Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-Check Your Ego at the Door!-


My 93-year-old Nanie. I love her! She definitely represents "quality, not quantity!" ๐Ÿ™‚


Nowadays, it isn’t hard at all to find a plethora of personal training & fitness boot camp websites and blogs. The consumer is bombarded with tons and tons of fitness-related information thanks to the Internet. I would venture to guess that 80% of the information out there is garbage, and the other 20% is comprised of quality content as well as recycled, regurgitated “stuff.” Everyone seems to have a blog, and to be honest, I do not spend much time reading many of them. Why? Everything starts to look/sound the same.

Current “hip” topics are: barefoot training, kettlebells, CrossFit, “non-traditional” training, corrective exercise, TRX, and paleo eating. It’s interesting to read other peoples’ opinions on the topics that pique my interest (including triathlon, but CrossFit is not included in this group, and I would appreciate it if I wasn’t bombarded with angry comments). The problem is that most of what I come across bores the pants off of me. It’s the “sheep following the herd” mentality that is obvious in many of the posts I come across. Many seem so quick to jump onto any bandwagon that’s “cool,” that they become boring and nameless. If you have been wondering why I haven’t been as active with my blogging pursuits, this is part of the reason. I simply do not want to blog just for the sake of blogging. Cyberspace is already cluttered with enough “stuff,” and you will not catch me regurgitating one of the well-known figureheads of my profession’s opinions. I do reference some of the “top dogs” from time to time, and always make a point to give credit where it is due.
With the addition of Facebook and Twitter, interaction is more easier than ever. I can honestly say that I LOVE being able to bounce ideas off of other fitness professionals. I have come to know and respect a handful of people who are not self-labeled “experts” and do not feel the need to carry a chips on their shoulders. There are no egos here. I do know plenty of fitness pros who fall into the “too big for their britches” category, and I made the choice not to spend too much time trying to interact with them. Why? Maybe they feel they are “too good” to spend their precious time talking to others who they fear may “steal their thunder.” LOL! I know, it’s quite ridiculous, right?!
On an almost-daily basis someone thanks me for being “real.” Almost two years ago, I made a promise to myself that I would not censor myself for fear of offending anyone. No, I do not spout off on topics just to start a fire. I do, however, refuse to hold back when I feel passionate about something. I am not going to try and agree with everyone for the sake of eliminating ripples in the water…get it? Ripples? LOL! Hell, I am PROUD to be a BIG ripple sometimes…I mean, a RIPPEL! I am confident, and I feel this is a threat to some. So be it!
With this confidence comes the desire to reach out to other fitness professionals who wish to share ideas, discuss topics, and simply interact. I am sick and tired of the frauds walking around acting like they are sounding-boards for others, while they are simply there to toot their own horn. I have no room in my life for these types. Although it probably doesn’t matter to most, I have a great deal of interest in psychology. It was my minor as an undergrad, and I have found that it goes hand in hand with not only working with clients, but in figuring out just who I choose to align myself with in this profession. If somebody rubs me the wrong way, I typically choose to give them the benefit of the doubt the first time. If it happens again, my guard is up. I WILL NOT be associated with anyone who I feel leaves much to be desired in terms of maturity. This involves the ability to interact with others without being condescending, rude, and/or disrespectful. It is unfortunate that in this day and age, people seem to have lost their manners. Somebody hopefully will come along and put them in their place, but I honestly don’t feel many of these types even realize just how rude they are…or if they even care.
I feel that we must create UNITY in the fitness profession if we are to be recognized as true professionals. The back and forth bashing of this, that, and the other…or this person, or that person…or the overly-condescending critiques of so-and-so’s programs, blog posts, videos, and/or opinions…it’s LAME. It’s OLD. It’s IMMATURE. Yeah, I do realize I rip on Jillian Michaels and Jackie Warner…but they don’t count…they aren’t “real” fitness professionals. ๐Ÿ˜€
Can’t we all just get along?
The people listed in this post do not view other fitness professionals as a threat. I know, that sounds crazy, right? Viewing others one one’s profession as a threat? It happens more than you know. For some crazy reason, many trainer-types assume that interacting with other trainer-types will pose a threat to their business. Why? I don’t honestly know. Perhaps they feel their “secrets” will be stolen. Oooooooh! Scary! Who has secrets anyway? THERE ARE NO SECRETS! What we are doing isn’t rocket science, people? Get over yourselves! You just might find that by networking and “hanging out” with other fitness professionals, your business is enriched and doors are opened. I know this has happened for me numerous times. Let go of the ego and be HUMAN.
Just a sidenote: I had a thought the other day…it was something along the lines of “Facebook allows those who didn’t get the limelight in high school to act as if they are larger than life.” Another one was “everybody is somebody on Facebook.” Kinda true, right? ๐Ÿ™‚
So, with this being said, I would like to announce that one of these days, there will be an amazing meeting of the minds! Who will be in attendance?
and a few quality local fitness peeps (aka I know ’em here in Baton Rouge):
Janet Welsh (my former “boss” at Spectrum and an amazing yoga instructor and personal trainer; she doesn’t have a website, but I think I should help her with that! The world needs to know her!)
I don’t just consider you my colleagues…I consider you my friends. I can’t wait to meet each of you in person and simply hang out. We will work out, of course, and “talk shop”…coming up with more ideas for world domination! You guys are awesome! Thank you for being a part of my life! If I have left anyone out of this list, I sincerely apologize. I will more than likely be racking my brain over the next couple of days and edit this post to include those I have forgotten in my “emotional-but-good-weekend-and-then-emotional-and-sad-day-today” haze. One of my best friends lost her mom early this morning, and I am a bit out of it. I am also a bit fired-up because I am yet again reminded of how precious and short life is.
If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to get to know the fitness professionals I listed above. They are incredible! Each in their own, unique way. Bottom line – each of them has HEART. Each of them has left the ridiculous ego at the door for one of those annoying know-it-all types to pick up!
Check your ego at the door…but don’t dare you be afraid to SPEAK UP! Be loud and proud as fitness professionals, but do so in a manner that is POSITIVE for those who take the time to listen to you. There are more than enough sheep in this industry…STAND OUT! BE YOURSELF!

