What My Personal Trainer Has Taught Me About Personal Finance

I recently bought some sessions with a personal trainer. I usually lift on my own or take a group class at the gym, but I thought it might be time to take my experience and knowledge to the next level by having one-on-one time with a fitness expert.

The first few sessions have been amazing. I’ve learned a ton about posture and positioning, as well as how different muscles connect. I’m also amazed at how similar learning about personal training is to learning about personal finance. I’m a better student of personal training having gone through the fundamental process with personal finance. Here are three crucial steps that apply in both contexts and may help you rethink how you approach your finances (or personal training).

 Goal Setting

My trainer first asked about my fitness goals. I told him that I wanted to be Ninja Warrior strong. If you haven’t seen the show, contestants try to conquer a brutal obstacle course that involves running, jumping, balance, and impossible upper body challenges. To me, these guys and gals represent the ultimate measure of strength. Using that goal as a starting point, my trainer and I spent a good amount of time fleshing out my goals and what I really wanted from a new fitness program.

The process of goal setting is also essential to personal finance. You have to understand what financial freedom means to you. It could be being able to retire at 50, or travel the world for a year, or give 20% of your income to charity. Whatever it is, you need to specify what you want and why you want it. If you are taking on the process with a financial advisor, this should be one of the first things he/she asks you.

Analyzing Where You Are

After setting goals, my trainer spent some time taking my measurements and testing my fitness level. We also talked about the other aspects of my life that relate to my fitness like my current stress levels at work, my diet, and the amount of sleep I get.  (I even wowed him with my spreadsheet that tracks my calories and macronutrients. )

Similarly, I assess where my clients are as far as their financial health. I usually do this with a cash-flow analysis and balance sheet to see what we’re working with. As the saying goes, you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. Having a definitive starting point gives you a baseline to measure your progress.

Learning the Fundamentals

I feel like my trainer was a bit surprised how excited I was to learn the fundamentals of form and body mechanics. We didn’t lift a weight that first workout, and I loved it. We spent most of the time moving my body in different ways and allowing me to get a sense of which muscles I actively want to work with different movements. Without know the proper form and techniques, I won’t ever get as strong as I can be.

If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely already excited to learn about the fundamentals of personal finance. Good for you for understanding that crucial step. No matter where you are in your personal finance journey, you need to make sure you understand the foundational elements of a solid personal finance plan. Otherwise, your plan may not be the best way to achieve your goals, and worse case scenario, may detract from them.

Whether you’re trying to accomplish fitness goals, personal finance goals, or any other goals, these three steps are crucial to getting started. And if you succeeded in one arena, you should use that process and accomplishment as momentum for meeting your other goals.