I Ain’t Got No Money, But I’m a Wealthy Guy

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.”

27 Comments

  • Steve says:

    Very well put- makes me proud 2 be in the fitness industry 2 the degree that I am. Keep up the excellent work. BTW is your scorcher device still available? I know of your work, your e book on the subject of glute training was outstanding 🙂

    • Thanks Steve, no it’s not available. Getting things up and going from a manufacturing standpoint is much more difficult than people think. Maybe down the road I’ll do something with it but for now no way – the economy is terrible. Glad you liked the eBook.

  • Frank says:

    Great blog, could not agree more.

  • Amy N says:

    That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? It takes a lot of strength to swim against the consumerism tide–good for you!

  • seanskahan says:

    Great post Bret- Thanks for sharing.

  • Dr. Anthony says:

    Keep it real hommie. 🙂

  • Daniel says:

    Here’s a verse from the Sanskrit literature:

    न चोरहर्यं न राजहर्यं न भ्रातृभाज्यं न च भारकारी
    व्यये कृते वर्धते एव नित्यं विद्याधनं सर्वधनप्रधानम्

    “Not stolen by thieves, not seized by kings, not divided amongst brothers, not heavy to carry. The more you spend, the more it flourishes always – The wealth of knowledge is the most important among all kinds of wealth.”

  • Love the honesty Bret! Way to do it “your way.”

  • ViVi says:

    Money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. All misery is alike – your cookie cutter Barbis and McDreamies. But happy people are happy in their own ways. We all find happiness in a variety of places…for me, it’s running 10 miles and for you, it’s fitness purchases and seminars. We all want to be happy but for the right reasons, and ultimately, most of us would choose a rich and meaningful life over an empty, happy one, if such a thing is possible.

  • BN says:

    I would def buy a Skorcher! Scottsdale huh, home of the mighty Artichokes! I hated playing in AZ, kickoff was at 7 and it was still 100 out and the grass is weird down there! But back to the post well said man. a lot of bloggers just do it because it’s the “in” thing, you do it for the passion! And honestly what I’ve learned from your articles and posts is amazing! Like I’ve said b4, where were you like 6 years ago when I was in college!

  • I definitely have the fitness bug too my friend.

    Great blog Bret. I love the honesty.

    Robbie

  • darte says:

    Keep doing what you love and believe, the rest (money) will eventually follow. At least you did it your way and did not conform. Love your thoughts on training!

  • Great post Brett! I feel the same way, only it took me longer to figure it out. After 15 years in engineering and management consulting, I’m working in the fitness field for less money and more happiness. It’s cool.

    PS – good on ya for trying with your product! I went through a similar process with an invention – a board game actually (www.satgamefordummies.com). We actually got very far along with it, and in fact I think it’s still on some store shelves in Borders, but the economy + cost of manufacturing + lack of funding finally did us in. It’ll be a while before I finish paying the debt off from that, but it was worth it for the experience and for what I learned.

  • Keep up the good work man! It will all pay off and it already has.

    If you go the PhD route, I know you will succeed. I can’t say I would recommend it to many people as it is a long, windy, and treacherous road that only the most dedicated will go. That being said, if you decide it is the best route for you and are determined, you will succeed. Just keep your eye on the prize and realize it is a very long endurance contest more than anything else. Maybe I will change my mind once I am finally done! ha!

    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)
    http://www.ExtremeHumanPerformance.com

  • PolyisTCOandbanned says:

    Just don’t get all bitter and angry like Lyle. 🙂

    The Ph.D. thing soounds cool. It would be good to push you. Try to get a scholarship and stipend. Grad school can be a very cool mid-life break. And if you are used to living lean and have a little outside money, it can be comfortable. Can be a little draining dealing with professor weenies.

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