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What's Your Price Tag On Health?

   Posted On: June 18, 2013  |    Posted In: Personal Finance 101  |     Posted by: Broke Millennial®

In the past three days I’ve morphed from infant to crotchety old woman all at the hands of the latest fitness trend, CrossFit. After hearing rave reviews and seeing other people get great results, I thought I’d try it out. In true broke millennial fashion I found a free class at a new CrossFit gym near my apartment and booked a spot. The confirmation email indicated the class would be a light intro into the world of CrossFit with a 5-20 minute workout. LIARS!

ron swanson(First, Ron Swanson is my soul mate. Second, I despise skim milk. 2% is the lowest I’ll consume.)

The 45 minute workout left me barely able to move and frankly trying to prevent a very unladylike bodily function from rocketing out of my mouth. I crawled home and collapsed into my bed in the fetal position while suckling at my water bottle. Yesterday, I woke up and yelped in pain. Every joint and muscle in my body started screaming in agony. I hobbled around my apartment all hunched over and mumbling obscenities under my breath. My act was just missing a cane and neighborhood hooligans to chase off my property.

Massive amounts of pain aside, I rather enjoyed the experience. I’m a highly competitive person which translates into me preferring team sports or exercise classes for a workout. If you ever have the misfortune of standing next to me during a workout, just know in my mind we’re locked in mortal combat and I will come out victorious.

Shanghai soccer

(Yes, we were flaunting our varsity soccer uniforms. Yes, Shanghai as in Shanghai, China.)

What I didn’t enjoy is the price tag associated with CrossFit in my neighborhood. The cheapest plan is $150* for two classes a week. This isn’t a standard gym full of equipment. It’s only designed for CrossFit so that $150 translates to $18.75 per class with no other benefits, other than getting healthy of course. Which begs the question, what’s the price tag on  your health?

Apparently mine is $150.

Joining a gym is a hard expense for me to justify.  Running outside is free. There are a plethora of online videos offering great workouts at home. I live in one of the most walkable cities in the world. With enough research, I could routinely find free or cheap fitness classes to take. I could even take five yoga classes a week at my favorite yoga studio and spend $50 less per month than joining CrossFit.

So, I’m curious readers – what is your price tag? If you avoid the gym, how do you stay healthy? If you join a gym, how do you justify the expense? And CrossFitters, do you pee during workouts?

*It’s $150 per month with a 3 month minimum. Most gyms near me require you sign up for a certain length of time and include all sorts of crazy initiation fees.

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45 responses to “What's Your Price Tag On Health?

  1. I can’t say that I’ve ever pee’d during a workout. I have difficulties with this all the time. I am a frequent hotel staying with work, so I do get access to gyms for free a lot of the time. The big problem for me is the motivation factor. If you don’t think you will go to every single session I couldn’t justify the cost. If someone could actually guarantee me motivation I might be willing to pay the $18.75 a class.

    1. Did you watch the video? It’s pretty funny (and woman focused). It’s nice you can get frequent access to some gyms. I do agree with you about the motivation. I do think paying $150 a month would be pretty solid motivation for me. I can’t image throwing that money away.

      1. Hahaha, I didn’t watch the video before. It’s pretty darn funny. I can’t say that’s ever happened to me before. I’ve needed to go to the bathroom during a work out, but thankfully have always been able to make it.

  2. I would totally try CrossFit if it was in my budget but it currently isn’t. I read a couple Paleo blogs and they all love cross fitting. Some people claim that if you can learn a lot of the weight lifting routines after going to a CF gym for a while, you may be able to do them on your own at a regular gym that has all the necessary equipment (which may be hard to come by). Strength training builds confidence and if I had the extra $150 a month, I’d totally do it as well.

  3. I just paid $125 for a month unlimited pass at this place that has a variety of work out classes – it’s called Barree Bee Fit (http://www.barrebeefit.com/) – It was just what I needed to kick start getting back into shape. In one month I went to 19 classes (breaks down to $6.5 a class)! Now I’m back to running outside and doing my Jillian Michael’s work out ($10 on itunes). But going to the actual classes and paying the unlimited price really motivated me to get my money’s worth!!

    1. If it were $150 for unlimited classes I may be more inclined to try it out, but $18.75 per class seems far too steep. Plus, you can’t just do one month. I do think paying $150 would guarantee I’d get to class though…I couldn’t stand the idea of wasting that money!!

