Do You Need Protein Powder for Calisthenics? [Learn the Truth]

I know how confusing this question can be. Especially if you are just starting out doing bodyweight exercises and are learning along the way. 

It’s funny to tell you this but a few years ago I was in the same boat. Everything was very new to me and back then I didn’t know what I was doing. 

That’s why I have decided to create this quick guide in which I’m going to answer all your questions you might have regarding protein powder and calisthenics. 

By the end of this article, you will have all the needed knowledge so you can make informative decisions. 

As one of my favorite quotes tells…

“Knowledge is power” 

– Francis Bacon

Ready to start? Let’s go!

Do You Need Protein Powder for Calisthenics?

Like any other similar question on this planet, there is a short and a long answer. 

The short answer to this question is going to be something like this:

If you can get enough protein from real food on a daily basis then you don’t really need to use additional protein powder for your calisthenics journey. If on the other hand you are like me and most people getting the right amounts of protein isn’t an easy task to do. Then you might need to add some protein supplements into your diet.

So as you can see taking protein powder mainly depends on 3 things:

  • Your meal plan (the meals you have to eat daily).
  • The amount of protein you have to eat every day.
  • Personal preferences.

But from experience I can easily tell that the most important factor that is responsible for your progress is only one thing – how much protein are you eating every day.

Is it enough to satisfy your body’s daily needs?

Let’s find out.

How Much Protein Per Day Do You Need for Calisthenics?

In order to see results, you have to make a lot of things right. One of the most important things you can do is to consume enough proteins every single day.

But how much? 

If you already have that number calculated then feel free to skip this section of the article.

If not follow the 3 steps that I’m going to share with you so you can find out how much protein you should eat every day for calisthenics. 

Having a specific number as an answer can also help you a lot in order to see if you need to add additional protein powder into your diet.

The 3 steps you have to follow in order to calculate the amount of protein you need are:

  1. Find out your body fat percentage and lean muscle mass
  2. Choose your activity level
  3. Calculate the amount of protein you need 

Please Note:

Before we continue I want to tell you upfront that there are going to be some basic calculations you have to handle. You also might need to have access to a digital scale, measuring tape or bodyweight calipers.

Of course, those items are not really required because I’m going to give you an alternative method in which they aren’t going to be needed. Even so I still highly recommend to use them because the data you get is way more accurate and trustworthy.

Step 1: Find out your body fat percentage and lean muscle mass

There are many different ways you can get those numbers. The main differences that separate them can be found in the required equipment and overall accuracy of the information. 

Here are the 4 best methods you can use to find out those 2 numbers. 

I highly recommend you to pick the method you can do straight away and have the available equipment for.

Method 1: Using Rough Estimation (No equipment needed)

As you can guess from the title this is going to be the least accurate way to get those two metrics. The good news is that following this guide is completely free and you won’t need to have any available equipment. 

You only need to know how much do you weight.

After you have that number, you have to find out what is your rough body weight percentage. 

In order to find out what your number is, use this image as a guideline.

As you can see this image contains only a very rough estimation of how different body fat percentages look. Have in mind that this is not accurate and it’s only purpose is to be used as a guideline. Take those percentages with a grain of salt.

After you know those 2 metrics – your weight and your estimate body fat percentage is time to do some simple math.

Let’s say my body weight is 75kg.

From previous experience and knowledge, I can tell that my current condition is somewhere around 10% body fat.

Now I will use those 2 numbers to find out my lean muscle mass.

Before I do so I want to let you know that I’m going to use kilograms as my metric.

If you are using pounds you would have to convert them to kilograms. This is very easy to do. Simply divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 and you are ready.

Example: 220 lbs / 2.2 = 100 kg.

So in order to find out what is your lean muscle mass we first have to find out how much fat weight there is.

It’s a very simple calculation:

Your weight in kgs / body fat percentage = fat weight 

In my example: 75 / 10 = 7.5 kg of fat

And them we simply subtract that number from out total weight

75 – 7.5 = 67.5 kg of lean muscle mass.

And that’s about it. 

Remember or write down that number because you are going to use it in the following step.

Method 2: Using Body Weight Calipers 

This method is only useful if you have available calipers and a few minutes because it requires some measuring.

If you haven’t heard of them here’s how they look:

Simple, yet effective little tool.

If for some miracle you do have them by your side continue reading this method. If not skip it and check the other 3.

Here is a very well explained video teaching you how to use them properly and how to get all the important measures you need.

Once you have these numbers written down you have to use them inside an online calculator. 

