There are a few book display stands on the main floor of the X Fitness building, adjacent the counter space, a couple comfortable chairs, TV monitors, clothing racks and well-used fitness equipment. The heavy iron and fitness studio areas are located below and above the main traffic area, where the serious business of training is not disturbed by foot traffic and lingering. Book displays and gyms that cohabitate, for the most part, are oxymoronic, but not in the world of Gino Arcaro, the author of “Soul of a Lifter” and a variety of other publications. In Arcaro’s mind, intellect and brawn are inseparable.

I am a pathological reader in addition to being a compulsive lifter. Each day for about a week I would pick up “Soul of a Lifter” and read a section. The material was fascinating and it resonated with the “WHY” I had spent the past 42 years on a continuous basis in various gyms across the country.

Arcaro’s writing style is not for the faint-hearted. You must be strapped into tolerate the positive and negative G-forces that go with the ride. The term “lifter” has a double meaning according to the author; a combination of serious weight lifter and sincere up-lifter. The soul within all of us can achieve its maximum potential if it incorporates the fearless pursuit of iron will by lifting iron and helping those who need and want to be uplifted. The weight room for Arcaro, is the foundry of the soul where hearts, minds and bodies are forged. It’s where we encounter ourselves head on, no excuses, no bullshit, no vanity and no ground given.

The plight of the immigrant in the post war era is laid bare by Arcaro. Antonio, the flour lifter, Gino’s father, is representative of real suffering, real sacrifice, personal integrity and enormous strength. Children of immigrants are caught in a tug of war where elders of old cultures seek to discipline and influence, against the backdrop of modern society. Arcaro reconciles the immigrant mindset and disposition in contrast to the world outside this vantage point, by separating out what is inherently noble and good in both cultures, an amalgam of the best of both worlds. The Antonio’s, who represent the immigrants and the Jack’s and the Valvano’s that represent the moderns of a small industrial town, are Gino’s heroes. They are the toughest of the toughest, the unsung heroes, and their pride and courage leave an indelible stamp on Arcaro’s psyche.

To read “Soul of a Lifter” one must be nimble. Arcaro riffs like a jazz master, one theme leads to the next, then a stream of consciousness laced with internal dialogue wrought with unabashed obscenities, inserts of Facebook posts, carefully crafted and documented events that read like history, scholarly references from Biblical passages, educators, philosophers and other’s that left their mark on Arcaro’s character. Heraclitus, who Arcaro mentions and quotes, famously stated, ”Character is Fate.” Coaching non-elites, front-line policing, entrepreneurial pursuits, education, teaching and weightlifting are not disconnected vocations in the author’s mind, they fuse together to forge the Soul of a Lifter.

For those of us who have spent more than an inordinate amount of time in the “Iron Vault,” Arcaro’s treatise on lifting shines light on the “WHY” we do it. All of us, consciously or subconsciously, determine the fate and direction of our lives. Yes… outside forces are somewhat determinative, but far from definitive. The pursuit of meaningful purpose and a legacy worth remembrance can be achieved by the nexus of iron and will. Gino Arcaro motivates us to be TRUE LIFTERS!

– Bill Sodomsky
Review Soul of a Lifter


 

      Becoming an entrepreneur is a dream that almost everyone dreams during some part of their life. Some are born with this desire and start early, while others stumble through various alternative routes and end up with their business.

      Gino Arcaro is a man of many talents. A cop, football coach, business owner and a prolific writer. I very much enjoyed his last book, 4th and Hell, and this one, although very different, is equally informational and candid.

      No matter how you begin and when you begin, it is never easy. Being an entrepreneur needs a special kind of resilience. There are no assured incentives, bonuses, or motivational speeches that will egg you to stay on the top of your game. In Selling H.E.L.L in Hell, Gino Arcaro shares his story of struggling through various businesses at the time of dwindling economy and how he found the strength to continue and emerge stronger. The lessons he shares are based on his experiences and are not from an academic perspective or data driven. They are based on what he learned as a struggling but determined business owner when everything around his business was crumbling.

      The author begins with a realization that the soul of an entrepreneur is the most powerful tool any entrepreneur can enlist and propel the business on a trajectory of growth. He shares the circumstances around his different business ventures and the difficult circumstances in which they survived.

