Be Better Than the GAP

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Trends come and go, and brands rise and fall, but the GAP remains: stalwart, sturdy, and boring as hell.

One of my favorite films is a little movie called Crazy, Stupid, Love. I am not ashamed to admit this and I really don’t care that it’s not as impressive as citing Citizen Kane or The Godfather. I likes what I likes.

If you haven’t seen it, Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a 2011 bro-mantic comedy starring Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, and a bunch of other people on the below poster who aren’t particularly important to the point I will eventually get to once I finish talking about my man-crush on Ryan Gosling and no I don’t care that this is a run-on sentence with no structure or punctuation.

Crazy Stupid Love

You should see the movie. It’s amusing. But, I do have a point to make, and you don’t have to have seen it for me to make it. So, here goes.

In the movie, Gosling’s character—a dashing, well-dressed playboy named Jacob (who was probably based on 2006 me)—forms an unlikely relationship with Steve Carell’s character, Cal: a 40-something schlub whose wife recently left him for another guy.

Pretty-boy Jacob takes pity on Cal, and decides to help him learn how to grab life by the balls and reclaim his manhood. Obviously, part of this involves a gym scene. (Ladies, commence swooning over a tank-top bedecked Gosling).


“Obviously we can’t train till my hair is perfect. Duh.”

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, this lifestyle transformation also included a freakin’ makeover. Because that’s what men do, DAMN IT. And where else would this take place but a mall? Obviously. If you’re out to reclaim your manhood, go to the mall, immediately.

All joking aside, it makes a lot of sense: learning how to dress better and present yourself more attractively is important. But that’s not the point I’m making. (I am getting there, I promise.)

During their little shop sesh, Jacob mocks Cal’s shoes (“are you Steve Jobs? No? Then you got no right wearing New Balance sneakers, ever.”), his wallet, and just about everything else you can think of. Eventually, Cal pushes back when it comes to his jeans.

Rather than drop some dough on expensive denim, Cal says, “let’s just go to the GAP,” prompting a very nonplussed Jacob to storm out of the boutique. Cal goes after him, and this fun scene culminates in what I think is one of the most succinct, impactful pieces of advice anyone has ever given: 

better than the gap

That’s it. Be better than the GAP.

Be better…than the GAP.

And this, my friends, brings me to what I want to talk to you about today. Yeah, I know that was the long way around, but hey, I like the movie.

So, what does Jacob’s advice mean? What’s wrong with the GAP, and why is it so damn important to be better than it that I was inspired to write an entire email?

Simple: the GAP is…well, basic. I don’t mean that as a dig. It’s a profitable business, but by any reasonable estimation, the GAP is a purveyor of basics.

Not necessarily a bad business to be in; hell, they’ve managed to survive for 45 years, riding out the ever-changing marketplace of the fashion world. Trends come and go, and brands rise and fall, but the GAP remains: stalwart, sturdy, and boring as hell.

Is this a bad thing? Not exactly. But neither is it appealing, exciting, or fun. Put in the parlance of the movie, the GAP does not inspire Crazy, Stupid, Love.

No matter how many times that company tries to reinvent itself, no matter how many B-level celebrities they put in their ads, or how many catchy songs are in their commercials, the GAP is and will forever be about basics.

The GAP is basic. It’s average. It is, to be as blunt as I can, mediocre.

You don’t shop at the GAP to look sexy. You don’t shop there for the latest trends.

You shop there when you need a few undershirts. You shop at the GAP for socks. You shop there when you’re going to some graduation party you forgot about and you need a pair of khakis at the last minute.

You do not shop at the GAP for a pair of jeans that conforms to your ass in a way so profound it redefines your understanding of both science and philosophy.

You don’t head to the GAP to get a suit when your brother asks you to be the best man at his wedding.

Need something to wear to a birthday party for your niece? Sure, you might pick that up at the GAP. But, you don’t shop at the GAP for a dress for your high school reunion. Ya just don’t.

Because on those occasions, do you really want to be basic? Do you want to be average? Do you want to be mediocre?

I sincerely hope not. If you do, you may as well close this email, because you’re not going to get anything out of what I have to say.

