do something to unwind.
By doing this you will be able to better exercise mental discipline to engage in whatever it takes to achieve your health goals.
Now, sleep is something that can easily take up a book in and of itself. It’s a pretty convoluted topic that nobody fully understands yet.
What I mean is that there are health benefits to proper sleep and rest, but there isn’t really a strong understanding of why.
When you sleep, your muscles will heal from damage. Your body will relax and repair to be stronger. It’s helpful for memory retention and stress relief.
There are things that can be done to improve your sleep, but the deep science of “why” isn’t fully comprehended.
Here are a few pointers you can follow to improve your sleep quality:
- Create a sleep routine. This will help your body wind down to fall asleep.
- Use your bed only for sleep. Other bed activities are OK too (if you catch my drift). Basically, you need to create that association in your mind that the bed is for sleep only.
- Cut out electronics after 8 PM. Artificial light, such as that from TVs, phones, tablets, and computers uses a lot of blue light.
- Use blue-light-blocking lenses for prolonged screen viewing. Blue light is what your eyes and body get from the sun to notify your body of it is daytime. That’s why blue-blocking glasses are super popular right now.
- Maintain a scheduled wake-up time. If you need to be awake by 6 AM for work, then maintain that on weekends.
If you use all your time in the day to be productive, then you will be tired enough to fall asleep at night and get the appropriate amount of sleep to wake up on time.
What About Genetics?
When it comes to long-term fitness, there is a factor people use as an excuse a lot – genetics.
I grew up in a small town in Texas, and I can’t tell you how many times I heard people say, “You know ‘X’ is impossible for me because of my genetics.”
It’s true genetics play a role in your health, both short and long term.
There are things your body is predisposed to have. Genetics will play into your eye color, hair color, the general shape of your face, etc.
There is even the body shape and general muscle definition that are genetic.
It does not dictate the final product though!
I have to continually stress this.
My family has a history of cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes on both sides of my family. I never want to fall victim to this, so I lead a healthy lifestyle.
Genetics do exist, but they are not the final factor in your health. You have to take responsibility and live a healthy lifestyle to overcome all adversity.
How Long Does it Take to Get Ripped with Calisthenics?
Welp, I will probably just continually reiterate this until I quit talking about health and fitness with other people, but there’s no straight answer.
Some people will see results in as little as a month. For others, it may take upwards of a year to see the results you want.
When it comes down to it, as long as you are living your life as healthy as possible, you will eventually see the body you want.
It just takes time.
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