As I was driving to my friend’s personal training studio today to purchase a used Elitefts giant cambered bar for $80, some thoughts came to mind. Many years ago when I was a school teacher I saved up nearly $30,000 to buy all the strength training equipment I wanted. I saved by being frugal and living within my means. I developed the most badass garage gym in town. Prior to constructing my garage gym (when I was doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu and boxing) I built a “fight club” garage gym where the entire floor was lined with a giant wrestling mat and the garage was littered with heavy bags, speed bags, mitts, pads, gloves, and wraps. I had around 6 guys coming over twice per week to train and spar (though we’d travel to Tempe a few days per week to train with our instructor too).
Over the years I’ve never driven nice cars, I’ve never worn expensive clothing, and I’ve never lived a fancy lifestyle. I don’t get to travel nearly as much as I’d like and I don’t eat at nice restaurants very often. My friends always ask me to go do stuff with them at night and I often turn them down for two reasons. First, I’m usually busy working on a blog, an article, or researching a new topic. And second, I’m usually trying to save money for something fitness-related. Every time I get some extra money it goes right back into the fitness industry in some form or another.
I purchase equipment and products and attend conferences and seminars. I’m currently looking to apply to various Biomechanics PhD programs. If someone suddenly gave me $20,000 for no reason, I’d try to save some of it, but I’d probably spend a good portion of it on new equipment and conferences/seminars.
Several years ago I put down $60,000 for a deposit and purchase upgrades for a new condo in downtown Phoenix. The builders never completed the units and ended up filing for bankruptcy. Every buyer got screwed out of all of their money. This was a very frustrating experience but it taught me a good lesson. People can screw you over, things can get stolen or ruined, and bad things can happen to good people. But no one can ever take away your experiences and education.
I live in Scottsdale, home of some of the world’s biggest douchebags. We call them thirty-thousand dollar millionairres. Guys trying to act like they’re rich when they’re not. They drive nice cars, wear fancy clothes, and sport nice tans and fancy haircuts. When girls get to know these guys they quickly flee because the guys have no substance. What do they stand for? What are they passionate about? What’s there to admire in them?
I’m very proud that I have a reason to study my ass off and keep learning. I’m fortunate to be excited about something academic in nature. I’m happy that I have motivation to be the best I can be. It thrills me that many consider me to be the world’s “expert” on glute training. It may not be as glamorous as being the world’s best actor or football player, but at least it’s something.
A few years ago I spent a lot of time, money, and energy on my Skorcher invention which I feel is an unbelievable fitness product and the most valuable piece of equipment for building great butts. But it flopped due to shady investors and a bad economy. Even if I tried to start something up again with Skorcher it probably wouldn’t sell well because most trainers and coaches still don’t see the value in the hip thrust and horizontal loading. However, what makes me so happy in life is that I own a Skorcher and can use it in my own training and in my client’s training. All the time and money I spent on Skorcher is worth it simply because I own a Skorcher and it’s sitting in my own garage.
It feels good to get to a point where the most important thing to you isn’t money; it’s harmony. Are you doing what you love? Are you excited about your job? Do you have “the fitness bug?” You can’t put a price-tag on these things. If you get riled up to learn, then you’re in the minority and should be very proud of that.
I suppose I could spend my time learning marketing techniques and business-skills. But this just isn’t sexy to me. I’d rather learn more about biomechanics. I’ve been “doing it my way” and am paying the bills and gaining readers – even though I break most of the rules. If more money comes; great! Whether it does or not I’ll still be busy learning more about fitness.
I may not have a ton of money, but I’m wealthy beyond measure. And when I’m on my death-bed, at least I can say “I did it my way.”