Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Money Matters

At this time of year, we are bombarded with images of slim, smiling heads perched atop slim, strong bodies complete with six pack abs no matter the gender. The tagline? There’s nothing standing between your softer, couch potato body and a tight, toned physique…nothing but the perfect diet pill, the mega gym that just opened in your area, a nutrient packed protein shake a day, giant horse pill vitamin supplements, a personal trainer, the perfect piece of at home fitness equipment, pre-prepared well balanced meals from the newest “lifestyle change” (because none of it is a diet) pushing corporation, an organic plant based (or Paleo, or Mediterranean,  or Blood Type) diet, and 7 sessions of cross fit per week.  #BEASTMODE…and that, my friend, is just the tip of the iceberg.  If you’re not careful,  a little shopping in the pursuit of fitness  will leave you buh-roke. As in so broke you need an extra syllable.

So, how do you establish your new fitness habits before the end of the month when marketing will be targeted at taking your waistline in the other direction (when the Superbowl takes over with its colossal nachos, piles of wings, extra large pizza and beer) without needing to take out a line of credit?

First, do your RESEARCH! Use this process to exclude all of the stuff that seems gimmicky and unlikely to work. Read reviews, look at ingredient lists, try out the gym you want to join, determine how you can get discounts. Get smart so you can spend smart when you’re ready.

Next, be PICKY! Take every choosy cell in your body and hold on to your money like it’s your last little bit in the world. With that in mind, identify your fitness must haves and create a wish list.

Then, create a BUDGET.  If you are going to spend towards your fitness goals, you need to know how much you have to spare. Be real with yourself. You know yourself better than anyone. If you buy a Bowflex, will you use it or will it be the most expensive coat rack you’ve ever purchased? Will you really do more than stare at the screen when the P90X instructor is yelling at you from beyond the screen? No matter what, look at your overall budget and see where you can sacrifice some dough. You don’t want to dip into your savings and you don’t want to be cash strapped between paychecks (though I know that can be hard to avoid). If you don’t have money readily available, see what you can cut. For example, can you shave some money off of your dining out fund to join the gym or upgrade to organic produce?*

At the end of the day, the fitness industry is one of the most lucrative industries in the world because it appeals to our need for perfection. PERFECTION. DOES.  NOT. EXIST. So tune out the voices and images telling you weight loss miracles can happen in 30 days for just $99.99. Go after what’s going to work for you. 

If you’re ready, make it your year to get healthy—whatever that may mean for you. Just know you don’t have to go broke (or buh-roke) to do it. How do you budget for fitness? 

* There may need to be an entire post on ways to save on organic produce. I mean really, why is a carton of organic strawberries almost $8 when the regular (chemical covered) variety are 2 cartons for $5??? I mean, I know why...factory farming and what not but good grief. Let's not punish a girl that much for not wanting to eat pesticides. 

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