Tag Archives: gym

Fitness is Free or Very Expensive

When my scale tipped 180lbs for the second time in my life, I knew it was time to throw in the towel (or pick one up) and invest in my health. I’m 30, so my yo-yoing weight is no longer a joke (haha I’ll totally drop those extra 50lbs in a year or two once I stop being a depressed pig, no probs bobs.) Uhhh… not that the pounds ever really came off easily, but this time they are sticking like superglue. Eeeeyikes.

So now I’m trying to decide just how much I want to splurge on this whole “getting healthy” thing. It’s not actually a thing, it’s the entirety of my life AND the most important part of it. Yes, I can be a frugalista and hit $325,000 in networth this year and die when I’m 60 because I ate and sat myself to death, or I can make a change today. My goal is 120lbs-130lbs, with 130-145 being acceptable and anything over that being very bad. Anything over 160 is extremely bad. I can’t believe I let myself get this gross again. Nothing I own fits, which is another problem, because I have to go buy a whole new wardrobe unless I can shrink back into my clothes. Sigh. Continue reading

10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Gym Membership

Gym memberships are a costly investment, but the good thing about them is that you can control the amount of pay off by the amount you actually use them. It doesn’t really matter if you’re spending $19 a month or $99 a month, what matters is how often you actually get your lazy butt off the couch and go workout.

Here are 10 ways to make the most out of that costly gym membership:

1. Go, and go often: Ok, this one is obvious, but despite having a “duh” factor, this is the most important step of all. For the past year-and-a-half, I had a $46.99 a month membership to 24 Hour Fitness. I went to the gym a total of 10 times in those 18 months. Quick math shows that I would have been better off splurging on a day pass to a local luxury gym… or buying myself fitness equipment… instead of spending about $70 a visit. Now that I belong to Gold’s Gym with a $27 a month membership I’ve vowed to go to the gym at least twice a week. Not only does this make my gym membership make more sense to my budget, it’s also helping me be more healthy, which will hopefully cut medical bills in the long run.

2. Get a Gym Buddy… Who Isn’t a Close Friend: Having a gym buddy is a good way to encourage yourself to use your gym membership. But if your gym buddy is a close friend, there’s a better chance that one of you will come up with a last-minute excuse on why you can’t go, letting the other back out easily. After all, friends are often more forgiving about these things, especially if the friends aren’t keen on going to the gym in the first place.

3. Take a Class or Ten: Many gyms offer a variety of “free” group fitness classes. As soon as you start taking these classes, your “investment” dollars are being put to work. Assuming group fitness classes, on their own, would cost $50+ a month at the local rec center, taking a class once a week makes the entire gym membership worth a lot more. Go in without any expectations, and be ready to walk if the instructor is awful or the class is really too hard for you.

4. Use Those Machines: One of the main benefits of belonging to a gym is the ability to diversify your workout. Don’t be afraid of the weight training machines (I know I was for a long time). Instead, read the instructions on the side of the machine and start slow. You should pick a weight that allows you to do 15 reps (repetitions) of the same movement until your muscle feels as if it is melting and has turned to jelly.

5. Go In the Morning: I’m going to try to take my advice on this one in the coming year, as I’ve yet to experience the 5am gym rush. Going to the gym in the morning is great because it gives you energy for the day, helps your metabolism, and… best yet… ensures you won’t come up with excuses after work about why you can’t make it to the gym. Also, going in the morning makes you more aware of getting to sleep at a reasonable hour, which is ever-so important for weight loss and health (she writes at 2am after getting 2 hours of sleep last night.)

6. Buy a Bunch of Used Fitness Magazines: Fitness magazines often repeat the same information over and over again, so I wouldn’t recommend them for health nuts, but for beginners they can be quite helpful. Not only do they offer advice on workouts, they also will discuss (and show photos) of proper form, which will help you make the most out of your workout and not hurt yourself… both important things if you want to keep using the gym.

7. Don’t Give Up: Easier said than done… but staying on track is more than half the battle. Don’t disillusion yourself into thinking you’ll drop 10lbs a week. If you’re eating a healthy diet around 1200 calories (for women) or 1500 calories (for men) and working out 3 times a week, you will lose weight… like 1lb per every 1-2 weeks. Even if you don’t lose a pant size, any exercise is good for your long term health. It’s what you can’t see that’s the most harmful.

8. Join a Online Health Community: Free health and fitness networks can aid in your journey. Check out SparkPeople.com, a wonderful community where you can track your diet, get fitness advice and surround yourself (digitally) with other people like you.

9. Invest in a Personal Trainer: Personal trainers are very expensive and they’re not all worth their lean muscle mass in gold. Some gyms offer a few cheap personal training sessions when you sign up, so take advantage of that deal. Tell your trainer up front that you’re broke so he or she will be less tempted to try to sell you expensive supplements or additional sessions. Instead, explain that you really want to learn a good basic workout (or, if you’re more advanced, ask for a workout that can help take you to the next level). Get the workout in writing and take notes on any specific proper positioning that isn’t obvious.

