My Trading Quest - Profitability in 90 days!

Hi Everyone,

I am new to this forum and would like to journal my journey for a new trading quest I have been thinking about for a long time.

I have been trading on and off for over 20 years and I have many scars to prove it. Recently, I became a funded trader with Topstep Trader using my own scalping system on US 30 Year Bonds. In the past I have traded Futures and Forex manually and with my own coded systems.

I have completed many trading courses and seminars. Most of the time I could not replicate their results! They often promise the world but most do not deliver.

Like most of us, I have been burned by these trading companies.

It is time to test these trading companies and see who can deliver.

My journal will track my progression:
  • I will explain why I chose the courses on the short list and why I chose the first one to test.

  • Right through to setup, back-testing, live trading and hopefully to profitability

  • I will explain what works and what doesn't

  • I will not be sharing anything that is proprietary to the company

My goal is to see if I can become profitable in 90 days.

If I fail, then I will start again with another 90-day challenge ... until I find a profitable course.

I would love it if people have questions or can suggest things along the way.

If anyone would like to suggest a trading course to add to my list, I would appreciate it.

I am NOT associated with any Trading Company.

I am excited to share my journey and my results with you.

Come along with me on My Trading Quest!

DAY 18- Apex Sniper Trading Bootcamp – Daily Review …

An interesting day for ES and NQ still giving good signals.

Actions I took:

  • Listened to the trading room for the first 90 mins of the US Open

  • Continued using Market Replay to improve my live market decision making for the live market

  • Reviewed the potential trades for Friday

Live Trade Room and Commentary

I believe the live trading room with commentary and calling trades good for some people but distracting for others. Some of the knowledge shared in the room is very useful and would help me to learn quicker.

I fall into the bracket of being distracted and I don’t want trades called for me. So the question is, how do I get the knowledge that is shared in the room?

I have tried recording the session and because the talking is not continuous can be over 2 or more hours, it isn’t practical to review it every day.

So I believe the best way is if I record it and then convert it to text. I could skim the text in 10 mins and see what is useful and what is not. There are some free and paid programs. The paid ones can work out expensive so I am looking for one that is free or low price to achieve this. So far I have not found a program that does a good job.

If anyone can suggest a program that will convert either audio or video/audio to text, I would appreciate it.

Market Replay Lessons

Again, the Market Reply reinforced some items I need to focus on.

Friday ES Potential Trades

Two losses in a row!!

Remember, the tracking sheet is of all trades that I identified for the day. The plan is to have 3 Profitable Net Trades or 3 Losing Net Trades then quit for the day.

I also showed my tracking of MFE (Maximum Favorable Excursion) for each trade. This is an important statistic that I use to allow me to make an informed decision to vary my profit target.

In simple terms, MFE is how far the trade moves in a profitable direction.

You will also notice a comment “stopped must have been placed in the correct place”. In this trade, the long entry bar was sitting on a paw (line) that was 1 tick below the low of the bar. The normal stop would be placed 1 tick below the setup bar. Unless the order print (in this case the paw) was below the low. Then you would place the stop 1 tick below the paw (correct placement).

In the case price came back to the paw and if you had your stop in the correct place (1 tick below the paw) you would not have been taken out.

I will report back tomorrow on my progress and any lessons I learn


I am not affiliated with any of these companies.
DAY 19 – Apex Sniper Trading Bootcamp – Weekly Review …

Time to review the last 19 days.

Actions I took:

  • Review of the last 19 days

  • Review of the stats for the last 13 days

  • Continued using Market Replay

  • Reviewed my plan for the week

Review of the Last 19 Days

It has been interesting to learn a new approach which on the surface is using simple strategies but is based on order Flow and adapted to help the trader identify the setups easier.

I always wanted to learn Order Flow but every time I started looking at it I found it was complicated and often contradicted itself. Maybe it was the courses I looked at?

As I have said before, to be successful with this course you must understand when NOT to trade. This is a continuing learning process. Apex Investing recognizes this and discusses the reasons during the trading room sessions and with many videos to help.

The problem in the trading room is that you cannot assume that others know the rules and have learned the reasons, not to enter. This is not unusual for trading rooms where everyone is open to give advice. My view is appreciated every ones help, trust what they say but check to make sure it is correct. Keep plenty of notes. The two moderators are always willing to answer your questions. If they are not in the room at the time, you can just Skype them and they will get back to you with the answer when they can.

