Exercise and My Trading

Before I started SMB I could be found after work for hours playing pickup basketball at the exclusive Reebok Club in NYC.  I loved the competition, the guys who played regularly, and trying to get better in my early thirties at a sport I enjoyed.  It also left me in remarkable physical condition, just a few pounds from my high school weight.

Trading is a performance game.  Exercise helps us perform better as it leaves us with an ability to focus better, happier, and less stressed.  A respected market veteran with ties across the Street recently shared that he noticed an unusually high percentage of top trading performers were also competitive cyclists, runners, and triathletes.  Their workout regiment prepared them for market battles.  In a recent post I remarked at how impressed I was that a top US Hedge Fund not only had an in-house gym but had trainers on call for anyone interested.  Today our office sits right across from NY Health and Racket Club which makes training as simple as a walk across the street.

Some observations on physical training and trading:

1) I do not like the competition of basketball after work anymore.  I get enough of it building a firm.  Today I prefer running and core-weight training.

2) Working out in the AM hurts my trading performance.  It tires me out by 11AM.  Other times do not have this effect on me.  Find the best time for you to train.

3) I gain a lot of confidence from my core-weight training.  I feel stronger at all times.  This translates to solving firm challenges.

4) I most enjoy the growth reward of physical training.  Give me a goal to get fitter and I will stick to my workout.  Leave me with just the goal of maintenance and I am disinterested.

5) Steve has taught me that our personalities dictate which physical activities we will enjoy most.  Some will like team sports.  Others will prefer to exercise alone.  Consider this when choosing your workouts.

What works best for you?

Mike Bellafiore

Author, One Good Trade

10 Comments on “Exercise and My Trading”

  1. I still enjoy playing basketball myself, so I play when I can (not so much in the winter, unfortunately). In addition, I live in an area where I can walk to pretty much any place I want to go to (not NYC). So, instead of taking public transit, I would walk.

  2. weight lifting 3-4 times a week, cardio (running, basketball, etc) 2 times a week works for me. keeps me feeling energetic, healthy, and organized. I perform best when Im working in routine. and to be consistent, it requires discipline, as excuses to rest instead of work out come easy…

  3. Mike….I can say that workout routines do change with age but also you must know your body.
    A team sport, even tennis doubles or paddle tennis( played this morning) gets the blood flowing
    and clears the head. I have found it’s important to mix up activities so you will not get bored.
    Chris-Stock trader for 20 years

  4. Regular cardio and weight training in the morning before trading helps clear my mind and essentially “prepares” me physically for the trading session ahead. Physical discipline reinforces mental discipline.


  5. I don’t think you can express this point enough. Exercise is very important for getting fresh blood flow to all the millions of cells in your body including your brain. I believe your eating habits can also have a profound impact on performance. I cut sugar out of my diet 1 year ago and my thinking is much more clearer than it has ever been. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do by the way. This includes milk. Competetive people use any edge to win. Nothing but winning matters. Trade on.

  6. I used to love playing team sports, but like yourself I do not get the same satisfaction out of them anymore. I believe that is partially to blame for suffering a couple major “breaks” and “tears” in my last two football and basketball pick-up games.

    I have really switched my focus onto the the exercise that gives me time to think, while burning those endorphins and strengthening my body at the same time. My favorite is most definitely cycling. Going on a long ride is very rewarding for me both mentally and physically. Another exercise I have just recently begun, is Yoga. I had heard all the hype for years, but it wasn’t til recently that I decided to check it out. I haven’t gone to any classes, but a friend of mine showed me the mats from http://www.selftrainermat.com , which have all the poses printed on them. I enjoy this from home.

    I think you could say I am more into the self-preservation, and thought producing exercises than the competitive fields I used to favorite.

  7. my best ideas come from my cardio sessions, too rare these days but working on it!

  8. I find that by working out in the AM, before the regular session open, my body and mind becomes ready for a new trading day. At the end of the regular session I am fairly beat and might even take a nap. I never liked working out in the PM….that is just my routine,


  9. This is a lower body stretch routine that is suitable for any fitness level and should be done several times per week.
    workout routines

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