Working out is great! Slap on those sneakers ($120), make sure you’ve got the good sports bra ($54), zip up your oh-so-cool windbreaker with the reflective seaming ($80), and head out the door to the gym ($74 a month). Hop on the treadmill and catch up on some TV viewing while you get your heart rate up.
Congratulations, you just spent $328 to sweat for 30 minutes. Is it still so great?
I have found through my Pilates clients (and definitely for myself) that I’m more motivated if I have something new and shiny to do or wear. Trying a new workout with a trainer costs between $20 and $100 in Boston, and getting quality sports gear for less than $50 seems impossible no matter what gizmo you’re purchasing. So how much do you really need to spend?
What does it cost to workout?
Gym memberships. These can range anywhere from $19 to $119 a month. The ritzier the gym, the more you’ll pay. The average is around $50.
Sneakers. I always recommend investing in quality sneakers. Keeping your feet healthy and happy is a priority; if you can only afford to spend money on one thing, put it here. Generally you should buy two pairs per year—between $60 and $120 per pair—which puts the mean at $80 a pair for a cost of $160 per year.
Workout clothes. There’s such a range here, from cheapo T-shirts to $120 yoga pants. You want to invest in a good sports bra (about $60) and I recommend a minimum of two tops and two bottoms so that you always have an outfit that’s clean and ready to go. The cost comes out to about $200 for the bra, two tops, and two bottoms for mid-range priced items.
Coaches, trainers, instructors, other activities. You’ll likely pay for a few classes over the course of a year. Perhaps a session or two with a personal trainer, maybe you hire a running coach, take some classes at the local yoga studio, hit the local ski slope for a day of skiing, or play 18 during a round of golf. These can range anywhere from $10 to $150 depending on the activity and what the local market charges. Let’s say a bare minimum of $100 for the year which can easily run into the thousands. (My top client pays about $9,000 per year for three private sessions per week.)
The bare-bones minimum is about $200 a year with no gym membership and only a few essential pieces; the top spenders will easily be above $10,000 with private trainers and tricked-out workout gear.
Have you ever added up how much you spend on fitness? Even worse, have you added up how much money you’ve wasted on fitness gear and memberships that you never used? (I know, that one smarts.)
Despite the costs I’ve laid out above of staying fit, I would argue that it’s still far cheaper than the cost of being chronically ill. For even more ideas, here’s my take on how you can get the minimal workout in.