For many years, I have wanted to attend the Progressive Calisthenics Certification, and it was a thrill to finally get to do it last month in Austin, TX. After all of the anticipation, I knew it would be an unforgettable weekend. The best part was that I was able to take my husband along with me. After all, we’re a couple of calisthenics freaks, and it was our 17th anniversary. This was the best way to celebrate!
But enough about him… he already got a little taste of the limelight in a previous blog. And while I’d love to talk about ALL of the amazing people I met there, I’m going to take a different approach: This is for all my strong girls! (It’s okay men. You can keep reading too.)
Throughout my 15-year tenure as a trainer, I have taken part in a great number of fitness related workshops. Over the years, I’ve noticed an interesting pattern. The “tougher”, for lack of a better word, the workshop is perceived to be, the fewer women are in attendance. Allow me to elaborate:
Several years ago, at my first RKC, there were approximately the same number of women and men in attendance. I was happy to see the ladies well represented! However, that was not the case at my RKC Level II, where I was very much in the minority. There were only three women (including myself) in the group. Rather intimidating! Nonetheless, we kicked ass right alongside the men. Since that RKC Level II workshop, I have recertified, and/or assisted at, several Dragon Door workshops. Sadly, this trend of fewer and fewer women in attendance has remained the same.
In fact, when I arrived at PCC, it appeared that I was the only female in a room full of 20 super strong men! Though I wasn’t completely surprised by this, I must confess that I was relieved when another female walked through the door.
This particular female, Mrs. Julia Harris, is 14 years younger than me, and a former gymnast. But I didn’t let that intimidate me either. I was stoked to have another woman there to share the experience with! Over the course of the weekend, Julia and I shared lots of laughs, high fives, and PR’s. We encouraged each other every time we performed on the bar, pole or mat.
Here are some of the take-aways from that weekend that I want all women considering PCC to know:
– Both Julia and I were already well rehearsed in squats, push-ups and pull-ups. So ladies, I highly recommend that you show up with a solid foundation in the basics. Those three movements, believe it or not, are the baseline from which almost all the more advanced moves are built. Even if you cannot do a full pull-up (many women can’t… yet), I still encourage you to practice Aussie pull-ups, bar hangs, and other upper body pulling motions. There is no need to be nervous, regardless of what your fitness level is—PCC is for everybody! Be prepared and work on your version of “squat-push-pull” and you won’t find yourself struggling.
– Amazingly, we both worked on “skinning the cat”, bar levers, floor holds and more! I might not be able to do a full bar muscle-up yet, but with the guidance of The World-Famous Kavadlo Brothers and the other amazing instructors, were able to attempt each and every movement on the schedule. We females were given the tools to either succeed in those movements that very day, or to take with us so that we can approach and conquer them in our own time.
That’s the point I’d really like to drive home: The level of instruction you will receive will enable and encourage you to do things you may not have expected. You may just surprise yourself!
– The PCC is an incredibly diverse curriculum. In a way, calisthenics is a great equalizer. Even if you reach a sticking point in one area, you will find that there is room to excel in others. In fact, in my unbiased opinion, the ladies ruled the squat and handstand portion of the weekend. Move over boys!
But this is the most important thing I observed during PCC. Pay close attention ladies….
– Throughout the weekend, Julia and I went shoulder to shoulder with the men. We attempted every exercise. Sometimes we failed. Sometimes we succeeded. And guess what? The men in the room also failed and succeeded right alongside us.
That’s right! No one got every technique. Additionally, all of the men cheered us on the entire time. I never felt that I wasn’t a part of the group, nor for one moment did it feel like I was in a “man’s world”. I honestly can’t put into words the camaraderie that I experienced. It has never been men vs. women. It is always athlete supporting athlete.
At the conclusion of this amazing weekend, after the PCC Century tests, the hugs, tears and high fives, I was approached by several of the male participants. They wanted to tell me that I “inspired” THEM! Go figure!
Many of the men wanted my husband’s and my info so they could stay in touch with us and visit our gym. Some also had training questions they wanted to follow up with me on—they were impressed with me as a trainer. Zero egos. Lots friendships were made that weekend that will not be forgotten. Words alone cannot do justice to bonds formed at a PCC certification. The weekend made such a great impression on me personally that I will be hosting a Progressive Calisthenics Certification at my gym, KA Athletics, in Rome, Georgia.
So, to all my girls out there, don’t let PCC intimidate you. Or any event for that matter! We are fully capable of standing side by side with the boys, and we should do so with our heads held high. Why?? Because strong people inspire each other, regardless of gender!
That’s right, ladies… we can swing from those bars too! We are strong. We are PCC!
Kristy Agan is a RKC Level II and PCC Instructor. She and her husband, Joe Agan, own KA Athletics in Rome, GA where she offers Personal and Group Training. Follow her on Facebook @Kristy Agan – RKC, Instagram @kristyagan and Twitter @kristyagan. Visit her website at kristyagan.com. She can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org