Both of these brothers have incredible calisthenic skills and we have a lot we can learn from them.
I sent some questions to Al and he was more than happy to share his knowledge with the SOA community.
Most people recognize you as a Calisthenic Star but tell us a little bit of how you got there.
Thanks, Todd! I don’t see myself as a “star” – I’m just a guy who really loves bodyweight training and wants to share that passion with others. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have made a successful career out of something I enjoy, but it didn’t come quick or easy. I’ve been doing calisthenics for over twenty years and I spent a long time paying my dues in the fitness business. I got my first job in the industry more than a decade ago. My primary responsibilities back then were re-racking dumbbells and making sure there were enough towels for everyone. Eventually I became a trainer and things grew organically from there.
Everyone knows that to be able to perform best physically you have to maintain a healthy lifestyle. What are some lifestyle habits you incorporate that enable you to be successful?
Sleep is very important to me, so I’m often the first one to head home on a night out so I can rest. I’m not a big drinker and I generally try to avoid sugary and/or processed foods, but I’m not so strict with myself that I never let loose and have a good time. I also believe that maintaining a positive mental attitude toward life has been beneficial to my physical training. The mind and body are more deeply connected than most people realize.
Do you follow any special diet or take any supplements?
I do not. Many people have a hard time accepting that I don’t use supplements. They always have to ask follow up questions such as, “But you take creatine, right?” or “What about fish oil pills?” so I must reiterate: I do not take ANY supplements. No creatine, no fish oils, no fat burners, no BCAA’s, nothing at all. If it’s a supplement, I don’t take it!
As for food, I simply try to avoid processed foods and simple sugars, though I do have a weakness for ice cream – especially in the summertime.
What was one of the hardest calisthenic moves for you to learn? How did you learn it?
The moves I struggled the most to learn are probably the human flag and freestanding handstand. They’re both moves that require a tremendous amount of dedication and they’re both still very much a work in progress. You have to be willing to fail over and over and still keep trying. Most people give up way before they’ve dedicated enough time. This is true of most calisthenics exercises, but it’s often especially true for these two moves.
Being the lead instructor for the Progressive Calisthenics Certification is a big responsibility and I want to make sure I uphold good standards and lead by example. I consider myself a student as much as a teacher, so my own workouts are still a priority. It’s important to me to be able to demonstrate things right in front of people, so that motivates me to train harder and keep improving my skills.
What is your single best tip for someone already fit but would like to make the transition to learning front levers, handstands and muscle ups?
My advice for anyone who practices calisthenics – whether they are a beginner or advanced practitioner – is to be patient and not to focus too strongly on getting to the advanced moves in a hurry – enjoy the process and just keep doing it. Calisthenics is often more challenging than people expect, so go into your training with humility and respect for your body.
Want more of Al Kavadlo? Find more on Al here:
Certification: Progressive Calisthenics Certification