In the financial world, there is a big difference between true wealth and the outward appearance of wealth. We can define true wealth as the financial cushion to handle predictable and some non predictable negative financial circumstances (loss of income, medical expenses, etc) as well as the financial position to comfortably live the lifestyle you desire with the potential to grow your wealth. We see this play out with the example of many Americans with nice cars, big TV’s, big houses, and lots of toys who still live pay check to pay check without any insurance, retirement, or investments. This is true for all income brackets. People living in poverty make foolish financial decisions just as millionaire sports stars go bankrupt from doing the same. Likewise, intelligent financial decisions including insuring oneself from catastrophe and investing in the future are made by people of all income levels as well.
This same principle applies to the training world. There are many things you can do that are geared more towards the outward appearance as opposed to things that truly build lasting value. Where you put your resources will play a big roll in the over all outcome. While intelligent investments may not bring the same short term joy, they can bring lasting value. Here are two examples of what I am referring to:
Time is our most valuable resource because it is truly non renewable. Time spent can never be earned back so it’s important that you use it wisely. Spending time trolling others on social media sites can bring short term enjoyment but has little long term value for the lifter. If we’re going to look at the true ROI (with return being characterized as improved health, performance, and/or physique) for time spent on social media, it is very very low. Interacting with other humans is great but social media platforms are not the best for exchanging quality information. Instead, a more intelligent investment decision would be to spend time reading and learning from people who have established themselves as credible in the areas you are interested in.
Energy is a renewable resource but it is not infinite. Like a savings account, you have a limited amount of energy that you can expend before you need to spend some time replenishing it. Therefore, intelligent energy usage is ideal for long term success. Many people waste their energy making their work a show for others in the gym to experience. Now, there are times when exuding a lot of outward energy is beneficial like when you are attempting a max set on a major lift. Getting yourself hyped up, however you may do it, can be necessary for certain situations. The issue is when it is used in all situations. Cable crossovers? Scream at the top of your lungs so everyone watches. Warm up set on dumbbell bench? Shot put the dumbbells out of your hands and hope no body’s feet are in the way (also who cares if you destroy the equipment). Getting ready to squat? Pour chalk on your back instead of putting your shirt on. These are the things that bring no benefit to the lifter but are instead a waste of time and potentially a nuisance to other people.
The only reason I can reflect on these things is because I have been guilty of them. As a younger lifter I made a lot of mistakes and was often time confused on what true success looks like. Now with some time under my belt in the weight room, I can look back and realize my mistakes. I used to toss dummbells on the floor until I realized that it was hurting my shoulder and causing the dumbbells to bend. I used to scream during my sets till I realized focusing on my breathing would help me perform better. I used to put chalk on everything until I realized perfecting my setup and technique made it so I didn’t really need it. If you’re newer in the fitness game, take my advice: invest your resources wisely and focus on long term success instead of trying to give the outside perception of it.