  4. I don’t think $150 is too bad at all. Especially if it works out good for you. I really don’t work out much at all besides playing with my kids. But chasing around a 3 and 4 year old everyday is a pretty good workout 🙂 Maybe you should try it for a month and see how it works for you.

    1. $150 for two classes a week, eight classes a month sounds far to steep for me. That’s five days a week you can’t use the facility. I would love to try it for just a month and maybe get hooked, but they have a 3 month minimum. Essentially, I have to be willing to fork over $450 to join. I just can’t justify it. There are a few other gyms nearby that do a month trial though, so maybe I’ll check those out and see what their classes are like!

      P.S. After babysitting to a lot I can understand why so many moms are in great shape. Running around after kids is a great workout!

  5. My pricetag depends on my current income, of course. But I’m always more inclined to approach fitness frugally. I love being active and it kills me to see so many people forking over ridiculous sums of money for what’s often brand conditioning. Example: I’ll pay to learn certain lifting techniques from a professional, but once I have the concepts down, I’ll use them at a gym that don’t require forking over $150 per month, or in my home. One great way to keep in shape if a gym is too expensive is to supplement outdoor cardio like running/sprint intervals with bodyweight strength-training exercises. That way, all you need is a pair of cross trainers and a comfortable plot of grass to practice on.

    Good luck, either way! Just promise us you won’t succumb to that annoying CrossFit trend of posting every WOD and Paleo meal all over Facebook 🙂

    1. 1) I think Paleo is dumb. Yeah, I said it! 2) I’m certainly not joining that gym anytime soon. Unless I suddenly become flushed with cash. 3) No promises if I do!

      I do agree with you, there are so many options to get healthy on a budget (or for free) it’s hard to justify spending that kind of money.

  6. I won’t join a gym after getting sued by one, so I work out at home. I have done p90x twice with great results and I need to start it up again. The workouts don’t require much equipment and I get a really good workout. I don’t even have to go anywhere.

    1. Did you write a post about getting sued?! I would love to read that. I know Girl Meets Debt had some issues with gym memberships in the past. I’ve also heard rave reviews about P90X. Doesn’t it require a certain diet?

  7. CrossFit has been tempting me for some time now, but I can’t seem to get myself to invest that money into it. I’m planning on investing in a bike that I can use for exercise and transportation, and that makes me feel better about it.

    Also, I have a man-crush on Ron Swanson. 😉

    1. Because Ron Swanson is every man and woman’s dream!

      If I move away from New York I’d be more likely to invest in a bike for transportation. I’m quite certain my medical bills from the accident I would 100% get into if I biked here would negate any benefits of the healthy living.

  8. I would never pay for Crossfit, just way too much money. Our local gym which costs ~$60/month for a family membership has Crossfit-like classes a couple days a week, so we just go to those.

    I have spent some good money on bicycles though. My road bike was $950 and my mountain bike was just north of $1000. With that said, I’ll keep these bikes for 20+ years and maintain them myself.

    Another way I like to think about my bikes is cost/mile. I have about 10,000 miles on my road bike and I estimate that half of those miles are commuting. Break it down and the bike has cost me about $.20/ commuting mile. This is a lot cheaper than what a car mile costs and I’m getting health benefits/not screwing up the environment. It always cracks me up when people who spend 30K for a car are aghast that I’d spend 1K on a bike. 1K >>> 30K!!

    1. $60 I could probably handle, especially with classes. I’m terrified to bike in New York, otherwise I’d probably invest in that as a form of commuting. It would be nice not to get squished on the subway each morning.

  9. Once upon a time, I made the mistake of signing an 18 month gym contract. Never, ever again. J and I usually walk or hike to stay active but lately I’ve been working out at his fancy work gym for free and I love it! Funny, how I enjoy the gyms more when it’s free 😉

    1. I remember that post! Lucky, J getting a fancy work gym. I wish my office had one. I usually try to go for a walk around the park near our office once a day. I need to figure out the distance of that sucker…

  10. I usually run every other day. One of the nice things about living in Colorado is the biking options available. I can either go on a 50 mile ride if I have time on the weekend or I can go to the mountains and do a 5-10 mile climb and get a great workout in.

