What it Really Costs to Be Healthy
There’s really nothing quite like a hobby or interest that takes over your life; fitness is one of those all-encompassing hobbies. It’s not something you only do or think about during your one-hour workout or when you’re about to make a meal. Staying healthy and fit is an every-minute-of-every-day thing. It’s also an expensive thing.
I’ve never sat down to calculate just how much it costs me financially to lead a healthy life. To be honest, I try not think about how much I spend unless it’s the week before payday. So when my editor suggested I track my health and fitness expenses for a month, I was torn between thinking it would be a great piece and not wanting to know the number at the end of it. I can’t really say no to a work assignment though, because a girl’s gotta buy gym clothes.
Before I get into the numbers, I have a disclaimer. I live in Arkansas, and the cost of living is different down here than in New York, where every other publication seems to be located. This is particularly true of gym memberships. Okay, here we go.
There are a few things I pay for once a month. For some reason they all seem to be due in the same week which is unfortunate for my bank account.
Currently I pay $32 a month for a no-contract gym. It’s not the nicest, fanciest, or biggest gym in the world, but it’s more affordable than my old gym, which was $60 a month. It’s worth it to not a have a contract. Maybe I have issues with commitment?
I love yoga more than I love most things, so a monthly yoga membership is non-negotiable. Here I pay $65 a month and it’s on contract. Maybe yoga is the one commitment I’m willing to make. It’s unlimited and keeps me from losing my shit on a daily basis. (It really should be tax-deductible for that reason. JS.)
Because my muscles are sore just about every day of the week, I buy and use A LOT of epsom salts. I’m constantly taking a hot bath to ease the pain and chill out before bedtime. I go through about a bag a month for $5.
If you don’t take supplements on a daily basis are you even healthy? Just kidding. (Sort of.) They probably aren’t necessary all the time, but I love them and their results. These expenses are typically spread out, but they do tend to be lumped together. This past month I had to restock on my vitamins and powders.
Like all good fitness addicts, I’m devoted to my protein powder. About once a month I purchase a tub of chocolate or vanilla Perfect Fit Protein. It’s vegan pea-protein and is only sold online, so I pay the $50, plus shipping costs. I know. Please don’t judge me.
Collagen powder is one of those things I know isn’t ~necessary~, but I really like the impact it has on my skin. I tend to break out when I’m stressed out, which is all the time, so I add a scoop to my daily protein shake to improve my complexion. It really does work, and it’s also good for joint health (my mom takes it to help with her arthritis). The collagen powder from Vital Proteins costs $43.
Hi, I love vitamins. I take them all the time. Luckily, a bottle can last a really long time. My daily regimen includes a daily multivitamin, biotin, vitamin D in the A.M., and a dose of magnesium before I go to bed (it induces sleep, aids in digestion, and helps ease sore muscles). All of these together cost me about $25.
Maybe I’m basic for loving Spark Energy by Advocare, but whatever. It’s better than the regular pre-workout powders and doesn’t make my hands, feet, and ears tingle unbearably. It’s about $51.95 per tub, plus shipping. It’s necessary because I really don’t need to drink six cups of coffee a day.
Luckily, the only weekly expenses I have for my health are food-related. Not so luckily, I’m a big fan of the expensive health food aisle and organic veggies and meat. I have food sensitivities and allergies, so I kind of have to spend the extra money for things that won’t make me sick. For example, I have to buy nut milks, vegan cheeses, and dairy-free granola bars. That ish is expensive. I won’t give you an entire breakdown of each item I purchase at the grocery store because it changes a bit each week depending on what I’m cooking.
I average anywhere from $50-$100 at the grocery store. I typically purchase organic meats, mostly organic veggies, the pricey honeycrisp apples, two cartons of nut milk, almond milk yogurts, the $5-per-bar granola bars, coconut oil, organic honey, quinoa, unsalted mixed nuts, coffee, and ground flax seed. Oh, and the occasional box of organic pop tarts (they are fire!). This girl likes to eat.
The Random “Needs”
Another big part of living a healthy lifestyle is the equipment. Gym clothes, exercise equipment, and even alarm clocks are some of my big splurge items. I paid $70 for an alarm clock that slowly emits light to mimic the sunrise and help me wake up for 5 a.m. workouts. (Here’s one that’s similar.) Total need, right?
I’ve also been known to drop a small fortune at Lululemon for workout tops, sports bras, leggings, shorts, and headbands. I don’t go every month, but this month alone I spent $230 dollars for two sports bras and two pairs of leggings.
This past month I also purchased some new exercise equipment for my house, just in case it was too cold for me to leave the house for the gym. I bought a set of 15lb weights for $20. I’ve also got my yoga mat from Lululemon ($58), Dharma yoga wheel ($79), resistance bands ($10), yoga mat/ assistance strap ($18), and another set of weights ($20). To hold all of this, I also have a gym bag from Lululemon that cost me $150, but it’s the most incredible bag I’ve ever seen. (So. Many. Pockets.) So I regret nothing.
The Monthly Total: $622 + the $405 for Equipment
I didn’t break all of this down to say that you can only live a healthy life by spending a ton of money. I know that I have some things that aren’t entirely necessary. I could live just as healthy a life and be just as flexible without my Dharma yoga wheel and expensive yoga mat. However, I’m in this for the long haul so I want to make sure I have things that last.
Through this experiment I did have to acknowledge I have a bit of a shopping problem. This is a problem I don’t intend to correct though. I love shopping, I love feeling good in the workout clothes I wear, and I love feeling energetic and healthy because of the foods I put into my body.
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