      The author warns that entrepreneurs should read and hear out everyone, but should not blindly believe in the written word. He strongly argues that every circumstance, business, and market is unique. What has worked for a successful corporation, thousands of miles away, in another sector, will not necessarily work for your business.

      You will make right decisions and wrong decisions throughout your life. That is inevitable. The secret of riding through it all is to give it everything once that decision is put into effect and keep incrementing your best. He reiterates all along that an entrepreneur has to have an iron resolve to build and run a business. Based on his experience he shares various other qualities that typically mark an entrepreneur’s soul and advises readers to look deep within, before getting into running a business.

      Without trying to be preachy or motivational, the author effectively narrates the problems he faced in his business journey. As someone who had no training or family background in business, Gino Arcaro dived into the business world because he thought he could make a difference to people’s lives and help others reach their goals. The author believes having a higher goal, one beyond the balance sheet, is equally important.

      Impediments and obstacles will present themselves early on. The first few fights will determine the future course of your business. The author uses various football and law and order related analogies to explain these problems and shares genuine advice instead of prescriptive solutions to get out of a tight spot.

      Self-doubt and fear are the biggest energy sappers. They will make realistic arguments and force you to believe that you are not fit for the job. The author shares his experiences about how he dealt with these universal impediments and came out on the top.

      The book is not a prescription on how to start a business or how to run a profitable business. There are number of strategies, tactics, and approaches that can help you succeed. Gino Arcaro will not talk about those. He talks about the E-soul. The core that will sustain you and your business through hell and emerge victorious. Have you yearned to be a business owner? Read this book if you are contemplating to be one. Read this book if you have already taken your first step. Read this book if you are thinking of quitting. It will give you an honest view of what is in store and how to strengthen your core to sustain and grow your business.

– P. Bidkar
Non-Fiction Book Review
Review of Selling H.E.L.L. in Hell


 

      Frankly, I do not understand Football that well. By the time I began to get a hang of what was happening on the field, the opportunity to watch a game became scarce. But I clearly remember the gripping finish of the 2009 Super Bowl when the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Santonio Holmes made that amazing touchdown in the last minute of the game to clinch the Superbowl title for Pittsburgh Steelers and earned himself the MVP title of Super Bowl XLIII.

      So back to the game in the book. Clock is 00.00, the score reads 36-38. In the available 40 seconds the coach needs to decide on the conversion play . . . ticktock . . . ticktock . . . ticktock . . .

      Well if this doesn’t get you hooked, sports perhaps aren’t your thing. The book is partly fictionalized but the story is true. The author-coach relives the 40 seconds allowed to decide about the conversion play and explains the world of a small school-level Canadian team’s trials and triumphs. The author narrates the differences in team compositions and the infrastructure that a US team gets as compared to what the Canadians have available. He also takes a detailed view into the mind of a coach and everything that happens behind the scenes, away from the football field and eyes of the spectators.

      But you will get all this technical information and problems with a strong dose of humor. You really cannot help but smile as the author discusses how years of football has cemented certain Dos and Don’ts – absolutes that no one tries to challenge in the US, when he talks about whether to go for single point or two point conversion after a touchdown.

“Pssst. Barney. Get this. Crazy Canadians. They don’t kick.”

      As I began reading this I couldn’t help myself but think how amazing movie this scenario will make. I really love watching sports based movies and never miss a chance to watch Remember the Titans, Invictus, The Blind Side, or The Mighty Ducks.

      A true underdog story, if you are a sports fan, I promise you will not keep the book down until you finish it. If you aren’t yet, this is the perfect recipe to get you into the Super Bowl mood before February 1.

– P. Bidkar
Non-Fiction Book Review
Review of 4th & Hell – Season 1


 

      Soul of a Lifter by Gino Arcaro is a motivational self-help book, and much more. It inspires and empowers readers to look into their own souls, instead of expecting solutions to come from others or even from circumstances. This book is not about weightlifting, per se, but about the philosophy and psychology of performance, written from the unique perspective that only a lifter can provide. Relying on forty years’ accrued experience in policing, teaching, strength and football coaching, coupled with endless workout regimens, Arcaro is adamant that, “nothing just happens.” There are “no shortcuts.” We must use our “tag-team partner,” our soul, to face the world in all its misery, and simply battle and fight back.

