In the world of fitness, speed doesn’t kill, size does.

Invincible. Unstoppable. Like Superman flying through through the night, lead arm extended, there is nothing quite like it. Nutrition is dialed in and training is rock solid. Whether the end goal is a little stronger, a little faster, a little leaner, or a little healthier, it’s achievement isn’t a question of if, only a question of when.

Save for one, tiny, little potential fly in the ointment: size.

The truth is the only real barrier between here and there — the only obstacle between now and then — the only storm that could possibly stop superhuman status is simple — size.

Inside the gym walls, this size monster can and does manifest itself in a few different ways. Sometimes it shows up as heavier loads on the bar before your joints are ready for them. Sometimes it shows up as longer training sessions before your available energy stores are high enough. And sometimes it shows up sneakily as nothing more than a good ol’ fashioned showoff showdown. But in the end, it’s all reduced down to the same common denominator — the size of the ego. 

At the kitchen table, it may not be about reps/set or sets/session, but it’s the same idea. The food item on the plate isn’t nearly as important as the size of the plate itself. The macro source selected doesn’t matter nearly as much as the volume of said macro source. At the end of the day, it’s not the flavor of the ice cream in the cone, it’s the number of scoops towering out of the cone (although the flavor isn’t up for debate…anecdotal studies have shown chocolate almond is clearly the best)

By all means, progressively overload in the gym, sneak in some AMRAP (as-many-reps-as-possible) or AFAP (as-fast-as-possible) sets, and challenge the system with demanding training sessions. And of course, enjoy some sizeable meals from time-to-time with close friends, closer family members, or even the extreme closeness and solitude of a lonesome, carb-induced, dopamine rush. Just remember that kettlebells aren’t the enemy, carbs aren’t the enemy,and Krispy Kremes aren’t the enemy. Excess is the enemy.

In the world of fitness, speed doesn’t kill, size does.

And a stock portfolio is no different, where nothing can expose just how lethal an inappropriately sized position can be quite like the out-of-body experience that is being caught on the wrong end of a five standard deviation move. Emotions are quickly torched and nerves are immediately fried when a trade that is three times the size it should be is quickly ripping in the wrong direction. In the world of portfolio management, there are few situations more terrifying than this one. When sized appropriately, the active trader can absorb just about anything the market throws his way (save for maybe a naked short call going into a wallstreetbets fueled short squeeze on a meme stock, but that only happens once every few weeks nowadays)

Without question, there’s a time and a place to scale up position sizes. As experience is gained and account sizes grow, a natural byproduct of this progression is to beef up trade sizes a bit. With more skill and ability, it makes sense to have a little more skin in the game. The key, however, is this process must be done gradually and incrementally through careful risk assessment. 

Sure, it’s more rewarding to cash in on a bullish up move with a three lot rather than a one lot, and it’s more gratifying to take a contrarian stance and bank a bearish down move with a ten lot rather than a three lot. But sooner or later, those same trades will inevitably move the other way, as every trader knows. And it’s in these moments that appropriate sizing, or lack thereof, will no longer be hidden, but instead brought into the light and completely exposed.

So whether it’s ego in the gym, Eggo’s at breakfast, or 5x the expected move in ZM, the only true kryptonite is size. As long as Lex Luthor doesn’t get his hands on that, Superman status can continue.

Jim Schultz, Ph.D., a derivatives trader, fitness expert, owner of and the daily host of From Theory to Practice on the tastytrade network, was named North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation’s 2017 Novice Bodybuilding Champion. @jschultzf3