Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
June 15, 2017
Many years ago, I wrote about the cost of my old lifestyle in relations to my life. For the sake of paraphrasing the whole account, it was pretty mind boggling. I estimated that roughly 35% of my earnings were going to my junk food habit, whether it be pizzas or soda or one pound bags of candy that would be devoured in one sitting. I was not proud of that realization, for all the money I could have been saving was thrown to waste due to my eating habits. But that was the physical cost of what I was going through. It meant no savings in my back account, no real money that allowed me to move forward in life. I traded so many things in my life for food and drink that the cost of these lifestyle choices still haunt me today. Maybe I would have spent more toward my student loan issue if I was not spending a good 20-30 dollars a day on junk food and other junk food items. Seriously, on a good week I would have spent a good 200 dollars on food. I mean, those pizzas pile up and that garbage was pretty prevalent. If it weren’t for the specials I would run into at my neighborhood grocery store from time to time, who knows how much money I truly would have spent. I mean, those days where you could get a twelve pack of soda for two bucks were always on, as well as buying the huge bags of Doritos or Fritos. I was always in hog heaven, and I ate terribly for that reason. When you think about all of the lost money I spent during those times, I kind of hold a deep regret. What could I have done if I was on a much tighter budget that I am on now? Considering the rise in cost of living here in Arizona, not much more now than I could have done back in those days. But that is besides the point.
When you calculate the cost of food and how ridiculous it has become these days, my massive change in diet has been beneficial to me in a lot of ways. I feel much healthier these days even though some vegetables (like bell peppers, why are they so damn expensive!) are a little steep in cost and make me long for the days where I could get cheap pizza. As I have moved along in this journey of mine, I have learned a great deal about how the government plays a role in our country’s health. Yeah, the whole argument about the public health costs and Trump’s rather ridiculous health plan (which he had the audacity to label as the greatest in the world, seriously…) are all that litter the search engines these days, so it can be hard to measure just how important it is to have good health these days. It is quite hard to maintain a healthier lifestyle. People are working more and getting less for their buck, so they work extra or take on a second job that might hurt their free time. I started with this because the two most important factors of life is rest and movement. If your time is cut into your day, what are the two things that are going to be officially sacrificed? Physical fitness time and sleep of course. These unfortunately are two factors I cannot really account for when you regard this particular blog post, primarily because these are variables that definitely hurt you no matter what you do with your life. No rest and no physical maintenance will result obviously result in potential injuries, weight problems and other ailments that would result from such a high stress lifestyle. Truthfully, I’m not really gonna talk about those subjects today since I have spoken about sleep deprivation and workplace fatigue before. Truthfully, I am a living example of how workplace issues are wrecking my body, as in sitting all day and listening to people’s problems on a regular basis. But let’s just crunch the numbers for the subject at hand: Is personal training (and training for that matter) really that expensive when you put the cost analysis into play?
Now I am not going to lie, I would have a hard time paying Jon full price for individual training sessions due to the nature of my work and expendable income. This is why I trade the blog for his time…makes sense for me because my commodity is something he does not have and his commodity is something I don’t have. But even then, the very idea of training at Parsons Training still wouldn’t be that difficult for me, for the 70-dollar a month membership they have at the gym would still be affordable for me if I came in during my usual three days. I would have free weight equipment at my leisure and preset workouts to go through with, which helps for me because I tend to lean toward the stuff that I like doing. So for roughly $840 dollars a year I can literally come into the gym nearly every day with a preset workout in place under the watchful tutelage of experienced personal trainers and get fit. Under that system I could show up five times a week, which wouldn’t be too bad if you averaged out the potential per day cost of $3.23. You would not only put a few hours into the gym but also work on your flexibility, strength and endurance. These are all things that can not only extend your life, but allow your brain functions to work faster and make it easier to avoid the random trip-ups of life…so this is not terrible expensive when you consider the long term. Maybe start making your own coffee every day rather than getting the 5-dollar lattes at Starbucks (which I am guilty of much of the time) and you could pay for this type of service. And even if you think that amount is too expensive, then lets look at a place like Desert Sports and Fitness, which is literally right next to my house. For 14 bucks a month I could still get fit and healthy, though I might not be able to make the same kind of gains I would at Parsons due to the lack of free weights and the glut of people. But you can still get something out of it, and for $168 a year you are getting your money’s worth. Even if you take the more expensive packages there, you can still get the most out of your fitness with extra classes and maintenance. Basically, for the cost of a HULU or Netflix subscription, you can do the minimum to at least ensure a healthier lifestyle for yourself.
So lets do a cost analysis then. Over the course of your life, you can run into a host of problems from the lack of exercise and a good diet. People will throw in the excuse that genetic factors are to blame, but if that was really the case then why did you not do something about that when you had the chance. Take me for instance. I have one side of my family that has heart problems and one side that really doesn’t. Who is to say which side I inherited? Needless to say, I made the change in my diet and my workout regimen to reflect the possibility of being hit with health problems down the line. I use my mother as a good example because she made some changes at the right time, saving herself from a potential catastrophic health episode. Her only regret when it happened is she wished she had started sooner. That’s why I have started sooner than most, cutting out soda and greatly reducing my alcohol intake as well as not eating four pounds of candy a week (literally). This will aid in my eventual battle with diabetes, which is a possibility for me due to the fact much of my family is afflicted with it. Making the major dietary changes I have made will aid in my health down the line, mainly because I have accepted the idea that I am not invincible.
