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Article by Kristin Charboneau

I was doing a follow-up health and fitness assessment with one of my personal training clients.  We were going over the results of how her body fat percentage had decreased, how many inches she'd lost, how much weight she'd lost, and how her cardio-vascular numbers and upper-body strength and flexibility had improved; all of these indicators of health had improved dramatically in only six weeks.  She was very happy about everything that we had accomplished and mentioned that she was going to enroll in my next group program and even keep going into the next body fit program that I run.  She saw and felt the results, so what she said next surprised me. She said that her boyfriend had commented about her spending the money on the program: "You're going to do it again? That’s a lot of money."  But is it?

Is it, really? My client disagreed with her boyfriend because she looked at the alternative—poor health. First, the price of personal training is more reasonable than you might expect. Across the United States, prices for personal training vary from $40 to $80 per hour. We all have many options about how to spend our money, and spend it we do, so why not invest in ourselves instead of, say, spending it on pleasure that only lasts an hour or two.

Rather than an expense, consider this sum an investment against future health care costs. While there will always be accidents and unexpected illnesses that we can't prevent, the old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" applies here.  For example, it's no secret that obesity can lead to serious illnesses, like type 2 (insulin dependent) diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Not only does lugging around extra poundage slow people down, it can mean unwanted lifestyle changes. Consider Nikki, a type 2 diabetic. She has to wear an insulin pump 24/7 to keep her metabolism running and check her blood sugar levels 7 times each day. Without constantly checking her insulin levels, she could become confused, suffer blurred vision, and even pass out. Because she is uninsured, the pump, the insulin, and the testing supplies cost Nikki $300 per month—more than $3,000 per year. Imagine how high costs could be if Nikki had to add treatments for other illnesses onto this sum. Astronomical! Lifestyle-altering!

So if you're not moving—meaning if you go to work, come home, go to bed without over the course of a week a workout at least 3 hours that includes a combination of strength, cardio, and flexibility training combined with a proper nutrition plan—what are you waiting for?  If you need a gym membership to get you moving, join a gym.  Join a class like a kick box, step, Zumba, or spin class. Join a group personal training program or hire a trainer. If that’s what you need to get motivated and get you results, do it.  It is cheap, compared to the alternatives!  Even if you can afford to pay hefty medical bills out of pocket, your health is priceless for the quality of life it allows you.  Invest now in yourself to avoid paying huge in other ways later in life.  You’re the only one stopping yourself.  Take control of your life and make it a healthy one!

Kristin Charboneau is a longtime professional trainer and group fitness instructor who holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and is AFAA certified. She can be reached at bodyfitpros[at]yahoo.com.

© Kristin Charboneau, 2009