One of the biggest arguments I hear from women about getting in shape (specifically hiring a trainer and making healthier food choices) is “it’s too expensive”. I’ve come to realize however, that it’s not the money that most are referring to (whether or not they realize it), it’s the time investment. The cost of time that it takes to achieve results is more than most are willing to invest – despite it being the best investment one can ever make. I’ve seen a multitude of cost breakdowns, infographics and other charts that aim to disprove this excuse by showing cost comparisons for fast food and alcohol vs. healthier food options. While correct data-wise, I feel that these types of visual proof are not focused on the real issue, which is the cost of time.
In our current world of technology focused on shortcuts, easy-access and instant gratification, the idea of having to work towards a healthier life and body is a much stronger turn off then dealing with daily the side effects (tight clothes, uncomfortable readjusting, chronic back/knee/neck pain, increased healthcare/medication costs, body deterioration, more sick days…just to name a few) of an unhealthy life/body…that is until you face a major medical or life crisis which forces you to confront your lifestyle habits and make a change. It’s sad that it so often takes an event or diagnosis so detrimental to ignite change. Especially when just a few adjustments in our daily habits and choices could make a HUGE difference.
While this affects all sexes, I chose to focus in on women, mostly because I can speak from personal experience. As women, I feel that we put more emphasis and money into our hair, lash extensions, nails and shape-wear – hell, I did. Not because we don’t care about our bodies, but rather, because these bandaids are “easier” and offer almost instant gratification. I mean really, we spend more on cosmetic bandaids than it would cost to high a trainer and eat healthier. Hundreds to thousands of dollars are spent monthly on cosmetic enhancements and let’s not even get into things like botox, fillers, waxing, tanning etc. Now, I’m not saying some of these things aren’t important. I’m saying that they are equally “expensive” and simply offer quicker results with less discomfort. The discomfort required for change and the time it takes to see results is a turn off and discourages women from reaching their fit potential. Bodywork is a long-term commitment requiring a lifestyle change if you want to maintain it. And there are no true shortcuts, as shortcuts lead to quick endings and constant restarts. For example, things like weaves and fake nails are shortcuts to long healthy hair and nails.
So how does one break through this mental barrier? What I tell myself and my Ashletes is to change the way we look at the costs associated with training, clean eating and healthier living. Look at payments for training, massage, etc as investments into yourself, your body and your future. So it’s not that you pay a trainer $300/month for training, rather it’s that you invest $300/month into your health and wellness, so that your body can function and perform optimally and last you for many years to come.
When it comes to food most times healthier food options cost the same, if not substantially less than the current junk we consume daily. Again, the hangup is about the time and effort required for food prep and planning. It does take time to prep meals and develop a streamlined system that works for your individual schedule. It takes planning to make sure you have food prepared or access to healthier food options that match your health and fitness goals. When we don’t set aside the proper time and planning, that’s where we find ourselves over-indulging during happy hour or running through a drive through.
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t cost more money to change our bodies and fitness. It can even save you some serious money in the long run. The cost is time, consistency and dedication.