Friday Rant: The Cost of Getting in Shape

That's right. It's resolution week and I'm fully on the fitness bandwagon (FOR REAL THIS TIME). Thing is, I'm really not that out of shape. I suffered through a half-marathon back in September with Jason and the Spend Matters crew (never again) and I've at least made an effort to be a member of a big-box gym. But as a former collegiate rower, I have to say: I want my guns back. I want the back muscles that people used to envy. I want to be able to do multiple (real, not knee) push-ups and something else I've never been able to do (no matter how many two-a-days I huffed through): the elusive pull-up. Thing is, I hate running. I hate working out solo, period. Unfortunately, I'm also not 18 anymore.

So in 2012, I've vowed to create my perfect weekly routine through trial and error. I'm aiming for a mixture of strength training, cardio, and something to promote mental wellbeing and flexibility. Now on to the rant part: what's it going to cost me??

The gym costs money. Yoga, zumba, crossfit, and other classes cost money. Tennis lessons cost money. All-organic food costs money. Personal training costs a LOT of money. My goal is to not only find the best routine, but also the best routine at the best total cost, including the cost of my time. Over the next couple months, I'll document my experiences weekly over on Healthcare Matters, so check back there if you're interested.

Pulling hard: Rowfit's 26.2 (a relay marathon on the erg)

As a rowing coach (check out my team!), I'm very fortunate to have unlimited access to ergometers year-round and to boats in the summer. So my Mondays and Wednesdays are covered: 45 of hard cardio on the rowing machine, and then a 15-minute core workout with my team. It's a sport I love and a workout I look forward to.

Now, here's what's failed so far:

  • 12 weeks of once-a-week personal training sessions ($55/session). Average calories burned per session: 450-600. Though the one-on-one attention kept me on my game, there is nothing more awkward than having one other person stand there while you're dripping sweat, telling you to get your butt lower. I saw some results, but unfortunately I fell into a routine where I decided that working out once a week was enough. It wasn't.
  • Bikram Yoga ($89/month; $17 drop-in). Average calories burned: 700-1,000. 90 minutes of 26 soul and body crushing poses in 105-degree heat turns out to be cruel and unusual punishment. To be fair, walking back out into the normal air after a class is literally one of the best feelings in the world, and I did gain a lot of flexibility. Though I love yoga, this kind was not for me.

Here are this week's workout experiments:

  • Crossfit ($150/month) 350-500 calories burned/hour: This is supposed to be the most ass-kicking workout of all time. Pull-ups, weights, burpees, running, flipping tires, rowing, the works. My class is tonight at 6. I'm terrified I won't be able to move my arms tomorrow.
  • Corepower Yoga ($99/month) 300-400 calories burned/hour: I've been doing this for the past week or so and I'm in love. Still in a hot room (98 degrees), the focus is more on flow than discipline, the instructors take questions during class, and they play music (unlike Bikram). I'm pretty sure this is the yoga for me, but I'm giving it a full trial month before I commit.

Is anyone else out there in the Spend Matters community committing to getting in shape this year -- and analyzing the cost of doing so? If so, I'd love to hear your ideas. And if you're in Chicago and want to join me for a class of something new, I'm game. Leave a comment or shoot me an email: smoore (at) spendmatters (dot) com.

- Sheena Moore

Voices (3)

  1. karen:

    Try this out go to the price is right and the efforts are simple get in shape , stay in shape.

  2. Philip White:

    For your organic diet goals, look into the local community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs.

  3. Justin:

    Try the Yoga Sculpt class at CorePower Yoga while you are on trial membership.

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