Interview with Janelle Pica RKC II, SFG I, Primal Move Instructor

DSCN9567Good morning friends! Today I would love for you to meet an inspirational friend of mine, Janelle Pica! We were originally introduced via Facebook when I was looking for guidance to pass the RKC! Janelle was awesome enough to offer her online coaching assistance and designed a program to help me prepare!

This weekend, we finally had the opportunity to officially meet, train, and chat together!

Grace: Welcome to NYC, Janelle! I’m stoked that we finally get to meet in person! We definitely wasted no time, and went straight to training at good ol’ Tomkins Square Park! Tell me about it!

Janelle: Well, I was mostly working on bar lever and pull up variations for myself, and helped you with increasing mobility for your pistol squat!

G: It was super effective! I was pistol squatting into my less strong left side in no time! Where did you learn that mobility drill?
J: I learned that stretch from Keira Newton while we were at an RKC Level II certification. She noticed and pointed out that I had tight hip flexors.
G: What is the stretch called?
J: You can refer to them as L-pulses or L-Stretches.
G: Well they worked! Thank you for teaching me that! I definitely plan on keeping that stretch in my routine til my pistols are as smooth on the left as they are on the right!
Tell me more about your facility, Primal Fitness Pittsburgh! I see you have a Calisthenics class on the schedule!
J: Yes! Ryan Williams who is PCC certified currently instructs these classes! Originally he found me on the internet because he was looking for an alternative for a functional fitness class in Pittsburgh. No one in the area was teaching bodyweight and he found me through a Primal Move post. He wasn’t sure if he was gonna take the PCC or Primal Move. I suggested since he was into the strength aspect he should take the PCC and I helped train him for over 3 months before he got certified. He had issues with pull-ups and wanted to be able to do a Muscle-up.
He passed and then I hired him as an instructor, so it was an ideal scenario for the both of us! His programming is perfect, he’s a great dude! We worked through some wrist issues that prevented him from doing proper push-ups. We had to teach him wrist mobility to improve his form, practicing tea-cups and dragon walks.
Progressive Calisthenics as conditioning and strength training definitely helps improve lifts and is a good complimentary for a minimalistic fitness  business!
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G: What do you mean by minimalistic?
J: Kettlebell training and body weight conditioning focus on 4 specific movement patterns: Push, Pull, Hinge, Squat for a well-rounded training program.
These are basic movements everyone needs to move well. Minimalistic means focusing on basic human movement. We use bare to no equipment to hone in movement patterns and mastering weight. By using less gadgets, it helps the client enhance their current level of fitness and go beyond just strength dominated to a more functional modality.
G: Tell me more about your clients and their programming.
J: Most of my clients are people who are rehabbing injuries or have done other high volume, intense programs that burned them out. We definitely do a lot of mobility, usually include two days of kettle bell lifts and one day of bodyweight. Our method is unique because we train strength and conditioning through sustainable means.
G: Awesome! And you also have quite a few certifications, as well!
J: Yes, some of my certifications include NASM CPT, Level 1 Strongfirst, Level 2 RKC, and Primal Move!
G: Wow girl, you are not messing around! You’ve got some serious credentials! Are you having any upcoming workshops at Primal Fitness Pittsburgh?
J: Yes, in April we are having a Kettlebell User course through Strongfirst. It’s open to anyone who is a novice kettlebell trainer, and personal trainers who want more understanding of the lifts. The lifts include the Goblet Squat, Turkish Get-Ups, Deadlifts, and spinal alignment in double kettlebell training.
We are also offering the Primal Plan program which involves consultations with people who wanted to train but are highly active in their normal life.We wanted to design a program for a highly functional athlete who needed mobility and light lifting. The program is based on Mark Sisson‘s concept of lifting heavy twice a week and doing lower level activity outside.
G: That sounds exciting! Are there any  future plans for PFP?
J: Well I’m only 27, and a publishing company called Whirl Magazine, which is a magazine for highly active people in Pittsburgh contacted me recently! They knew about my backstory and I was submitted for the Top 13 under 30 which gives more press and recognition for young entrepreneurs! Top 13 comes out towards the end of 2015.
G: Right on! You’re moving on to some big things! Tell me more about what your current program is like?
J: Training for Iron Maiden was tough on my body, so to be able to back off and just focus on mostly primal move and mobility instead of heavy lifts feels great! Mostly doing bodyweight plus light lifts.  My goal is to give my body a break, lean out a bit. I put on a ton of muscle training for the Iron Maiden, and even at the Strongfirst cert people kept commenting how “freaky strong” I was getting! I missed the pull-up only by a few centimeters! I was bummed but now I’m having fun with implementing other fitness modalities into my training. Now I can military press the 28kg and 26kg pistol squat on both legs! When you’re that close, it’s a matter of taking time off, leaning out, and going back into it at 100%, ready to go! I have a coach who is helping me with my composition changes and goals! Although I don’t want to hammer myself with too much weight right now, since I did do Iron Maiden twice in on weekend! RKC training is no joke!
G: Word! Are you offering any current promotions for the holidays for your clients?
J: Yes, in fact we are! Holidays are hard for people, even fitness pros, when it comes to controlling excessive food intake and overindulging! We are offering a 21-day sugar detox by Diane San Filippo, author of Practical Paleo. It is a nutritional program cutting sugar and excessive carb intake from the diet. If you buy a premium membership, you get a discounted rate on personal training with me and Ryan. The group detox starts post holidays on Monday, January 5th. It is a comprehensive nutritional protocol that includes healthy recipes and coupons!
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G: I’m super excited to get to hang out with you while you’re in NYC! Thank you so much for chatting with me!
If you want to know more about Janelle Pica and her gym, be sure to visit http://www.primalfitnesspittsburgh.com for more information and to sign up for training!
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TRAIN Magazine feature

