The PCC and….Love?

by Peter D'Epiro on June 25, 2013

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It was back into the trenches Monday morning after attending the inaugural PCC over the weekend.  To say this course was phenomenal is an understatement.  The Kavadlo brothers (Al and Danny) set the tone for the weekend with their positivity, humility and accessibility.  Further enhancing the vibe were John du Cane, Al and Danny’s co-instructors Adrienne Harvey and Steven Low, and all of the students who spent the weekend cheering, coaching and supporting one another.  I have rarely experienced a class, conference or certification with such an amazing atmosphere and amazingly accessible group of instructors in my years in this industry (don’t want to age myself, but somewhere in the immediate vicinity of 20 years…).

This praise is independent of the actual course content, which was absolutely spectacular.  An organized and systematic series of well thought out progressions for some of the most challenging bodyweight strength techniques out there.  These movements/exercises/techniques are accessible to fitness professionals and clients of all levels because of the thorough progressions for each.

All of which brings me back to the title…love?  Where does that fit into this picture, or this course? As is often the case in the field of fitness and performance training after a class or conference, I returned home motivated and inspired by the wealth of new information and resources I learned…as well as humbled by my great inability to perform so many of these techniques, despite throwing weights around in the gym for over 25 years.  There is the age-old process a professional in our field goes through after an educational program of any type: does this fit into my philosophy and methodology? If so, where and how?  How will I incorporate this into my personal training program?  How will I incorporate it into my clients’ training programs when I return to work Monday morning and going forward?

Logic and precedent suggest that I set about answering these questions when I returned home Sunday evening.  For perhaps the first time ever I didn’t do that though.  The content of the PCC is so unique and accessible to all populations that something entirely different happened.  Like so many others, I not only took a break from work to attend this course, I also left my family at home, including my 10-year-old son.  It’s safe to assume I wanted to reconnect and spend a little quality time with him when I first got home…and before I needed to shift my focus to returning to work the next morning.

Something unique and special happened right after I settled in at home…before giving it much thought I found myself saying to my son, “Hey buddy, want to see a couple of the cool things I learned this weekend?”  Always gracious, and perhaps a little curious about what dad had been doing all weekend he obliged me.  Next thing you know I had my son’s hands firmly wrapped around my ankles as I spotted him and he pressed his way into his first bridge!  From there I showed him one other move that was a little more balance than strength oriented, the frog stand.  As he spent the remainder of the night on the floor trying to pop up into a bridge or a frog stand every so often father and son had reconnected and our bond was strengthened by our new shared pursuit (and I’m sure he enjoys the fact that his gumby-like 10 year old mobility allows him to perform some of these moves better than me at this point!).


So…the PCC and love?  I don’t yet know exactly how I will incorporate this phenomenal approach to training into my own programming, or that of my clients.  What I do know is that school is out tomorrow for my son, little league is officially over, and summer is upon us.  My son and I have already scouted out the local schools and parks for the best playground equipment for our needs and have found our “spot” for the summer.  We are both equally excited to go workout together.  He is excited because it feels like playing to him and he gets to play with dad.  I am excited because I get to play with my son while sneakily introducing him to strength training and laying the foundation for a fitness lifestyle for the remainder of his life, while also challenging myself with some of the toughest strength moves I have ever tried to master.  My son is the center of my universe, he is my love, and it is the unconditional love he shares with me that humbles and sustains me.

For all the praise I can easily heap upon the PCC course and its content, none is greater than the way it has and will strengthen the love between this father and his son.  I have a new “gym” at one of the local middle schools…and I officially have a new workout partner, he’s 10 and he’s my best buddy!  I suppose I could put on my business cap and start working on the possibilities and opportunities for bringing the PCC system of training to the TV watching, Xbox playing, inactive youth in my area, but right now I have a date to go outside and “play” on the monkey bars with my son!


About Pete D’Epiro: A fitness & performance coach in the San Francisco Bay Area for 20 years, Pete specializes in training the unique population that is the Silicon Valley executive/entrepreneur as well as junior athletes ranging from middle school to Division I scholarship athletes.  Pete also volunteers his time to Stew Smith’s non-profit Heroes of Tomorrow, providing free training to candidates preparing for careers in military special operations, law enforcement, & fire.  Most days of the year Pete can be found at the world-class training facility, Evolution Trainers (, in Mountain View, California.

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  • Marcus

    Thanks Pete, I’ve just registered for the PCC course in Sweden and reading your post has made me even more excited (it that was possible!).

