The Similarities Between Weight Lifting and Personal Finance: The Gym Competition Edition


So a few friends, who know I work out at home, challenged me to a lifting competition. Being me, I gladly accepted, then the trash talking started.

I am the underdog here, big time! At home, I have the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 weight sets. You may be thinking, “what the hell is that?” Well, it’s an adjustable dumbbell weight set that goes from 10 lb to 90 lb.

That’s all I have! These two guys have an entire gym at their disposal. I believe this put me at a huge disadvantage when it comes to lifting heavy weights because my body has never lifted more than 180 lb at a time.

The Competition


  • Barbell Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Wide Grip pull-ups


The Rules


Barbell Bench:

The starting point is 205 lb then we have to increase the weight by 20 lb after each successful rep.

Dumbbell Bench:

We start at 100 lb then we increase the weight by 5 lb after completing 3 reps.

Wide Grip Pull-ups:

We have to do as many as you can.

Disclaimer #1:  This video is filled with testosterone, egos, foul language, and grunting.

Disclaimer #2:  I am the underdog. This is a nerd vs. jocks thing, me being the nerd of course.  These guys had the nerve to say, “I didn’t think you would show up.” LOL, I guess they didn’t know how competitive I really am.

Disclaimer #3:  Yea, yea yea.. I know my form sucks!


Round 1



If you read my post 37 Things You Don’t Know About Me, you can easily see I meant every word about being a jokester.

Oh, yes, that is me, singing Boys II Men, “End of the Road!”

Where I messed up?

Well, I had 305 lb, but I pushed up and forward instead of straight up, causing me to lose the weight (bad form strikes). I think we should have also gone to 295 lb instead of 305 lb after we completed 285! My two failed attempts at 305 took a lot of energy. The very last thing I noticed I did wrong was my grip. My grip wasn’t wide enough!

The first half of bench press is all chest (I got through the chest lift no problem), the second part of the bench, where you lock out, is triceps.  My triceps were fried when we got to 305 lb, and if I had widened my grip, I could have relied more on chest instead of triceps.

Oh well, you live and you learn. I’m very proud of my effort. I want to join the 300 lb club more than ever now.


Round 2



Same disclaimers here…

I thought I would win this one easily, but I didn’t. I’m still happy with my performance. I’ll get those 125 lb dumbbells more than once one day.


Round 3



By time we got to my bread and butter, I was beat. I thought that since we worked chest/triceps/shoulders that my LATS would be unaffected by time it came to pull ups. I was sadly mistaken.

I still cranked out more than 20, but I thought that I would have gotten at least 30!

One day I will be able to get 30 pull ups after a tough workout.


But what does this have to do with personal finance?


Well, I believe a part of being or striving to be wealthy is being healthy! What is the point of having a huge retirement fund if you won’t be around long enough to use it?

I also would like to emphasize that, if you are currently out of shape, this video should give you motivation!

Just a few months ago I couldn’t complete 8 pull-ups.
Just a few months ago I couldn’t lift 80 lb dumbbells.
Just a few months ago my barbell/dumbbell bench press wasn’t  never more than 200 lbs.


A few years ago I didn’t maintain a spending plan.
My net worth wasn’t increasing.
I was playing the new car every 2 years game.

Do you see how with a little hard work, dedication, discipline and effort you can be healthy and wealthy.


And one last thing…


Personal finance and personal health are in the same vein. They both take discipline, time, and the need to simply start where you are!

So, if you’re out of shape… GET OFF YOUR ASS AND WORK IT OUT!

If you’re in debt… GET OFF YOUR ASS AND WORK IT OUT!

The person in the mirror has to wake up every morning and look at that body and feel uncomfortable.  The person in the mirror has to wake up and look at those financial statements and feel uncomfortable.

All I’m asking is that you stop with the excuses, identify your weaknesses and work on them.


Call To Action!


Do you see the correlation between health, or working out, and wealth?  What are some of the things you’ve done this year, this month or this week, to better your financial or health position?




  • I'm so glad you wrote about this (and included video footage). Like you indicated, the same traits that make you successful with managing your money will make you successful at managing your health.

    The best tip I can give for saving money on clothes is to maintain your weight. If I gain weight to the point my clothes are too tight, I don't reward myself with new clothes. Suffering in uncomfortable jeans is my punishment and incentive for getting in shape.

    People often wonder why I set goals to lose 8 or 10 pounds. Doesn't seem like much. It makes perfect sense to me. Gotta keep things, i.e., my thighs, from getting out of hand.

  • I just got a chin/pullup bar for my house so I'm trying to go from weak to…something stronger.

    Cool video and challenge!

  • YFS /

    Chinup/pullups are definitely great exercises! I use them weekly to improve my strength.

  • YFS /

    I like the suffer from uncomfortable jeans method. I had a clothes moment but in a good way I guess.. I gained a lot of muscle over the last few months (shoulders/biceps/triceps). I thought my clothes were shrinking in the wash. lol

  • Success in one area breeds success in others. Bravo. I'm training to do a muscle-up on bar and rings by the end of the summer. Dang hard!

  • Yes get off your asssssss… That's what I did and added a blog to it to add accountability. Good stuff.

  • YFS /

    Woah.. a muscle up is serious business. Great goal! Hmm.. I might want to improve my goals a bit.

  • YFS /

    The accountability is working.. your before an after pictures are night and day!

  • now you're just showing off 🙂

    but i do appreciate it.. it makes me feel motivated to get off my lazy but and start running again. i'm doing great on the debt repayment thing.. but the "getting it" goals?.. not so much.

  • YFS /

    Hahah.. I really am not showing off. I had no clue I was as strong as I was, but I'm motivated more than ever now to get stronger. Kinda cool, since I'm not a gym rat and just have a few dumbells around the house. Keep up the good work on the debt repayment. One day at a time!

  • Great job! I'm impressed with the 23 pull ups after the work out. Why did you decide to do 2 bench press challenges? Seems like a dead lift or squat challenge would be better in the middle.

    I need to improve on my pull ups. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • YFS /

    This was their challenge, so I went along with it. Heck, if it was up to me we would have had a mile time trial in there too 🙂

  • Great post again! My brother is into fitness competitions so in our house I know all about what it takes to stay fit. I'm trying to convince him that it takes just as much discipline to really get a handle on his finances too.

  • […] Dominique Brown from Your Finances Simplified discusses how financial planning is like weight liftin… […]

  • The underlying theme is discipline. It is required for financial and personal success. Congrats on the competition, sounds fun!

  • YFS /

    I couldn't agree more.. Once you have discipline. Health and Wealth come easy.. or with time 🙂

  • YFS /

    I think it's easier to be financially fit, people just don't realize it. If your bother is in fitness competitions, he definitely has some serious discipline to pull that off. He has to eat right, sleep right, drink right, pose right.. It's like a darn job to be in a fitness competition.

  • I usually jog a couple miles 3 or 4 times a week. Should I do this before or after lifting?

    Do I need to warm up or stretch before I start lifting? Is it better to do many reps with low weights or a few reps with heavy weights? Thanks

  • The Similarities Between Weight Lifting and Personal Finance: The Gym Competition Edition…

    So a few friends, who know I work out at home, challenged me to a lifting competition. Being me, I gladly accepted, then the trash talking started. I am the underdog here, big time! At home, I have the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 weight sets. You may be th…

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