10. Eat Healthy: You know that saying “you are what you eat?” Well, it’s true, and it’s most apparent when you’re at the gym. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ve worked out a ton so a good reward would be an entire pizza or slice of cake. However, you’re just sabotaging your hard-earned results. Eating a diet high in protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber will give you the energy needed to work out. For good, easy sources of protein try egg whites. Egg beaters, which are milk-cartons of liquid egg whites, are my new best friend. Also, splurge on a good vitamin. I’m no nutritionist, but look into what sort of vitamin would be best for you. It’s cheaper to buy one slightly more expensive vitamin with everything in it you need than buying a lower-cost vitamin and having to buy separate supplements for missing nutrients.

Free Workout of the Day: Butt Blaster

Now that I’ve pulled the plug on my gym membership (that I never used), I’ve decided to seek out free fitness videos online. My boyfriend swears by 8 Minute Abs (circa 1994). If you want, you can find that easily for your dated enjoyment on YouTube. Yes, I did 8 Minute Abs today and I’m going to try to do it everyday for the foreseeable future. However, today’s “Free Workout of the Day” takes us to a slightly lower region – our butts.

I just did this six minute butt blaster workout that I found on YouTube, and boy does my butt feel blasted. Check back every day for a new Free Workout of the Day video or tutorial from another fitness website. All workouts will use body weight and cardio alone and require no additional equipment, therefore actually being free!

Goodbye 24 Hour Fitness!

I’ve spent about $600 a year on a gym membership that I’ve used about 20 times, total. It’s time to quit the gym.

My boyfriend and I signed up at 24 Hour Fitness in 2006. We both wanted to get in shape, and signing up for a gym with around-the-clock access seemed like a good idea. We didn’t even look at any other gym.

The membership services guy gave us a couple’s “deal” (yea right) where we’d pay initiation fees for “only” one of us, and that we’d get one monthly membership at 1/2 off. What did that amount to? My bf paid the initiation fee (something like $150?) and I was stuck with the $46.99 a month membership. He pays $23 a month.

Since signing up, I kept the membership, thinking maybe the monthly bill would encourage me to work out. Not so. Instead, I just kept wasting money.

In the recent weeks, I’ve been doing a barter with a personal trainer who I’m designing a website for. She works at Golds Gym and offered me a free month’s pass to try out the gym while I get my training sessions. Golds Gym is much, much nicer. It’s not open 24 hours, but really my bf is the one who likes to work out at 3am. I prefer 11pm. And most night’s they’re open until midnight.

Besides, Gold’s Gym is actually cheaper. Their monthly rates are about the same, but if I sign up for a long-term membership, I can get $19 a month rates. I’m not ready to sign up for a membership like that, but if I decide I can’t live without the gym, I think I can handle a long-term commitment of $19 a month.

Meanwhile, I can get a special $34 a month deal (monthly dues) since I’m training with this woman. That’s a good way to get me to want to join a gym.

The bad news is that 24 Hour Fitness requires 30 days notice before cancellation (of course) – so after spending an hour on hold and talking to some outsourced customer service agent who tried to convince me to keep my membership (switch to a one-club membership and it will only be $36 a month. How about you put your membership on hold for just $7 a month and you can sign up again any time without paying initiation fees) I finally canceled my membership. I’ll be paying the $46.99 one last time, and then I’m out. My membership ends March 5, 2007.

That’s what I call freedom.

Hello December

I can’t believe it’s already almost 2008. Seriously, wasn’t New Years for 2007 just yesterday? It’s kind of scary how fast life starts going by once school isn’t around to make everything go sooooo slowly. I want to figure out a way to slow life down. Now that I’m 24 (oh yea, I turned 24 a week ago, happy birthday to me) I need to somehow figure out how to make each day count just a bit more.

Thank goodness my job situation is starting to piece together into a picture I like. Freelancing with steady contract work is obviously the ideal situation for me.

Right now I have three steady gigs, plus some random projects thrown in. My logic is that each extra project I take on is more money I can save, while my steady work is generally for bills and such. Any extra money from my ‘steady’ work goes into savings, either my IRA or some other savings account that I need to set up.

My jobs:

Writing for a Company — 30 hours per week, 3 months, $3300 a month
Assisting at another Company — 5-10 hours per week, $25 per hour
Steady work from uncle’s marketing business — $400 a month retainer

So, I imagine that should turn out to something like $3900 a month. Take taxes out, it’s down to maybe $2800? Then take out $1050 for rent, $200 for bills – phone, internet, TV, gym membership) and $200 for health insurance and potential medical bills. That leaves me with, um, about $1300 for food, entertainment, gas, etc. If I’m lucky, that’ll be enough to save some money too.

What I want to save for…

$3000: Laser Hair Removal.
$1000: Digital SLR camera + lense and accessories
$100,000: Grad School

Time to start saving!