So, overall I am happy with the course and the support. I still believe this course can help me be profitable in 90 days.

Review of the Stats for the last 13 days

I am fully aware that 13 days of tracking the profitable trades is really not long enough for any deep analysis. I still think it is worth a quick look at some of the stats that have come out of the 13 days.

13 Days of tracking Potential Trades using ES. These are trades I identified as being valid.

180 Trades
161 Winners (7 Ticks per win)
19 Losers (17 ticks per loss)

The following chart shows the Time of Day(TOD) that the trades occurred. Below zero are the losers. The interesting observation is the TOD where the Losers occurred. As I said above, it is too early to draw conclusions but it still flags things to watch. This should over time help me choose the best TOD to trade this method.

With minimum stats, 9 am – 11 am is one time period that looks good. I would not have picked that period as being so good! Maybe I was influenced by the live trade room.

The other stat that is starting to look promising, is the Maximum Favorable Excursion (MFE). It will help in identifying larger profit targets. If I combine the MFE with TOD it could identify times to possibly go for larger targets.

This Week’s Plan

It is time to start Live Sim trading. Sometime this week I will begin.

For transparency and self-accountability, I would like to post the trade immediately after I enter. My problem is that the trades I take are usually quick so I need to focus on the trade. So, I just need to test and see how I can make it work.

I will report back tomorrow on my progress and any lessons I learn


I am not affiliated with any of these companies.
DAY 20 + 21 – Apex Sniper Trading Bootcamp – Daily Review …

How quick did the 21 days go!

Actions I took:
  • Listened to the trading room for the first 90 mins of the US Open

  • Continued using Market Replay to improve my live market decision making for the live market

  • Reviewed the potential trades for Sunday and Monday

Live Trade Room and Commentary

The first 60 mins of the US Open was slow. In the room, Darrell took the opportunity to walk through trades and educate the group. I am sure we all learned something or had something reinforced.

Market Replay Lessons

Sometimes the best lessons occur when you are not in sync with the market. Many lessons were had!

Sunday and Monday ES and NQ Potential Trades

NQ was exceptionally sparse on trades, but the trades that were valid won. 5 wins for 5 trades. The trade setups are only setting up during the US Market trading day.

From today’s NQ market I would not be trading it yet. I will keep tracking it.

ES had 12 wins with 1 loss. The market was going into a lot of choppy areas and I do not take trades into, out or during chop, so the number of trades was reduced today.

I will report back tomorrow on my progress and any lessons I learn


I am not affiliated with any of these companies.
DAY 22 – Apex Sniper Trading Bootcamp – Daily Review …

Terrible trades in ES!

Actions I took:

  • Listened to the trading room for the first 90 mins of the US Open

  • Continued using Market Replay to improve my live market decision making for the live market

  • Reviewed the potential trades for Tuesday

Live Trade Room and Commentary

Often in trade rooms, the moderators don’t admit or make excuses for a loss. Darrell lost 3 trades today and didn’t make any excuses. Instead, he stayed longer (all day) in the room to help identify trades for the students.

Market Replay Lessons

Only a quick Market Replay session but great practice.

Tuesday ES and NQ Potential Trades

Interesting day. I only identified 4 valid trades in ES and 3 were losers. These were finished by 10:20.

It then became obvious that NQ was giving the signals.

I identified 14 trades for NQ with 13 winners.

This shows the value of trading 2 markets. If one is quite then hopefully the market is moving.

I will report back tomorrow on my progress and any lessons I learn


I am not affiliated with any of these companies.
DAY 23 – Apex Sniper Trading Bootcamp – Daily Review …

What a difference a day makes!

Actions I took:

  • Listened to the trading room for the first 90 mins of the US Open

  • Watched this week’s videos

  • Reviewed the potential trades for Tuesday

Live Trade Room and Commentary

I find the trading room good but I don’t like that you have to be in the room to hear some of the information. Most of the time it is not recorded, so you miss some golden nuggets that would help you clarify the setups.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe you can be successful (yet to be proven) if you are not regular in the room. It is just that the information from the room will help.

I am still recording the room when the moderators are in the room but need a way to convert it to text for rapid review.

This week’s videos

I missed a couple of the live webinars this week so caught up with the videos. They get posted quickly after the events.

