Watch the Review by Jeff Rizzo of RizKnows
Jeff Rizzo, the man behind RizKnows, is a person who knows not only the importance of getting a good, effective sleep, but also A LOT about fitness gear. RizKnows is a blog and vlog dedicated to reviewing sporting goods, wearable technology, and fitness equipment. Jeff also posts workout videos and routines and doles out health & fitness tips & tricks.
Jeff’s good at what he does. Really good. In fact, when the Bear Mattress staff was having a “which wearable technology is right for us” debate, we consulted his heavily viewed YouTube channel. We thought he was so good at testing fitness-related gear that we sent him a bed to test out for himself. Turns out, he loved it. Seriously - you can check out his review on his channel.
We caught up with Jeff to talk a bit about what he does, why he left life in an office to pursue a career in fitness, and just how important sleep is to his routine.
Bear Mattress: You get pitched a lot of products, what made you say yes to us?
Jeff Rizzo: "The mattress industry is being completely disrupted by direct-to-consumer, online companies, and I love that,” said Jeff, who recently moved and was in need of a new bed. “I’d been holding out and waiting for a fitness mattress to hit the market, so when you guys reached out I was just so excited because I needed a new mattress, and it was just the perfect time."
BM: Have you always been a fitness enthusiast?
JR: "I have always been really into fitness. I played soccer and pretty much every sport when I was little and I loved it. I think the first time i realized that fitness was what I wanted to work around and what I wanted to do was when I was in high school. I was at soccer practice, and we’d done something wrong, and the coach made us do wind sprints, and everybody kept dreading it, and for some reason - even though it hurt - I loved it."
Jeff faced a problem many young people face when they decide a career path - do I want to do what I love or do I want to get a “real job?” He thought “real job” was a safer bet, so he went to school for business, worked in finance for a couple of years, and after too many 12-to-16-hour days, 5-7 days a week realized the “real job” route wasn’t for him. He was sleep deprived, never saw the sun and decided one day to say, “Hey, I do a lot of really fun things, and I think people could get behind my view of fitness, which is that it’s a fun tool to improve your quality of life.”
At the time, Jeff was skinny, his muscles had atrophied, had bags under his eyes and his skin was pale white. (This is coming from Jeff, not us, just FYI) He claims he had the “worst videos you could ever imagine.” (They’re not that bad, trust us, we’ve watched them.)
Jeff broke into the wearable technology review industry before wearables were a “thing.” He specializes in answering questions about the fitness aspect of products, and he’s damn good at if we do say so ourselves. He’s been pouring all his energy into RizKnows since February of last year, and he’s seen huge success. His videos receive hundreds of thousands of views, and he goes about reviewing products in a way that people relate well to.
BM: What’s your process - how do you go about reviewing a product and presenting it to people?
JR: "There are so many people who do a great job at looking at every angle of a product… I see my value in boiling a very complicated product down into a 7-minute video max. My job is to interpret the most important things and make sure that I present them to you. I just want people to watch my video and say, ‘wow, I don’t need to do anymore.'"
Jeff’s office is filled with products to test -- newest Garmin, FitBits, shoes, water bottles foam rollers -- you name it, he tests it.
BM: So… what did you initially think about the bed?
JR: "I had the same bed for 13 years, and it looked like an El Camino… it was atrocious. So this new bed is incredible! I sleep on a different part of the king size mattress every night.”
BM: What are some of your favorite aspects of the mattress?
JR: "Well, right now the AC unit at my new house isn’t working great, so the fact that it’s memory foam but it doesn’t make my body super hot is awesome. I also don’t like going to a mattress store, it’s a very aggressive process. I liked the idea that it ships to your door and if you don’t like it the company will come take it back."
We have to admit we were pretty excited about Jeff’s response to the bed when he posted his review video. “I test out dozens and dozens of products, and very few of them elicit this type of response,"
Now, Jeff is a wearable technology pro, so he of course has a sleep tracker. What has he noticed, exactly? He wakes up less and he doesn’t get up in the middle of the night like he used to. Jeff’s sleep schedule is rather erratic; he says he never goes to bed at the right time, and the amount of sleep he gets per night varies. His fall-asleep time used to be between 15-20 minutes, and now it’s 7 minutes or less, and he says he wakes up one time max a night now.
BM: How has your opinion of sleep changed over the years?
JR: “I almost thought it was ‘cool’ back in the day to say, ‘oh I got four hours of sleep last night,’ but I’ve found [not getting enough sleep] has such diminishing returns, especially when you’re staying up late to work on something. Sleep to me is the most important thing. I’m going to wake up when my body wakes me up, because the time I’m awake, I want that to be the best time possible, and I’m not going to mess it up by sleeping so little. If I give up my last hour of sleep to get one more thing done, I’m gonna feel it; I’m not going to be as efficient."
Jeff works out two to three times a day -- yeah, you read that right -- and knows first hand that if you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, your body will feel it.
“Sleep is the linchpin to living a high quality life, the linchpin to being active, it’s the foundation of having the best life possible,” says Jeff. “Sometimes people say, if you sleep a lot you’re a lazy person, but that’s not the case at all. If you get your eight hours, you’re a more efficient person, you’re a smarter person.”Check out Jeff’s YouTube channel and his website here.