5 Financial Lessons I Learned from CrossFit

This post come to you from Ryan Michler from www.wealthantomy.com. Turns out Ryan is just as obsessed with Crossfit as I am.  I’ve been doing Crossfit since 2005 when I was deployed to Iraq and absolutely love it.

It has helped improve my overall fitness and also carried over positive influence into other areas of my life.  When Ryan offered to share how Crossfit has improved his fitness as well as teach him important financial lessons, I couldn’t wait to share it on the blog.

Enter Ryan…..

financial lessons I learned from crossfit


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I decided that it was time to start exercising when a client I’ve known for years met with me after a year of not seeing each other.

The first thing she did? Patted my belly and mentioned that I’d put on a “little” weight since we last saw each other.

That’s when I knew that I had to do something.

I wasn’t really sure how I was going to lose weight but I knew anything would be better than my midnight Dairy Queen trips and my lack of anything physical throughout the week (unless you call typing away at the computer an aerobic activity).

I started CrossFit in October of 2013. Since then, I’ve lost 40 pounds, increased my energy, I feel a ton better, and I look a lot better too. One of the most amazing things is that I’ve seen huge improvements in other areas of my life.

Being the financial junkie that I am, I came to realize there are connections between the lessons that I’ve learned at CrossFit and the principles that apply to finances.

Here are five lessons that will help you achieve even greater financial independence.

It’s Hard to Start

I tried to get out of bed at 5:30 to go to the gym and failed. I tried again and failed. But every day I keep trying and I’ve slowly but surely gotten better at getting my butt out of bed and off to the gym. At this point it has become a habit. It’s almost weird not to get up early, almost.

It’s like this with money too. You try to pay off debt and you can’t. You try to save for an emergency and decide to spend the money on something else.

Just remember that starting is the hard part. Whether your goal is to pay off debt, invest for retirement, or start that side business, don’t give up. If you fail, try again. One day you’ll realize that you no longer need to try. It is as much of a habit as brushing your teeth.

Results Take Time

I must have dropped 15 pounds in the first couple of weeks. How exciting! I thought,

“Man, I could do this for two months and look amazing.”

Then week three hit me. My results began to slow along with my motivation. I’ve still continued to lose weight but not at my original pace.

Have you ever hit the fast track with some large financial goal only to start slowing down as life and reality hit? Before too long, something derails you-you have an emergency, you lose your job, or have a slow month at work.

You may not see results right away but give yourself a break!

You may have spent the last several decades acquiring the bad financial habits that have gotten you to where you are now. Let’s be realistic in assuming that it might take some time to overcome them. You’ll be a lot happier with the journey when you don’t focus on immediate results and instead focus on solid financial principles and habits.

Your Friends Will Try to Sabotage You

It wasn’t any sooner that I started on this healthy track that my friends realized that I was doing something worthwhile and either consciously or unconsciously wanted to keep me from it. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to maintain the status quo than it is to set off on a mission that might take some serious effort.

Or, maybe, these distractions became a little more obvious when I was trying to fight so hard against them.

Either way, recognize what is going on around you. Whether it’s health or wealth, once you start down the right path, you’ll notice little things that keep you from accomplishing your goals. Like friends that want to take you to the buffet or go on that weekend spending spree.

But, I also found friends that were on board with my new-found health! I was asked to be on a Ragnar Relay team and I was asked to join a weight-loss challenge within a matter of weeks.

Recognize, who you should be associating with, who will be a champion for your cause, and who will be there to give you a little push when necessary.

You Will Try to Sabotage You

Okay, so we’ve talked about our friends as the enemy but what about you? Are you your own worst enemy? I know that I tend to be.

It feels good to sit around and do nothing after a long day. It feels good to stay in my warm comfortable bed early in the morning. It feels good to go for that extra helping of casserole or stop by the fast food drive through for lunch (Jeff may make an exception on this if we’re talking about In-N-Out Burger).

Note from Jeff:  Yes, I would ABSOLUTELY make an exception for In-N-Out Burger.  ;-)

It also feels good to buy those new jeans, or purchase that new car, or buy that slightly bigger house.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do these thing but understand that when you say ‘yes’ to something, you are saying ‘no’ to something else. In this case, your financial freedom.

It Takes a Team to be Successful

When I told one of my friends that I was starting CrossFit, he laughed. And not just a chuckle-a full bully laugh. Why? He said it was, and I quote, such a rip off!

Who’s laughing now? I’m in shape, he’s not. Simple as that. But let’s explore why?

When you compare CrossFit to the “other” gym, it’s not even a fair comparison.