Anyway, I was truthfully looking at potential heart problems down the line mainly because of my size and the type of foods that I loved to eat. I will be using this article as reference toward the cost. http://www.nber.org/digest/oct98/w6514.html So the article suggests that having a heart attack could at minimum cost you $38,000 in roughly the first year alone due to follow-ups and procedures. While your insurance will cover much of this, this still means your premiums will go up, your co-pays will become more expensive and not to mention…you may need to remain on this regimen for a very long time provided your body even recovers from the episode. Think of the costs this will have on your wallet and your credit report? Take it from me, I deal with credit applications all day, so I know just how much your affected credit will be once debts start hitting you. You also have the emotional toll that it may hit on your family. While I looked at the health problems in my family as a true negative, it took some time for me to really start accepting the fact I needed to turn my life around in the wake of those said issues. Anyway, the first year after surviving that heart attack (provided you do survive it!) is not going to be the only cost on you.
Depending on your source, we will use a standard mean of $14,000 (the lowest figure I saw) and multiply that over the course of five years along with the first year cost of the heart attack (which is a good amount of time for someone to potentially turn their life around or be too sick to turn it around). That’s a total of $94,000 in accrued insurance costs, not counting the external costs of the medications and doctor co-pays. You will lose work time. You might be forced to take another job that doesn’t mess with your heart or stress you out as much, losing potential earning power. You could still have scary episodes that might stick you back in the hospital, because now you have a “set” history of heart problems. You may even be forced to take an early retirement. Your standard of living will be forever altered by the fact you were not willing to drop some money on a gym package, along with spending the extra time you had doing stuff that improves your health rather than binge watching television shows or playing video games. Think how much $94,000 could get you in training. If you took advantage of Parson’s $70 a month plan, you could pay for 111 years of monthly membership. That’s potentially 20 hours of training a month! Maybe more if you are a glutton for pain! Let’s go by the per-hour average cost of a personal trainer in the United States. If you are a celebrity or a high powered executive that demands special treatment, you might have a $100 per hour rate, which you could still get three one-hour sessions a week….for over six years. It would be nine years if you did it twice a week. If you found a regular trainer at $60 an hour (which is the average), you could do three sessions a week for over 10 years! All the while, you will get stronger and healthier, which will reduce your risk of future ailments as you get older and make it easier to recover from sickness and injury (hopefully you don’t go too nuts and have hired a trainer that will not push you to death). I know, who has $94,000 laying around? Let me remind you, that is a low figure. And this is just for you and your one heart attack. If you have a family, think of the other stresses to the insurance this will equate to. Even if you hired a standard trainer once a week for 10 years along with a $14 gym monthly package, the cost would still be only $32,880 dollars…and you will saved some time in regards to your health by the fact you would be in a gym and getting health advice on your own time rather than sitting in a doctor’s office waiting to get examined and have your prescription adjusted.
I’ll also throw in the cost of diabetes, which of course is the big problem in my family. Depending on your source, you can incur costs of potentially $7,900 to $13,700 a year. Now this is not including the people with Type-1, for there is nothing we can really do diet and exercise wise to reverse that issue. As for Type-2, this is largely tied into the realm of poor eating habits and lack of exercise. We will go with the mean of $10,800 as the average per person. Just think, the cost of joining a gym or getting a personal trainer would be negligible, for if you went to the $14 a month gym and got two sessions a week from a standard trainer, the total cost would be roughly $6,408…which is still a deal if you consider the cost of changing into a much more healthy eating regimen. That’s one thing the diabetes number doesn’t throw in…you will be forced to buy healthier food, as well as special food or pre-made meals to help regulate your sugar intake on top of the medical expenses. And I have already mentioned before that diabetes medication and insulin are becoming more expensive as the demand has enticed pharmaceutical companies to reap the rewards of a poorly indulged populace.
So what does this all mean? This essentially means you should put the money down now to improve your health, rather than put the money down to save yourself. Now I will state this, there is such thing as bad luck and pre-existing conditions and what not, but those cases are usually rare and that is why I empathize for those people. Even then you cannot use that as an excuse. My mother certainly doesn’t. I know my father is keeping busy in his retirement by staying busy and active, rather than sit and watch TV all day with a bowl full of Doritos next to him. Now I know this is an expensive process, but it is not like there isn’t a wealth of information that can help you come up with ways to get healthy, because you know the internet is more than just a forum for libeling random people on chat boards and calling LeBron James a wimp. Use that source, make your money go as far as you can. And if you want to go farther, putting that extra money will make sure you use that money at your discretion, not because you were forced to.
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About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.