Success to the Fittest

My twin brother often tells me that if I wanted to be wealthy, I shouldn’t have pursued a PhD. He’s probably right. Most PhDs don’t make millions. Although my education hasn’t yet made me very successful, my fitness certainly has, because there’s a strong relationship between education, fitness and success.


Seventy-five percent of runners are college educated, compared to just 30 percent of the U.S. adult population. And there are many anecdotes from CEOs and entrepreneurs that the confidence, creativity and productivity derived form exercise drives success. Once a society in which overconsumption and indulgence were the marks of the wealthy, we now live in a society in which CEOs run marathons. Fitness is the new status symbol. Life is not just survival of the fittest, as Darwin argued; it is also success to the fittest.

Take the research of Vasilios Kosteas, an economist at Cleveland State University, who studied whether exercising on a regular basis leads to earning more money. He found that a sedentary individual who starts to exercise a few times per month will see an average of a 2.2-percent increase in his weekly earnings. In addition, an individual who exercises one to three times per month earns an average of 5.2 percent more than a sedentary individual, and regular exercisers earn 6 to 9 percent more. Using statistical procedures to tease out the details of the relationship, he showed that the relationship between regular exercisers and greater financial success is causal—people who exercise earn more because they exercise. People who exercise, especially those who train in pursuit of a goal, are driven to be successful. Seventy-three percent of people who run on a regular basis have a household income of more than $75,000, compared to the U.S. median household income of $52,700.

Better fitness also results in better grades in school. One study found that the odds of passing state-wide achievement tests in mathematics and English increased as the number of fitness tests that the students passed increased, even when the researchers controlled for confounding factors that could affect either academic achievement or physical fitness. Even in cultures in which academic achievement is placed in high regard, such as in Taiwan, research has shown that there is a strong link between physical fitness test scores and students’ academic achievement. Having recently been to Taiwan to teach my REVO₂LUTION RUNNINGTM certification, I can attest that fitness and education evolve togetherall of the attendees at my certification workshop in Taiwan passed the certification exam on the first try, while many certified trainers in the U.S. had to take the exam multiple times before passing. It seems that if you want your kids to excel at school, they should exercise before doing their homework.

Being fit, you already have a leg up on the rest of society. The trick is learning how to use your fitness to become more educated and successful.


If you haven’t signed up for the REVO₂LUTION RUNNINGTM certification yet, what are you waiting for? Take the home-study course or purchase tickets to the awesome live show! And once you’re certified, become a Master Trainer and increase your revenue!

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