The Fitness Budget

Making the Numbers Work

muay-thai-glovesI’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about my fitness budget, both in terms of time and money. There are lots of things that I want to do, but there are only so many hours in the week or dollars I’m willing to spend. And with new options appearing on my horizon, I have to evaluate how and where I want to spend my fitness budget for the coming year.

Ever since I broke my foot in 2010, I’ve had a membership to one of those mega-gym chains. I’ve used it primarily for 5:30 AM spin class as part of my training for the Tour de Cure ride that I’ll be doing with The Assistant in October. It’s not a gym that I particularly enjoy, and given a choice, I generally prefer not to wake at 4:45 AM for exercise. But I’ve kept the membership for six years because it’s relatively cheap. I also get the least bang for my buck, so to speak. And because I got in just before the close of the old facility, I’m grandfathered in at a rate that’s ha;f of what they would charge if I signed up today.

I also do my regular Pilates sessions with Gini, which are vastly cheaper and infinitely more convenient than the in-person reformer sessions that I’d been doing for more than a decade. The workouts are solid. And they’re guaranteed to be more entertaining than anything I’d get in a large group session. (See below.)

So now here I am, and I’ve discovered Muay Thai and MMA fitness at Crispim BJJ, The Assistant’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym. As I mentioned before, I’m still in my unlimited introductory month of training that I won in the school auction. But when September rolls around, I’ll need to decide whether to stop attending altogether, pay monthly, or prepay for six months at a slightly discounted rate. Overall, this will be the priciest of my various fitness options. It’s also an intense, sweat-inducing cardio routine that comes in very handy now that I appear to have become an ex-runner.

And there’s also a new reformer-based Pilates studio that’s opening near my home. The class sizes are massive, which would be less than ideal for a newbie. But as someone with more than a decade of experience on a reformer (I do love a reformer), I think that I could easily trade hands-on guidance for the relatively low introductory prices that they’re charging.

Individually, none of these is a budget-breaker. Put it all together, though, and oh, hey, that’s a family vacation. And let’s be honest: how many hours per week do I really have for workouts? If I’m doing Muay Thai/MMA on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, am I really going to get up at 4:45 on Tuesday and Thursday for spin? And if I have a good thing going with Gini, do I really need large group reformer classes, too?

Yeah, I know: if these are my biggest problems, I’m doing ok. But how do you balance time/money/workout quality in your life?

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