Some people make the whole idea of exercise & fitness challenging and fun. We have more than enough “pain is weakness, that which does not kill me, go hard go home” nonsense out there. So when you are confronted with a lean, serene, tattooed, grinning bodyweight phenom by the name of Al Kavadlo, what can you do but join in?
Al is a breath of fresh air and two minutes on his Youtube channel will confirm that he is also a bodyweight training expert with a huge appetite for life and sharing that knowledge and experitse. Al has contributed to the soon to be relaunched 100 Rep Challenge on numerous occasions.
Author of the excellent “We’re Working Out – A Zen Approach to Everyday Fitness Al has a bunch of great articles on his website www.alkavadlo.com and a wonderful take on how to integrate health, fitness, exercise and mindfulness. Enjoy…
How did your own training start, were you always interested in fitness and health or was there a particular event
that set you on the path?
I was a scrawny kid growing up in Brooklyn and I didn’t want to get my ass kicked, so once I was thirteen I decided to start lifting weights. While I don’t do much weight training anymore, I’ve been hooked on working out ever since.
Did you participate in any sports or activities growing up that had an influence or impact on how you train?
I was very unathletic growing up – that’s part of what led me to weight training and calisthenics. I couldn’t hit a baseball or shoot a three-pointer, but doing an pull-up or a squat doesn’t require as much precision.
How has your training changed and developed over the years? Are there key concepts that define what you now
I started out with conventional weights, but over time my fitness journey has taken me through many modalities including yoga, kettlebells and, of course, calisthenics. My focus now is on mastering my bodyweight.
Also, when I began training I dreaded cardio, but after many years of just doing strength training, I eventually developed a love for distance running and ran the NYC marathon in 2009. I’ve recently gotten really into swimming as well and I’d like to do a triathlon at some point. I like to keep challenging myself and there is always something else out there to try.
Whilst there probably isn’t anything like an average week, can you tell me if you have a particular focus or
approach to your current training?
I typically work out every single day, alternating days between cardio workouts (running or swimming) and strength training workouts that are centered around bodyweight exercises – I mainly try to keep it fun for myself by finding new challenges. I’m really into pushing my boundaries with single limb movements like pistol squats, one arm push-ups and one arm pull-ups. I’m also somewhat obsessed with the human flag.
There is a tremendous amount of confusion when it comes to diet. Some people seem to approach it as an
extreme sport. Can you give me a snapshot of your own nutrition?
I just try to keep it simple. I eat when I’m hungry and I try to avoid processed foods.
Who have been your biggest influences over the years?
My first glimpse of fitness was watching pro wrestling as a kid. Then I got into bodybuilding and like most people who do, I came to admire Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronnie Coleman. In recent years, as I’ve gotten more into the bodyweight stuff, I’ve been inspired by Beastskills’ Jim Bathurst and of course, my friends and training partners from the Bar-barians, who have helped me to take my calisthenics game to the next level.
Are there any books or resources you might recommend that have informed your approach to training or life in
One of my all time favorite books is Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki – it’s not a fitness book but it had a major impact on my life philosophy. I also released my first book last year, We’re Working Out! A Zen Approach to Everyday Fitness, so of course I recommend that. Plus there’s my blog (www.AlKavadlo.com) which has hundreds of free articles and videos.
I’m a big fan of quotes. Do you have a personal favourite?
Ive got lots of ‘em! “Nothing lasts forever” , “The first is the worst” and “Believe and achieve” are 3 of the things I find myself saying a lot.
Currently Reading - Mark’s Daily Apple
Currently Listening – Foo Fighters – Wasting Light