CFP takes on NYC: The Journey to Progressive Calisthenics Certification
Let’s be honest, traveling is hard. Traveling with your spouse can be so exciting, 9 whole days with my best friend, yahoooo! However, as dreamy as this sounds when the 3am alarm goes off and wakes you with a stomach ache and your husband who is very sleep deprived, well let’s just say when that very sleep deprived hubby cannot remember if he packed his wallet as you’re pulling out of the driveway--well, that’s when you know you are off to a very good start!
The first day of travel continued as most travel days do, long baggage lines, rushing to grab something to eat, uncomfortable airplane seats, wandering the new airport like a lost puppy, waiting forever for your bus shuttle, literally and practically DYING as you put your life into a CRAZY bus shuttle man’s hands...only to be so thankful to make it to Downtown ChinaTown in New York City. I mean really, this is suppose to be glamorous and thrilling! Our first day was off to a rocky start, but by the time we sat down with an authentic New York pizza that was bigger than our heads...well, then we might have forgiven the day’s events...maybe. New York still had a lot to prove to the weary PNW travelers, and with the Progressive Calisthenics Certification starting the very next morning, we crashed into our stiff hotel sheets and slept terribly! Ha.
Our PCC workshop was hosted just a few blocks away from our hotel, in SOHO Little Italy area of NYC. From the outside you could barely notice the unique gym that sat just inside. Once again, a calisthenics gym does not require a lot of equipment. The green turf grass, some pull up bars, kettlebells, some squat racks and some vertical bars. The bars and our bodies, those are the pieces we were going to master this weekend. Bret was ecstatic, I was terrified. These emotions are pretty typical of us as a couple, he is outgoing, driven and incredibly willing to always try new things and test out bigger challenges. I am not always these things, when it comes to anything “fitness” related I’d rather sit on the sidelines, listen, observe and take it in...then go try it at home in the privacy of my own home or gym. I quickly realized I had to shed these preconceived fears and just try...be open-minded.
Curious about the gym? Here’s their website...http://sohostrengthlab.com/
The instructors Al Kavadlo & Danny Kavadlo introduced themselves, their team and then the group introduced themselves to one another. We were told we were entering this workshop as strangers, but we’d leave as friends...and the Kavadlo brothers were nothing but right. The instruction, the detail, the encouragement and the “family feel” could be felt each and every day, during each and every exercise. The people there wanted you to succeed, it was competitive, but you WANTED to do better. I think overall, through all the exercises, progressions and demonstrations this is the ONE thing I learned the most about.
At Constant Forward Progress we’ve always dreamed of having a gym, a place, a safe haven for our members to come, push themselves, learn and grow really freaking strong! We’ve also always dreamed of having a system in place that invites, inspires and cultivates strong and authentic relationships. (I’m literally going to make myself cry...phew!) Through this PCC experience I truly feel like we’ve ARRIVED! We as coaches and now certified instructors feel as though we’ve found our place, we’ve found what makes us tick, we’ve found what feels like the best option in fitness training to DATE...and if you haven’t realized it yet, that type of training is Progressive Bodyweight Calisthenics.
(Al & Danny Kavadlo: The instructors for our PCC workshop)
As the workshop progressed we were taught the fundamental exercises in each progressive category, Squatting, Hinging, Pushing, Pulling and Grip/Stability work. We were given time to observe, ask questions and hear the reasoning/theories behind each movement. (Not to mention the over 600 page instructional manual!) Then, we were asked to TRY it. UH-OH...I thought, “you mean I actually have to get up, move around, meet new people and try out these exercises in front of people I don’t even know!?” What an insane request. Annnnnd yet, before we knew it, it was time for a lunch break and we could both already tell we were in for a GOOD weekend.
I spoke with Al (the main-mind behind PCC) about how much I have personally and professionally come to appreciate this type of training. He blushed and thanked me, and I continued to tell him why. Since I started strength training, back when I started dating Bret in 2012 I wanted to get stronger, leaner and just feel like a better me. I struggled with bench squats, with bench press and barbell deadlifts. I just didn’t have that overall feeling of accomplishment, I was missing that piece of passion, for me it was still “just a workout.” Get in & get out was my slogan! This lasted until Bret started experimenting, reading and learning about something called “calisthenics.” Of course, doubting Megan thought, “You’re crazy, I’m not doing that. I actually want to see real results.”
Oh, naive and fixed mindset Megan, JUST TRY IT for goodness sake.
After working with this type of training I felt F R E E. Progressive calisthenics uses MY body, my arms, my legs and my abilities. This type of training didn’t make me hurt after I finish a workout, it doesn’t cause more injuries, it IS safe and yet very quickly I learned of the enormous amounts of progressions and exercises that at that point were out of my reach. I had to EARN the right to try those movements, I had to WORK consistently to gain the strength that is needed to perform those stronger exercises. This could have shut me down, but instead I looked at it as an opportunity, something different to try, after all...it’s just bodyweight right? Ha.
I was given the grace to start where I was at, not where a coach or trainer said I should and certainly not where my ego THOUGHT I should be able to start...but instead where my body was ready to start. My legs were stronger, my arms and my core were “less strong.” This gave me a chance to excel in areas I could and grow stronger in places that needed more time. The GRACE and the FREEDOM that this training gave me changed my life! (tears again!!) It was with this type of passion that I agreed to join Bret in NYC a few weeks ago. I’d never experienced such a type of training that I related to so much, and before this I truly never felt like I could ever become a personal trainer in the current fitness industry. I didn’t fit the “mold.”
“Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.” -Confucius
Calisthenics changed that.
There is no “mold,” you get to create your own! It is specific to YOU and only YOU. No single program is the same, and rightly so because no single person is the same either! It gave me a way to train myself that was comfortable and challenging. In result, it has given me a way to train others. It’s because of calisthenics and the way that we’ve adopted the system and have utilized it that I find myself becoming more and more comfortable and even more passionate about teaching it to others.
The PCC workshop gave me the instruction, the confidence and most of all the freedom and grace that then I could give back to our members in their own training here at Constant Forward Progress. Without being introduced to calisthenics I’d never would have become an ACE certified Personal Trainer, I would have never dreamed of seeking out and becoming a Progressive Calisthenics Instructor and I would have certainly never enjoyed working out. Period.
(Calisthenics can be performed anywhere & everywhere, use caution however...because it can be very ADDICTIVE!)
It didn’t take long until our eyes started to notice that the world around us was like a playground. We wanted to utilize everything we could. Testing out some new movements and exercises we had learned felt playful. In a way that’s what we wish for our own members to experience during their own workouts. We hope they can feel a sense of playfulness! When a workout becomes like play, you can easily move away from thinking you're just there to “get a workout in,” and instead you start to simply just P L A Y !
“Work never quite feels like work when you love what you do everyday.” -Bret Hamilton
For all these reasons I did not tell Al or Danny, I shorted my list for them during our brief conversation. But, in hopes of encouraging our current members, our past members and our members-to-be I hope this gives you a glimpse into our trip, into the meaning behind it and hopefully gives you inspiration to continue working hard and keep striving to be the best version of you.
Not only did we enjoy our time away, much sight-seeing was had and lots of yummy food was consumed...but we missed our gym, we missed our time that we get to spend with each and every one of you, we consider ourselves some of the luckiest people.
Cheers to NYC and the best pizza we’ve ever had! (But we’re never going back, it’s too busy for us!)
“You’re only as happy as you’ll ever be when you’re free.” -Megan Hamilton