Try to go to the gym and see what happens when you show up and don’t know what workout to do. You leave early. When things get a little difficult, you give up. When no one is looking, you don’t try as hard.

Now, let’s look at CrossFit.

When you get to the gym, you know what you need to do because it’s been programmed for you. When things get a little difficult you keep going. Not because you aren’t tired but because there is no way you want anyone to see you quit. It isn’t even an option to slack off because you’re surrounded by 20 other athletes all working their hardest to achieve their goals for health.

How does that apply to the world of finance? Getting ahead financially is difficult. It gets hard. There are setbacks. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will help you push through those difficult times.

Who is on your financial team?

Well, I can tell you who it should be. It should certainly be your life-partner: your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your husband, your wife, whatever. My wife won’t let me quit. Of course she sees my untapped potential but her standard of living depends upon my success. Our goals are aligned.

It should also be some sort of financial coach. It could be your advisor, it could be your accountant, or your attorney but it has to be someone who can give you a 30,000 foot view-someone who is not attached to your finances the way that you are.

Emotions and instincts get in the way. Sure they’re great for finding love and staying alive but they work hard against you when it comes to building wealth. That is why you need someone who can see beyond the obstacles and road-blocks and say what needs to be said in times of difficulty.

You should also have some sort of outlet for continued financial advice. We’re constantly bombarded with information that will keep us from success. Use this credit card, buy this overpriced gadget, use your tax refund to purchase the car you don’t need.

A steady source of wise financial information will help combat these daily attacks.

Find a team to support you in your goals. In times of struggle your team will help you push through.

Stay motivated

This all leads me to my next point which is that you need to stay motivated for things to work. In the face of all the obstacles that will keep you from success, you need to have something that motivates you to continue.

For me, I want to be healthy so that I can roll around on the floor with my boys and see them get tired before I do. I want to bounce with them on the trampoline all day long. I want my wife to look at me the way she did when we got married almost ten years ago.

My motivating forces for my finances are not much different. I want to create a life where I can take the afternoon off to watch my kids’ ballgame. I want to help my 6 year old become a veterinarian (at six he has a passion for animals that would amaze you). I want to be able to take my wife on the trips she wants and deserves.

What motivates you? What is it that you want financially? What is it that will keep you going when it’s hard to start, when results are slow, when your friends are fighting against you, and when you are fighting against yourself? You figure this out and the world will bend over to make it happen.

To your health and wealth!

Be sure to check out Ryan’s new site WealthAnatomy.com.

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Comments | 10 Responses

  1. says

    Not 100% crossfit, but I appreciate it when I get to hit up the classes. I totally agree that your team is crucial to your success.

    You are nothing without a strong team. Get the right people on your team and nobody can stop you guys.

  2. says

    Through the past 5 years of financial growth, with
    Dave Ramsey as my financial counselor, and leading FPU, as well as getting myself in shape through 2 years of CrossFit, I think the hardest part of your first step “It’s Hard to Start” is the actual knowledge of where you are. We hide from our own behavior so we don’t see the effects it has on us. But others see. Then they pat us on the belly and tell us we’ve added a few pounds. I think the easiest way to make “starting” a possibility is to look at your life map and find the little dot that says, “You Are Here.” Knowing where you stand is the most powerful aspect of change, as it removes the fear and allows you to chart a new course.

  3. Michelle says

    Oooh, I’ve done the Crossfit thing and know how tough it is. I also felt great while doing it. I am trying to get out of debt so paying that much wasn’t for me. I did joint he gym but agree it is so easy to get off track with the gym as opposed to Crossfit. Your trainers KNOW when you are not there and give you crap. The gym could care less.
    Anyway, great advice and while I couldn’t stick with Crossfit I know what it takes and it is the same dedication I’m applying to get out of debt (hence why I stopped Crossfit). I also tore my ACL which makes squats, etc. very difficult.

    • says

      Michelle,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Get yourself healthy and then, I would suggest a workout partner if you aren’t going the Crossfit route. Do you having someone supporting you in your debt payoff challenge too?

  4. says

    Hello Jeff,

    I understand how hard it is to wake up at 5:30 in the morning. It is hard to balance your work schedule with a good workout. Most people give up during the first week because they feel too “tired”. What they don’t know is that after the first couple of weeks your mindset completely changes and makes you feel better about everything. I also find it inspirational as I get most of my investing ideas at the gym.

    Great post

    • says

      I’m with you Frank! The gym is a great place for me to clear my head. The best ideas come when we clear enough space in our lives and minds to receive them, right?

  5. says

    Thanks for the chance Jeff! I appreciate you discussing your useful area and what you do for you followers! Also Get the right individuals on your group and nobody can quit you individuals. Thanks for nice post.

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