Gino's Blog

Fat loss, muscle gain. Leaning-out a bulky playbook.

Fat loss, muscle gain. Leaning-out a bulky playbook
By Gino Arcaro. M.Ed., B.Sc.
Owner – X Fitness Inc.
Head coach – Niagara X-men

My rookie head coach year in 1984 was a nightmare. I made it that way with bulk. We were weak and slow, physically and mentally. We huddled before every play. We dragged our asses to the huddle and then to the line. I called plays using manual signals. The quarterback would stare at me, read the signals, and communicate the play that took a long time to say and even longer time to process. Then we hoped for the best, wishing that everyone was on the same page. Hoping for the best wasn’t enough. The worst usually happened. Offsides, blown assignments, and every mistake that a team could make in one season. The same thing happened on defense and special teams. Bulky playbooks, bulky players.

After a winless season, I scrapped the all three playbooks – offense, defense, special teams – and started over. My goal was to lean-out, get cut and define our bulky playbooks. Cut the fat and muscle up our playbooks. The first change was the language. We changed how we called plays on offense, defense, and special teams by subtracting. Subtraction added intensity, added execution, eliminated 90% our mistakes. Our record reversed 100% from winless to a perfect season. Cutting the fat in our playbook resulted in five championships in eight championship game appearances during twelve years, turning around three losing high school programs and one brand-new expansion semi-pro team. Cutting playbook fat muscled-up the playbook. We used less plays, using less terminology, with faster communication, without a huddle on offense, defense, and special teams.

Eventually, the Law of Unintended Consequences kicked in. The leaned-out language resulted in a limitless system for all three units. And it didn’t need conventional playbooks. Memorization was replaced by translation. The time needed to install the system was cut down by over 50%. The quantity and quality of reps lifted up higher and higher.
All three units were connected by language. Instead of having to memorize three disconnected communication systems, players had to learn only one connected language – one concept that connected all three units. The less we used per season, the more the system grew. The limitless language allowed us to achieve our strategic goal of changing without change – the ability to adapt without having to add to or alter the system.

The difference between winning and losing is losing fat. Dual meaning – physically and in your playbook.

You can read a preview of the SWAT System at:


Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (Nat’l Coaching Certification Program)
Head coach – Niagara X-men football
Owner – X Fitness Inc.

Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. His website, blog, Youtube channel, and list of books are at:
His books include:
4th & hell: seasons 1-5, Soul of a Lifter, SWAT Offense, SWAT Defense, X Fitness Workout System, and a 3 business book series called Soul of an Entrepreneur
He also has written 20 editions of 6 law enforcement academic textbooks. A new 8-volume interrogation book series will be released in 2014. And just released, a new children’s book called “BE FIT – DON’T QUIT.” His latest book on human potential called “Hashtag Peace” is at the editing stage. He just finished another book called “Lifter’s High.” Both will be released soon.


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