Top 10 Best Calisthenics Exercises To Build and Strengthen Your Muscles 

Top 10 Best Calisthenics Exercises To Build and Strengthen Your Muscles 

Top 10 Best Calisthenics Exercises To Build and Strengthen Your Muscles 

There is a common misconception that the only way you can strengthen and build your muscles is by lifting heavy weights in the gym. But you might be surprised to know that it is possible to build mass without any equipment at all. You don’t even need a gym membership to start! The key is to build muscle with calisthenics exercises. Calisthenics exercises are forms of exercises that only utilize your body weight as resistance.

Incorporating calisthenics exercises into your fitness routine is a safe and effective way to build muscle without putting unnecessary stress on your joints. The great thing about these exercises is that you can perform these even if you’re a beginner. As you grow stronger, you can adjust the intensity of the exercises by trying out different variations or increasing the duration of your workout.

Take a look at the 10 best calisthenics exercises that will help you effectively strengthen and build your muscles.

1. Push-ups

The push-up is a classic exercise that targets different muscle groups in your body. Performing the exercise engages your arms, chest, abdomen, hips, and legs. There are many different variations of push-ups, but it is best to start with the basic push-up then progress into different types once you master the perfect form.

  1. Dips

The dip is an amazing upper body workout. It targets the muscles in your chest, shoulders and arms simultaneously. While calisthenics athletes use a dip station, you can use a chair or parallel bars in outdoor parks to practice your dips.

  1. Lunges

Doing forward and backward lunges will work out your abs, thigh and butt muscles at the same time. If you are a beginner, you can start with alternate legs. As you progress you can upgrade your lunges to build more muscle mass in your lower body.

  1. Planks

The plank is the exercise that looks easy to do but it can be really challenging in reality. Planks are hands down one of the best exercises to build ab muscles and develop insane core strength.

  1. Jumping Jacks

If there’s one exercise in this list that you can definitely do, it’s the jumping jack. While it seems pretty basic, this exercise actually targets the muscles in your calves, hips, shoulder, and abdomen –  giving you a total body workout.

  1. Squats

Squats are powerhouse exercises that strengthen your legs, butt, hips, thighs, calves, and abdomen. The key to getting the maximum benefit from this exercise is to ensure that you know how to do the squat correctly.

  1. Burpees

Probably one of the most detested exercises because this full-body strengthening exercise will get you out of breath even just after a few reps. But if you want to build muscle, burpees should be your best friend! This is because every rep targets your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs

  1. Superman

If you want to strengthen your back muscles then this exercise is perfect. The superman is an essential exercise that will give you a stronger core.

9. Pull-ups

A pull-up is an exercise that you should be working towards mastering to increase your chest, abdominal and arm muscles. It helps improve your grip strength, too.

10. Chin-ups

A chin-up is different from a pull-up as it uses an underhand grip on the bar instead of an overhand grip. While chin-ups and pull-ups work the same muscle groups, they target them in different capacities.

Strong and Steady

These 10 calisthenics exercises are perfect for everyone – from beginners to fitness athletes. You can easily upgrade these exercises to increase their intensity depending on your individual fitness levels.

About the Author:
Rebecca Smith started calisthenics at age 26 as a means to lose weight and tone her body. After completing her first successful muscle up, the amazing feeling inspired her to train further and become a full-time calisthenics instructor. Rebecca also holds a Management Degree and a Diploma in Nutrition.

Heroes of Nanaimo’s Health and Fitness Community: Tasha and post about getting older and exercising

Heroes of Nanaimo’s Health and Fitness Community: Tasha and post about getting older and exercising

Nanaimo and surrounding is blessed with a wealth of wonderful, passionate health and fitness professionals like Tasha who inspire others, helping them to overcome obstacles and live healthier lives. These Yoga teachers, Fitness Instructors, Massage Therapists and others deserve to be more widely known because they have so much knowledge and insight to share. This post was part of a newsletter I received from Tasha who own the Gabriola Fitness center. I found the information below so inspiring I’ve asked Tasha if I could share it with you all. Thanks Tasha for writing this post.

Exercise and again, how does it work together, especially as you get older?  You may be surprised by how many people in their 60’s and 70’s tell me that it just keeps getting better.  (by ‘it’ they are referring to exercise and how it feels to be in their body)  You may not be surprised by this when you know that I work in a fitness centre – of course I would hear this.