Insert your metrics in the “Jackson/Pollock 3 Caliper Method” fields inside this calculator

It will automatically calculate your lean body weight in kilograms.

Once that happens remember that number because you are going to need it for the next step.

If needed convert it into kilograms knowing that 2.20 lbs = 1 kg. 

Method 3: Using Smart Scale

In our modern society, it’s extremely easy to find out what your body fat percentage and lean muscle mass are only with the help of a modern scale. 

If you are reading this article at the comfort of your home and you have one exactly like that available to you then simply step on top of it barefoot and you are going to get exactly what you need in a couple of seconds.

Some models are even going to send that information to your smartphone. 

Once you have the 2 metrics available remember them or write them down because you are going to need them for the next step.

Make sure to convert your lean body weight into kilograms knowing that 1 kg = 2.20 lbs. (200 lbs / 2.2 = 90 kg.)

Method 4: Using Measuring Tape

I have to say that this method is one of the easiest ones to do because it requires only some basic measuring tape most of us already have laying around.

If you know where to find it and you can use it while reading this post then you are very lucky. If not go to check the first method.

In order to find out your body fat percentage and lean weight, you are going to have to measure a few things.

Don’t worry the whole process is fairly easy and takes only a few minutes.

It doesn’t really matter if you are going to use centimeters or inches because both those metrics can be added into the online calculator we are going to use later on.

For males you have to measure:

  1. Neck – measure the diameter right above the traps on relaxed neck muscles. When doing so make sure that the front side of the tape is being slightly lower than the back part.
  2. Abdomen – measure a circle around the belly button.

For females you have to measure:

  1. Neck – measure it in the same exact way.
  2. Waist – you want to measure the part just above the navel. This is usually the most narrow part of the waist.
  3. Hip – measure the widest part of the thigh. 

Once you have those metrics written down go to this online calculator, add them and write down your estimated lean muscle mass weight you get. Make sure you have converted it into kgs. (1 kg = 2.20 pounds).

Once that’s done you are ready for the next step.

Step 2: Choose your activity level

If you have reached this point you should already know what is your lean body weight in kilograms. 

If you don’t know the exact number please go back to step 1 and use one of the 4 methods I have shared to find it out.

In this step I’m going to show you a simple but very effective table that I personally use to find out how much protein do I need to eat daily depending on my activity level.

I need a lot of it!

Here’s the table:

Amount of protein Type of Intensity
1 – 1.5 g. Don’t train but want to eat healthy.
1.5 – 2 g. Train 1-2 times per week
2 – 2.5 g. Train 3-4 times per week with medium intensity
2.5 – 3 g. Train 3-4 times per week with high intensity or more often but with medium intensity
3 – 3.5 g. Train more than 4 times per week with high intensity

As you can see there are 5 different levels and each level has a range of 2 different numbers to choose from. 

Those 2 numbers represent the intensity and the total number of your weekly calisthenics workouts.

Depending on those 2 things and your current situation pick the number that represents you the best.

Example:

I train 5 times every week with medium intensity so I would choose 3g. of protein as my number.

Now it’s your turn. 

Picked a number?

Great!

Now you should have the number from the table and your lean muscle mass. 

Let’s get to the final step and use them to find out how much protein you need to eat for calisthenics. 

Doing that is also going to help you find out if you should add protein powder.

Step 3: Calculate the amount of protein you need

In this final step, you are going to find out exactly how much protein do you need daily.

Don’t worry, the calculations we are going to do are very simple.

Too…many….numbers…..

The formula you are going to follow is this:

Your Lean Muscle Weight (kilograms) x Activity Level Number = Total Amount of Protein

Example

My lean muscle mass from above was 67.5 kg.

I have picked 3 g. as my number.

So my math is: 67.5 x 3 = 202.5 grams of protein 

So in order to maintain my current strength and size, I have to eat roughly about 200 grams of protein every day

But if I want to become bigger and stronger the amount of protein should be more than that. Let’s add 20% more and see what is the new number.

200 x 0.2 (the 20%) = 40

200 + 40 = 240 grams of protein for growth

Now by following the same steps calculate what your protein number is going to be!

As you can see from the example eating 240 grams of protein every single day is a lot. It’s going to take me a lot of meals, hard work and thinking until I find a way in which I can consume all that amount on a regular basis.

And of course, continue to do so for a long period of time. 

Do you start to see all the potential problems that start to appear?

That’s where protein powder can help a lot. 

Let’s find out how exactly… 

Are Calisthenics Protein Supplements a Must-Have?

As I have previously said protein supplements are not 100% required to have but can really help you a lot.