Comments about Yesterday

Yesterday was not the best day for trading the ES. It is good to see the NQ starting to give signals.

I was asked how I would handle yesterday with the 3 net wins: 3 net loss rule.

I modified this rule due to my backtesting. Apex has the 3 net wins or 6 net losses to stop trading. At some point, you have to STOP and Review the day. You cannot keep on losing.

The Stats I provide daily are for the whole day. If you are only trading between 10 am and 11 am then you would only look at the results for that period. So everyone’s day may be different.

The rule is NET Trades so if you lose 2 then win 1 followed by another loss. You had 3 losses but the net is not 3. So you would keep trading.

Wednesday ES and NQ Potential Trades

Today was a better day.

I identified:

ES – 8 Trades – 8 winners

NQ – 17 Trades – 16 winners

Have a look at the MFE and you will notice some very good upside to increase the target or trail a second contract. It is too early to make any decisions until a much large sample can be analyzed.

I will report back tomorrow on my progress and any lessons I learn


I am not affiliated with any of these companies.
DAY 24 – Apex Sniper Trading Bootcamp – Daily Review …

NQ giving more trades.

Actions I took:

  • Listened to the trading room for the first 90 mins of the US Open

  • Reviewed the rules for the setups

  • Reviewed the potential trades for Thursday

Live Sim Trading

I have put back my live sim trading until next week.

The market is changing and giving more trades in NQ. I will still take trades in ES but need to transition to NQ trades as well.

There are some slight changes to the setups in NQ, so it is important to be up to date with these variations and have backtested them.

Thursday ES and NQ Potential Trades

Today was a slow day for ES.

I identified:

ES – 2 Trades – 2 winners

NQ – 15 Trades – 14 winners

The MFE info is still looking good.

I will report back tomorrow on my progress and any lessons I learn


I am not affiliated with any of these companies.
DAY 25 – Apex Sniper Trading Bootcamp – Daily Review …

ES provided only a few trades and NQ, the best it has been. Is this the changing of the guard?

Actions I took:

  • Listened to the trading room for the first 90 mins of the US Open

  • Reviewed the setups for NQ

  • Reviewed the potential trades for Friday for ES and NQ

So why are the NQ setups different from ES?

I have had some questions about why they need to change the setups when trading the NQ market.

The changes are only minor but can make the difference between being profitable or not.

It comes down to the speed and momentum of the NQ compared to ES.

Friday ES and NQ Potential Trades

I identified:

ES – 4 Trades – 3 winners

NQ – 22 Trades – 20 winners

At this time, most signals on NQ occur after 630am.

Both markets having interesting MFE results.,

I will report back tomorrow on my progress and any lessons I learn


I am not affiliated with any of these companies.
Trading Psychology

I have been asked a question about what psychology books I recommend.

There are many books, courses, and articles on trading psychology, so it is important to find someone who resonates with you. Mark Douglas doesn't resonate with me but many people rave about him.

So, my suggestion is to go to youtube and listen to Mark Douglas as his books and seminars are there to listen to. See if he resonates with you.

I have highlighted my favorites :)

Other people on youtube to check out are:

Brett Steenbarger - he has a new youtube series


Rande Howell

Urban Forex

Axia Futures

Mandi Pour Rafsendjani

Clay Trader

Chris Capre

Van Tharp

Steve Ward

Gary Dayton

Norman Hallett

Books and Courses

All of the above plus

Market Mind Games - Denis Shull

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator - Edwin Lefevre

Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behaviour - Ori and Rom Brafman

Let the Trade Wins Flow - Dr Harry Stanton

Thinking, Fast and Slowly - Daniel Kahneman

The Mental Edge in Trading: Adapt Your Personality Traits and Control Your Emotions to Make Smarter Investments by Jason Williams

The Psychology of Trading: How to Create and Maintain Your Winning Edge - Jason Alan Jankovsky

The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg

Trade With Passion and Purpose - Mark Whistler

The Hour between the Dog and Wolf - John Coates

Ruth Barron Roosevelt

Dr Alexander Elder

LR Thomas

Ari Kiev

Yes, I selected a lot! You can learn from everyone. Note that some are not "trading" books but they do relate to traders.

LR Thomas, Clay Trader, and Axia Futures have some very good beginners material on Youtube.

When you find someone you relate to then you can go down that rabbit hole but remember it has to be practical.