If you DON’T aspire to mediocrity, then I think you can agree the Gos has given us some very, very useful life advice. In every single thing you do, be better than the GAP.

Be better than the GAP.

Like Gosling’s character of Jacob, that’s what I’m here to help you do. I’m here to help you be a better version of yourself. I’m here to provide the tools to do that. I’m here to make SURE that you—the collective YOU, and everything you offer to the world—are anything but BASIC.

I don’t want you to have a basic life. I don’t want you to have a basic body. And so I want to make sure that you DO NOT use some basic fitness program.

Screw basic. Screw average. I’m gonna help you be better than the GAP.

Now, I’m absolutely going to tell you how…but before I go any further, I want to just address the obvious.

The GAP isn’t a good option for anything but basics. (Sure, it’s reasonably priced, but honestly you can shop elsewhere and get nicer stuff for less money.) 

Truthfully, the problem with the GAP is because it’s so dependent on maintaining business by being basic, everything that company creates is basically mass-produced mediocrity.

Nothing is custom. Nothing is unique. Nothing is tailored to you.

Now, I’m not saying that every piece of attire you have needs to come from a bespoke clothier, but it would be nice to have a shirt that actually fits, wouldn’t it? Of course it would.

But when you shop at the GAP, pretty much nothing fits. Or, rather, nothing fits well. Everything is boxy and weird, and oh-so-blech.

I have never run a clothing business, but I can tell you that in any business, trying to please everyone is the surest path to pleasing NO ONE…so I have to assume that GAP’s attempts to make clothes that fit “anyone” are the reason they pretty much make everyone look like…well, Steve Carell, instead of Ryan Gosling.

crazy stupid love

Whose wardrobe would you prefer?

All of which brings us back to what I was talking about earlier: being better than the GAP in every part of your life. And how I can help you do that. 

For anyone who doesn’t know, in my world-renowned online personal training service, I design custom exercise and nutrition programs for people all over the world, and personally work with to achieve their goals, whatever those happen to be.

Over the past decade plus that I’ve been in the industry, I’ve built a reputation as an expert on a few subjects: hormonal issues, metabolic training, body recomposition—stuff like that. But more than anything else, I’ve become known as a guy who can provide incredible results to people without all the BS.

My goal has always been to help people do what THEY want to do. And for most of my clients, it’s not about being able to perform at a super high level or drastically increase strength; it’s about gaining some lean muscle while dropping tons of fat, fast.

Because when it comes down to it, most of my clients have the same ideas as Jacob: they don’t just want to look “good,” they want to look great. Going beyond that, my clients want the best of all worlds—to look great in clothes, AND to look great naked.

In short, they want to radically transform their bodies and lives, and in every possible way, be better than the GAP.

Sadly I don’t think the producers of Crazy, Stupid, Love. would take kindly to me putting “Roman Fitness Systems: helping you be better than the GAP since 2003” on my business cards, but that’s basically what I’ve spent my whole career doing.

I’m not in the business of creating BASIC programs, because…well, I’m better than the GAP.

Think of it this way: it’s like walking into a tailor and getting a suit custom made. It will fit you exactly the right way. It will be designed for YOUR body and lifestyle, made from materials that YOU like. If you’re like me, it’ll even have a bunch of secret pockets built in.

The long and short of it is this: One-on-One coaching is simply the best, most efficient, and most effective way I can help you meet your goals. It also happens to be the fastest way for you to hit them.

It just requires that you take the first step and do what Cal did: meet me at the mall for our shopping sesh. (By that I mean apply for the coaching program.)

Remember, even if you use great programs, the single best way to maximize results is with totally individualized attention and care.

One thing to keep in mind: I don’t work with everyone. Like Gosling’s Jacob Palmer character, I’m a busy man about town, and can’t help every person find their inner bad-ass. I work with as many clients as I can, but I look for the potential super-stars, the ones who make it clear they wanna be better than the GAP.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, I recommend you do so. For those who have, prepare to get Miyagi’d. 

Click here to apply. See you on the other side. 

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

Comments for This Entry

  • Steven Richards

    I believe you mean well, but could it be striving to be 'better' than 'someone else' can actually be harmful? “When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”

    July 11, 2015 at 11:29 am

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