Finance as it Relates to Fitness

As I write down and plan my personal goals in 2018, one of them is certainly involved around weight, fitness, and my health (WFH).  I want to share with you one of my personal goals this year and how I am attacking this goal.  I took a lot of worked with my finances these past few years and I am applying this to my fitness goals in 2018.

I want to give everyone a little closer look into my personal life as it relates to weight my constant struggle.

Growing up

As a kid I was overweight, especially during grade school and middle school.  I loved sports which helped me to be more active playing baseball, basketball, and even football by myself in the middle of no where in the country.  The rest of the time I’m pretty sure I just ate Cheetos, ice cream, soda, and pizza while watching TV.

Then between 7th or 8th grade summer I lost a bunch of weight, mostly riding my bike all around creation to see and talk with friends.  I was an above average athlete during high school and because I played 3 sports a year and a lot of basketball in the summer my weight, fitness, or health were never really an issue.   I do remember during my senior year of high school I asked my basketball coach what my playing weight should be as I stepped on the scale right around 195 pounds standing 6’2″, that always stuck in my mind and is one of the only weights I choose to remember.  I wasn’t on a calendar spread modeling or anything with my physique but I wasn’t overweight either.

College and Life After

College and life happen to everyone, whether it’s drinking beer or realizing that you don’t have to go to sports practice after school.  In college I didn’t really put on tons of weight but it also didn’t put me in a position to show off my abs either (let’s be clear I have never seen abs, foreign word to me).

Just like my financial life I had a difficult time with my weight, fitness, and health.  Not entirely surprising around the time I was almost $100,000 in debt and this was the time I was at my highest weight, 265 pounds.  This is also around the time when I began dating my now wife, I like to make the joke that she started dating me when I was on the low and she’s now reaping the rewards (she does not find this very funny).  Funny thing with debt, is you approximate large numbers, like my $100,000 figure, however weight is an exact number that sticks in your head.

Around the same time I was attempting to gain ground with my finances I was also getting a grip on my weight.  Before I moved to the Chicago area, I lost 38 pounds getting down to 227 pounds, it was the least amount of weight I had seen on a scale since college.

That’s when my financial and fitness life got on track and I don’t think it’s a coincidence to anyone.

Trying to sculpt that body into shape!

Financial and Physical Fitness

Since marriage in 2011, I have actually lost weight, possibly one of the few people that can say this as trends have this going the other direction.  I have made strides along the way, sometimes taking a 10 pound weight reduction, exercising a little bit more, or making what I eat and drink a priority.  I walk my dog every day, ride my bike, and try to get outside on a regular basis as part of my every day life.  A far cry from the days of Cheetos, soda, pizza, and TV.

Over time my finances have become automatic and with the automation my finances have become relatively easy to maintain and make gains, but my weight, fitness, and healthy (WFH) are a constant battle. That’s why I want to share with everyone what I did with my finances that I am applying to my WFH to become successful.

Finance to Fitness-Go all-in, immerse yourself

A key takeaway from my days of $100,000 in debt to today on the road to financial independence was I became all-in and immersed myself in the topic of personal finance.  Many of the financial success stories you read about all start with reading everything they can get their hands on.  It could be a personal finance blog, book, or podcast and you will find the major impact it had on their finances.

Personally, I listened to the Dave Ramsey podcast every day on my way to the train until I paid off all of my student loans and it made a major impact.  I read personal finance blogs like Get Rich Slowly and books by what felt like was the truck full.  I even started my own blog because I wanted to get feedback if I was doing the right thing paying off debt and heading in the right financial direction.

Today I am diving in to fitness and nutrition.  I have specific fitness related topics saved to my Listen Later podcast feed in Stitcher, I borrowed 2 books from the library on nutrition and fitness, my entire Instagram account is dedicated to those that motivate me about fitness and nutrition.  I’m all-in, I have taken that part of my life and made sure it’s front and center.

Finance to Fitness-Know where you have been and where you are going

” If you don’t know where you are today, you will never know where you are going.”  I have used this quote many times, most recently in my 2018 Financial Goals.  In this case I track all of my money at Personal Capital, but I also keep a manual entry Google Doc spreadsheet to get into more detail when needed.  It’s pretty fascinating to be able to look back and see how your spending, investments, and net worth have changed over time.  It allows for you to see your finances as a financial snapshot in time at one moment from the past to the present.

It all starts with a baseline or a Day 1.  In fitness I have taken to an old fashioned notebook writing down every meal, liquid, and exercise that happens with my body.  For me these are the receipts for my daily transactions, to know what is going into my body .  While I don’t keep an online tracker for this to make fancy charts and graphs, I do go through after a few days and highlight the good and the bad of what I am doing.