  11. I say spend whatever is necessary and in your means to invest in your health! If you hate running and it makes you dread a workout – you’ll stop doing it and become bitter. But if you love your cross fit class and get excited to attend, then you’ll keep up the routine and see results. By spending more on healthy food and gym memberships I’ve been able to cut out other costs. I don’t need coffee in the morning because a hard workout gives me great sleep. I don’t care if I’m wearing a $3 dollar goodwill dress because when I’m in shape I feel confident about the way I look. And since I’ve become a vegetarian (and off /on vegan) I rarely get sick!

    Also I’m hoping that by investing in my health in my 20’s that by the time I’m a senior citizen I won’t have as many expensive health issues.

  12. I’ve been running a lot lately, which is pretty affordable. Just need a good pair of running shoes. Those cross-fit classes do sound great. I have done something similar and every muscle in my body felt it too. But they were no where near as pricey as your classes. $150 is definitely a lot, especially since it doesn’t include other classes or gym use.

  13. $150+ is definitely too much for me – I pay ~$30/month for my gym which I still think is a lot. Mr. 1500 touched upon something – CF is so popular these days, that gyms are starting to adopt some of the moves in classes (I know mine does, though the hours are inconvenient). Maybe you can find a gym that has these types of classes, so at least you can still use the gym for personal use whenever you want? But I guess it just all depends on what you’re striving for in terms of goals.

  14. I’ve always been curious about CrossFit, but I know I don’t want to spend that much money on a gym. That said, if I thought CrossFit were the only place I could go to get a good workout, then I’d totally pay the cost. I really believe in investing in my health, so I’m not opposed to paying monthly fees to do so. I just know that I can get in great shape for less than $150 a month 🙂

  15. It’s hard to put an exact figure on the amount. I used to belong to Equinox gym which was 110/month and awesome classes, but I couldn’t justify it as much as I went, because I knew living in sunny cali, I could easily do so many workouts outside, and I use free apps in my house…and I have a beach and play beach volleyball. So I’m lucky there. I haven’t really missed it at all, and so occasionally drop in on yoga at a yoga studio. But I pay a lot more for good, healthy food. It’s one of my bigger expenses. I also try not to ever skimp on certain preventative health measures for my age like a mammogram, my annual “lady” visit, and once a year skin screenings since I spend a lot of time in the sun. I think health is one of the biggest commodities you have…once that’s gone..who cares how much you have saved. You know what I mean?

  16. First off, LOVE the Ron Swanson! You can never get enough Swanson in my opinion. 🙂 We joined the Y several years ago and I do not use it nearly enough. We joined because they have a lot of great programs which our kids love, which makes it well worth it for us.

  17. Hey, whoever said free was without pain? Ha! They opened up a slew of cheapo gyms (that have no personal trainers/salespeople), one in my area that I signed up for 3 years ago. It costs me $10.43 every two weeks and is transferable to my wife. Since we have a child, we can’t workout together anyways, so it works out perfectly. That is, when I go. I have this habit of going 5 months straight, then I get sick, lose my routine and I’m out. But at $270 a year (yes year, not month) at least I get 5 months, 2-3 days a week out of it. Pretty sweet. But some big name gym just bought it, so probably won’t last…

  18. I get panicky about my $78/month membership, so I could never think about paying those crazy Crossfit fees. I do hope to try a free class at the box here this summer just to see what it’s all about!

  19. Several of my friends are doctors and I’ve heard too many stories about people ripping muscle from bone overdoing Crossfit for me to do it! I know that I’m hearing the exceptions, but just the thought kills my attitude.

    I was lucky to find a large group (about 20 people) who like to train for marathons. Now I work out with them and it’s a ton of fun.

  20. That’s why I have not saved and joined crossfit here! I went to my first free class (once a week all summer long at a park near our apartment) last week and was in SO much pain for days. I just wouldn’t be able to make it to all the classes because my work/youth ministry schedule is so wonky. We have a gym in our apartment complex, so I just use that!

  21. We had a gym membership for years, and never went b/c it was always too crowded. We do lots of running, hiking, walking, and biking. In the cold winters here, we’re a bit lazy, but our goal is to one day get a treadmill and avoid the every winter weight gain from sitting on our arses for several months. 🙂

  22. Yes I did join a gym, though it took me a LONG time to get around to it and only because it was $10/month! I joined Planet Fitness, which has a ton of weight training and cardio equipment. I love it because it’s super cheap but the equipment is all very new and there are enough machines that you never have to wait for one (this was a goal of theirs from my understanding).

