By Joe Wuebben
I believe in good fitness and good personal finances (among other things). Having control of both, not just one or the other, will make your life better, easier, and more enjoyable. Being a mess in either one, not to mention both, can be a disaster. It’s not healthy, it’s insanely stressful, and it’s likely to cause you much pain.
And why do I mention these two things together, fitness and finance? Is it because I think they’re the two most important things in life? No. I’d say a third “F” – family – is more important.
I often talk about the two areas in the same breath because they’re so damn similar. They parallel each other in so many (though not quite all) ways.
I first wrote on this topic in a 2013 issue of Muscle & Fitness magazine, on the backpage column we used to call “Last Set.” I called that particular article “Muscle & Finance” as a play off of the magazine’s the name.
I’m going to make a habit of calling out fitness and finance parallels when they come to mind, starting here…
Fitness & Finance Parallel #1: Diversification is Key
In finance, putting all your eggs in one basket leaves you at substantial risk of losing all your money if that one basket happens to be, say, a poorly run company that goes under.
Example: All those Enron employees who not only depended on the company for 100% of their monthly income, buy who’s retirement savings were also 100% tied to Enron stock. Enron ended up being exposed as a fraud and crumbled in epic fashion, and all those Enron 100-percenters lost not only their regular incomes but also their life savings. This is a pretty extreme case, but the point is, those people weren’t diversified and it cost them dearly.
In fitness, diversification is similar. If you put all of your exercise eggs, so to speak, in the lifting heavy weights basket, you may build some muscle and get stronger, but your flexibility and cardiovascular health could suffer. If you all you do is run long distance, you get pretty good at running, but you don’t build much strength or power or even mobility (outside of the basic running motions). You’re a one-trick pony.
In the fitness world, diversification is called “well-roundedness.” Work on strength, work on building muscle for improved body composition, work on endurance, work on conditioning, work on mobility, work on core stability.
Jim has a program that hits all these areas: Fitter, Faster, Leaner. Give that a try for a great dose of diversification in your training. And keep in mind that Jim likes to do other physical activities outside of the gym; he likes going for hikes, and he’s very much into mixed martial arts training and has been for years. Jim is way more diversified than most people realize.
There are many components of well-rounded fitness, and it can get overwhelming, but the point is, don’t just do one thing. Don’t focus on improving in only one area of your fitness. Lift heavy, lift light. Train with long rest periods and short ones. Do all types of exercises: free weights, machines, bodyweight-only, kettlebells, TRX, cables, bands, etc. Do some running, do some sprinting, every now and then get in the pool and swim a few laps. Go hiking, go skiiing, play soccer with your kid in the backyard, try yoga.
Think about the key areas of fitness – strength, hypertrophy, power, endurance, cardio, mobility, skill development, to name a handful – and try to address them regularly.