Episode 55: Al Kavadlo


Description: (01:15) Brock Armstrong presents a very interesting interview with Al Kavadlo who is an expert in body weight strength training and calisthenics. He has been featured in the New York Times as a regular contributor to BodyBuilding.com and Train Magazine. He is the author of four books, and he is also known for his appearance in the popular Convict Conditioning book series

(02:30) In his book, Zen Mind, Strong Bodyhe talks about how he embraces walking however, he wants people to do more exercise. For example, he thinks anybody should be able to run a mile without getting winded. Most of the things in this book are a compilation of what he has been putting out on his blogs for years.

(06.25) “Death to Cardio” is one of the chapters in the book that looks at what the mindset is of the participant. Most people who do cardio are just looking at weight loss. Al feels that this is not the best way to lose weight. You have to change your diet.

(07:29) Brock asks what is the best exercise for weight loss. There is no one exercise that works. You have to eat less. You can’t blame people because they have been lied to so many times for so long by marketers.

(09:10) Al teaches a Progressive Calisthenics Certification course for fitness trainers and enthusiasts. The main idea is rather than using manipulating a weight or getting a heavier kettle ball, we change the exercise by changing the leverage to make it more difficult so you don’t have to use any equipment or weights. An example is doing pushups. If you take an arm away, it becomes a lot harder. People at any level can use this system for progressing in the fitness level.

(14:07) In the book he is talking about “sample workouts.” Australian Pull-ups is an example of an exercise that is becoming very popular. The Bridge is another tough one but people at all levels can start at any level and progress. There are some things you are good at and some you are not. That is why this is such a good well-rounded and enjoyable program. Al’s program fits right in to the Primal message of “play.”

(18:48) New Years Resolutions do not serve the purpose that people think. If you need to make a change, now is the best time to do anything. People who think they need some kind of motivator should read the books. There are sample workouts and pictures all intended to motivate. There is nothing wrong with needing inspiration from an outside source. Often Mark’s Daily Apple inspires Al when he needs a little push.

(21:35) A quote in your book is, “My belief systems is based primarily on three things: experience, logic, and intuition.” It is a lot of the Zen mind is in the book, meaning your experience is the best teacher. Get the “supposed to’s” out of your head and deal with what really happens. The logic idea is where people have been told something and never questioned it and take is as the only truth. What works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for others. Give it a try and use your intuition to consider what is right for you. Trust your gut.

(27:36) Brock asks: How do you encourage people who work with you to use their intuition to judge when and how much to workout? “You’ll never find out how far you can go unless you are willing to risk going too far.” T.S. Eliot Sometimes you need to see for yourself using your intuition to listen to your body. If you had a hard workout yesterday, you probably want to pull back and rest or do something light like yoga. I do encourage people to be active. Go for a swim. Play. Don’t just sit on your ass. It is important to get the blood flowing. Do not have a preconceived idea of what is supposed to happen. Go with the flow.

(31:35) The last section of the book is a guideline of sample workouts. You learn to think for yourself rather than have someone tell you what to do. Al wants to give people the tools to do with it what they want.

(33:00) Al says to take something away from this podcast it would to realize that comparing your fitness to others is a dangerous thing. It is important to focus on what you can do and experience growth from challenging your self and be positive about what your weaknesses are. Give yourself credit for what you do accomplish. Learn to use the power of your mind.

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