What's Stopping You From Starting?

 The Danny Kavadlo Experience at Quest Fitness * FIRST ANNUAL * 2018 at Quest Fitness! Photo by Ray Shonk, 2018.

The Danny Kavadlo Experience at Quest Fitness * FIRST ANNUAL * 2018 at Quest Fitness! Photo by Ray Shonk, 2018.

Beardy and I got an invite to The Danny Kavadlo Experience at Quest Fitness.  

...And we sat on that invite for a few weeks.  

It was a 4+ hour drive away, it was on a weekend, we needed to find a place to stay, it was going to be an all day workshop so we would have to figure out meal prep "on the go" and it would be an "away" situation for sleeping.  There were a thousand other reasons that we sat on the invite too.   If you're a human machine, if you work,  and you live in the world in 2018, you're familiar with this internal conversation.  

Part of the dialogue in deciding to go to The Danny Kavadlo Experience was regular "work life balance" stuff like the logistics of laundry, lunch, and pet care.  The other part was that I knew that the more "advanced" calisthenics exercises required skills that I was uncertain of.  The uncertain is scary.

At the last minute, I pulled the trigger and did it.  

Five years ago I would not have considered any activity like this.  Four years ago, I would have considered it but I would have immediately wrote it off as something for people who were somehow "better" than me and I would have said no.  Three, two, and even one year ago I would consider it but work and career would have taken priority over my own strength goals.  Because of the quality of the instruction at the workshop, I would have talked myself out of attending based on the people and material being somehow more "elite" than what I "deserved."  I'd also use time, money, traveling, meal prep, and all that to talk myself out of trying.

This year I did it.  What changed?

It didn't happen on the first day of my "fitness journey" but somewhere along the way I considered the possibility that maybe all of the (totally valid) reasons that kept me at "no" for things like a calisthenics workshop were stopping me from starting.  This year, I considered the possibility that maybe I COULD do these things.  Like Brussels sprouts with bacon, how do you know unless you try?  This year, I considered not what was keeping me at "no" but I thought about what I would gain if I said "yes."  

 Beardy and I learning about partner assisted squats AND learning about taking time for us.  Like Brussels sprouts with bacon, we loved it!  Photo by Ray Shonk, 2018.  

Beardy and I learning about partner assisted squats AND learning about taking time for us.  Like Brussels sprouts with bacon, we loved it!  Photo by Ray Shonk, 2018.  

I'm so glad we did it!

Ray Shonk, owner of Quest Fitness is super friendly and accommodating!  We were able to immediately cross off all the stuff on the list that was travel and logistics related.  Ray and the whole crew made us feel super welcome!  Danny Kavadlo and Ray Shonk brought world-class expertise, friendliness, and authentic belief in each participant to the workshop.  Everyone who attended astounded themselves by what they were able to achieve.  We all did it together!

Beardy and I primarily train with kettlebells, and calisthenics require a whole other set of skills that are in the "similar but different" category.   I began my journey into weight training with Calisthenics, but not by choice.  

Beardy, another friend from work, and Beardy's cousin Scott were all training kettlebell and I wanted to join in.  I was advised, smartly, that I was not ready to move a cast iron "cannonball" at full speed SAFELY until I worked on my posture, mobility, and core strength.  Calisthenics got me straightened out and strengthened up so that I could start to swing, squat, press, snatch, and GET UP with a bell!  Best of all, it was safe, adventurous, didn't require expensive gear, and was a real challenge.  During The Danny Kavadlo Experience, I re-discovered all of the great foundational training that I did to get me to where I am today!

 Safety first!  This was my first day strength training.  On the left, I was instructed to "Stand as straight as I could without looking in a mirror."  That's what "normal" felt like to me!  On the right, I corrected posture with a broom handle, and it was really a challenge!  Calisthenics gave me the ability to train strength safely until I was stable, strong, and mobile enough to move an external weight (kettlebell) at full-speed (swings).  It only took a little while, too!  Photo by Scott Gasparick, 2014.

Safety first!  This was my first day strength training.  On the left, I was instructed to "Stand as straight as I could without looking in a mirror."  That's what "normal" felt like to me!  On the right, I corrected posture with a broom handle, and it was really a challenge!  Calisthenics gave me the ability to train strength safely until I was stable, strong, and mobile enough to move an external weight (kettlebell) at full-speed (swings).  It only took a little while, too!  Photo by Scott Gasparick, 2014.

Calisthenics is right for me, because I felt like I could participate in my own way right from the start.  In 2014, I wasn't ready to swing a bell yet, but I could definitely rock some wall push-up variations.  I wasn't ready to double-bell front squat, but I could definitely rock a box squat.  

I also travelled a lot for work at the time I started strength training, so having no-equipment options was really helpful for me so I could practice even on the road.  Calisthenics also looks pretty bad-ass and I felt like I could get the benefits of "cool bendy strong Sarah Connor stuff" while practicing outdoors.  

 Calisthenics continue to be a huge part of my practice... Stop by and say hi if you see me at the playground!  

Calisthenics continue to be a huge part of my practice... Stop by and say hi if you see me at the playground!  

Body weight squats, push-ups of all kinds, planks, "naked" get-ups, lunges and lunge walks, as well has hanging from EVERYTHING have been long staples of my practice.  However, given my height and overall "mass" (not my number on the scale) some of the more "fancy" calisthenics moves have been elusive.  An unassisted pull-up, one arm push-ups, headstand / handstand, planches, and the human flag variations have always felt "unattainable" to someone like me.

 In   Terminator 2: Judgment Day,  Sarah Connor trains pull-ups on a bed frame.  This is me "Living the T2 Life!" NO FATE!  Photo: Ray Shonk, 2018.

In  Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah Connor trains pull-ups on a bed frame.  This is me "Living the T2 Life!" NO FATE!  Photo: Ray Shonk, 2018.

It was so amazing to do a headstand for the first time.  It was incredible to do a chin-up with the least amount of assistance I've ever needed.  But what really blew my mind was not calisthenics or kettlebell specific.

The most impactful things that I learned had nothing to do with any specific exercise.

What I learned:

  • When you find a group of people who genuinely believe in you, amazing things that you never dreamed of become possible
  • Believing in yourself is the hardest part
  • What "they" tell you is important may not actually be the most important to you 
  • Don't forget to examine what you will gain from trying in addition to what you have to sacrifice

If you have the chance to try something, look at it as “me time.”  Taking time for you can look like anything you want.  You don't have to listen to what "they" say you time needs to look like.  

Go ahead.
Give it a try.

You're not alone.

I believe in you!

Read about the event on Ray Shonk's blog here!  There are tons of great pictures! Ray takes the reader through the workshop and what's coming up next!  2019 here we come!

What are you going to try next?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karen Gasparick worked for 20+ years in design offices.  While slaying PowerPoint presentations and bringing bad-assery to the holiday potluck lunch, Karen also found fitness and real, honest wellness.  Karen lost 130 pounds, and gained ROBOT Level Strength!  

Karen is now “H.R.I.C.” (Head Robot In Charge) at The PurpleROBOT Network.  Contact us to learn about workplace wellness workshops, seminars, and training today!  Karen is an RKC Certified Kettlebell Instructor, loves outdoor adventures, and lives in Milwaukee, WI.  She can be reached via email at: karen@purplerobot.biz

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