Why Lifting Weights is like the Stock Market

What could pumping iron and investing money have in common?  The answer is a lot!  If you partake in both activities the similarities will be glaring by the end of this article.  If you have not invested in the market or yourself you will learn the realities of both.

Overnight Success?

When most people start investing in the Stock Market they think they are going to pick that one lucky stock and become overnight millionaires.  They don’t realize those that have made their riches in the market have spent many years researching the market and picking the ones that led to their success.  All the while for every “winner” there were multiple losers along the way.  Even if you invested in Amazon, Netflix, Google, and other winners those gains did not occur overnight.  It took patience and a little bit of luck to reap the rewards.

The same lessons about overnight success can be applied to lifting weights.  You join a gym and you meet the “guy” of your gym.  You know the one who is built like Mr. America.  You start lifting and you instantly get stronger.  A few weeks go by and you notice muscles that weren’t there before.  You think you are going to be the new Mr. America in the gym in a few months.    You think this success will never stop.  You are going to be the next Arnold!  Right?  Then reality occurs.  Progress slows.  Those highs don’t occur as often.  But, if you continue to grind you will make long-term progress. Just like in the Stock Market the ones that hold strong are the long-term winners.

The Hot New Stock/Exercise

Every so often a new stock emerges.  It is trendy, cool, and superhyped up by all the experts.  It can be a boom or bust stock.  Should you put $100 worth of your money into it?  Or a $1,000 or more?  For exercise, think hip thrusts.  This is an exercise that can build your butt, deadlift, and squat.  Or you can do it and obtain no results whatsoever.

Penny Stocks and Calves

Penny stocks are stocks that sell for less than $1.  They could fizzle out to nothing (likely).  Or they could blow up and make their investors rich (not likely).  I equate penny stocks to calves.  Calves are relatively small muscles in the lower part of our legs.  They serve a purpose in running, jumping, showing off our legs in the summer.  Sometimes we look down at them and we want them to be bigger and more muscular.  So we blitz them with 20 sets of different calf raises in a workout in hopes that they grow.  This is like investing $1,000 in a penny stock hoping it sees massive gains and you get rich.  Then, you realize your effort/money was more wisely spent doing squats and investing in a stock with a proven track record.

Highs and Lows

If the Stock Market went up all the time every investor would own a yacht, a Ferrari, and a house in the Hamptons.  Unfortunately, that is not how the market works.  In 2008-2009 we all learned that.  People lost thousands in their retirement accounts.  They had to work longer and put off retirement or worse.  Then there are times like in 2017 where the market climbs back at a furious pace and people’s faith in investing is restored.  Just remember what goes up must come down.

Lifting weights follows the same methodology. There are times when you feel great and you smash personal records session after session.  Then there are times where you feel like poop on a stick and you just do the minimum.  Then there are times where you are on solid middle ground.  Sometimes the lows are followed by highs and the highs are followed by lows.  However, if you stick with it you will make progress and be happy you didn’t quit.


The advice that comes with investing is to diversify your portfolio.  This is meant to prevent you from putting too much money into one area.  This is normally good advice so you don’t end up poor.  However, if you could go back 10 years and choose to diversify or put all of you money into Amazon (hit $1,500 a share yesterday) what would you do?  For the record Amazon was around $64 per share in February 2008.  Hindsight is 20/20 and I would have put every dollar in my name on Amazon.

The same advice applies to lifting weights.  If you want to be balanced you need to incorporate different exercises, cardio, activities, and stretches in your portfolio.  But, if you want to be the best powerlifter, weightlifter, bodybuilder, or strongman that you can be you have to focus on that specific sport.  This is why people who constantly change routines make very little progress.  They are diversifying their portfolio too much.


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