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Hey friends, I must admit I’m over the moon to share this wonderful news with you! My wonderful boyfriend, Al Kavadlo, whom many of you know from his popular YouTube channel, also has a column in TRAIN magazine all about Calisthenics! He was sweet enough to feature us together in a partner workout that he wrote for this month’s issue! We show you guys some FUN calisthenics moves that YOU can practice with your friends or loved ones!  I know for some people all it takes to motivate them to go to the gym is bringing along a workout buddy! This is a no-fuss workout, that requires NO equipment, just your commitment to having a blast training with a friend!

Be sure to look for this issue at your local bookstore or newsstand, and remember don’t just read it….USE IT! 😉

Hope you all have a fabulous Thursday!

Peace and Love!

Calisthenics Remix on YouTube!

Greetings Ninjas!

Hope your Wednesday is off to a great start! I just made a new video for my YouTube channel that I’d love to share with you! It’s a compilation of some Calisthenics moves I’ve been practicing lately!

Be sure to click the link above to watch the video and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE!

If you have any ideas for future videos or tutorials you would like to see, be sure to leave a comment/suggestion below!

Peace, Love, and Ninja Kicks!

Calisthenics for Shoulder Mobility

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Have you ever had to ask someone to assist in scratching a part of your back that you couldn’t reach?

Imagine if you could do it yourself! That would be quite a victory!

Well friends, I’m proud to say I can scratch my own back. Here’s how I made it happen!

When I originally began strength training with kettlebells and bodyweight, there came a point when my lats were getting jacked! Even though they looked glorious, I began to lose a lot of the mobility I had gained from all my prior years of Yoga training. It was impossible to get my hands to touch behind my back!

Thankfully, adding back regular Yoga stretches and remixing them with some calisthenics moves, I was able to regain and even improve my shoulder mobility.

Here are some easy exercises you can add to your practice that may help you improve your reach!

Assisted Standing Backbend

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Grab a bar around chest height and begin to slowly walk away from it til you feel a deep stretch in the back and chest. Squeeze the glutes as you lift your sternum towards the sky. Relax your head and neck and let it fall back between the arms. Hold for 15-20 seconds. You can also practice this move pressing away from a wall. As you warm-up, you can gradually progress to a lower bar.

Bridge Pose 

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Lie on your back and place your hands by your sides. Walk your feet in so your heels are close to your butt and your knees point towards the sky. Press through the soles of the feet and hands as you raise your hips up. Tuck each shoulder under the body, and try to interlace the fingers as you squeeze the palms together. Press down through the forearms and let your neck soften as the chin comes towards the chest. Hold for 30 secs to 1 minute.