Let’s think about that for a minute… working in a fitness centre, I hear people say that fitness keeps getting better with age…One thing I should mention is that the people I hear this from are people who are dedicated to their health.  The people who say this come to the gym many times per week and also have another activity (or two or three) that they enjoy on a weekly basis.  Some of these people have dealt with major injuries or being overweight.  The good news is that a person can start at anytime.  Isn’t that exciting?!

I can tell you from my own experience that the first steps are THE HARDEST, then it gets easier, then the results start showing up.  Sticking to an exercise and nutrition program for a full year will show you something you didn’t know possible – transformation.  Sticking to an exercise program for 2 years will show you something that will amaze you – bone density, joint health, strength, endurance and a huge genuine smile on a regular basis.  Sticking to an exercise program for longer than 2 years (lifestyle at this point) and you will be in your 60’s and 70’s saying that it just gets better with age.

“Not Exercising May Be Worse for Your Health Than Smoking, Study Says”(article from

“It’s common knowledge that there are many benefits to being fit, but one large new study found that skipping out on the gym is particularly bad for your health.

In fact, the study claims not exercising may be more harmful to your health than smoking.

New findings, published Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open, detail how researchers at the Cleveland Clinic studied 122,007 patients from 1991 to 2014, putting them under treadmill testing and later recording mortality rates. Researchers found a clear connection between a longer, healthier life and high levels of exercise. The report calls for health care professionals to encourage patients to achieve and maintain a robust fitness routine.

“Cardiorespiratory fitness is inversely associated with long-term mortality with no observed upper limit of benefit,” the study says. “Extremely high aerobic fitness was associated with the greatest survival and was associated with benefit in older patients and those with hypertension.”

Although it is widely understood that an active lifestyle can lead to a healthy life, the study concludes that a sedentary lifestyle is the equivalent of having a major disease and the simplest cure is exercise.

Dr Wael Jaber, co-author of the study, called the results surprising.

“Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker,” Jaber told CNN.“We’ve never seen something as pronounced as this and as objective as this.”

The study also took a look at the risk of being overactive and found that “ultra” exercisers do not face higher risk of death: the research consistently found that the more a person exercises the lower their mortality rates.”

Seriously, don’t miss out on this short video about an inspiring 72 year old woman who lifts weights!! (who is also a doctor)
Make sure you also check this post about How to get up from the ground safely?
Introducing the Unsung Heroes of this Community: Tasha

Introducing the Unsung Heroes of this Community: Tasha

Nanaimo and surrounding is blessed with a wealth of wonderful, passionate health and fitness professionals like Tasha who inspire others, helping them to overcome obstacles and live healthier lives. These Yoga teachers, Fitness Instructors, Massage Therapists and others deserve to be more widely known because they have so much knowledge and insight to share. This post was part of a newsletter I received from Tasha who own the Gabriola Fitness center. I found the information so educational I’ve asked Tasha if I could share it with you all.
So many moving parts, so many places to sit… 

Have you ever had a vehicle that sits without being driven?  Then you will know without a doubt, how bad it is for that car.  Cars have moving parts, and if they don’t move continuously, they seize up and rust together.

Our bodies are the same.
A lot of people ask – How often should I exercise?  The answer is ->

Your body is meant to move everyday!

This doesn’t mean that you have to do a heavy workout everyday, but with all of those moving parts, our bodies definitely love moving…everyday….and even several times throughout the day…

“Research has shown that one-hour of exercise in the middle of the day could be as helpful as a light treatment for coping with the winter blues.”

You may have heard people saying “sitting is the new smoking”, but what does that really mean?

Watch this —> The hidden risks of sitting

 Aerobic vs. Anaerobic 

Most likely you have heard of aerobics (referring to the aerobic energy system in the body)  Perhaps you have also heard of the anaerobic system… But what is the aerobic and anaerobic system, really? The answer can get quite complex, but I will try to simplify it.

Every move that we make requires the production and use of energy.

In a quick burst of movement – like a sprint – the body produces energy without oxygen.  The energy is needed so fast and with such an intensity that there is no time to wait for the oxygen required.  This is why you will start to take big deep breaths with this kind of movement.  The body goes into a type of deficit and needs to replenish the oxygen.

In long bouts of exercise like a long run or bike ride, we may feel that initial increase in breath and heart rate, and then it levels off and returns to a state of balance – meaning the body is receiving the amount of oxygen needed to continue to produce the energy required to maintain the level of movement that you are doing.

