10 Q’s with Fitness Guru Danny Kavadlo

Who is Danny Kavadlo?

I am Danny Kavadlo. I am many things. I’m a father, a son, a husband, a friend, a student and a teacher. I’m also a personal trainer in New York City.  I try to surround myself with positive forces and appreciate life. I love to cook, travel, and be outside. I believe we should all use our minds and bodies every day and get the most out of life.

How did you get started in personal fitness?

I always did push-ups a kid. Back then, it was more to acquire a certain look than to be fit or healthy. Growing up in deep Brooklyn in the 80′s, we all needed to look as intimidating as possible! (Just  kidding… sort of.) I stayed with the push-ups and pull-ups and started lifting weights as a teenager, but was never what you’d call an athlete. I loved to train, but I was non-competitive.

I worked out consistently into adulthood but I did not become a personal trainer until the birth of my son when I was 31 years old. I had never considered it as a career option, but my brother Al, who had already been training for several years knew I’d take to it well. I’m glad he did!

I honestly feel that all my previous life experience existed in order to put me on this path toward helping people. I speak in more detail about my personal transition into personal training in my forthcoming book Everybody Needs Training: Expert Advice for Personal Trainers. There has never been a book like this before. If anyone has ever considered a career as a trainer, Everybody Needs Training is a must-have. If I can do it, anyone can!

Why should a person hire a personal trainer?

There are many reasons to hire a trainer and they’re all valid. Some folks have never been on a fitness program and simply do not know how to begin. Others are seasoned athletes who need an extra push from an outside force. For the most part, most people who work with trainers are busy. They have jobs, kids, responsibilities and obligations. They badly need someone to get them through an efficient, effective workout. If the average person shows up at the gym at 7 pm, and has less than an hour, they may not get much done. If they are with a trainer, they can work out every muscle in the body, plus cardio in a safe and appropriate way. Who wouldn’t want to get the most out of their workout? Plus, we serve as a motivator, fitness consultant, and gym buddy in addition to trainer.

What are some of the traits one should look for in a personal trainer?

There are many different types of personal trainers, and I encourage all trainers to be themselves. Yet still there are certain qualities that all trainers should possess. A personal trainer should be on time 100% of the time. A trainer needs to keep their eyes on YOU (the client) 100% of the time. Above all, a trainer must realize that no matter what, that session is all about what is best for the person being trained. That requires intuition and experience, more than education.

What is calisthenics?

The word calisthenics comes from the Ancient Greek kallos, meaning beauty, and sthenos which means strength. Great word origin. There is beauty and art to strength training the body using no resistance but your own weight and gravity itself. That’s what calisthenics or “body-weight” training essentially is: Exercises that require no weights or machines. Push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and jumping jacks are all examples of calisthenics.  I’d like to point out that calisthenics is only one of many excellent ways to train. It is important for everyone to find what works best for them. But for the last several years, this has been my primary focus and passion. You learn to train anywhere, and use leverage instead of equipment. It’s empowering!

What is the human flag and why do you like it so much? 

Trainer Danny Kavadlo doing the human flag

Photo by Danny Kavadlo

The human flag is an advanced body-weight challenge where the flagger holds a vertical bar or pole, with both arms outstretched, until his or her body reaches a ninety degree angle to the pole and is parallel to the ground. I love this move for many reasons. Number one, it is spectacular feat of strength to behold. Nothing attracts a crowd like human flag! We are visual creatures. Many of us, myself included, are attracted to such amazing imagery. Secondly, it truly works every single muscle in the body in a very unique way. I am often asked what muscles are employed when executing a human flag to which my answer is “All of them.” Finally, I love the flag because you gotta earn it! There is no short-cut or “trick” to doing it. It requires strength, spacial awareness, flexibility, and an indomitable will.

What can people do right now to improve their fitness level?

Right now, anybody can move around a little more and eat a little less. Biologically speaking, we were built to run, climb trees, and forage food. Our very DNA goes against the sedentary lifestyle so many of us have. If you’re sitting at a desk, stand up. If you’re eating a packaged carb/sugar snack, trade it in for an apple. Make whatever changes you can. Drive less. Ride a bike more.

How do you stay motivated?

I stay motivated because I know the benefits of consistent exercise and eating clean first hand. If I didn’t do some degree of physical exertion daily, I think I’d feel sick. Many people are sick. We live in a country where physicians constantly hand out prescriptions to drugs we really know very little about, but no one talks about prevention. The biggest motivation for me is to live a long life and enjoy each day. All I have to do is treat myself well. People sometimes treat their dog or car better than they treat their own body. Bear in mind, there is no need to be an extremest. My personal workouts are sometimes twenty minutes long. We all have twenty minutes.

I am intimidated by personal trainers, what advice would you give to people like me?

There is no shame in that. We are all have a fear of the unknown. The best advice I could give would be to speak with a trainer and let him or her know your fears. A great many people feel exactly how you do, so you’re not alone, and trainers understand that. It’s part of their job. Of course, just like all professions, there are some amazing trainers and some less desirable ones. If your trainer perpetuates your fear or makes you uncomfortable, find a new trainer.

How do you keep your clients motivated and do you feel pressured to do so?

I try to keep my clients motivated by believing in them and celebrating every one of their accomplishments. I also keep it real. I understand that progress is not always linear and that not every workout will be groundbreaking. But we always do the best we can. That’s rewarding! And in time, results will come. We all feel peaks and dips in our motivation. It’s my job to help bring out the best from my clients, however they may feel. I never feel “pressure” to keep them motivated. They inspire me as much as I inspire them.

Danny Kavadlo is a personal trainer in New York City. He has been featured in The New York Times,Bodybuilding.com, and Men’s Fitness. Danny is known for his unique training style and life philosophy and is a Master Instructor of Progressive Calisthenics, where he co-instructs workshops for fitness professionals and enthusiasts all over the world. His first full-length book Everybody Needs Training: Expert Advice for Personal Trainers will be available from Dragon Door Publications later this year. Contact him at www.DannyTheTrainer.com

You have to check out Danny in action training to perform the human flag. Amazing! Please do not try these without supervision from a professional like Danny.


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