“The 12 Things in Fitness That are so Insane to Me”

This is the most wonderful time of the year. In just a few days we will begin shifting our focus to “Peace on Earth” and “Auld Lang Syne”. We will be exchanging holiday gifts, connecting with loved ones, and taking time to appreciate what we have.

However, there is still time to poke a little holiday fun at things that we cannot stand…

Which leads me to my favorite holiday movie line of all time:

“Take it Russ”

Russ reminds us that are just some things that we hate and would rather do without. There are just some things in fitness in my opinion that should just go away; therefore I would like to add my own spin to one of the more beloved songs of the holidays.

12. “Twelve” Different Biceps Curls

 In anatomy and physiology, we learned about the joint actions of muscles or the primary movement. The Biceps Brachii or “Biceps” have one joint action they are primarily responsible for.


That’s it. That means the one exercise that make the Biceps independently bigger and stronger are Bicep Curls. I am okay with Bicep curls, yet everyone seems to love biceps curls. They love them so much that there is actually over 50+ “different” Bicep curling exercises.

For the purposes of body building, it is important to “work all the angles” to get the “maximum pump” for the muscle. For the general public, energy might be better spent teaching people how to incorporate the biceps into full body exercises that will help them get fit over all.

 “Talkin’ about the Cayotes…”

Yeah, we don’t need a million different ways to work the Biceps.

11. “Eleventh” Session Free














Big Box gyms want to sell you personal training sessions. In their incentive to get you to buy more sessions, they will tend to throw in 1 more free session.

A few years ago, I went to LA Fitness to do some research. The personal trainer there sat me down to find out my goals, as well as sell me some personal training sessions. As he went over the personal training packages, he said, “The more sessions you buy, the more free sessions you get.” He continued to describe the benefits, and I realized that he was selling me 30 minute sessions.

Therefore, even if I bought ten 30 minute sessions, it would only really be at total of 5 ½ hours of training.

I don’t know about you, but it takes many of my clients 15 to 20 minutes just to warm up (mobility, stability, flexibility).

“Just need one rep…”

 Maybe that’s all we need…

 10. $10 a month

A recent article on UPROXX regarding Planet Fitness has been circulating on Facebook. The article describes how gyms may target individuals that will pay the monthly fee, but never set foot in the gym. This comfort of knowing they have a good deal on a membership is enough for individuals to keep paying, but never-ever going.

For 2016, I suggest you look for the quality of training you could receive, rather than the quantity of money you may be saving.

“Crushed it…”

There is no price on your health.

9. “Nine” DVD’s

 "13 DVD's"

“13 DVD’s”

"11 DVD's"

“11 DVD’s”

"More Options?"

“More Options?”

“How many DVD’s does your set have?




We Love our fitness DVD’s. Every time a fitness infomercial is on, I find myself lulled into watching. For the most part, I want to see if there are any new concepts that these fitness entrepreneurs are bringing to the table.

As I wrote last week –  They aren’t

But they are great at marketing.

Seems like you can’t get fit unless you have the complete box set of DVD’s.


“I guess it looks as if you’re reorganizing your records. What is this though? Chronological?”


“No f***ing way.”

Why can’t they just put all the content on one single DVD or Flash Drive? DVD’s are like records people. All my CD’s are down in my basement, and I occasionally take them out, dust them off, and put on All-for-One.

Otherwise, they stay in the basement.

8. “Eight” Accredited Certifications

“I am kind of a big deal.”

I can be accused of this as well. In my quest for training knowledge, I have found myself with quite a few letters after my name. Enough that I cannot fit them all on a business card.

However, my clients and fellow fitness professionals really don’t care how many certifications I have. The letters after your name only mean something if you apply what you have learned. I still need to list all the letters in my bio so potential clients can see my experience, but I don’t wear it like a sign on my chest any more.

There are also too many certifications out there. In the world of Kettlebells, there are two that stand out. The SFG (StrongFirst) and the RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certification).

 Now another Kettlebell certification is coming out through Strength Matters – the SMK, and it involves former trainers that used to be SFG and RKC.