When you are gasping for air and taking deep breaths you know you are using the anaerobic energy system.

When you’re sweating but your breathing is even you are using the aerobic energy system.

Training these two systems have a lot of benefits. Here’s the thing:

When you train the aerobic system – the anaerobic system does not get stronger.
When you train the anaerobic system – the aerobic system will become stronger and you will have more endurance.

Why is this important to know?

If you go for long walks, bike rides, or runs you may still get winded by quickly running up a flight of stairs.  This can be quite perplexing when a person feels as though they get a lot of exercise and then is suddenly gasping for air after a quick sprint to catch a bus or a plane.

High intensity interval training has been voted in the top 3 ways to exercise since 2014, landing the #1 spot in 2014, 2016 & 2018.  This is why.  People are finding that if they do some sort of interval training it incredibly enhances all of the other things they are doing.  High intensity interval training can sound scary, but all it really means is that you increase the intensity of what you are doing for a short period of time, rest, and then increase the intensity again.

Increasing the intensity can be for 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 30, 40, or 50 seconds.  The rest time depends on your level of fitness.  You can rest for 10 seconds, 20 … or even up to 2 mins in between.

It’s pretty cool to think that you can train the body to respond better to quick intense bursts of movements, and that when you do it also increases the total endurance of the body.

Inspirational Person: Dominique Matthews IFBB Fitness Pro and Bodybuilder

Inspirational Person: Dominique Matthews IFBB Fitness Pro and Bodybuilder

Why do I want to feature an inspirational person in my newsletter?

I want to feature people like Dominique who have crossed my path and touched my life, inspiring me toward greatness. Too many of us fail to see greatness in ourselves. Somehow, it doesn’t seem to matter what we have achieved; we often need others to point out to us how we excel. People display “greatness” by their attitude, their lifestyle, their choices, their actions… I want to recognize the people in my life who lead by example.

How did I meet Dominique?

I’ve met Dominique through the Athletic Club in Nanaimo. She had just moved from Quebec and started to work at that facility. She told me that she was a body-fitness competitor and also a pro. I checked her on social media and was literally mind blown. Competing in the fitness category requires so much ability, you need to be strong, flexible and agile. You need so much discipline and commitment. I really admire her and wanted to make sure everyone in Nanaimo knew that we have such an amazing and talented person in our community. Check her out.

1.What motivates you to exercise?

Since I begun weightlifting in 2008 I would say the thing that motivates me the most to keep on pushing everyday is first the chemical reaction that is so rewarding after a hard workout. We all have different body types and genetics so for me it’s to always try to create the most balanced body possible.

2. What activity/workout do you prefer?
I LOVE training shoulders and back! You feel like Hulk when I finish haha

3. What is your biggest accomplishment?
From this day I would say to have participated in the Olympia 2016 (it’s like the Olympics of our sport)
And the Arnold Ohio + Arnold Australia

4. What is your superpower?
My MIND! Everything starts from a strong mind. Instant changes can be done if you focus on positive and powerful thoughts! I’m not a super woman, I do have my days to. I simply always try to push myself outside of my comfort zone to create new opportunities.

5. What is your favorite dish/recipe?
Then my healthy treat are my home-made No-cooking Protein bars that I can share with you!

6. What is your cheat treat?
So, my favorite Treat meal is: Pizza and Glosettes!
Or those ice creams mixed with all kinds of chocolates and cookie dough in them!
When I treat myself, I enjoy a lot of yummy things 😊

7. What are your goals and dreams?
I always live 1 year at a time. I plan my fitness shows and focus on achieving everyone. I’m that girl that takes 1 day at a time. If there are to be changes I go with the flow.
My dreams might seem to be boring, but I just dream to have a fun life! I enjoy the simple things and love challenges!

8. Advice for a newbie?
First, do it FOR YOU! Fitness is not for everyone but is certainly the thing that lights me up. Find that reason you want to push and push everyday. We have only 1 life so make sure everyday counts.
Second, find a GOOD coach. You need someone that will guide you towards a healthy and fun journey!

Third, be patient and proud of EVERY progress you make! Remember baby steps 😊
Like any goal in life, you must start somewhere to create your empire. When you get discouraged because you find you get stuck on a plateau, give it your all because your probably just by the tip of the mountain!



What is Business Reward Membership (BMR) with canfitpro?

What is Business Reward Membership (BMR) with canfitpro?

