March 30, 2019

Why weightlifting?

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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!