Why I don’t regret spending more than $3k on fitness this year

By: Maureen Genore on December 15, 2016
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Two years ago, I wouldn’t have been writing this article.

I was working very long hours for a large retailer and was suffering through a 90-minute commute each way. Though I tried my best to make healthy food choices, and fit in workouts when I could, fitness just wasn’t a priority for me.

Then I got a job downtown. Regular hours and a shorter commute meant that I had more time to get my health on track. I started eating healthier (read: making all my meals at home) and made time for working out. I started by attending free workout classes around the city, and from there I got into running. Though it was super tough at first (that’s for another article) — it didn’t take long before I was hooked.

What started out as an affordable way to use my newfound free time turned into one of the most important parts of my life — and one of my biggest expenses. As more and more people are dropping money into a ton of different fitness trends — hello barre anyone? — it’s led me to ask: is there a right amount of money to spend on keeping yourself healthy?

I’m a bit scared to tally this up, but here’s what I’m spending every month on staying fit

Gym membership: $​75/month

I joined the YMCA in June. I decided to pay more for the ‘plus’ plan, which gives me access to a whirlpool, steam room, and a child-free change room. And I save a bit by having a joint plan with my boyfriend.

ClassPass membership: $65/month

ClassPass is a monthly membership that gives me access to various group classes around Toronto. Although the YMCA does offer some classes, I like the flexibility and diversity of ClassPass. My current plan allows me to go to five classes each month, which is actually a steal if you do the math.

While I wish my fitness expenses ended there, a ton of other costs have cropped up throughout the year.

Race entries: $363 in 2016

While not essential, when you’re a runner you’re likely going to want to run some races, which can get pretty pricey. In 2016, I ran three half marathons: the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Half Marathon ($85 entry), the SeaWheeze Half Marathon ($158 entry + travel to Vancouver), and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon ($85 entry). I also paid a $35 entry fee for the Toronto Waterfront 10K, which I didn’t end up running due to an injury.

Workout gear: $300 in 2016

I’ve learned in the last few years how important it is to have the right gear, which is especially true for runners. Having proper shoes can help prevent injuries, and winter running in Canada is no joke. I’ve been lucky enough to lead runs with the Adidas run club in Toronto, which comes with some perks in the way of free gear. If it weren’t for that, this $300 amount would be much higher.

Soccer league: $175 in 2016

With my newfound athleticism, I decided to join a soccer team. I played for two seasons in the spring and summer. While I enjoyed it, I admit that I’m not exactly a ‘natural’.

Additional classes and events: $800 in 2016

Despite having both a gym and ClassPass membership, I still like to attend classes that aren’t offered through ClassPass. Often these types of events come at a premium, but it’s an expense I’m willing to splurge on. Oh, and I dropped $600 on yoga camp. It was amazing.

Total fitness spend in 2016: $3,143

Whoa, so I’m spending more than $3,000 a year on staying fit — is it worth it?

So how did I afford to spend so much on fitness this year? I decided to prioritize it and plan for it. When I sat down to figure out how to make it happen, it became clear that something else had to give.

The biggest thing I’ve done to offset my fitness costs is cut back on eating out. My boyfriend and I make most of our meals at home, and nights out have become an exceedingly rare expense.

I also saved money this year by cutting back on every 20-something’s favourite pastime: drinks. If you think spending over $3,000 on fitness is crazy, try asking a craft-beer junkie how much they spend on hops!

The ROI of getting fit

Now that you know how much I spend on fitness, and how I afford it, here’s the kicker: I plan on spending even more in 2017!

I could go on for hours about why, but I’ll keep it simple: you just can’t put a price on your health.

I can honestly say that getting into fitness and running has changed my life. I feel better than I ever have: I’ve lost weight, I sleep better, I have more energy, and I’m happier. Oh, I’ve also made tons of new friends and am part of a community of people that inspire me everyday.

Pretty hard to put a price on that.

Image courtesy of Jess Baumung.