Did you know that CanfitPro has a business reward membership program, also call BRM? This is such a great opportunity for businesses that are looking to certify fitness professionals. It allows a host facility to provide discounts on CanfitPro certification courses and much more. Keep on reading to learn more…

On top of providing you, the BRM holder, free access to all of our events you will also be given a discount code that you can provide to anyone in your social group (friends, family, employees, members, etc). The discount code gives each participant 10% off (roughly $60). The BRM agreement also give you ONE free registration PER COURSE run at your host facility.

So, for example, if Veronique were to run a course at your facility with 10 registrants; 9 of them would get 10% off and one of them would get the full certification for free.  Again, in each course that is run at your facility, one free registration is awarded for being a BRM holder.

The annual fee is $299, which kind of makes it a no brainer considering our certifications are in the $500-$600 range depending on when you sign up.

Now you might be wondering how can I become a BRM holder? I just need to be able to provide a space to host a certification, either a Personal Training Specialist (PTS) or Fitness Instructor Specialist (FIS) certification. The host facility space would need to be big enough for 5-10 participants, with desks, chairs, bathroom and a projector to show Powerpoint presentations. Ideally it would also be big enough to move around, demonstrate exercises, have the participants being able to practice aerobic routines, strength training movements and stretches.

Both PTS and FIS certifications are 25 hours of mainly lectures and some practice, plus a 2.5 hours exam for FIS and a 3 hours exam for PTS. It is up to the Pro Trainer and the facility to put a schedule that can work for both of them. Usually the certifications are held over a full intensive weekend or over 2 weekends. It is even possible to do it over a few evenings which might take a bit longer to cover the 25 hours of material. Then you need to allow 2-3 weeks for participants to review and study at home before the exam.

I hope this helps! Feel free to get back to me with any questions you may have 😊

Check out the 2 certifications I offer through canfitpro:
Fitness Instructor Specialist (FIS) with canfitpro
Personal Instructor Specialist (PTS) with canfitpro


How I discover Zumba and why I am still loving it after over 10 years of teaching it

I am super passionate about health and fitness. I spend lot of time searching for the new trends and ideas that come out. In 2006, I found a DVD set on amazon and ordered it. It was Zumba’s first dvd set, Beto, the creator of Zumba couldn’t even speak English. He only spoke Spanish on the dvd. I loved it right away. My bellydance and fitness background made me feel like Zumba was the perfect combination for me. There was nothing like it on the market and its not a surprise Zumba became such a popular dance fitness revolution because it blends so many styles of music.

The following winter, in 2007, I saw a Zumba teacher training at a Can Fit Pro conference in Montreal. I registered right away and did my training in Montreal with Beto himself. When I started teaching Zumba, I realized how much people loved it. The music variety and the fitness aspect disguised into a dance party were the perfect combination. Over the years Zumba expended it’s musical repertoire a lot. At first it was mainly latino music; Salsa, Batchata, Merengue, Cumbia, Quedradita, Reggeaton, Calypso, Samba… Since then, many new styles of music have been added, from Funk to Afro- Cuban, Brazilian, Flamenco, Bellydance, Hip Hop, Jazz, Tango, to name a few. I have now been teaching Zumba for over 10 years. I taught Zumba to seniors, in high schools, in elementary schools, for fundraisers, for university students; I love that it get so many people together that simply have a love for music and moving. Dance is also good for your brain to, it increases coordination, balance, agility. On top of being good for your brain and body of course it feels so good for the soul. Each time I teach a class, it brings much joy and happiness to me and the participants. I often hear people telling me how they didn’t feel good before coming to class and how the class completely changed their moods. In the last fews years I’ve been enjoying adding more pop songs into my Zumba repertoire. I love that we can relate to a song we hear on the radio and can sing to it. I you feel intimidated by a Zumba class, just know that its purpose its simply to move. There is no right and wrong, and no dance show to perform to. You are only there to move your body, sweat and smile. The advice I give to participants its to start from the ground up; try to do the steps, then add the hips, the arms, then the hands. Make sure you add your special flare to it, after all we all have different bodies and we all move differently. Simply have fun and move your body!!!

A fews Zumba videos I took over the years. Hope you enjoy!

Check my Zumba bundle

Click here for my calendar of current classes and click here for more information about dance classes I offer. 

You can also check this article: Bellydance help understand how your hips and torso can move; 5 basic movement explain. Simply click here.