Here are 6 of the best reasons why protein supplements are a must-have for calisthenics if you can afford them:

1. Provide you with enough protein

As you can imagine getting 240 grams of protein (in my case) isn’t an easy task.

Most protein powders offer around 20 grams of protein per scoop so if I take 3 scoops that is going to be 1/4 of my total daily income.

And trust me eating 3 scoops of protein powder is way easier than having to get 60 grams of protein from regular food.

I’m not saying you should eat only powder because it’s easier but combining it with your meals 2, 3 times per day is going to provide you with enough protein for your daily requirement.

2. They can save you money because are cheaper than food

As a matter of fact, that was one of the first reasons that convinced me to buy my first bag of protein powder for calisthenics.

I simply did a quick calculation of how much it was going to cost me per dose and bought the biggest available package of 5 kg. (11 lbs). 

The average price of a dose of protein powder is about $1 or less

If you buy the largest package that price gets even lower than that.

If we have to compare $1 and 20 grams of protein to the price of the majority of the high protein foods you are going to see the big price difference. 

So if you are on a really tight budget and you can’t spare a lot of money each month for food buying protein powder in bulk could be a good decision.

That’s especially true if you have to eat a ton of calories and protein every day.

3. Extremely easy to take and digest

This is another one of the reasons why I like to include protein powder in my diet.

It literally takes me about 30 seconds to put a dose of powder into my shaker, add some water, shake the whole thing a little and I have a ready to go meal.

I don’t know about you but I can’t make any solid meal in that time frame. That makes protein powder extremely convenient to take around with you while giving you plenty of freedom and choice. 

This type of supplement could also be combined with a variety of different meals in order to increase the total amount of protein per portion and help with additional good taste.

Because of the powder-like form, this protein supplement is extremely fast and easy to digest.

That makes it an excellent option as a post-workout meal because that is the time where your body is looking for all sorts of nutrients.

Protein powder is great to take if you travel a lot and is easy on your digestive system as well.

4. Can last a very long time (No spoiling)

One of the worst things that can happen is this scenario:

  • You are hungry. 
  • You open the fridge and find out that all your prepared food is spoiled. 
  • Then you remember that you don’t currently have all the ingredients to make another meal. You close the fridge in anger. 
  • You are defeated.
  • Again.

I’m a person who really values food because not everybody can afford it and one of the things I hate the most is throwing away spoiled food. 

By doing so I’m literally wasting all my previous effort to buy, prepare and cook it. 

With protein powder, you won’t have such problems unless you mix it with some liquid upfront. 

The dry powder can last a very long time making it excellent to carry around for long distances, trips, and vacations. 

My protein shaker has an additional compartment on the bottom side in which I have the option to place different things and that’s where I like to put 2 scoops of powder every day.

Even if I don’t drink it the same day I don’t have to be worry because it can stay there for days and it’s good as new. Once I need it I simply pour some water into the shaker, add the protein and shake the whole thing. 

In my opinion protein powder is an extremely convenient invention that allows you to carry around with you very nutritious meals without worrying about temperature or expiry dates.

5. Great taste and could replace high in sugar sweets

Another great reason why you should include protein powder in your daily diet is taste. I don’t know how companies do it but there are flavors that taste amazing. 

The brownie flavor is my favorite and only thinking about it is making me want to drink another shake. 

And the fun thing about that? 

I don’t feel bad about it afterward!

Оцвети If you want to stick with a meal plan then you have to make sure that all the meals you eat taste good. 

Protein powder could help you do exactly that. Because of the great flavor, this supplement is a great replacement for cheat meals or common sugar cravings

And you get all of this without tons of added sugars.

6. Low amount of calories 

If you are looking for a nice way to get high amounts of protein without a lot of calories then protein powder is exactly what you are looking for. 

That feature makes it the perfect addition to any meal plan. It’s also one of the reasons why people prefer protein shakes as snacks between meals. 

The low number of calories makes this supplement a great addition to diets in which you have to eat a ton of protein but still have to be very low on calories.

So here are the 6 reasons why I believe protein supplements are a must-have if you do calisthenics or any other sport. 

Even if they are not required to have now I hope you understand why they are worth it.

Quick Note:

If you want to learn a lot more about protein powders and see which are the best ones for calisthenics then Click Here to read my other article based on that. There is a lot of great information inside.

Thus far from this article, you learned… 

  • Why is protein powder useful for calisthenics…
  • Why you should get it…

But is this everything?

Of course not! 

It’s good to know that there are 2 different types of protein powders that come from different sources.