27 responses

  1. Aimee Alumbaugh


    September 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    • AIMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! OMG! I gotta include you in this amazing list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Consider it done! ๐Ÿ˜€

      September 7, 2010 at 2:39 pm

  2. jamieatlas

    Whew! I was crapping my pants there thinking I wasn’t going to make the list.

    But now that I see I made the list… I’m crapping my pants!

    Way to set the bar high for me Sarah. I guess I now have to have ‘standards’ and maintain some form of ‘ethics’ and ‘authenticity’. Darn you and your straight-shooting attitude!

    PS Love your work. Seriously. You’re awesome.

    September 7, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    • LMAO!!!!
      Jamie, you always crack me up! It will be good to catch up with you via phone very soon! It’s been too long!
      Do I need to remind you to wear an adult diaper for our phone call in case you have any more accidents?!!! haha! ๐Ÿ˜€
      You have all of the above…standards, ethics, and authenticity for sure…that’s why I have nothing but respect for you! I really wanna pick your brain more than you know, too! I dig what you’re about!
      Yours in Health,

      September 8, 2010 at 1:46 pm

  3. jamieatlas

    PPS am super excited to check out the other people in the list! Thanks for sharing that ๐Ÿ™‚

    September 7, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    • AWESOME! They are all great peeps! You are very welcome, Jamie!

      September 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

  4. Tess

    Sarah thank you so much for including me. You bring such inspiration and enthusiasm to this field and you boost me up with your trust in me.
    I am truly sorry for your loss. I agree. Death hangs on us for a while but I have to say its one of those moments where the barnacles are scrubbed off our eyes and we learn that life is full of choices. We are exactly where we want to be because we got ourselves there. When faced with death in my life I realize that sometimes I have been asleep at the wheel and I have to be fully alive and active with all my decisions in life. Life is just too short.
    I look forward to getting out there with you and getting good and dirty in the playground of life. Big hugs.

    September 7, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    • Hey Tess!
      You are very very welcome!
      Thank you for your kind words. and you are SO right. I love what you said! We ARE where we want to be because we got ourselves there! WE can choose whether or not we move forward or choose to just be stagnant. Life is meant to be lived!
      Let’s get dirty! I just realized you messaged me back on FB about your “situation”…i’m excited to see what happened last night! Thank you for choosing to ask me for professional advice! As always, if I don’t have an answer, i’ll do my best to find someone who does…and i’ll always give you my “learning through trial and error” experiences!

