We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The Maggie's Fitness for Life program includes both. Still, we tend to agree that calisthenics classes offer more bang for the buck (or for the time.)
The logic is that 50 minutes of intense calis (with maybe only 6-10-second breaks between routines) is a good heart stressor while also working on athleticism, balance, flexibility, light-weight endurance muscle work, and body-weight exercises. In addition, most calisthenics classes include specific HIIT routines like rowing sprints. Obviously, each person works at his or her own level.
If you take three tough calisthenics classes weekly, do you need to do your own HIIT cardio? Maybe not, because calisthenics classes that keep your heart rate up are stressful cardio.It depends on how intensely you want to condition, and on how ambitious you are. What sorts of circuits do typical calisthenics classes include? Rowing sprints, kettlebell swings, pushups, jumping jacks, jump rope, heavy ropes, body weight squats, heavy ball throws, sandbag slams, floor and core work like planks and crunches, hand weights, stretches, etc etc. Fun stuff, never boring because the routines are only 30-60 seconds each.
We do like the idea of one "long, slow" cardio hour, like swimming, jogging, high-incline walking, stair machine, etc as a recovery day from a week's exertions with heavy weights and calisthenics. There is evidence that "active recovery" like that makes for more effective physical recovery than doing nothing. A 4-5-hour hill hike is a perfect recovery activity from demanding workouts.
With calisthenics, the less spare fat you carry, the better you will do and the more quickly you will move. To shed spare fat, cut the food volume and get rid of those carbs. (Our readers know what carbs are: fruit, juices, grains and grain products, beer, root vegetables, anything with sugar, etc.)
I don't agree with the advice on carbs. That is not unreasonable advice for someone who is grossly overweight and cannot easily control it. It will work somewhat. But about half the population does not have a serious weight issue and that simply is not good advice. Carbs are not bad for you. But it is certainly possibly for some people to have a genetic problem that left untreated would put them over 400 lbs and they need everything that works to fight that. If you are 170 lbs and have been for most of your adult life please don't give up carbs to get to 165 lbs.
As for cardio vs calisthenics; Many people who post here have expressed a dislike of jogging. Fair enough, I don't care for group exercise or trainers. But if you jog daily you will not be fat/obese. You will also be able to eat whatever you like including all the carbs you can consume. A decent jogging goal is 30 miles a week. Vary that by jogging alternate 3 mile and 7 mile days. Occasional 9 mile days is good too. Jog, don't race. Once you have been jogging for a few years or more your body will become acclimated to it, it really does take that long to build up your heart, lungs and circulartory system, You can set a good pace be being able to carry on a conversation while jogging. Sure, you can jog faster but you can and likely will incur injuries by pushing yourself. So unless you are trying out for the Olympics keep your exercise reasonable. Your goal is better health and longer life not ribbons and medals for the mantle.
Ain't it the truth about recovery times. In my occasional attempts to bridge the chasm between mind and body I recognize that recovery takes a lot longer than it used to, but don't want to accept the reality of it all. Then again, anything that doesn't entail sitting on a recliner represents a triumph of the will. Heh.
I think it is foolish to eliminate whole, fresh fruit and root vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes and carrots.
Whole fruits have tremendous antioxidants and other nutrients. Root vegetables have antiviral properties. Just don't make a baked potato and slather it with butter and sour cream.
You can give up fresh fruit if you don't mind having a wrinkled, old prune face.