      Whether you’re concerned about losing weight, making a career change, feeling alone, dealing with relationship problems or anything else in between, Soul of a Lifter will guide you on a soul-searching journey that exposes the truth about the strength needed to change your life; it comes from within. But we have help; the 3M’s as Arcaro puts it: Miracles, Messages, and Misery-busting.

      One constant that resonates throughout Soul of a Lifter is the idea of doing, rather than talking about doing. For instance, Arcaro himself admits he is addicted to working out and helping others. There was a time when he was addicted to being on the police SWAT team. Yet he is addicted to not talking about his addictions, just doing.

      In a nutshell, Soul of a Lifter’s goal is to expose individuals to their passions and true callings. Best stated in Gino Arcaro’s own words, “I firmly believe that every human was created for one purpose – to reach full potential so we can fulfill our individual calling or callings.” Essentially, Arcaro understands that it’s easy to make excuses and bury one’s God-given talents. He understands intimately, the one constant stimulus in our lives: fear. Soul of a Lifter will leave you feeling unsettled, yet inspired to face your fears and make changes in a way that addresses the roadblocks and inner demons that prevent you from reaching your potential.

      Approaching the end of the book, I was awestruck by the depth with which Gino Arcaro details the different topics in the book. It is as though all other self-help books barely scratch the surface, while Arcaro encourages his readers to dig deeper and deeper, and keep digging.

      Soul of a Lifter is simple-yet so profound and captivating. I recommend this book to every individual on earth who seeks to get the most out of his/her life.

Future Technologies Book Reviews
Review of Soul of a Lifter


 

      Success. The Soul of a Lifter is more than a weight lifting book, it teaches what is at the heart of all matter, what it takes to achieve success in any domain. The inner battle of mind vs body. Doing vs not doing. Succeeding vs failing. This book is about success and how to achieve it in any aspect of your life. Gino’s unique insights to this inner battle, coupled with his motivational strategies, are sure to get you thinking and pushing yourself further than you ever thought possible. No matter your goals, ambitions or dreams, this is a book for YOU. Business man, student, lawyer, lifter, we can all benefit from Gino’s message. The Soul of a Lifter will push you over the brink of success. Guaranteed.  If you are looking for motivation, inspiration, information or just plain old wisdom, Gino’s blog is for you. Unscripted, straight from the soul and chalked full of information, Gino’s blog will have you begging for more with each and every post!

– R. Bouchard, Canada
Review of Soul of a Lifter


 

      Coach Arcaro, I just wanted to thank you again for the SWAT No-Huddle Offense book. We have incorporated so many elements of your SWAT No-Huddle philosophy into what we do on a daily basis at St. Thomas More Collegiate. In fact, I have quoted you verbatim in our 2013 “Plan To Win”. The kids love the “Five Smooth Stones” analogy, it is apropos & relevant for our program; we are a fast, undersized, Catholic school. We take great pride in the fact that we are DAVID taking on GOLIATH every game. Next season, we will not huddle whatsoever. I am excited to battle test our no-huddle offense which is an amalgam of Chip Kelly’s Oregon Ducks, Todd Graham’s ASU Sun Devils & your own SWAT No-Huddle Offense. I can’t wait! But, I know I will have a few questions for you, particularly about tuning up my practice plans & scripting my practice plays.

      Coach Arcaro,  I just wanted you to know that from reading your book, and internalizing the personal philosophy that you espouse, I believe that you are the definitive Servant-Leader, one who embodies all 10 characteristics of the servant as leader. Coach, I wish I had met you before I started my masters thesis, because I would  have included your books in my Literature Review.

