The key to effective fitness and training is to know yourself. Introspection's power will allow you to develop a deep sense of understanding for everything you will learn on your journey.
Danny Kavadlo, with his brother Al Kavadlo, is an authority in calisthenics and fitness.
As he puts it, “It's important to understand that even with a definitive program, you should always be prepared to improvise. No one who ever met you can make an exact program. There will always be a need for intuition in training.”
In other words, it’s up to you to step up and find out what works.
The Enthusiast and the Casual Exerciser
The world of fitness is an automatic filtering machine that separates enthusiasts from casual exercisers. This separation doesn't mean to discriminate, but it’s just how it is.
The enthusiast and the casual exerciser don’t think the same, they don’t live the same, and most importantly, they don’t have the same beliefs.
Here’s an example, a casual exerciser will always look to their environment for motivation, but in Al and Danny’s case:
They say, “F**K motivation. ANYONE can workout when they're motivated! It's working out when you're NOT motivated that leads to success. It's the same thing career-wise.”
The game rules are pretty simple; you have to show up and put in your time. Another level of discipline and strength that perfectionists are in pursuit of is called true strength. Danny and Al describe true strength beyond the physical.
This statement doesn’t intend to discredit the people whose goal is to look good or do the bare minimum to be healthy.
However, in 2021, the real meaning behind the words strength and health has evolved into a raw and philosophical form.
If you don’t already feel inspired by reading this, here’s why you should be. As Danny describes physical strength, “To me, true physical strength is the ability to navigate freely in this world. It's both pound-for-pound strength and absolute strength. A combination of power, balance, and mobility.”
While many of us may not include either balance or mobility in our training, these aspects are most certainly part of the equation when it comes to long-term fitness.
Challenge Your Strength
To us, building strength isn’t just about lifting heavy weights, running ultra-marathons, or scoring the most points. It’s about self-development and the desire to push yourself beyond your limits to see how far you can go.
It’s about embracing the challenge ahead and taking it in as a lesson. Hence, no one program can change your life. You have to tweak it to fit your own needs and situation.
Regular exercise or training is essential. It regulates your blood flow, gets rid of toxins in your body, and helps you clear your head. But if you’re willing to go deeper and immerse yourself in the mindset, you will learn so much more about yourself and develop more than just physical strength.
According to Danny, “I would also include mental fortitude, emotional wellness, compassion, and willingness to help others, in addition to being physically unyielding.”
Unfortunately, the future of the fitness industry may be uncertain at this point. Many people see it as a luxury when, in fact, it should be an essential business.
Danny Kavadlo says, “While I'm saddened at the devastation to the industry, I'm more saddened by the devastation to overall health that these mandates bring: kids not in school, depression, domestic violence, suicide, alcoholism, and drug abuse. People need to work out now more than ever, and ironically, it's being discouraged in the name of health.”
If you’re reading this, I hope your next moves include signing up for the gym, spending an extra hour each day learning about your health, or getting creative with your regular programs to test yourself. You may not need a gym to do this.
Al Kavadlo adds, “We don't discourage it! In fact, Danny and I have been talking about the virtues of working out gym-free for years! So anyone who thinks they can't work out without a gym is crazy! You don't need much—or any—gear to get in shape!”
Danny and Al Kavadlo’s book, Get Strong, focuses on explosive calisthenics. It’s an amazing guide to help you develop strength, agility, and combat-ready reflexes, using only your body weight.
If you’re already pretty fit and have no problem doing pull-ups, Danny suggests, “At least ten strict pull-ups before embarking on the muscle-up, but every case is different.”
Training my body to do the muscle-up has completely changed my perception of body mechanics and training regime. It has been gratifying, and I hope that you will get the same value or even more than I have gained.
Most importantly, remember to breathe.
Al says, “It is recommended to exhale when exerting and inhale on the negative phase of an exercise.”
Breathing exercises not only help you activate your core but also assist with recovery.