  • Whey Protein
  • Plant-Based Protein

Let’s see what are their main differences and which one is going to be the best option for you.

Is Whey Protein Good for Calisthenics?

Whey protein powder comes from dairy. This type of powder works very well and it’s a good option for calisthenics. Even so, it’s not for everyone. 

Especially not for vegans or lactose-intolerant people. 

Because it’s easier to produce, this product is more affordable than the plant-based protein.

Sadly you have to be very careful from whom are you buying it because many of the companies include different additives and bad ingredients you don’t want to put inside your body. 

Click here if you want to find out which is my favorite whey protein powder and why.

Is Plant-Based Protein Good for Calisthenics?

Yes, it is! 

Plant-based protein powder is what most people find to be the best alternative for whey protein. 

As you can guess all the protein is coming from different plants and seeds making it the healthiest option. Sadly not all plant-based products have high amounts of protein per portion but not all hope is lost. There are a few brands that have overcome this issue.

With this type of protein, you are also going to get a lot of fibers, vitamins, and minerals that help your body a lot. 

Natural products tend to have fewer bad ingredients making them quite safe to use. 

Even if plant-based protein is a little more expensive than whey, the price difference is well deserved. 

So which type you like the most? My personal favorite is the whey protein.

Before we end I want to share with you one last thing: 

The most common question for protein powder I get.

People tend to ask this:

What is the best time to drink a protein shake for calisthenics?

To answer this question let’s find out when does your body requires the biggest amount of protein. 

Science has proven that that period is somewhere around your workout. 

Let’s get into more details about that…

In order to test this scientific research 21 men were separated into 2 groups for 10 weeks. The first group was given protein as a pre-workout drink while the second was given the protein as a post-workout drink. 

After the end of the experiment, both groups had the same results in strength and muscle gains. The outcome of this study proves that the anabolic window in which it’s recommended to drink or eat protein is several hours long. 

That means that it doesn’t really matter if you drink your shake before or after your workouts because you will get the same results. 

Even so, what is the most convenient time for a shake?

Before or after your workouts?

Let’s find out.

Is having a protein shake After calisthenics a good idea?

As you have seen from the study having a protein shake after your calisthenics workout is a good idea. 

But that’s not all. I believe there is one more reason worth mentioning.

Simply ask yourself this question: 

How will I feel with a full stomach during and after the workout?

If you are like me and have stomach problems that are making you feel sick during the workout because of a full belly then it’s probably best for you to eat or drink after the exercise.

I once had a leg workout with a friend who had taken some water before we start. Half an hour later things end up really bad for him and I had to finish the workout by myself. 

I’m pretty aware that not all of us are like that. 

Even so, it’s always better to learn from reading instead of throwing up right?

So if you believe that could be a possible issue make sure to take protein shakes after your calisthenics workouts.

Is having a protein shake Before calisthenics a good idea?

Because of how fast protein powder gets absorbed it could provide you with extra energy if taken at the right moment. 

I personally know how uncomfortable is to workout while you are hungry and your belly grows and hurts. 

And to make matters worse you have to continue to do so for about an hour…

As you can see having this problem is the complete opposite of what I talked about earlier. So if you don’t have any stomach problems and get hungry fairly quickly having a protein shake before calisthenics won’t be a bad idea. 

At the end of the day science has confirmed that it doesn’t really matter when exactly are going to drink your protein shake as long as it’s near the timeframe of your workout.

The decision about when to drink it is entirely up to you.

Quick Tip:

If you are looking for an easy to make and tasty homemade protein shake recipe Click Here. Inside this article, I share my personal favorite that I prepare almost every day.

Final Thoughts

If you have read everything above this line, congrats – you are one step closer to better results! If not please go back and check things out – there is some great information waiting for you.

I really hope this article gave you all the answers you are looking for. 

By this point, you should have a good understanding of how protein powder works and if you really need it for calisthenics or not. 

In my opinion, this supplement is a great addition to your meals and it’s really worth the money. 

If you want to see what are the best protein powders for calisthenics take the time and read the complete article I have finished recently. It has a lot more details than you can find here.

Either way, thank you very much for being on my blog. I hope this information was useful for you. 

If you are really passionate about calisthenics you may like some of my other posts:

Please share this post with your friends and let me know what are your thoughts on protein powders in the comment section below.

Hope to see you again,

– Bozhidar

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Bozhidar Karailiev
Bozhidar Karailiev
Hey there, my name is Bozhidar and I have created this site to share with you my experiences and knowledge from over 7 years of training using my home gym, public gym and calisthenics. I have some experience into gymnastics too. Hope my articles are useful to you!

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