Are bodyweight exercises more effective than going to a gym?
I don't know if I would say "more effective". It depends on what your goals are. But I notice all the comments are basically saying barbells = muscles and calisthenics = general fitness. I don't agree with that. Resistance is resistance. Your body doesn't know the difference between picking up a barbell or lifting your body with one hand, all it knows is that its being challenged and needs to adapt. Now if you just do basic middle school pushups forever and ever then yeah ofcourse it will become easy and your body will no longer have the need to adapt, thus it will cease to grow. Just as if you go to a gym and pick up a 5 lb dumbbell and curl it 100 times it wont do anything either. There is nothing magic about weights its just another method to build muscle if used properly, no better or worse than calisthenics. I can promise you 100 % that if you progress through bodyweight exercises to the point you can do one armed variations PROPERLY and have full control over your body movements you will not be ashamed of your physique guaranteed. There are hundreds of variations for each exercise, tons of different methods such as Time under tension, drop sets, isometric holds, ECT. But that doesn't make it better or worse than weights. There are plenty of great physiques in gyms everywhere. It's about what path you want to take. I also want to touch on one more thing. Muscle definition has nothing to do with weights or calisthenics. It has everything to do with how lean you are. Which has everything to do with your diet. You can go to a gym 5 days a week deadlift 300 lbs and squat 500 lb and if your not eating enough or your living on junk food you will NOT have a nice body.
Nothing to do with weights. You can do bodyweight exercises exclusively and as long as your progressively making the exercises harder and eating healthy you will make gains, get stronger, leaner, burn fat whatever. Remember its probably 20% what you do in the gym per say and 80% what you do in the kitchen.
Oh and btw a lot of the guys you see lifting weights are not natural. Their taking steroids which screws with their hormones allowing them to get freakishly huge like that. It looks ridiculous. It's not normal. Your body will only build so much muscle naturally. It's called your genetic potential. A 5'8 medium frame guy is not supposed to be 265 lbs at 6% body fat. It's not weights doing that buddy. Like I said it depends on what path you want to take. In my opinion calisthenics are more fun, its a lot more rare to see a guy do a one arm pull up than it it for him to do the equivalent with a barbell. But If used properly both can give you a great physique, functional strength, improve your health.