      You’re awesome!

      September 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

  5. Sarah – YOU ROCK! I will be the first one to say that I MAY know a lot about health/fitness, but I DO NOT KNOW IT ALL. I love chatting and learning from other fitness pros out there. Ego’s have no place in our industry. We are all working toward the same goal….getting our clients moving and healthy. If you have something amazing or a technique that helps you work better with your client, then why would you want to keep it a secret? If you want to walk around with the “I’m so amazing & let me tell you why” mentality, that’s fine, but are you helping anyone by doing that? No…not really. REAL fitness pro’s are positive, encouraging and helpful not only towards their clients, but towards their colleagues.
    As always Sarah – LOVE THE BLOG! Thanks for always putting great info out there! You are awesome!
    Can’t wait for the meeting….oh the fun it will be!

    September 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    • Tera!
      No…YOU DO! ๐Ÿ˜€
      Thank you for admitting that you don’t know it all! I wish more people could do the same!
      EXCELLENT comments, my friend. It’s funny because a while back in the early spring, I was working with a PM boot camp group, and we had ventured outside of our usual “realm” at the park. A few out of the group of 25 or so noticed that there was another group working out not too far away from us. It was kinda cute because the ladies were like “our boot camp is better than yours!” and stuff, and I just laughed at them. Funny thing is, I wasn’t threatened or worried in the least about another group being roughly 300 yards away from us. I realized a good while ago that it’s just flat-out ridiculous to worry about the “competition.” The truth is, the competition really isn’t competition! There are PLENTY of people that need our help, and to be honest, not enough qualified fitness professionals to accomodate all of them! Louisiana is one of the “fattest” states in the country, and for there to be more and more people out there working to help get people off their butts…it’s a GOOD thing! The fitness professional who runs the group that meets where my groups meet is a good guy, and I know he knows what he’s doing. He also drives a sweet Unlimited Rubicon, so he earns more points for that! ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, he’s listed in my “local” peeps, so if he’s reading this, HEY WALKER! lol
      Anyhow, sorry, ADD got the best of me there…point was, in the past (and to this day) I come across the occasional trainer who sees me or knows of me, and I get several different reactions. Either they approach me and we talk, they stare at me with an evil face from a ways away, or they run and hide like I don’t see them. Even better is when I am near one of them, realize they are a trainer, and say “hi”…and don’t get a response. It cracks me up! Why do some trainers have to be so stuck up?!!!! This usually only happens with women…I don’t know, maybe they are intimidated by my bike short tan lines? haha!

      Keep doin’ your thang, Tera, and YES…when it happens, our meeting of the minds will be DEVINE!

      September 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

  6. I feel so honoured. Thank you for mentioning me. You and I have had some great soap box discussions over the past year or so. I always look forward to your posts – we think so much alike it is scarey.

    You have hit the nail on the head with this post. I find that trainers locally are all of a herd mentality. They are all threatened by the competiion, afraid to learn to talk to anyone else and think they are the only way!

    I have a few select blogs that I read and a few select trainers that I value for their knowledge and willingness to not only learn by to share their knowledge without expecting anything in return. Sarah, you are in that group.

    As professionals, we must be willing to be open minded, learn from others and be willing to share our knowledge in the hope that the industry as a whole, and our clients specifically will benefit.

    We must get over this ego tripping if we are to be considered a true profession. And if one more person lumps me in with Jillian Michaels, I won’t be responsible for my actions.

    Keep the writngs going. You are a true professional and someone I know I can call friend. It would be so cool if we actually got a chance to meet one day – but, hey you never know. Keep the pencil sharp!