“These are O.R. scrubs.”

Now I have to spend more money to get more letters after my name…wonderful!

7. “Seven” Minute Abs

The fitness industry has done very well in creating content that just involves the core. However, if you train the full body, you incorporate the core into every exercise.

The first thing we teach in Kettlebells training is how to utilize and engage the core. The core connects the lower and upper extremities, and is critical to moving well. Therefore, it really isn’t necessary to just do crunches and sit ups at the end of the workout, because you should have already taken care of that earlier in your session.


Why train the core, when you can get this!

6. “Six” Workout Selfies

six selfies

Workout selfies. Hmm.

As a competitive athlete, I never thought of taking photos of myself working out. I never wanted my opponents to know what I was doing anyway.

“I can barely lift my right arm ’cause I did so many. I don’t know if you heard me counting. I did over a thousand.”

 People should feel good about themselves. Just make sure to get a workout in!

5. No bare feet (“Five Fingers”)


I hate wearing shoes. Ever since I became a Kettlebell instructor, I cannot train with shoes. As a rower, I didn’t wear shoes either. Now shoes hurt my feet. I only wear them to make public appearances, and because my wife makes me.

I really do like the Vibram Five Fingers. I can buy into minimalist footwear. The thing is that they cost over $60, and I refuse to pay that much for shoes. If you train a lot, then you wear your shoes out in 3-6 months. I cannot justify spending this much, just so I can workout for an hour a day.

However, gyms will never go there because of liability.


Whether I am wearing shoes or not, if I drop that amount of weight, I am going break something…

4. “Four”Quad Stretches


“Hold on, I need to stretch…”

If you have a limited range of motion, then you should relax and stretch the muscle. Stretching before training should only be necessary if you cannot get your body in the proper position to train.

Wherever I go, when people are “warming up”, I will see them do the “Standing Quad Stretch”. It is the symbol for all us middle-age athletes trying to “get back in shape”.

Check out the Knee Pain Explained website.

Most of us learned to do it wrong, and we are probably causing more bad than good.

3. “Three” Sets of 10


I can honestly say that the first time I have met with an athlete and client that has experience with strength training they always say the same thing:

Me: “How many reps and sets have you been doing?”
 Client/Athlete: “Well, I have been doing 3 sets of 10…”


Every client. Every athlete.

I believe it is time to retire 3 sets of 10. Whomever patented that program should be collecting royalties. “3 sets of 10” is on par with common fitness phrases like, ” “Feel the burn,” “No Pain, no Gain”, or “Burns up Carbs”…

2. “Two” Calf Machines

Calf machine 813GVCKG+IL._SL1500_






Why are there only two calf machines at any gym? Actually, why are there Calf Machines period? For some people the calf muscles are an attractive feature, however, there does not need to be a giant Hammer Strength Calf Machine taking up space in the gym, just so you can do this:


“One, Two, Three…”

Here is a great way to work your calf muscles, and you do it every day…

Yes, walking up, and running and down stairs works the calf muscles just the same. And you are using your body weight…

1. One “Shake Weight”

When I was still competitively rowing and going to school for personal training, my wife mentioned that QVC was looking for fitness models to advertise a new product called the “Shake Weight”.

I looked at her and simply said,


When she looked up the product. She looked at me and said,


Moral of the Story

 Don’t be a fitness model for QVC and model the Shake Weight.


Happy Holidays to everyone!

(Sing to the tune of “12 Days of Christmas”)

The 12 Things in Fitness

“That are so Insane to me…”

Twelve Different Biceps Curls

Eleventh Session Free

$10 a Month

Nine DVD’s

Eight Accredited Certifications

7-Minute Abs

Six Workout Selfies

No Bare Feet!

Four Quad Stretches

3 sets of 10

Two Calf Machines

And one Single “Shake Weeeighttt”


For more information on training programs for rowing, rowing technique, Kettlebells, Clubbells, DISC, and Process Communication like me on Facebook at RUFO OPTIMAL WORKOUTS.