In fitness to get a financial snapshot, I took pictures of myself.  Actually the wife took pictures and each week I will get to see that fitness snapshot of where I am today, but also have the ability to compare it to past pictures.

Finance to Fitness-Take a challenge

In fitness I had started writing down certain goals and even tracking and looking for a specific action plan early in the month of January.  Then out of peer luck I came across the 250K challenge by Bodybuilding.com.  It actually happened to be the last day to enter your pictures, weigh yourself, and sign up.

These people are in much better shape than me

The motivation from others to start and stick with a challenge for 12 weeks is exactly what I need.  Don’t let the Bodybuilding part of the challenge make you think I’m looking to start cutting weight or rubbing orange bronzer all over Even Steven!  The challenge does involve money and such, but I am in it for the challenge and the accountability.

I don’t have a gym membership, just a 35 pound kettlebell, push-up bars(who game me those anyways), and maybe a jump rope if I can find it!  I look forward to creating challenges along the way to make it fun and challenging.  My first challenge actually involves the kettlebell as I swing for 10,000 in 4 weeks, more on that below.

Finance to Fitness-Accountability Partner

In finances it can be your spouse, friend, or what I consider the ultimate accountability partner “blogging on the internet”!  One of my best accountability partners has always been the internet and writing down goals, progress, and just sharing ideas.  I have done it via my blog, social media, and interacting with others at meetups and events.  Writing things down and sharing with others what your plans and goals are had a major impact on my financial life.

Establishing my accountability partner has been one of my tougher transitions with fitness, funny enough I find this part of my life private and vulnerable when sharing.  I have however joined Bodybuilding’s Bodyspace to share my fitness progress, which is really difficult because I’m not exactly a take your shirt off and show off kind of guy, in fact I’m probably the opposite.  Being the overweight kid will do that to you.  I have done a great job of taking pictures or should I say having my wife take pictures and measurements.  I have taken short video’s of myself working out to correct my form and talk about my progress or how I’m doing that day.  I’m probably more private about my fitness than I am my finances.

I write down every single item in my notebook, it’s essentially a big experiment journal on what I am eating, drinking, exercising, etc.  It’s my private accountability partner, it’s my way of telling it everything.  It’s a reminder of my measurements, my goals, and my progress.  I’m warming up towards accountability in my own private way.

Finance to Fitness-Experiment and Test

When I first began figuring out my finances I read everything and just tried it.  I would read books or blogs and see great example of how to pay off debt.  Dave Ramsey said to list your debts from smallest to largest and pay off the smallest first.  So I tried that, but I wanted more.  I realized that my paycheck wasn’t enough so I hustled harder for money, even starting up my own side gig on eBay.  I tried other things that worked for other people and applied them to my own life.  I experimented and tested over and over, in fact I still do that today with my parts of finances.

That’s exactly what I’m doing today with fitness.  I am reading about different nutrition plans, fitness suggestions, and taking what I understand and research to be true and effective and put into my life and run an experiment to see my results.  I mentioned the 10,000 Kettlebell swings and this is a perfect example of experiment and testing.  The author of the article Dan John gives need to know information that fit exactly what I wanted.

  1. Challenge yourself with four weeks of intensive kettlebell swinging to test your grit and improve body composition.

  2. Every lifter who was tested after this challenge increased lean muscle mass and conditioning.

  3. After four weeks, you will have done 10,000 kettlebell swings dispersed throughout 20 workouts. You’ll do 500 swings per workout.

  4. Between sets of kettlebell swings, do one of the following: chin-ups, goblet squats, dips, or overhead presses.

  5. Master your kettlebell swing form. It’s not a squat. It’s a hip hinge and a hip snap. Your arms should not travel above your shoulders.

I skimmed through the article and thought I can do this in fact forget 10,000 kettlebell swings, let’s do 10,000 squats and 10,000 push ups along with that………First off I’m glad I have big projections on what my body can do.

Day 1 I got through 100 push ups along with my squats and kettlebell swings and there I lay on the floor barely able to get up.  Experiment 1 done.  So I removed the push ups and by day 2 I realized that the squats had to go as well.  Also after thoroughly reading the article the 10,000 kettlebell swings is really hard to do and major accomplishment!

I’m on my way to 10,000 kettlebell swings and I’m tracking the progress to see how my body composition and conditioning have improved.

Summary

I have struggled with finances and fitness for most of my life and in 2018 I’m applying what I have learned and become successful with my finances to my weight, fitness, and health goals.  The similarity to success with either topic of finance or fitness is not a get rich quick scheme or a pill in a bottle solution.  In 2018 I will reach my goals by applying my finance lessons to my weight, fitness, and health.

I’m excited for the challenge ahead in 2018!  Thanks for reading.

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