Plow Pose 

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Lie on your back and extend both legs towards the sky with arms at your sides. Press down through the palms as you attempt to lift the hips and roll the legs overhead. The movement should resemble a reverse sit-up. Your hips should be aligned over your shoulders, chin tucked in towards the chest. Breathe and relax into the stretch.

Skin The Cat

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Grab a bar about shoulder-width apart and come to a dead hang. Squeeze the bar as you tuck your knees to your chest. Attempt to slide your feet and hips through your arms and then lower your legs down as low as you can. Try to reverse the motion in the opposite direction until you return to the starting position. If you are new to this movement, it may help to practice with dip bars so you have an easier time clearing the legs and hips through the arms. You can also practice with a spotter or from standing so you can use momentum to kick your legs through. Your form should eventually resemble the plow pose above, only hanging from a bar instead.

Take the Power Back

Practicing these moves regularly has made a world of difference in my mobility as well as making me a better athlete overall. I’m a strong believer in balancing the body by practicing backbends in order to counter too much frontal flexion from sitting. Adding these moves to your training arsenal will help keep that balance of strength and flexibility in your upper body so you will continually progress in your practice!

Good luck ninjas! Peace, Love, and Ninja Kicks!

 

The PCC-Milwaukee Experience

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This weekend I had a blast assisting at the Progressive Calisthenics workshop at Drench Fitness in Milwaukee! We had attendees from all walks of life coming together to learn the art of practicing and teaching Calisthenics from bodyweight masters, Al and Danny Kavadlo!

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The curriculum is based on Coach Paul Wade’s Bodyweight Bible, “Convict Conditioning ” and is a grueling 3-day seminar breaking down the foundational movements: Squats, Push-ups, Pull-ups, Bridges, Inversions, Leg Raises, and even the Human Flag!

The last day of the workshop is the Century Testing, in which each athlete must demonstrate the “near to perfect execution” of 40 squats, 30 push-ups (Knees-down for the Women), 20 Leg Raises, and 10 pull-ups (Aussies for the Women) in 8 minutes. Now if you’ve never tried this workout, it is no joke! It is especially challenging after training for 3 days straight! There were a few people that did not pass, but fortunately they had their fellow attendees there to cheer them on til their final rep!

I was especially proud of the women that attended this workshop! These ladies were banging out equally impressive feats of strength as their male counterparts! These are the type of women that we need in our PCC crew to inspire other women to practice Calisthenics!

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There’s nothing more fiercely feminine than having the strength to completely control and recruit every muscle in the body in order to perform moves like the One-Arm Push-up or the Support press!

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Lori Crock, RKC Team Leader and newly minted PCC ninja performing a support press!

The posse keeps getting bigger!!! If you are interested in deepening your knowledge of Calisthenics whether for your own practice or to train others, the PCC is by far the best bodyweight cert out there!

I am stoked to report that I will also be assisting at PCC Encintas in January 2015 at Ambition Athletics!

Check this link below for more information and dates of when PCC will be invading your town next:

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Thanks for tuning in, Diesel Dolls and Dudes! I hope to one day see you at a future PCC!

Peace, Love, and Ninja Kicks!

G to the Izzle

PCC CALENDAR RELEASE!

What’s pop’n Diesel Dolls & Dudes? Dragondoor just released their first ever Progressive Calisthenics Calendar featuring photos of the Kavadlo brothers, and other PCC Instructors, including yours truly! It looks glorious!!

Be sure to pick up a copy today or before October 31st to receive $5 off the original price!

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^^ CLICK THE LINK ABOVE TO ORDER YOUR COPY NOW! ^^

PCC-Calendar-back This calendar inspires me to want to hit the playground! Don’t forget it’s the holidays, get one for you and yo mama! I’m about to send one to my folks now! 😉 Have a fantastic Thursday! Peace, Love, and Ninja Kicks!

