Danny Kavadlo is one of the world’s most established and respected personal trainers. Mr. Kavadlo has been featured in numerous publications including the New York Times and Men’s Fitness, and is a regular contributor to bodybuilding.com. Hundreds of personal trainers have successfully employed his methods to increase their client base and salary.
Welcome back Danny! Congratulations on your new book Everybody Needs Training and I am glad to have you back at Plain Talk Book Marketing.
Seriously Danny, how many tattoos do you have and at what age did you start? Are you going to get more? I see you have a little space left.
Haha. I got my first tattoo twenty-something years ago when I was seventeen. Back then, getting tattooed in New York was very different than it is now. Because of the tattoo ban, there wasn’t a shop on every corner. First, you had to have a connection. Then you go to a payphone, make the call and someone came down to meet you. Cash only. In 1991, it was easier to buy crack in Brooklyn than get ink. But, yeah, there’s still space. I’m planning a big piece for my fortieth birthday.
Ok so, lets chat about your new book Everybody Needs Training. Why did you write this book?
Everybody Needs Training is essentially a book about the realities of how to progress and succeed as a personal trainer. Most of the materials available on career personal training focus on charts and graphs, academia, and esoteric technique. They fail to address the experience of actually working as a trainer. The world needed a resource that told the real deal, and this book is it.
Who is this book geared toward?
It is geared toward any new or veteran personal trainer who is looking for practical ways to increase, retain and, of course, help their clients. Since writing it, however, I’ve been told by everyone, from writers to lawyers to entrepreneurs, that this book helped them be successful in many of life’s endeavors. I guess everybody needs Everybody Needs Training!
If one wants to become a personal trainer how do they go about doing that?
I believe the best place to get started is in a big box commercial gym. Although this type of establishment is not my favorite place to work out, and may not be where you ultimately want to wind up, but a large gym will expose you to more potential clients than anywhere else. You need to be in front of people so you can pitch your services to everybody.
What do you think is the best attribute a personal trainer need to have in order to build up their practice?
Relationship building. The workout is all about your client. Make them glad they chose to spend it with you. Shine the spotlight.
With all the fitness videos out there, do you think there is a demand for personal trainers?
Yes I do, but I’d like to be clear about something first: No fitness video or personal trainer, no matter how good, can ever do the work for anybody. You must earn everything for yourself in fitness. That said, a trainer absolutely brings accountability to the table and acts as a coach, motivator, confidant and much more. There is no substitute for a human being.
Do you think over the years that this demand has increased or decreased?
I know it’s increased. According to the Labor Department, there are over 230,000 personal trainers working in the United States, a number that has increased 10% over the past ten years (even as overall employment declined). That’s evidence of the demand right there, but at the end of the day, I feel that if you’re good, no matter what your business is, there will always be a demand for your services.
What do you think is the biggest reason for your success?
The best way to be successful is to be unafraid of failure. The most successful people in the world have failed many times before you ever even heard of them. It’s part of the journey. Every successful trainer has heard ten NO’s for every YES. Keep putting it out there.
The pictures I have seen of you doing the human flag and other stunts seem to take a lot of mind discipline. Does yoga fit in to the way you train?
I’m glad you asked that. Most folks know me for body-weight training, a term that refers to working out without the use of external resistance. To me, yoga fits that description. Like the human flag, yoga is a form of bodyweight training. Further, they both require strength, awareness and anatomical harmony. Sadly, we have the cultural tendency to get bogged down on semantics. We like to put everything into little compartments. What is “calisthenics”? What is “yoga”? “Strength training?” I may get in trouble with the purists out there, but I’m not concerned if you call it a Warrior or a modified lunge, a Chaturanga or a push-up, movement is movement and the body is the body… we were built to use it!
You are not only a trainer but an entrepreneur. In your book Everybody Needs Training, you mention being a good sales person. In the early stages of your career how did you go about marketing yourself? Do you still make ‘sales calls’ or are you at the stage where people call you?
You cannot be a successful trainer if you are not a successful salesman. No matter how passionate, dedicated and well intentioned you are, you cannot run a business if you don’t get paid. Early on, I marketed myself by befriending and talking to everybody I met in the gym about the possibility of training. I offered help. I built relationships. I called people when I said I would call them. I showed up on time. These are rare traits in this day and age. As far as cold calls go, I’ve made hundreds, maybe thousands over the years, but these days, much of my time involves co-instructing Dragon Door’s Progressive Calisthenics Certification. However I would do cold calls again in a heartbeat if I needed to. Business is business.
I see you sometimes do the work along with your client, why is that? (Myth #7 in your book).
The photo you’re referring to shows me performing a straight bridge (another calisthenics/yoga overlap) alongside a client. That’s a rare example where I chose to demonstrate an exercise. I only do that if I cannot guide a client through a movement pattern using physical and verbal cues. I generally find that it’s better to allow someone to try things on their own than to demonstrate, but there is a time and a place for almost everything.
I love, love Myth #10 “You will get laid all the time.” Why did you want to leave this one out? That is something I had never thought about, but it made complete sense.
Thanks. I’m glad you got a kick out of that one. I was originally going to omit this one because I wanted to keep the subject matter about work not play. However, my mission in writing this book was to keep it as real as possible, so it needed to be addressed.
Why wouldn’t you recommend giving a “free trial workout” especially to newbie trainers?
I do recommend giving a free trail workout as it’s a great way to put your services in front of prospective clients; I just don’t call it “free”. I prefer to use the terms “on me”, “on the house”, “I got you” or “included with membership.” The word “free” devalues our services. Why would someone pay for something that’s free?
Do you have an individual workout plan for your clients? For example, if I am working on strength training, and you have another client who is working on strength training, will we get the same workout plan?
No. Though all uninjured, healthful individuals have the same major movement patterns and stand to gain from fundamentals like squatting, pushing and pulling, every individual is different in their mobility and physiology. Even within the same individual, issues will arise from workout to workout, which must be addressed on their own. The ability to improvise is necessary. Focusing on what is in front of you often requires deviating from a predetermined plan. Many trainers fail because they focus on what they thought they’d observe, rather that what they actually observe.
Would you ever do a training video?
I’m up for anything. In fact, I was featured in my brother Al Kavadlo’s DVD Raising the Bar: The Definitive Guide to Bar Calisthenics by Al Kavadlo (DVD). Al is also an author and trainer. He’s the lead instructor for Dragon Door’s Progressive Calisthenics Certification.
I love that you use the outdoors for training, when did you start that?
I’ve been training outdoors for years. Why sit under artificial light instead of the sky? It feels good to train outside, feel the elements and experience the surroundings. Besides, training outdoors makes you feel like a kid again!
Learn more about Danny at www.DannyTheTrainer.com
To order Everybody Needs Training, visit www.dragondoor.com/eb72/?apid=513a1e35e981b
Find out more about the Progressive Calisthenics tour schedule www.dragondoor.com/workshops/?F_c=35
Check out Danny’s 10Q interview on Plain Talk.
My review of Everybody Needs Training:
What I love about this book is that not only is it for trainers but entrepreneurs can take advantage of the advice as well. This book is inspirational and fun, an easy read with beautiful photos and illustrations. I enjoyed the business part of the book the most, along with the plain talk from Danny. Love it!