We're Working Out! (A Preview)

June 21, 2010 // Al Kavadlo

My long-anticipated fitness book, We’re Working Out: A Zen Approach to Everyday Fitness, will be available on June 30, 2010.

Some of you have asked to have a peek. Here’s a little of the introduction (the first line may look a bit familiar).

I was a tall, scrawny kid growing up in Brooklyn and I didn’t want to get my ass kicked, so once I was thirteen I decided to start lifting weights. I still remember my mom taking me to a store called Consumers to get my first set of weights and seeing the man wheel the box out from the stock room on a hand truck. The set was so heavy that we needed him to help us get everything in the car! I got more serious about lifting throughout high school and opting to take weight training as my phys. ed. credit was a great way to get out of playing actual sports (like I said, I was lanky and unathletic).

When I was eighteen I was desperate to bulk up and a crafty salesman at GNC took advantage of that emotion. I purchased a product called Testrogel, an exercise supplement that claimed to increase testosterone production when rubbed onto your skin prior to exercise. This (supposed) testosterone boost would not only give you extra strength during your workout, but also claimed to help with muscle growth and the recovery process. Finally there was something that could make me big and strong! My days of being puny were over, at least in theory. The reality of the product was that it did absolutely nothing, except teach me a valuable lesson about gullibility.

In college I got interested in bodybuilding. At that time, I was still just concerned with aesthetics. I wanted to get diesel! This led me to do research about how the body works. As I got more and more into fitness, a career in personal training seemed like the obvious choice. It was also around this time that I first discovered Zen Buddhism. Over the years, my interest in Eastern philosophy has greatly impacted the way that I approach fitness. Instead of living in a fantasy world of musclemen with flawless physiques and perfect smiles, my focus was now grounded in reality. I wasn’t a hulking bodybuilder but that didn’t stop me from becoming a successful trainer. I’ve trained many people, including athletes, models, the elite business class and even an Olympic medalist.

I’m not going to bullshit you: getting fit isn’t easy. We live in a society that relies on consumption and encourages abundance. People drive their cars to the end of the driveway to pick up their mail. We super-size our meal and then eat it in front of the TV. In short, we live in the FATTEST country in the world. Yet in spite of all this, millions of Americans are in fantastic shape. That’s right, millions of Americans are fit! Surprising, right? But it’s true – lots of us are lean and mean, and you can be, too. Seriously. That’s why you’re reading this, isn’t it?