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Right to Silence

Here’s Real-Life Lesson #2,422 that I’ve taught to football players for 40 years and college law enforcement students for two decades – you are guaranteed the right to silence.

In 1975, I was working out in the basement of a gym that I joined. It was year 6 of my 47-year workout streak. I was inside a squat rack in the middle of a set when a guy who I will call Parko Feldo (not his real name) came up to me and said, “Ya, like, do you know that f’n Sergeant Bryster (not his real name)?” I was 18 years old and had been hired 7 weeks earlier as a police officer. The basement was packed. No one was talking. No one was texting. No one was scrolling. No one was posting. No one was sharing. No one was shooting selfies. A stereo blared. No one was posing. No one was complaining. Everyone was training. Everyone was lifting in dead silence. I responded to Parko Feldo: “Go f’ yourself. I’m in the middle of a set.”

Parko Feldo was 33 years old, a heroin addict and meth addict with a long criminal record of break-ins, robberies, and assaults. He told people he was in the Mafia. Parko Feldo persisted. “Like, you know, that Bryster, man, he roughed me up, right? Like, ok, I was tripping but, like, come on, right, like he had no right to rough me up, right, eh? You know him, right?” A 45-year-old powerlifter was benching pressing next to the squat rack. I’ll call him Lyman Tusk (not his real name). Lyman Tusk got up from the bench, walked to Parko Feldo and pushed Parko Feldo against the wall. Lyman Tusk said, “SHUT THE F’ UP, OK?” Parko Feldo apologized. “Like, sorry, man, no sweat, man, like, let’s forget it ok, Paesan?” Parko Feldo walked up the stairs and left the gym.

In 1975, there was an unwritten workout code of conduct – you were guaranteed the right to remain silent. Brother and sister lifters united for one common purpose – lift heavy weight in #peace to find #peace. Brother and sister lifters from every different background all agreed on the same ideology and philosophy – working out was a detoxification of mind, body, and soul – done in silence. In 1975, brother and sister lifters didn’t have to be socially connected 365/24/7. The elusive #peace was found in spilling your guts in silence. No privacy intrusions. Privacy was protected. The only words spoken were, “You done?” That was it. Two words of 1975 gym etiquette. You didn’t hog a bench. You didn’t steal a bench.

The beauty of football and college law enforcement classrooms is the combined effect of four policies – open-admission, open-door, equal opportunity, exercise of free will. Everyone was welcome. My team and college program was not open only to the elite. You could leave whenever you wanted if you didn’t like to work hard. You all had the exact same chance to succeed. All you had to do was exercise free will. I started every opening day on football fields and college classrooms with the same message – you are guaranteed the right to silence. The number one complaint that true students and true athletes have is disruption by those who can’t disconnect socially. There is no complaint more serious than from serious athletes and serious students that your practice, workouts, and classes sound like a party. You have to prevent the ‘joke’ reputation because the ‘joke’ label is indelible. It’s permanent.

It’s impossible to learn and socialize at the exact same time. It’s impossible to lift and socialize at the exact same time. It’s impossible to achieve maximum training outcomes in mind, body, and soul while you’re socializing. What you focus on grows. Focus on socializing and weakness grows. Focus on training and strength grows. The difference between winning and losing is what you focus on. The difference between first place and dead-last is what is grown by your focus. You focus on something during every second you’re awake. You focus on good or bad, positive or negative. It’s impossible to split focus.  You can only focus on one or the other. The solution to your focus problems is Real-Life Lesson #1,111 that I have taught athletes and students – party at the bar or lift the bar. It’s your choice. You can’t do both at the same time. Your choice determines the shape you become in mind, body, and soul.

I’ve coached over 25,000 athletes and students. I have eye-witnessed the Power of the Underdog – incredible achievement by the unwanted, unrecruited, and under-privileged. Conversely, I have seen waste of potential. Dreams made by breaking limits and stereotypes and broken dreams caused by broken focus. You can’t replay your athletic or academic career. Real-life will not hand out first-place trophies to all participants. Everybody doesn’t get to go for ice cream. Real-life always has been and always will be a Darwinian process that cuts the weak from contention.

That’s why I have guaranteed the right to silence on day one on football fields and inside classrooms – to provide equal opportunity. I reminded everyone that when you’re faced with temptation to socialize and be disruptive because it’s too tough to work hard, think of those who would gladly trade places with you – the sick, the dying, the poor, the hungry. There is a list of strategies that will guarantee high-performance. The list is too long for this blog. I have devoted an entire book called Soul of a Lifter to high-performance mindset. This blog is an excerpt of another book I am devoting to high-performance mindset – Midnight Shift from Hell. Here is one strategy – lift. Dual meaning. Lift souls, lift weights. There is no greater reward than soul-lifting. No material possession will ever replace the Lifter’s High of soul-lifting. Train like your life depends on it. Train for those who depend on you. Be more or be less – it’s your biggest decision today.

An audio version of this blog will be a future episode on Blunt Talk Podcast, compliments of X Fitness.  X Fitness and Blunt Talk Podcast are committed to lift in body, mind, and soul. X Fitness and Blunt Talk Podcast are committed to the celebration of Good Inspirational News Only. There’s enough depressing news. We won’t add to it. Every Blunt Talk Podcast starts with a motivational speech and Top 1000 Song of the Day. All 131 episodes of Blunt Talk Podcast are free, permanently archived downloads compliments of X Fitness. Every guest on Blunt Talk Podcast has a Soul of a Lifter. Guaranteed to lift. Guests are from wide-ranging professions globally. Here is the link:

Blessings & all good things.


Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (Nat’l Coaching Certification Program)

Football Head coach – Niagara X-Men Football

Gym Owner – X Fitness Welland Inc.


Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. Currently, he is finishing another book in his non-fiction series: Mystery of Murder: Working with the Dead. All published books are available on on and www.Chapters/, in both soft cover and eBook format. Additionally, his website, features his books including:

Football coaching and non-fiction books: SWAT System: Offense and Defense, SWAT Tackling Video (with accompanying eBook), and 4th & Hell: Season One and Season Two

Business Books: Selling H.E.L.L. in Hell, True Confessions, and eBooks: Soul of Selling, and, Real Business Relationships = Sales

Fat Loss Book: Fat Losing

Workout System: eXplode: The X Fitness System

Motivational Books: Soul of a Lifter, and eBooks: The Pledge, and, The Focus

Children’s Books: Be Fit Don’t Quit, and, The Beauty of a Dream

Policing Textbooks: Arcaro’s Interrogation Case Law


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