March 30, 2019

Why weightlifting?

<div style=" display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div></div></div><div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div><div style="display:block; height:50px; margin:0 auto 12px; width:50px;"></div><div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style=" color:#3897f0; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:550; line-height:18px;"> View this post on Instagram</div></div><div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"><div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"></div></div><div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg)"></div></div><div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style=" width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"></div> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"></div></div></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"></div> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"></div></div><p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by Max's Gym (@maxsgym) on </p></div></blockquote>

I worked 11–12 hour days, graveyard shift.

It was my first job out of college—for which I felt very fortunate to have!

I worked for a Chicago trading firm, trading European financial products.

It required sitting.

A lot.

I sat so much at that job, waiting.

Waiting for events to happen in the markets.

If war is a lot of waiting, interrupted by overwhelming bouts of action, then trading is similar.

Amidst my waiting I would read articles on my computer about human decision-making.

Total clickbait stuff–studies about “whether longer ring fingers correlate with more optimal risk-taking behavior.”

It got me reading about hormones, and their role in decision-making:

  • Testosterone.
  • Cortisone.
  • Dopamine.

Everything I read corroborated my own experiences in trading.

Single days in which I lost more than $100k were vivid memories seared into my brain.

Much more so than than the days I gained $100k.

The days after losing money you’re a second-guessing mess!

Classic loss-aversion.

There’s a scientific basis for that:

Cortisone inhibits testosterone and testosterone impacts your fight-or-flight behavior.

I asked myself what seems like the obvious question:

How can I increase my testosterone levels?

That’s where weightlifting came in—to see whether I could observe a behavior change in myself by upping my natural T-levels.

It didn’t work out quite how you’d imagine—for one, I quit my job with my new-found risk-taking abilities!

But for another, I discovered that there’s a whole slew of factors that impact your behavior beyond testosterone’s effects:

  • sleep
  • diet
  • sex-drive
  • age (god this one sucks—LOL!)
  • distress

Ultimately, addressing these human needs is how I got into weightlifting.

If you’re curious about my programming (what I lifted and how often) from when I first started out—I bought the 2nd edition of Starting Strength for $30.

It can be summed up as: squat/bench/deadlift 3x a week, 5x5 monotonically increasing the weights you attempt. Watch your form.

It was only a couple years back now (2016?) that I became more observant of remaining constistent in my trainings

Now I do it less for the natural hormonal/behavior change benefits, but for the social aspect.

Competitive athletics brings together an amazing group of people—there are few A-holes in niche sports as small as weightlifting.

And I can say it’s given me some amazing friends and some extremely memorable experiences!