First Person: What it Costs to Work Out

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Throughout the years, I've chosen different ways to work out. Some methods have cost significantly less money than other methods. I have never spent as much money as the Hollywood stars, but I know I could do better at cutting my workout costs. A recent article by Forbes caught my attention because it looked at not only the overall cost per year of a workout, but the cost per workout session. I thought back on what I spent in terms of fixed costs, such as gym memberships. I wrote down what I spent in the past and currently spend on exercise equipment, DVDs, clothing and shoes. I was surprised by how much I need to budget for my exercise needs.

'Jane Fonda Workout' years

In the 1980s, I spent every afternoon after school doing the "Jane Fonda Workout." Perhaps some experts would now say some of the exercises could have led to injuries. At the time, all I needed was a VCR player and tape as well as a rug. I didn't wear proper shoes, although I should have. In addition to Fonda's workout, I tried a variety of other workout tapes as they were released such as "Buns of Steel." I probably spent about $50 on exercise tapes in one year. Since I exercised about 300 days of the year, I spent about 16 cents a session.

Gym membership fad

It cost me a lot more money by belonging to a gym throughout the years. The most I ever spent was a family gym membership. Even though I had the family membership, I was the only person in the family who used the gym. I spent about $1,440 on the gym membership. I only worked out on a semi-regular basis or about 50 times a year. It cost me about $28 per workout session.

A new trend called jogging

Although it shouldn't cost a lot of money to run or jog, I had various costs associated with my jogging phase. I spent about $100 every 3 months on new running shoes. I purchased running clothing at a specialty running store. I also paid $5 fees to use the nature trail. When I combined exercise with my social life, I paid for 5k and half-marathon events that included registration fees, food, hotels and travel expenses. I estimate in one year, I spent $1,200 as a jogger. Since I ran 240 days of the year, it cost me $5 per session.

The home gym

I spent about $2,000 on an elliptical machine as well as $600 on weights, mats and barbells. Since I expect my home gym equipment to last at least 10 years, I look at the long-term value of my gym. I spent a total of $2,600, which comes out to $260 a year for 10 years. Since I probably work out about 200 times a year, it costs me $1.30 per session. To get more bang for my buck, I probably should exercise more often.

I can see that going old-school with workout videos is the more affordable way to work out. Although I wouldn't do the Jane Fonda workout anymore, I do like the Insanity DVDs. The new workout DVDs cost a lot more than my old VCR tapes and they are more effective. I need to cut back on how much money I spent on exercise so I can afford the clothes I'll be buying when I'm in better shape.

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