The Forearm Stand

What’s pop’n Diesel Dolls & Dudes! Hope you’re Tuesday is off to a great start! I wanted to share with you my latest post on the Progressive Calisthenics (PCC) Blog this morning! Today’s post is all about learning the Forearm Stand! Be sure to check it out by clicking the link below, then put your computer aside and bust a move!

Feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have for me below!

Take care! Peace, Love, and Ninja Kicks! Hiiiiiiiii-yah!

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Oh Leg Lifts, How I Loathe Thee!

That’s the happiest face I could muster while practicing leg raises!

I’ll admit, as much as I love calisthenics, I don’t necessarily LOVE practicing every move! Like many people, I often fall into the trap of only practicing my strongest moves, but ultimately we all NEED to work on our weaknesses. That’s the only way we will be able to move past our plateaus.

There are many benefits to practicing leg raises, like decompressing your spine while you hang from the bar. If you sit at a desk all day, this can be a great way to counter all that flexion and create space between the vertebrae. It’s also a great stretch for your hip flexors! Go ahead and try hanging, it feels amazing!

Strengthening your midsection will also help support your low back and decrease back pain. Make sure you practice slow, controlled reps and avoid using momentum so you can properly target the abdominal region.

Hanging from the bar is also an effective way of developing your grip strength, since your hands will support the weight of your body during the exercise. Some people actually find this to be the most difficult part. If this is an issue for you, I suggest breaking down a high number of reps into smaller sets of 5-10.

If you are unable to perform full toes to bar raises, start with hanging knee raises til you build up the strength and flexibility to do so! If standard hanging leg raises are too easy, try them with just one arm!

Good luck! Have a diesel day and thanks for tuning in, Ninjas!

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Handstands and Happiness

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One of the most important revelations that made me the person I am today, was that I alone am responsible for my own happiness! When you realize that no matter how chaotic it gets on the outside, how you choose to express your reactions to any situation is EVERYTHING. How does this apply to training? Yesterday, I chose to bum myself out, frustrated by what I perceived at the moment as a plateau in my training.

I went out to Tompkins to train and had some moves in mind I wanted to practice: The rollover, some muscle-up regressions, advanced dips, etc. Every rep I missed, I took like a shot to the heart. During my rest periods, I would watch some of the other guys training effortless muscle-ups and practicing explosive parkour moves and my mind was just racing and ranting and went something like this “I suck, what am I doing!?!” “These people are way better than me, I should just give up!” Bla, blaaa, blaaa.

Finally, on my walk home, my monkey mind abated and I had a moment of clarity, and thought about some of my own clients, and how they’ve expressed similar personal sentiments to me when watching me train or demo a move that they are learning. Just how I looked up to all these guys who had been training Calisthenics longer than I have, my clients look at my skill set and feel the same. It is my responsibility to uplift their confidence, and help them embrace the level they are at so their own insecurities don’t keep them from training! But at the same time, it all has to come from within and YOU need to BELIEVE in yourself in order to ACHIEVE what you want out of life! 

Some good did come out of my practice; my handstands were on point! I have been practicing going into them from standing, but now I decided to switch my launch from stand to frog squat and then jumping into it with both legs together! It had a sweet effect, and I was able to do some legit holds for several seconds! Great success!!

Handstands make me happy!
Handstands make me happy!

Anyways, just a heads up, if you are interested in acquiring some dope training gear, I am a big fan of the HYLETE brand! Here I am in the picture above rocking their shorts, which I LOVE! Click the picture above to be redirected to their site and at checkout make sure to use the code GM25 to get 25% off your first order!! 

Have a wonderful day, diesel dolls and dudes and thanks for tuning in!

YouTube Channel Launch!!

Hey friends, I just recently launched my first YouTube channel and made my first video! Thanks to Al Kavadlo for producing, editing, and providing original music! Check it out and feel free to COMMENT, LIKE, and/or SUBSCRIBE!!

 I want this channel to be all about expressing my love for bodyweight training by demonstrating moves that I have been working on, tutorials, and answering any questions you may have about Calisthenics, the Progressive Calisthenics Certification (P.C.C.), nutrition, etc! In fact, if you have any ideas for videos you would like to see, feel free to leave a comment below!! Take care and have a Diesel Sunday!