Let me preface this by saying that although I am a trainer and a fitness coach, I still work with a fitness coach on my own time. I see training as an investment not only in my own professional development, but also in my health and overall well-being. Simply put: when I am training, I feel better, I have more confidence, and I am more productive.
I meet a lot of people who tell me that being fit or working with a coach “just isn’t in my budget right now.” However, I tend to see photos on Facebook of these people spending money on unnecessary items that make it difficult for them to afford to stay fit, and in some cases, even make it difficult for them to stay physically fit.
1: Eating out
Eating out can cause a huge gain in your credit card balance as well as your waistline. When you make your own meals it will save you at least 50% of what you are spending to eat out, and it could save you a lot of unnecessary empty calories (added calories that do nothing to help maintain energy levels and offer little in the way of nutrition). Making your own meals can help you properly track how many calories you are consuming and keep your macro-nutrient balance of protein, carbs, and fat in check (this macro balance makes up the sum of what you are eating each day, and, as a side note: the Western diet is full of empty calories in the form of fat and carbohydrates and offers little protein; check it out next time you go to Pizza Hut). It’s hard to accurately measure what nutrients you are getting when you eat out. In addition, making meals at home can actually save you time, contrary to popular belief. It’s quicker for you to prepare and batch your own meals at home. It will save you all the time otherwise spent driving to a restaurant as well as ordering and waiting for your meal.
Speaking of empty calories, alcohol is their king! Alcoholic drinks offer no nutritional value and they take much longer to metabolize than other calories. Your body will metabolize proteins and carbohydrates much faster than it will alcohol (at a rate of 4 calories per gram). Fat and alcohol are metabolized at a slower rate (9 calories per gram) but your brain and the rest of your body need fat. Alcohol offers no value in the way of nutrition. Conversely, fat, carbs, and protein do offer nutritional value, so the calories you consume will help you build muscle and aid in daily processes such as digestion (and my favorite, reproduction, heyo!). I tell my members that it’s OK to drink occasionally and in moderation. It’s good to blow off some steam, but what is moderation? One drink a day adds up to 7/week which can add up to 1400 empty calories a week! So in a month you could gain two lbs from that “moderation.” Furthermore, drinks at bars are marked up at a rate of about 75%! So save some cash and if you’re going to drink just enjoy one to three drinks a week instead of three in one sitting.
3: Buying clothing
I’m all about trying to look and feel your best. If you want to be successful you have to dress the part but it’s also necessary to dress within your means. Instead of using retail as comfort or therapy, it is more productive to spend the money on actual therapy. People tend to addictively purchase material items such as clothing as a way to numb the issues they don’t want to address. Look into your spending patterns: are the things you buy really necessities? Clothing or other items bought to make us feel better do the trick at first, but then, just like any other drug, the gratification wears off and we need the next “fix” again to feel better.
4: Going to expensive events
I truly believe in spending money on vacations and cultural experiences over material items. But there comes a point when people may go a little overboard with this type of spending. One person spending $1,000 on a trip to Europe and finding ways to save money by staying with friends or in an Airbnb rental could be called prudent and frugal. But another person spending $1,000 on a birthday trolley could be considered frivolous. I had a woman last month tell me she couldn’t afford to train at Hustle but then posted on facebook that she paid $700 for a Beyonce ticket.* If you’re reading this, then you most likely value your health and well-being. You know how much your health matters to you. From my own experience with working out and training, it takes effort, energy, money, and time to develop a healthy lifestyle. Don’t sell yourself short! Work towards creating a schedule and structure that support your fitness goals!
*If you’re reading this and you went to the Beyonce concert, WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT YOU.