These are the ones off the top of my head and if I have missed anyone I think is important I will post it.

I hope this helps

DAY 26 + 27 – Apex Sniper Trading Bootcamp – Daily Review …

Today is the first day of Sim Trading …

Actions I took:

  • Listened to the trading room for the first 90 mins of the US Open

  • Start of the Sim Trading Phase

  • Reviewed the potential trades for Sunday and Monday for ES and NQ

Start of the Sim Trading Phase

Sim trading didn’t start great with my profit target wrong in the first trade and the second not being a valid trade.

If I had my profit target in the correct position then it would have been hit. So what did I do wrong? My NT7 platform had a problem so I rebooted it and didn’t check my settings!!!

The second trade was a simple mistake and still hit my profit target. As it wasn’t valid I did not count it in my numbers.

Overall my results were a good start even if I didn’t hit my daily target.

Below are my results of possible trades, sim trades, and images of the trades.

Trade 1 - ES

Trade 2 - ES

Trade 3 - ES

Trade 4 - NQ

Trade 5 - NQ

I will report back tomorrow on my progress and any lessons I learn


I am not affiliated with any of these companies.
DAY 28 – Apex Sniper Trading Bootcamp – Daily Review …

Today is the second day of Sim Trading …

Actions I took:

  • Listened to today’s webinar

  • Listened to the trading room for the first 90 mins of the US Open

  • The second day of Sim Trading

  • Reviewed the potential trades for Tuesday for ES and NQ

Today’s Webinar

Over the last couple of week’s Apex have introduced two new trade setups and a third one today.

I have learned them (easy) and watched them on the live charts. I have decided, not to use these until I have results from the original boot amp setups. I will keep watching them to see how they perform.

The Second day of Sim Trading

First, I have a question. Should I post my charts or just the results like below?

The following are the 3 trades that I traded today.

2 ES and 1 NQ trades that all went to target. Total Profit $210.

The running P/L for 2 days of Sim is $312.50

I didn’t make any mistakes today and achieved 3 – 0 and then stopped trading.

The question is how to work my modified 3 – 3 when I am trading two instruments of different values?

My options are:

Ignore the value and just stop at the 3 wins or 3 losses?
Balance the instruments by trading 1 ES and 2 NQ per trade?
Trade the mix until I profit $250 Net or Lose $250 Net?
Apex investing suggest when trading for funding, that you use the second option (1 ES and 2 NQ)

I will review these options to see what I prefer.

Potential trades for Tuesday for ES and NQ

Good trades could be found on both ES and NQ.

The Potential Trade stats look really good with an average of over 90% win rate.

Even though it would appear that the potential is there, you must remember that these are based on 23 hours per day and the sample is still relatively small. The indications are great but the real results becomes reality when you trade live.

I will report back tomorrow on my progress and any lessons I learn


I am not affiliated with any of these companies.
Apex Sniper Trading Bootcamp – Challenge Review …

Time to review my thoughts on the first challenge.

General Thoughts:

The challenge has been a great learning experience for me. Not just the trading experience and posting, but also the response from the people reading the posts.

I am disappointed that I lost continuity due to health and computer issues. I believe that my results would be better if I had not had those breaks.

I did not achieve my goal of making $200 per day average on 1 contract. During the last 7 trading days I averaged only $115.71 net per day.

Remember this is with 1 contract and trying to trade only 3 net trades per day.

The concept of only trading 3 net trades per day is based on the Apex philosophy of 3 and done. A number of other companies promote a similar concept.

Over the last couple of weeks, the number setups were present however the speed of the market in the current environment often prevented entering a trade. If I had been trading Simplicity, I would have entered more trades during the US market open time.

I believe that the main reason I failed to achieve my initial goal was me!. Just as I was getting good results, I stopped because of first my health and then the computer issue.

Apex Investing

I have been very impressed with Apex Investing, including:

  • The ability to try all their material before paying any money

  • The amount of work they put in and the contact they have with their students (free and paying).

  • They encourage everyone to ask questions and post charts. No question is dumb.

  • They are always trying to improve their material especially when the market changes

  • Darrell and Lori are trading in the room. Darrell has some huge winning days.

  • Skype mentor groups were small teams help each other. These are great.

  • The trading setups are profitable

I will continue to use Apex Setups in my own trading.