Also check out the DISC2K – Philadelphia Seminar on January 9th, 2016!

Online consulting and Skype sessions also available.

“Songs that Inspire Us; Videos that Don’t” – FIGHT SONG

Songs that Inspire us; Videos that Don’t


“Fight Song” – by Rachel Platten

Last week, my client asked me if I listened to music when I trained.

Of course! Music definitely helps me get through my training sessions. I don’t usually listen to music with my clients, as it can be tough to find anything we both can tolerate and enjoy. In another life, I was a DJ and was the King of Mixed Tapes. I would spend hours putting together an erg mix that my rowing teammates and I could listen to during our long bouts on the rowing machines. Putting together the perfect mix was about connecting the song to the emotion of where you were in the workout. You wouldn’t want to be listening to this during a 50,000 meter ergometer piece:

(This really happened. I was there, and it was awful).

With technology the way it is now, it is amazing that you can pull up any song just by typing the lyrics into Google. You can even watch the music video if there is one. This brings me to my topic. It is almost as if the music companies are in such a rush to put out a song AND a music video that they don’t wait to see if the song will be good enough to warrant one.

“Fight Song” – by Rachel Platten

This is a great song. The first time that I heard it, I was inspired. It was definitely one of those songs that tugged at your heartstrings.  When many of us are down, we all turn to a “fight” song that we use when we just want to say F*** you to everything. I have two daughters, and I imagine both will blast this song on their iPods when they are old enough to do so.

After listening to the song a few times, I knew that I had to watch the video. I am one of the MTV generation that have to watch the video when it starts to get stuck in my head. I have to connect visually to what the artist is trying to convey in the lyrics.

I watched the video. I didn’t get it.

The more I watched the video, the more it bothered me.

It wasn’t that it was a bad video, but it left me with more questions rather than connecting to me like the song did.


“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten

0:00 – 0:25


“Like a small boat

On the ocean

Sending big waves

Into motion

Like how a single word

Can make a heart open

I might only have one match

But I can make an explosion”

"I still hate using Composition Notebooks.."

“I still hate using Composition Notebooks..”

Okay, I got it. She is trying to write music, and is having writer’s block. I am right there with her. Sometimes when I want to write it takes me two or three days to get motivated. I have other things going on in my life, too. In the video, she is obviously very busy lying in her bed, throwing pieces of paper all over her apartment. She is also too busy to wash and put away the dishes in her sink. I wonder how her roommate feels about this.


0:25 – 1:06


“And all those things I didn’t say

Wrecking balls inside my brain

I will scream them loud tonight

Can you hear my voice this time?”


“Why is she still in that nasty shower?” – 0:41

This is my fight song

Take back my life song

Prove I’m alright song

My power’s turned on

Starting right now I’ll be strong

I’ll play my fight song

And I don’t really care if nobody else believes

‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me”


“Everyone struggles to prove themselves at some point in their life…”

This first part of the video was the only part of that really struck a chord with me. She goes to the bar, gets on stage in front of an empty house and sings her song to nobody. She starts to cry. I have to admit I was upset for her. I know how tough it is to prove yourself. We have all been there. Let’s see where this goes.

1:07 –  1:19

“Losing friends and I‘m chasing sleep

Everybody’s worried about me”

In too deep

Say I’m in too deep (in too deep)”

"What is with the hat Rachel?"

“What is with the hat Rachel?”

It appears that she is leaving her apartment. Where is she going with that hat? I hope that she had the courtesy to clean up the dishes before she bailed on her roommate. Not to mention she drives off in a really nice 1973 red Mustang. Did she steal it? Is that why she is in too deep?

"Where is the engine lady?"

“Where is the engine lady?”

1:20 – 1:29

“And it’s been two years

I miss my home

But there’s a fire burning in my bones

Still believe

Yeah, I still believe”

Apparently the Mustang breaks down, and she stops to get it looked at. She must be on the run because she takes an illegal wide turn. I wonder why she is in such a hurry? She parks at a random gas station and get out and starts walking around. Where is she going?

