If the past 3 weeks have taught me anything; it’s that the amount of money you are willing to pay for your fitness is directly proportionate to the seriousness of your fitness commitment. Now before everyone gets up in arms and the rebuttals start flying in. Let me make a few points here. Notice first I said “willing” to pay not “able” to pay. Second everything I just said is a proven quantity. Here in America cheap means one thing; expendable. The cheaper a thing is the more likely we are to toss it out and the less likely we are to feel bad about not taking advantage of it. I cannot count how many times I have seen close friends and acquaintances throw away opportunities that were both amazing and free, only to excuse with the claim, “well it’s not like I lost anything, it was free.”
Here where I live, one can’t throw a rock without hitting some big-box gym offering $10 a month memberships. A quick search on Groupon will land you a dozen or more packages for fitness classes and training all around $10-15 dollars a month. These are great deals but not for those buying them. A gym chain knows what I know; that a full 90% of those who purchase memberships will stop coming in 6-8 weeks. They will get frustrated by their lack of progress and direction and give-up. Some will try to cancel but then find doing so requires a $100 dollar fee. They’ll get mad, swear never to go back, but continue paying the monthly fee until their contract expires. The gym gets their money and doesn’t even need to service a customer. That is a great deal…..for the gym!
The same goes for package online coupons. Roughly 90% that buy will never cash the coupon in; neither will they feel bad about it. A few will actually redeem it, they’ll show up a couple of times realize that exercise actually requires effort then make excuses to never come back. Ironically in an economy where every little cent counts most people can gladly come up with an excuse to waste $50-100 bucks without blinking. Most do it on a weekly basis with junk food, movies, music, coffee, and all kinds of little luxuries they’ve convinced themselves they must have. The only thing sadder than this train of thought is that it goes hand in hand with the notion that coffee is a necessity but fitness and good health is a hobby. I can sit down with a potential client every time, and in 2 minutes go through their weekly spending habits and find enough wasteful purchases to pay for my services each month tenfold. But still they will tell me it’s too expensive.
I could be looking at this all wrong, I think really the problem is not that many people aren’t willing to pay for my time, experience, effort, and knowledge its that they think they are somehow entitled to it. I should be giving it away out of the goodness of my heart. You see the same attitude whenever you go to buy a car. Outside of the devil himself, few people are more demonized than car salesman. Those cars they sell didn’t arrive as gifts from the manufacturer, the dealer paid for them. Apparently here in the U.S. no one has a right to make profit outside of ourselves, we’re just trying to get by, while everyone else is trying to screw us over.
Working back around to my point; I’ve noticed that when you pay a hundred dollars or more a month for the privilege to use someone’s gym, (and it is a privilege) to pound their equipment, into dust, and be trained by knowledgeable experienced instructors who actually care about your results, you tend to show up. It’s odd isn’t it? Apparently the more you pay to be trained and worked into a sweaty exhausted mess every day the more likely you are to keep coming back. Looking at this from the outside it just doesn’t seem right but there it is, and the facts are undeniable. So again I say; you get what you pay for. There are a hardy few who have the discipline and commitment to take advantage of the cheap gym memberships to work themselves into success stories and I salute them. Every year though these people become harder to find. For the rest of us it seems commitment must be enforced by high fees and dues. It seems that for most fitness is a commodity whose worth is tied directly to its monthly cost.
If that is so then I have to ask, to you my readers out there; what is your health worth to you? How bad do you want it, because in truth it’s free but you’re not interested in it when its free? You don’t have the time, or the energy, or the space, and on and on and on. It’s as simple as using common sense to avoid crappy food and frequent inactivity but you say it’s too hard, too much of a hassle, and headache. Well what’s it worth to you then, to have me plan it for you, to plan your workouts, your diet, to watch your health for you, and remind you of decisions you should be able to make as an adult. You come to me looking for solutions with a mind full of dreams and pictures of what you could be and you want me to make it happen. It isn’t free, and it isn’t easy, so what’s it worth to you; because it’s worth a lot to me. I don’t get up at the crack of dawn because it’s fun, I don’t watch what I eat because it’s easy, I do it because I care, because this body I live in is mine, and my responsibility, and when you come to me you become my responsibility as well. You don’t need to pay me to care, I already do, but I do expect to be paid for my time, my equipment, my knowledge, and my effort. If you think that’s unfair then by all means come work for me, I’d be glad to have you do it for free.