Take Hold Of The Flame

by Danny Kavadlo on July 18, 2017

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FREAKSHOW Danny Kavadlo

Recently I received an email from a friendly fitness follower. This is what he asked: “Hey, Danny, how do you stay so motivated?” Well thanks for asking! But the truth is: I don’t!

That’s right. I don’t.

There is a fire burning deep within me. It’s in you too! This fire makes me move, helps me survive the night and execute what I must. But this fire is not motivation. There are days when I wake up and I simply don’t know what the hell.

  • How am I going to pay my bills?
  • How can I be a better man?
  • A better trainer?
  • How am I going to feed my son and go on another day?
  • And those damn pull-ups…. When can I find the time?

To evoke the California thrash band Suicidal Tendencies, “How can I laugh tomorrow when I can’t even smile today?”

Sometimes I’m terrified—not motivated at all—but very afraid. Yet somehow, I keep a roof over my head. I work. I cook breakfast. I pay my bills and take my kid to school. And, yes, I do the damn pull-ups. But it has nothing to do with motivation.

The fire within is dedication.

If I waited for motivation to strike, I wouldn’t do much of anything. My mortgage would go unpaid. My bathroom would be filthy. I’d go days without showering. I certainly wouldn’t work out half as much as I want to or need to. It’s not that I’m lazy—it’s that I’m real and I acknowledge the fact that tasks take effort.

A fire burns deep within us all, but it’s not motivation. Take hold of the flame!

A fire burns deep within us all, but it’s not motivation. Take hold of the flame!

And I’m NOT sorry to admit, as I type these keys on a rainy Friday morning, that I’m not motivated at all. Instead, I’m accountable. I said I’d write this damn blog and I’m doing it, whether I feel like it or not.

The fire within is discipline. 

We live in the hash-tag generation, kids. Everything is #motivationmonday or #flexfriday. Well, Danny’s here to tell you that’s a bunch of jive! Do not wait for #motivationmonday! Do not wait for motivation any day!

These slogans are designed to inspire, which of course is a good thing. I’d never deny that. But motivation comes once in a blue moon. It’s the great, white whale of lore—an incredible beast to behold—but don’t base your life on trying to capture it, or your life may pass you by. Discipline is accessible every day, while motivation comes and goes.

A fire burns deep within us all, but it’s not motivation. Take hold of the flame and shout at the devil!

A fire burns deep within us all, but it’s not motivation. Take hold of the flame and shout at the devil!

You do the things you choose to do because you care. You do the work every day, whether you’re motivated or not, because it’s important to you. Be leery of #inspirational memes from people you never heard of (or even memes from me.)

The only truth is the truth that takes place in the real world. Virtual reality is not reality and social media is not social. Do not count on others to motivate you. Be determined and take care of what you must.

The fire within is determination.

Are you “motivated” to brush your teeth? Do you jump up and say “Hellyeah! It’s teeth time!” Or are you dedicated because it’s important for your quality of life? Are you “motivated” to pay your rent, or do you do it because you don’t want to live on the street and eat out of a trash can? Are you “motivated” to go to the DMV when you have to renew your license?

You see where I’m going with this, right? In the end, motivation is overrated. It’s an illusion. The fire within comes from you, not from any external force. It’s your own dedication, discipline and determination. And the flame is strong.

So stand up, calisthenics brothers and sisters, my family and friends! Be strong, and take hold of the flame!


Danny Kavadlo is one of the world’s leading authorities on calisthenics, nutrition and personal training. He is the author of several best-selling Dragon Door titles including GET STRONG and STRENGTH RULES. Danny has been featured in the New York Times, Men’s Fitness, and the Huffington Post. He is a regular contributor to Bodybuilding .com and TRAIN magazine. When not working one-on-one with clients in his native New York City, Danny travels the world as a Master Instructor in Dragon Door’s internationally acclaimed Progressive Calisthenics Certification. Find out more about Danny at www.DannyTheTrainer.com

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Ask Al: GET STRONG Edition

by Al Kavadlo on July 11, 2017

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Ask Al Get Strong Edition

Since the release of our latest book, GET STRONG, my brother Danny and I have gotten a lot of feedback on our new program. It seems that you guys are loving the book!

Even though the program takes 16 weeks to complete – and it’s barely been two months since the release – many of you are writing to tell us that you’re already experiencing gains in muscle and strength. Awesome!

We’ve also been getting a lot questions about the GET STRONG program. Though we did our best to explain everything as clearly as possible in the book, there are a few concerns that have been raised more than once.

That’s why I’ve created this special “Ask Al” video.

In it I address:

–What to do if you’re having trouble kicking into a handstand

–How to alter the hanging leg raise if you’re too tall to fully extend your legs

–The correct way to sequence your exercises

–How to incorporate Aussie pull-ups into the program

Let us know if you have additional questions or feedback about the program in the comments below.


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Let’s Get High! How To Do A Muscle-Up

June 13, 2017

One of the things I love most about Progressive Calisthenics is the fact that it is a multi-faceted discipline. You see, we human beings have a tendency to over-categorize and compartmentalize just about everything. Sadly, this can lead to an improper representation of concepts that can often be better expressed with blurred lines. In other […]

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Internal Martial Arts and Calisthenics

May 30, 2017

A long time ago, before I became a trainer (and after a long hiatus in my own fitness and martial art training), I decided to get back on the scene. I began training a martial art called Taijiquan, also known as Tai Chi. To be perfectly honest, I chose this after watching late night Kung […]

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PCC Goes Commando

May 23, 2017

I’d heard big things about the Commando Temple gym in London from Al and Danny after the previous Progressive Calisthenics Certification there, so I had high expectations going into last weekend’s event. This would be the third time the PCC was happening in Great Britain, but it was my first time visiting the legendary Commando […]

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Taking The GET STRONG Transformation Challenge

May 16, 2017

What mechanism acts as both the Great Protector of our health and well-being—while often acting as the Great Saboteur of our attempts at physical transformation? That mechanism would be Homeostasis: “The tendency of a system, especially the physiological system of higher animals, to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus that would tend to disturb its normal condition or function.” “A state of psychological equilibrium obtained when tension or a drive has been reduced or eliminated.” As the cliché goes, we […]

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How to Restore Desk-Damaged Physiques with Calisthenics

May 9, 2017

Years ago, well before the PCC, and just after Convict Conditioning began to get extremely popular, I heard Andrea Du Cane say that we shouldn’t live in the posture of our sport. In many cases, we should also not live in the posture of our work. It seems as though many of our clients (and […]

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Progressive Calisthenics Comes To Boston!

May 2, 2017

In 1858, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. famously referred to the city of Boston as “the hub of the solar system.” This past weekend, Boston could have been called “the hub of the calisthenics system,” as this historic American city hosted the first Progressive Calisthenics Certification ever held in the New England area. I was […]

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Kavadlo Brothers’ Calisthenics Arms Workout

April 11, 2017

Fans of progressive calisthenics know that you don’t need weights to pump up your arms. With nothing more than your own bodyweight and a few bars, you can blast your guns without any external resistance. Though you won’t find any dumbbell curls or triceps push-downs in this workout, the following exercises will blow up your […]

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Hang Your Way to Better Pull-ups

April 4, 2017

A basketball coach walks into the gym and witnesses one of his athletes shooting free throws. He makes 1 out of 50 shots. The coach asks the athlete what he’s doing and the athlete replies “practicing free throws.” The coach then asks him a simple question: “Are you practicing making them or are you practicing […]

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