    September 7, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    • Hi Narina!
      Good! You deserve recognition!
      I LOVE our soapbox discussions and think we would definitely ruffle a few feathers if and when we ever meet in public. I’m sure we would spend hours going on and on…and who knows…turn it into a webcast and then people would get into heated debates! LOL Kidding about that last part.
      Great “herd” analogy! That’s how I feel about the majority too! It’s as if peoples’ insecurities prevent them from intermingling with others who they just might learn from, and vice versa. I am not threatened by anyone locally or elsewhere. I know you’re not either! When you believe in yourself and know what you’re doing (for the most part, because I feel I am an eternal student), there’s no need to feel threatened.
      I love your posts as well! You discuss a variety of topics and always have something important to bring to the table. I catch them via FB but just realized I should probably find out if I can subscribe. That would be easier!
      LOL at your Jillian Michaels comment! LOVE IT! I’ll have your back should that ever happen, and I do believe I would react the same way!
      Thank you for being a friend, colleague, and trusted resource! You are always ready to “talk shop” and I love it! We need to do a workout exchange soon!

      Yours in Health,

      PS we WILL meet one of these days…even if it’s by attending the same seminar…I need to plan on going to a good one…any suggestions? I am not interested in schmoozing with the “big boys” of internet marketing (as you already know).

      September 8, 2010 at 1:30 pm

      • Webcast?? What a great idea. I’m up for it. For seminars, I think the best one out there now is Perform Better’s Functional Training Summits – 3 days of awesome lectures and hands on work. They have 3 a year – mostly the same presenters at each one (Gray Cook, Mike Boyle, Stuart McGill, Michel Dalcourt, Greg Rose, Bill Parisi, Thomas Plummer to name just a few of the over 30 presenters there).

        Locations are Boston, Chicago and Long Beach, CA. I always go the Long Beach one; it is relatively close for me up here in Western Canada.

        It would be so cool to meet up at one!

        September 8, 2010 at 5:39 pm

  7. Awe thanks Sarah โค I was thinking "I feel a blog post comming" and my inbox said I was right!

    Leaving your ego at the door can be difficult. It's something I'm always working on. But hopefully my thirst for knowledge is helping me open my mind to a wealth of possibilities. Not just in the fitness game, but in life.

    September 7, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    • You are welcome, Anna!
      I think we all wrestle with our ego stuff. I know mine used to be a bit outta control back in the day. For me, it was mostly due to not being happy with myself. It was a cover-up. NEVER lose your thirst for knowlege. That is a priceless gift! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yours in Health,

      PS – you will get a kick out of knowing that one of my bike buddies, who is an endurance machine, rode wearing his VFF’s this morning! He said he normally has a 2nd pair of bike shoes in his truck, but had taken them out. I think he’s going to come up with some sort of top-secret training plan and schlap a $499 pricetag on it! LOL ๐Ÿ˜€

      September 8, 2010 at 1:22 pm

  8. Well said! Good to ride something above the smog!

    September 7, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    • Thank you, Kathy! ๐Ÿ™‚

      September 8, 2010 at 1:19 pm

  9. WOW Sarah!!!! That was straight from the heart for real. I totally appreciate the shootout and I swear i can’t wait to meet you. This industry is something else, but everyday I realize how important it is to be yourself, and keep that genuine goal that you set as a priority to stand out.

    I actually was approached by another trainer in my area to help collaborate and organize a flag football with his camp versus my HOF team. I thought it was pretty cool to do. So we started talking, vibing about how we could unify and make this an annual event possibly. We started talking about my class, the training that I do, goals, etc. Once we hung up that phone, I never heard from him again. I started seeing him doing something that I mentioned (post discussion) and I could really give a F*, but in his eyes, he wanted more info, wanted to use it and severed the tie between him and I. It’s all good. There are no secrets in this business, but if you have the right attitude, gumption and a true personality, people can steal/borrow/rent your sh*t all day, but it doesn’t matter.

    I don’t really follow anyone (besides you and Jess). I just don’t care like I thought I would and it has kept me in a peaceful place to train people in a manner that’s suitable for me. Maybe because I still work during the day and that’s a distraction from the industry…i guess!!! But you are blessed with a diamond in the rough personality and if people can see you for who you are, then that’s a golden ticket to knowing a hell of a trainer. Thanks for being you and if you’re serious about this meeting, we need to make this happen.

    Thanks again Super FitPro Sarah:)


    September 9, 2010 at 8:01 am

    • Shawn,

      You inspire me more than you know! ๐Ÿ™‚ Your attitude rocks, and that’s one of the main reasons I was drawn to you over a year ago! There are so many of “our kind” out there, but very few can do the job of holding my attention! Too many carbon copies and fakes (like the guy you mentioned). It’s almost not even worth it sometimes to try and connect with others in our industry…BUT…it’s obvious that when you do, it’s a beautiful thing!