"Illegal Turn?"

“Illegal Turn?”

1:30 – 1:41

“And all those things I didn’t say

Wrecking balls inside my brain

Ah “Wrecking balls”. Trying to get maximum SEO via Mylie! – 1:32

I will scream them loud tonight

Can you hear my voice this time?”

"Where is Harrison Ford?"

Driving again. She appears happy to see the ocean, and decides to run down the tunnel made famous in the movie The Fugitive. Is she looking for the One-Armed Man? She must be on the run.


1:42 – 1:50

“This is my fight song

Take back my life song

Prove I’m all right song”

"Have you seen the One-Armed Man?"

“Have you seen the One-Armed Man?”

Okay she seems happier. She meets some nice people in a bar. I wonder if they know where the One-Armed Man is?

1:51 -1:59

“My power’s turned on

Starting right now I’ll be strong

I’ll play my fight song”


“Muir Woods Park?”

How did she end up in the Muir Woods Park Redwood forest? Doesn’t she know that Caesar and the apes just want to be left alone? Where is James Franco?

“Caesar’s Home…”

Why is she going swimming? I know she seems that she is having fun, but who are the random dudes in the water behind her? I would be a little concerned about this…

"Random Dudes."

“Random Dudes.”


2:00 – 2:15

“And I don’t really care if nobody else believes

Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me”

They are showing random people around the country. Does she know these people? Okay now they are flexing their biceps…






I never understood why “flexing” your biceps symbolizes strength? It isn’t even a joint action that can produce any force. I believe it would make more sense to have people around the country maybe Dead Lifting or Bench Pressing really heavy weight.

This is more like it!

Then I would probably say, “Whoa, now they are pretty strong! They mean business!” Flexing your biceps is more like a Body Building pose…are these people her friends and are flexing to show they are posers?

2:16 – 2:20

“A lot of fight left in me”               


"More Flexing."

“More Guns.”

More Flexing.

2:21 – 2:26

“Like a small boat

On the ocean”

"The Craft?"

“The Craft?”

Why is she on the beach from the movie THE CRAFT?


OH! She is going to summon MANON!

Now it is all starting to make sense. I am waiting for Fairuza Balk to show up…she was so mean to Sarah…


2:27 – 2:45

“Sending big waves

Into motion      

Like how a single word

Can make a heart open

I might only have one match

But I can make an explosion”


HEeere comes MANON!

That is what she means by explosion…”Fight Song” is about the movie The Craft


2:46 – 3:25

“This is my fight song (Hey!)


“Is this Lord of the Flies now?” – 2:47

Take back my life song (Hey!)           


“Or Tribal Council?” – 2:50


Prove I’m alright song (Hey!)



My power’s turned on

"I have the CONCH!"

“I have the CONCH!” – 2:59

Starting right now I’ll be strong (I’ll be strong)

"Flexing again!" - 3:00

“Flexing again!” – 3:10

I’ll play my fight song

"Rhonda Rousey?!?" - 3:02

“Ronda Rousey?!?” – 3:02

And I don’t really care if nobody else believes 

"Or Rusted Root?" - 3:10

“Or Rusted Root?” – 3:10


‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me”



“No I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me”

No MANON…. 😦


Video Score: 4 out of 10

 I really hope they reshoot the video. The song has really taken off and Rachel Platten should just say let’s do this again. The song has become bigger than her original concept of how it was “inspired by a lot of experiences that were hurting me and that were making me feel like maybe I didn’t have a chance in this industry.”


Well you and your song made it Ms. Platten. Your video did not…


Song Score: 10 out of 10


I really do like this song. It has already been used in a lot of OTHER inspirational videos and commercials and it has already been used as an anthem for the “Rise Above Cancer” campaign, inspiring children and people to fight cancer.



For that reason alone I have to give the song a 10, because if it inspires one person to fight for their life, then I am ALL for it.


For more information on training programs for rowing, rowing technique, Kettlebells, Clubbells, DISC, and Process Communication like me on Facebook at RUFO OPTIMAL WORKOUTS.