      My cousin, is an OC at an Ontario High School. I have told him all about you & I also told him to buy your ebook & to contact you. I think the SWAT No-Huddle is the great equalizer. I told him that you are an invaluable resource & I really hope that he contacts you because he is only a 2.5 hour drive away from your knowledge & your expertise. Coach Arcaro, again, I can’t tell you how much the SWAT No-Huddle system has helped me as a coach, nor can I express how much I enjoy your approach to football and your world view, in general. My brother, Kenny Adams is a Chiropractor in Maple Ridge, BC (he was a 5’7″, 200 lb. pitbull of a  Linebacker too). Kenny lives by the Warrior Chiropractic Coaching http://www.warriorca.org/ creedo, “Train Hard – Serve Big – Love Large – Live Out Loud!” It’s a motto that I thought you might appreciate, it reminds me of your own “Nothing Else Matters” creedo. You are truly inspiring, Coach. Thank you so much. I look forward to meeting you some day soon.

      PS, I just purchased the eXplode X Fitness Training System ebook; can’t wait to dive into it!

Yours in Sport,
Joe Adams

Fine Arts Dept. Head
Varsity Football OC
Assistant Wrestling Coach
St. Thomas More Collegiate


 

      It’s a classic story of the underdog. A Canadian club Football team, the Niagara X-Men, crosses the border for a season and butts heads (literally) with the US college football league in a bid to get their star players seen and maybe, just maybe not lose. It’s the final game of the season. The clock has run down to zero on the fourth quarter and the last play is ongoing. The X-Men have just scored a touchdown to bring them to within 2 points of tying with their opponents. Tying means not losing and, in order to achieve this glory, having lost every other game, all they have to do is successfully run the ball for the 2 point conversion instead of kicking it for 1.

    They say that, in life and death situations, your whole life flashes before your eyes. This book is the timeframe of those seconds for the coach before that last play and every thought, decision, reason and rule that goes through the coach’s head is written in what is almost a stream of disjointed consciousness.

      Yes 4th and Hell is about Football. But it’s about so much more. You are either going to “get” this book and enjoy it or you’re really not. If you don’t I can see that you would give it one star and that only because you found out that Canada had a football league. But if you “get” it, you will believe that this book contains the answer to everything or at least the way to find the answer. As the stream of thoughts flows past, you get the psychology of the underdog and the practical rules of the game from the inside. You get leadership hints and self-motivational skills. You get to see the decision making process at work and all the myriad thoughts and background events that cause that decision to come to the fore.

4th and Hell is Sun Tzu’s Art of War written by James Joyce and played out on a college football field. Oh, and did they get the 2 points and tie the match? You’ll just have to read the book and see.

**** 4 Stars!

– Susan
Self Publishers Showcase
Review of 4th & Hell – Season 1


 

      “Better than any Harry Potter book I have ever read, the chapter “18 Inches” in Soul of a Lifter

– R. Orlowski, Canada
Review of Soul of a Lifter


 

Gino,

      I saw your book at Coles just before I left for a trip to Haiti to do some mission work. I thought if I don’t like your book at least I have toilet paper while I am there. I figure it was money well spent either way. Actually your book helped me out quite a bit. We had to do a lot of manual concrete work. It was 90 degrees plus every day and I have a cushy office job now. I’m not saying I am a flabby bag of s*** by any means but there were times when I said “holy s***, this is hard work”. Then I heard this voice say “shut the f*** up and keep wheeling you pussy, there are women here doing the same work as you.” I said “f*** you, it’s easy for you to say because you go to the gym every day and work out like some f****** robot.” Then the lifter and I got into some deep discussions while I was wheel barrowing. Every time I wanted to stop for a break the Lifter was in front of me calling me a pussy. I could not let him get one up on me so I pushed through the pain and said “f*** you Lifter” and kept going. Each and every time that I wanted to stop I thought about your damn book and I kept going. It really was quite inspirational. It was funny because I actually was saying these things in my head as I kept working. Anyways you helped me push over 500 wheelbarrows of cement, countless 5 gallon pails of water, stone, and sand, and not once did I give up to the pain or exhaustion.  Now go back to your f****** gym and let me get back to my cushy office job, I deserve a rest.

– Bob Benner
Review of Soul of a Lifter


 

      True Confessions: How to Get the Truth by Gino Arcaro is an educational guide to obtaining a true confession. Lying in our culture is unnatural, but easy to do and often socially rewarded. Currently, dishonesty is the biggest threat to large organizations and relationships. Liars often hide the truth from themselves and others. Thanks to cognitive dissonance, law enforcement can work for the victim by appealing to the perpetrator’s conscience. Arcaro draws on his lifelong professional experience as an investigator to define the X Theory of Truth. Choosing the right words and evaluating credibility can lead to a confession. Everyone has a drive to tell the truth and be guilt-free from moral conflict. The psychological hell created by cognitive dissonance causes either rationalization or reconciliation. Interrogators must work for reconciliation and ascertain the level of guilt. The key is focusing on the conscience to get to the truth.