    I think fitness-related health expenses are relatively small, though, when compared with other potential health costs. I had sinus surgery last year and revision sinus surgery this year, maxing out my insurance both years. That’s over $7k spent just on me in health care costs, not to mention the time and energy it took to go to the appointments and deal with the recovery and whatnot. even $100/month on a gym or other health-related expense pales in comparison to what we could be paying for health care-related costs. Just wait until we all have kids…I fully expect to hit my out of pocket max every year! At least with my luck.

  23. I couldn’t imagine ever feeling OK paying $150 a month to work out. When there are free and inexpensive options out there. But I guess if the motivation and results are worth $150 more than the other options, it could be worth it.

  24. My husband and I spend a lot on fitness. He does CrossFit and has an unlimited monthly membership for about $170/month. It’s expensive, but he goes about five times/week, so he gets his money’s worth. The man is addicted! And I’ve never seen him so happy/fit/energetic in his life. I do barre workouts, which are also pricey. For both of us, we need the class structure to stay motivated. Otherwise, it’s too easy for us to let other life priorities get in the way. At some point, we may need to adjust our budget to explore cheaper/free fitness options. But for now, it works for us.

  25. Oh wow! $150 is a lot – I can see why you are having second – and maybe third – thoughts.
    I usually fall into the sign up for a year long gym membership and then never cross the Welcome mat again.. So I’ve decided to swear off gyms for awhile and see what I can accomplish on my own. That’s still an…ummmm…work in progress. 🙂

  26. My 51 year old cousin just got diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer so I am refocusing on my health. I’ve always taken care of myself but I’ve stepped up my exercise routine and started juicing more regularly.

  27. Holy crap. There’s no pay-per-day type of plan with that gym? $150 a month is stupid expensive. I’d rather pay $30 for every class, because I know I’d end up missing some of them and I probably wouldn’t end up getting my money’s worth. CrossFit is a total ripoff. They’re just riding a wave right now, until people realize that there isn’t anything in a CrossFit gym that’s special. Pull up bars, and free weights shouldn’t cost a person $150 a month.

  28. I have a friend that started crossfit and thinks its great. He says the people are wonderful and he in getting in great shape. He questioned the price at first but found a deal on Groupon and said he would just try it for a month to see how things went. Personally if it was in the budget or money wasnt an issue I would try it. Seems like everyone in there are in shape so if the goal is to be healthy and in shape I don’t think the price is too much.

  29. I haven’t paid for a gym membership in over three years and I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m a runner and a I generally do some pilates out by the track. I also joined NYC’s bikeshare program so I’m getting an extra boost there (while saving on a metro card). There are also TONS of free yoga and fitness classes around the city. The place I’m willing to splurge is on my groceries- quality produce all the way.

  30. I think the CrossFit cult-like following is pretty interesting. I thought about trying a gym in Knoxville. (This was before migraines and the AVM diagnosis.) But then I read about how easy it is to open an affiliate CrossFit gym, and it kind of makes me nervous thinking that the people who operate the gyms may not know all that much about fitness. Seems like it could be an easy way to get injured, especially with the whole competitive atmosphere of timed workouts and repetition scores on a scoreboard. (I’m a competitive person who would totally benefit from that kind of workout if I was being monitored by a personal trainer.) So on that front, I’d just be sure to check out the credentials of the people running the CrossFit gym before you commit to join.

    When I visited NYC last May, my mom and I tried to find a gym to work out in for a week on our vacation. We couldn’t find anything for a reasonable price, so we ended up running up the stairs of the apartment building and along the river. But in Knoxville, the YWCA has a gym, a pool, a sauna, and various fitness classes for $40 per year. The city also has recreation centers with weight rooms and cardio equipment, and they’re all free for residents.

  31. I have a gym in my building. Granted, it’s a “minimalist” gym with a couple of treadmills and weights, but hey that’s all I need. I usually do workouts on the “Nike Training Club” App, which doesn’t require too many equipments so it works out. But to answer your question, if you are really serious about your health, there’s always a free way to stay in shape.

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