As someone who has been working on being a more active and physically fit person for about a year now, I can tell you with 100% certainty that fitness costs a lot of money. It also costs a lot of time. One of the most common excuses people use to convince themselves not to strive for true fitness is “I don’t have time” or “I can’t afford it.” This post is here not to prove you wrong, but to show you that you can do it (and to remind me in a time of struggle that I can do it, too).
My husband and I are very lucky in that we are incredibly financially sound for our age. We are able to pay off our minimal bills comfortably and have enough money to build up some savings. We’re able to pay for access to a rock climbing gym and for equipment for that gym, which not many people can afford to do. The good news for those of you who aren’t there yet–we literally just got there sometime this year. That means we were on our fitness journeys for a good long while before we had extra money floating around for frivolous rock climbing expenses. We had to find ways to adjust our spending to make it work and you can too!
To begin with, everything begins in the kitchen. Prior to being fit, the hubby and I were eating a whole lot of Hamburger Helper, pasta, and hamburger. We’re now working towards an 80/20 clean diet (working towards it means I ate too many donuts this week and I don’t want to talk about it), where we aim to eat clean, unprocessed foods about 80% of the time during the week and “normal” foods the other 20%. Our grocery bill has honestly stayed fairly consistent. Since we are buying significantly more produce and a lot more meat, it has increased a little bit, but here’s the big secret of the fitfam–meal planning will save your life. It saves serious time and even more money. I can go through my pantry and see what we already have in terms of ingredients and meat and produce and plan for meals that incorporate those things before I add anything else into the plan that requires us to buy more food. Since we should hypothetically be eating out less (again, we’re working on it…both of us have a weak spot for Pizza Hut, oopsies!), we spend way less money on food each month just by avoiding expenses at restaurants or fast food joints. I drink Shakeology once a day, and since that functions as a meal replacement, that’s one less meal I have to worry about. It’s also extremely nutrient dense–so much so that I’ve been able to quit taking vitamins altogether because my daily shake has all of the vitamins in it that I need.
When we first started out, meal planning and using what we had first was super important, as was budgeting. If you know exactly what you need from the store and you have a set amount of money to spend, you can’t blow extra money on junk food while you’re at the store. We worked out at the fitness center on base, which we can access for free, or by going to a track and making up our own workouts. After our wedding, we used some of the money we received as gifts to purchase a treadmill off of Craigslist. We have progressively built ourselves up to having a nice little home gym, which we use to do our at-home workouts (I am doing the 21 Day Fix and Kelly is doing Body Beast). You can get great cheap fitness stuff at places like 5 Below if you’re on a budget.
So let’s say that you, like us, aren’t struggling to afford the fitness lifestyle. Affording fitness costs us so much more than just money. Being fit is a total lifestyle change, and it is time consuming. My husband and I meal prep on Sundays, and it takes most of the day. We plan every meal for the upcoming week (6 meals a day for me x 7 days in a week = 42 meals planned), grocery shop, and then cook most or all of our lunches and dinners for the week. Whatever we don’t finish on Sunday we do on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons. That’s an entire day of the week dedicated to nothing but planning out healthy meals and cooking them.
Then there’s the workouts themselves. Twice this week I’ve told myself “I just don’t have time.” This is a total and complete lie. To begin with, my workouts consist of 30 minute at-home workouts and running. Neither of those things is particularly time consuming. Secondly, I have all the time in the world, I just didn’t feel like spending it doing Pilates. Budgeting your time is so important. It’s vital to look at fitness as another integral portion of your day, and as something that simply cannot be pushed away or avoided. You can’t tell yourself you don’t have time for a staff meeting, you can’t tell yourself you don’t have time to feed the kids, so don’t tell yourself you don’t have time to workout! For me, that means I probably need to drag myself out of bed and crank out a workout earlier in the morning so that I still get my morning lounge-around time to do laundry, blog, and work on my Beachbody business and crafting business. I don’t have a whole lot of motivation to work out at night, so on days I get lazy and push my workout off until the end of the day after I’m home from work…it just doesn’t happen.
It’s so important to figure out where in your day you want to schedule your workout and stick to it. Put it in your planner, your phone, write it on your hand, whatever you have to do. Make it a non-negotiable part of your day and budget that time into your daily schedule over all, and always remember to do what you can when you can. Some days you may have time for a solid hour and a half workout and you power through and some days you may struggle to cram in 30 minutes, and that’s totally ok.
You do have the time and money, and if you don’t, you can always budget your fitness into your means!