      Arcaro discusses the twenty-four fundamental laws of truth and provides tools and techniques for making the right decisions. By building rapport, being honest and activating the compulsion to confess, the interviewer can gain the upper hand. Having a plan of attack, being flexible and listening to the subject are cultivated skills for the interrogator. However, True Confessions: How to Get the Truth by Gino Arcaro is a universal topic because everyone lies at some point in their lives in varying degrees. This informative guide is great for parents, teachers, managers and people who interact with others on a regular basis to solve problems and relieve pain, leading to success in life.

– Suzanne Cowles
Readers’ Favorite
R
eview of True Confessions


 

      …Soul of a Lifter is remarkable. It has significantly influenced my re-birth. It is truly inspiring and gives REAL perspective. It is as REAL as literature gets. This book has Lifted me out of the darkest days of my life. I am so happy that this book was written. Everyone has opinions and experiences but this writing style resonates like no other. Reality TV, Self help books……have been reinvented and there is a new standard. Read Soul of a Lifter. Gino is ONE of a kind…

– Jeff Benoit BSc, CSCS, CEES
(BlueBear#34)
Review of Soul of a Lifter


 

      Soul of a Lifter is so IMPACTFUL that I think I have made notes on 40% of the book. It’s like a course for life. I will have to read it again, this time without pen and notepad in hand. How DID you get in my head?! my favourite chapter was about the flour mill… if it’s possible to have a favourite. I have many.

– Krista Schaus
Owner, Defining Edge
Coach, Lean Eating/Precision Nutrition
Review of Soul of a Lifter


 

      GREAT BOOK. This book is a new twist on a simple football defense. The descriptions are clear and easy to understand. Thanks

– Donald King
Review of SWAT Defense


 

      I love your colourful and passionate descriptions of everything that happens in the life and soul of a lifter! I feel like I am having a crazy training session WHILE I am reading your book! You have great analogies throughout your book. I like how you compare training, diet, passion, reps, and everything else in lifting to a strong chain. They must all be linked together properly or the chain is weak. Your book reminds me of looking through a kaleidoscope in a way. It is very complicated and intricate and can even look a little fragmented, but if you have the soul of a lifter and can see the pattern and overall picture it is powerful, beautiful and rewarding!

– Scott Walker
Sun to Earth Photography
Review of Soul of a Lifter


 

      I had just started another book, but slowly found myself finding excuses to put it down and pick up Gino’s. I will say it is so rare I read a book more than once. In fact I can tell you the 2 other times I have, it was Catch-22 and the Grapes of Wrath. So needless to say, Soul of a Lifter is in fairly esteemed company.

– Craig Farrish
Review of Soul of a Lifter


 

      Very thorough. Great book that does a great job talking about offensive football. It is a new look at an attacking offense.

– Donald King
Review of SWAT Offense


 

      Just letting you know that the book has hit the nail on the head. My weightlifting coach, Bob Walt loves it. He owns The Apollo Barbell Club, the oldest Olympic weightlifting club in Canada and has quotes from the book up all over the gym. Bob holds the Canadian Masters records in 3 different weight classes as well as 3 different age groups. He was very impressed with the book … and he is not a guy that impresses easily. After reading Soul of a Lifter he started lifting competitively again and qualified for the Pan Am games.

– Gary Lewis
Review of Soul of a Lifter


 

      I work out on my own at my high school gym. Gino’s book has forced me to complete extra reps at the end of my sets. It’s like an invisible workout partner, an excellent motivator. His discussions about working through the pain and not leaving reps out there are amazing for me.

– Damien Hanniford
Review of Soul of a Lifter


 

      I read your “Be Fit Don’t Quit” to my 3 year old son for bedtime. He loved it. Thank you very much.

– Joshua Degazie
Review of Be Fit Don’t Quit