    Plus, I have a 10 year son too and I relate to the sentiment of your post. Hopefully I can capture his interest too and take it away from the XboX =)

    Thanks again.


    • Peter D’Epiro

      You’ll absolutely love the class, Marcus, no question!

      Relative to your son (and in this era of the crazy sports parents) I would encourage you to keep this stuff as fun as possible (not a ton of coaching and cueing, just a simple explanation or demonstration and then let him mess around with it). I’d also suggest playing with this stuff only as long as he is interested (could be 5 minutes, could be 30 minutes), then it won’t feel like school or organized sports, and you can walk away confident that he’ll soon be asking you to do it all again!

  • Paul John Wade

    Pete, you’re from the Bay! Knew I liked you, dude!

    This post means a lot to me. People would be surprised how many dads write me and tell me they are learning progressive calisthenics so they can pass it onto their children–boys AND girls. Kids love it, it’s fun, and they naturally excel at bodyweight movements.

    Let’s face it–obesity and poor conditioning is an epidemic for kids in America; Europe isn’t far behind, either. The solution is not found in the current paradigm of fitness–it’s not found under a heavy bench press, on a cardio machine, or thru gobbling supplements. The solution is found in movement. The solution is found in bodyweight.

    My cap goes off to those parents who care enough to learn these bodyweight arts from the ground up–not for themselves, but for the next generation!

    • Peter D’Epiro

      Thanks Coach…and thanks to Al and the whole PCC instructor crew! Between your Convict Conditioning books, Al’s materials, and the PCC course itself I would definitely suggest that anyone from the long time fitness professional to the casual workout enthusiast do themselves a favor by delving into this arena of training. All of your resources make it accessible, practical, and applicable to and for everyone!

  • Ben Swarts

    I too have scouted out an excellent spot for my training – tetherball court is perfect for flags! This is a touching story. I have connected with a number of people on an entirely different level due to this phenomenal course. Though I am fairly new to personal training, I recognize the incredible value of both these progressions and, even more important, the philosophy behind them. This philosophy will make fitness of all kinds more accessible to a vast array of individuals.
    Great post!

  • This article really warmed my heart! <3

  • Leo

    Dear Paul Wade,
    I’m fifteen years old.
    If I’m attending the PCC workshop when it finally comes to germany can I at my age get the title of a PCC Instructor if I pass the Century?
    If yes, what would that mean?
    Does this certify me as a personal trainer, because that is a nice job?
    Should I attend the event in general?
    I’m working hard on the first steps of the squats, push ups, leg raises and australian pull ups. I heard many achieved their first muscle up or clutch flag etc.
    Isn’t that too advanced to me?
    Shouldn’t I milk out every step rather than trying several steps back to back at the cert?
    How should I prepare for these advanced moves?
    Should I include dips into my workout?
    If yes, which prerequisite do I need (step 5 of push ups or something?) on wich days should I work rhem, on push up days?
    Doesn’t this eat into my
    I wanna be a personal trainer if I’m past eighteen and I want to teach calisthenics, how can I achieve that?

    • Paul John Wade

      Yo yo Leo! 15 is a touch too young for the PCC–besides kid, you just don’t need it, trust me. I applaud your desire to want to train folks in the old school skills, and the PCC will help you build a base of strength, knowledge and conditioning as much as we can.

      At your age, nothing is “too advanced” for you in bodyweight, provided you take care, avoid hurting your joints, and always use great form. You can include dips on pushup days, or on another day per week–it’s up to you, so long as you don’t exhaust yourself and keep improving.

      To become a personal trainer, you should get certified properly, and the law (insurance, etc) depends on what country you’re posting from. The best base for you o achieve that goal tright now is to work hard on your OWN training. You don’t need to buy anything or get “certified” to do this. The best way is to go to Al Kavadlo’s site and check out his calisthenics posts and videos. All this stuff is free–though the effort to learn it isn’t.
      But I believe in ya, kid. Keep doing those pushups, and you will get there!

  • Leo

    Doesn’t this eat into my recovery?
    Should I do them on parallel bars or between two tables with my palms flat to not irritate the forearm? Also should I start with bench dips?
    Greetings from Germany

  • Danny Kavadlo

    I love this article bro. And as a dad, of course I relate. I am happy you’re spreading the love.
    Rock on,

    • Peter D’Epiro

      Thanks, Danny, much appreciated. Looking forward to seeing you guys again!

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