Things that I wasn’t as keen on:

  • The biggest drawback I had, was when Apex changes the rules. Mentally this upset my flow. Instead of just retesting the appropriate setups with any new rules, I became annoyed! It was not an Apex problem as they were trying to improve our profitability. I was not willing to go with the flow and grow into profitability.

  • The risk-reward is often 2:1 or more. This is OK when the win rate is high (it is) and number of trading opportunities is high. Currently, the number of opportunities has dropped.

What am I going to do different in the next challenge?
  • Approach with a growth mindset and be willing to be coached and learn

  • Improve my consistency

  • Ask better questions

  • Post more detailed information on my approach, processes, mindset, backtesting, etc

Ideas I am thinking about including:
  • Embracing the concepts in the “The Truth about Trading”, Trading the right way … from a business perspective. It is about asking the right questions and digging deep to find the real answer.

  • Possibly including a video review session

I welcome input into ideas on how to improve this process.

Questions Answered:

A number of people have asked questions:

How do I backtest the setups?

It all depends on the setup. If I can code the setup, then I will code it and then test it over a long period of data. In the Apex situation, I could not code the indicators as the code for those are hidden (proprietary). NinjaTrader is good for backtesting as it is harder to cheat. So I used NT7.

My Testing Process:

  • I had a written set of trading rules for each setup. Prerequisites, Reasons Not to Enter, Entry, Exit, and Management

  • I started approximately 3 months prior and went bar by bar recording the results on a spreadsheet

  • I then tested it again using Market Replay over a different period and market conditions

  • When I was happy with these results, I then walk forward in the live market, initially just marketing the entries/ exits on the chart. I progressed to sim trading when I was comfortable and the results were as expected form the backtesting.

  • I then started a Leeloo Evaluation Account for funding. The results above were for the last 7 days trading in the Leeloo account.

Note: All results were recorded on a spreadsheet.

Most people, I talked to in the course did not do much backtesting, if any.

I believe it is essential to backtest any system you are going to trade. To backtest you must understand your rules before you start.
This brings up one of the problems I mentioned above. Apex makes changes to the methodology as required by the market (good). The problem is that if I have spent all this time backtesting and the rules change what do I do?

My trading plan states that I must backtest the setup before I change any rule!

So, I don’t automatically change my rules with the Apex change. I will stop trading that setup or keep trading the old setup and backtest the new setup.

Is Sniper or Simplicity better than my own trading setups?

I like to have a portfolio of setups that I can use if any of my setups start to underperform.

The other benefit of testing other strategies and setups is that it gives me ideas for further development.

The real question is … Will I continue to use the Apex Strategies? Yes, I will at least until I pass the Leeloo Evaluation for funding.

Why did I focus on only taking 3 net trades per day?

I mentioned this above but it is worth going over again.

First, in the last couple of weeks, the market has been very fast especially during the US Open. Three items should be considered: speed of the market, liquidity of the market, and volatility of the market. Each creates a problem when entering/exiting a trade. It is best to sit on your hands until the market settles.

In Judy Van Niekerk's book: “The Truth about Trading” she states “you need to trade the right way”. What she is talking about is that you are trading for a purpose not just to trade. This is the business of Trading. If the market is too risky then don’t risk your business.

The concept of Net 3 and done is really about trading the right way. How many trades do you need to meet your $ goal? If you can consistently trade 3 trades to profit and then introduce compounding then you not only can reach your financial goal but it will free up your time.

Do I recommend the Apex Program or would I recommend something else?

I have completed many courses and have always learned something from them. NO Program is perfect!

It depends on you …

I think it was one the creators of the Turtle Program who said that he could put a money winning system with all the details in the New York Times and only a small percentage would make money from it.

Are you willing to put the work into a program to make it work?

The Apex Investing is free to try and a lot of people are making money with it.

Where to from here?

I believe I have unfinished business with the Apex Program. I want to pass the Leeloo funding Assessment.

I am currently looking at 4 other courses for the next 90 Day Challenge.

My Goals are to continue the Leeloo Funding Assessment to see if I can pass it in the next 30 trading days. I will continue to report on this daily.

During this time I will choose another course to start another 30-day Challenge

I will continue tomorrow posting my updates on my trades for the Leeloo Evaluation.

I will report back tomorrow on my progress and any lessons I learn


I am not affiliated with any of these companies.