      I’m with you – anyone who is that much of a loser to take my ideas and run with them doesn’t deserve an ounce of energy from me. Thank you for having the courage to be REAL! When we “hide” and go along with the majority who assume they have “secrets” that other fitness pros aren’t allowed to find out about, it makes us come across as cocky and isolated. NO ONE is better than anyone else. We all have the opportunity to bring something unique to the table, and for those of us who realize this, the world is a beautiful place!

      Thank you for also rising above the rest in being an inspiration to your boot campers by getting out there and doing triathlons. I think i’m going to write another post about those of us who not only train people, but set physical goals for ourselves as well. Anyone can work out. For someone to set a deadline, train for it, and have FUN with the entire process speaks volumes. Your boot campers see this and it’s awesome how inspiring you are just thru the Internet!

      Yes, we will make it happen! I know there’s a lot going on in our lives but i’m thinking 2011 is the year. I say we pick a convenient location and do a tri. This could be in conjunction with the “meeting of the minds” pow-wow with everyone listed in this blog post. Another option would be one of the Perform Better summits or something like that.

      Have a great week!

      September 13, 2010 at 8:03 am

  10. Usually I don’t say this but JESUS! You are one of a kind and I’m glad I found you and interviewed you before anyone else did. Sarah, you are remarkable and truly stand out from the rest. You are a constant source of inspiration for me. Just when I start to get into a rut, I get bullied into doing otherwise. (smile)

    Thank you for being you and for not being ashamed of it. Thank you for setting the bar high. Thank you for calling bullshit when you see it. Thank you for making a difference and changing the world.


    September 12, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    • Hey Angel!

      LOL! Awesome! ๐Ÿ˜€
      I feel the same about you! You’re out there being yourself, and as a woman in this industry, that speaks volumes! Too many sheep who think they know it all! Thank YOU for also not being afraid to call the BS out! Let’s keep it up!

      Have a great week!

      September 13, 2010 at 8:04 am

  11. Sue

    Great to see you blogging again! I’m checking out all those links!

    September 12, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    • Hey Sue!

      Yay! I got out of the habit BIG time. Crazy thing is that I have this huge list in my head of blog topics based off of inspiring moments from the past year or so. I guess I can dust ’em off and start typing away! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Definitely check all the links out…they are good peeps!

      Have a great week!

      September 13, 2010 at 8:06 am

  12. Sarah-

    As a recent entry into the fitness-blog pot-o-stew, your comments really ring true.

    I first thought of blogging as a way to tell my own “fat-to-fit” story, as a sort of service to others and hobby.

    Next thing I know, I find out that people are making GOOD money doing this sort of thing.

    Once greed enters the picture, it is interesting to see the temptation arises to go to the “dark side.” Think of blogs where endless reviews spouting the amazing benefits of affiliate product X fill page after page.

    From the little bit I have read of your blog (I just discovered it a couple minutes ago), I am inspired by your integrity and how you “tell it how it is.”

    I think your advice to “STAND OUT, BE YOURSELF!” is excellent advice, and I feel I will succeed or fail based on my ability to do so!

    Thanks again,


    September 19, 2010 at 12:20 am

    • Hi Ian!!!!

      It’s a thin line between integrity and greed in this industry.
      People want legit information…they want help…it’s sad to me that many people realize this and figure they can make a quick buck by basically lying to people. Bogus claims and crappy fitness gadgets will always cast a dark shadow on things. It’s up to people like us to walk the talk and be honest!
      Keep being real! People can see through the fakes!
      Great meeting you, by the way!
      Yours in Health,

      October 11, 2010 at 11:56 am

  13. Not local Sarah, but would love to attend a meeting of minds! IT really is down to us to over ride the waves of rubbish with great quality information. Your doing a great job!

    Thanks fro the mention, if I can just slip it in my main blog is at rather than the link mentioned!


    October 4, 2010 at 5:41 am

    • Hey Tom!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Thank you so much! ๐Ÿ™‚ I completely agree!
      I will change your link!!!

      Have a great day!

      October 11, 2010 at 11:51 am

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