You’re Stronger Than You Think


I have something exciting to share with you. It’s about something hiding within each of us. And no, I’m not talking about a deep hidden passion for The Golden Girls, Lizzo, or Elaine Stritch. (That should never be hidden!)

This post was inspired by the current cycle of classes at the MFF Clubhouse that were programmed by Wheels! I’ve loved taking AND coaching every single class and it made me realize something about the Ninjas at MFF…

You’re STRONGER than you think.

Ninjas = Badasses

Forget emotional resilience for a minute, because I know there’s a fuck ton of that in our community.

I’m talking about cold. Hard. Cast iron kettlebell. Strength.

Since I began coaching as a TIR last September, I’ve been in awe of the Ninja Army. I mean, I was before, but now, I often find myself flabbergasted! Without words. Just…

The commitment I see on a daily basis is inspiring and makes it easy to wake up at 4:15 am to come open the Clubhouse for the 6:30 am crew!

But beyond that, I see incredible amounts of effort, sweat, and focus being poured out on the mat, day in, day out, and at all times of day! Not just in the wee morning hours.

We talk pretty consistently about getting 1 percent better. It’s that idea of Kaizen. Constant, gentle, pressure. Embracing the journey. The obstacle is the way. You get it.

Well, what if there was a way you could get 3 percent better SUPER QUICKLY? Yep, that’s right. Not 1, not 2, but 3 whole percent!

Let me break this down for you…

3% Better

Rep ranges tend to fall in the following categories: 1-3, or 3-5, or 4-6, or 6-8, or 8-10, or 10-12, and then even 12-15.

Each range has a different desired outcome (see Harold’s article on the hierarchy of fat loss/energy systems).

For now, let’s think about 3 sets of 10 reps, so 30 reps total. If you do 29 reps of the reps at a consistent weight, and go a little heavier on your 30th rep (or maybe a rep in the middle somewhere) that’s not a difference of 1 percent. That’s a difference of 3 percent. (Technically, 3.333333333333%. We all took math. You get it:-)

Yes, I know if we were to look at total overall volume, the difference is a little less, but if you think about it in relation to the 30 reps that you will be performing, EACH MOMENT MATTERS!

Side note: when we’re working in the 3-5 rep range, something we’re doing is improving our neural pathways. That’s why sometimes, you feel as though you can go a little heavier after each set. Your brain and body are becoming more efficient at communicating with each other! Cool, right?

Muggle gym story: I once saw someone back squatting about 365 lbs for 3 reps. After they finished one of their sets, they added 2.5 lbs to each side. That’s a total of 5 pounds or 1.369 % of the total weight that they went up.

What I’m trying to point out is EVERY. LITTLE. BIT. MATTERS.

Sometimes we approach a program and wait until we can complete the MAX number of reps across ALL sets before we move up in weight. But what if we could move up incrementally in weight? And sooner? What if instead of aiming for the top of the rep range, we aim for the bottom? Instead of shooting for 10, maybe we strive for 8 so we can go heavier?

Aim For One More

The goal for Kick-Ass Conditioning at MFF this class cycle is to get ONE MORE REP. That doesn’t mean an entire round of each of the three exercises. It means one more goblet squat. One more push up. One more curtsy lunge. 

It seems less daunting when you think of it that way, doesn’t it?

During Superhero Strength, we are trying to find a ceiling for ourselves. Where do we begin to struggle to get 5 reps? 

Let me ask you a question: have you ever had a crush on someone? Wanted to ask them out for coffee? Well, I’m willing to bet you didn’t go out with that person if you never asked them. You can’t strike out if you don’t get up to bat!

How can you find out how strong you are if you don’t venture a little outside of your comfort zone? Success is born out of failure. 

So, the next time you take Superhero, grab a heavier bell. And the next time you take Kick-Ass, try for one more rep. And wherever you are in your fitness journey, strive for just a little bit more. What’s the harm in trying?

“Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Looking for the best way to dive into classes at Mark Fisher Fitness? For a few more weeks only, your first 5 are only $49!


Sam Strasfeld discovered the Enchanted Clubhouse of Glory and Dreams in 2013 and has never been the same since. He is currently a Ninja Trainer and Nutrition Coach at Mark Fisher Fitness, and lover of theatre, kettlebells, and food. When not at the Clubhouse, he can be found performing on Broadway. Follow him on Instagram at @samstrasfeld.


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