Imagine wanting to become a fighter – boxer, kickboxer, muay thai fighter – and using a fight to get in shape. No training or low training. If you tried it, you would be certifiably insane. It would be athletic suicide. You can’t play contact sports to get in shape. You have to get in shape to play contact sports.

Using contact sports to get in shape is a cry for help, a symptom of certifiable madness. It’s a symptom of having lost touch with reality. Contact sports add purpose to lifting and running. Contact sports are a supplement for training, not a replacement.

If you’re frustrated because you’re not getting into shape at warp-speed, the reason is inside you, not outside. Searching for shortcuts ends up in short-circuiting your fitness efforts. Competing in any sport that carries the risk of getting carried off in a stretcher or body bag, without working out, not only won’t work out, it’s a sign of troubled thinking. If you are unwilling to lift and run to prepare for a fight, you are a threat to your team and to yourself.

If you don’t put in work, it won’t work out. The true test of athletic toughness is enduring the grind – the training process. Putting on a pretty uniform and posing for Facebook profile pictures, without earning it, is not a sign of toughness. It’s fraud. A sign of deceit and delusion. Any competitive sport that can scramble your brain or break your bones or tear your ligaments apart or snap your spine or maim you for life, needs to be fully respected by putting in the work. If a competitive sport can bust you up, you need to put the work in. If a competitive sport can take you out and turn you into a crime scene victim, you need to work out.

Suffering bodily harm is not a badge of honor/honour. Ending up on a surgery table is not noble, not a trophy, not a ribbon. Not training for the game mocks the sport. You’ll never find, if you can’t handle the grind. You’ll just keep looking and never discovering. If you can’t handle the grind, you’ll be committed only to the elusive search that leads to nowhere. Nowhere is not a destination, it’s a state of confusion that leads to nowhere else. Nowhere is not a place, its a fantasy world detached from reality where you have to be careful not to drown in bullshit that keeps piling up faster than it gets shoveled out.

Success is the process. Success, by whatever definition you choose, is not just showing up and disgracing the sport by cheapening it without paying full price. I swore I wouldn’t use the word fucked-up but, too late. I didn’t want this to become X-rated but, well, it just showed up. Sports are fucked-up when they’re used to fill some psychological void dug out by instability stemming from inability to grind it out. Sports are fucked-up when they’re used to play dress-up.

I wrote a book series called 4th & Hell. Season one is out. Seasons 2, 3, & 4 will be out soon. It’s a fight for something. The books are intended to save lives the same way I saved mine. I hope they bring peace to troubled souls.

Peace.

Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., NCCP Level 3
owner – X Fitness Inc.
head coach – Niagara X-men football team