Today’s interview is with one of the youngest superstar coaches in the bodyweight fitness scene.
He is Daniel Vadnal and he’s here to talk us about motivation, injuries, and his collaborations among other cool topics.
Talk to us about yourself and your fitness career.
My name is Daniel Vadnal and I am 22 years old. As a kid my first sport which captured my interest was table tennis. I played competitively during my early teens. Throughout highschool I played AFL and thoroughly enjoyed the training/competitive aspect. I started experimenting with handbalancing in 2008 and this was my introduction to independent physical training and self-exploration. In the early stages of 2009 I stumbled across calisthenics/bodyweight training by watching videos on YouTube and browsing forums. Since this time I have been hooked to the pursuit of self-improvement and developing my capacity to control my body throughout space, develop an aesthetically proportionate physique and become more mobile. I harnessed my passion for anatomy, exercise science and human physiology and commenced a degree in Exercise Science. Whilst studying I utilized my increased knowledge and began uploading informative YouTube content in 2010, whilst concurrently working as a personal trainer. I have just finished my Masters degree in Physiotherapy and am excited to commence working in the field whilst continuing to educate globally through my online presence.
You started exercising seriously at a pretty young age, what motivated you to start working out, and are you still working out for the same reasons?
This is a really good question and I believe the reason why I started training is the reason I continue to train with vigor to this day. Put simply I began training because it was fun and gratifying to see the improvements occurring in strength as well as physique. Upon reflecting several years later a good component would be out of boredom and having too much free time on my hands. I understand most people workout because they want to look better to impress the other sex, if this is the ONLY reason, good luck remaining consistent. In my eyes it won’t be enough being fueled by extrinsic motivation to keep going month after month, year after year. Working out should be for intrinsic reasons. I’d still train if it wasn’t cool, didn’t provide any monetary gain or increase social standing.
How did studying Sports and Exercise at university change the way you see and approach fitness?
One of the major components I learned commencing university was the value of continued learning. Using a combination of peer-reviewed research, expert opinion and practical application to increase my competence in the realm of exercise science. As far as the Exercise science degree is concerned, it was a decent introduction to physiology but of little significance to my style of training. The undergraduate degree was my pathway to enter Physiotherapy.
Talk to us about Body By Rings and Bodyweight Evolution and how you met Metin.
I was fortunate to begin talking with Metin at the very beginning of my bodyweight training journey in 2009. We would discuss training concepts over forums and eventually connect via MSN messenger to produce crazy routines and constantly push each other to the next level. When training alone it’s easy to get comfortable and settle for less than you are capable of. Thankfully I had Metin to bounce ideas off and compete with. We have remained close friends to this day and I hope to meet/train with him in the near future (He’s in Netherlands & I’m from Australia). I won’t go into too detail regarding the various training products I’ve created, the websites provide more information about them. Together with Metin, we collaborated to produce an introductory bodyweight bodybuilding program. Body by rings is a solo project I put together serving as a continuation of Bodyweight Evolution, bodybuilding via the use of gymnastic rings.
You did a fantastic interview with Ryan Hurst, and one of the topics you talked about was the importance of having a coach, so how important is having a coach to you and who were some of your major fitness influences?
Since starting training I have not been guided or coached by anyone directly. The results obtained have been the result of continued research and years of trial and error to find effective training/nutrition/recovery protocols which allow me to progress. I wouldn’t point to any individual in particular who has been a major influence on my fitness journey. I draw knowledge and perspective from many fitness and non-fitness means and apply aspects that will benefit my practice.
You have an absolutely impressive physique and you can do some awesome tricks, which makes me wonder, do you center your training around improving strength, gaining size, or achieving skills?
My training is focused strength training, skills and mobility coming in after the first two. Hypertrophy is an added benefit of working towards the aforementioned goals. Thanks for the kind words it has been a very slow yet rewarding process in all areas.
What are your current fitness goals, maybe some movements you’re trying to work up to?
Master the straddle planche (5s isometric hold). I was painfully close to solidifying this skill earlier in the year but unfortunately suffered a wrist injury whilst front squatting. This required approximately 10 weeks of rest from upper body strength training. I’m happy with the progress I’ve made in a comparatively short period of time since being injured. After this skill has been achieved I’m looking to put up some beastly numbers on weighted pullups and dips in addition to moving onto more complex straight arm strength exercises such as the Stalder press. It has also been a while since I’ve worked on balance skills such as the one arm handstand. Perhaps I’ll experiment with other compound movements such as military press, bench press and even the pendlay row. I’m looking to have fun with my training and continue develop strength, mobility and size.
You’ve had a back and wrist injuries, how did they effect your training and how did you recover?
Being sensible and understanding rest is necessary for the injured site(s) to heal. Working on movements which do not cause pain and being patient until the acute/sub-acute phase of injury has passed. Performing the appropriate rehabilitation movements to ensure structural balance whilst slowly phasing in movements that gradually stress the previously injured area. Key word is patience, don’t be fool and work through injuries, as it will result in a longer time to recovery.
On a lighter not, the slide at the beginning of this video is absolutely sick and it looks like a great isometric workout for the lateral thigh muscles, how did you do that?
It’s all in the run up.. max speed = max slide
To wrap this up, what are your three top favorite bodyweight exercises?
- Handstand including all balance and pressing variations
- One Arm Pullup
Thanks Daniel, this was a lot of fun. I just love how you manage to consistently produce a balanced mix of informative tutorials and highly impressive and very entertaining skill videos.
I’m sure even greater stuff is coming in the future, so I’m keeping an eye on you, and I recommend the SOA tribesmen do the same.
Daniel’s Website: https://fitnessfaqs.tv