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Economics 101

VALUE: The extent to which a good or service is perceived by its customer to meet his or her needs or wants, measured by customer’s willingness to pay for it. It commonly depends more on the customer’s perception of the worth of the product than on its intrinsic value.

Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/value.html



A week ago I was happy to be working out at home, on a more flexible schedule, lifting, running, moving, training. And then a combination of running Friday, squatting and deadlifting Saturday, more running Sunday and a walk on Monday pushed me beyond my limits, and I was unable to sit or lie down without pain Monday evening through Friday. I had to drop out of my goal race on Sunday and take pictures instead.

In those 4 days I decided I still needed some guidance so that I didn’t end up hurt every other week. Maybe I am impatient (I know I am impatient) but I do not want to be sidelined with injuries over and over again. I decided to suck it up and go back to the gym where there is a coach who can watch over me just a little bit. I want to be able to do the things I love to do-without pain.

What is it worth to me?

This is where I struggle. This is where I stop to pause and think because gym membership is so expensive, how can I justify it every month? On the one hand I understand that something increases in perceived value when it is exactly what you need, and there really are no other options that work for me right now, but I am still a bit on the fence about whether it is truly worth it-even after spending 2 weeks in October sidelined with injury during my so called “break”from the gym. That was a very expensive break. During the month of October I easily spent twice as much as I would have if I had just kept my membership, and I would now be paying less as well.

But is it worth it?

Everybody thought I paid far too much for monthly personal training before I joined the gym, but they liked the results and so did I. And although I prefer 1:1 training, the price of working 1:1 with a coach is something only independently wealthy people can afford. Other options include gyms and studios with fitness classes like spin, barre, HIIT, Boot Camps, etc. I have tried those in the past and guess what? I have to try to be the best and compete with 20 somethings so I ALWAYS end up injured. And then there are the Cross Fit boxes. I am less of a Cross Fit hater now, but it is still not something I want to pay to do every other day.

So what is left?

Small-ish group personal training with a coach I trust, at a gym close to work that is available for me on my lunch hour.  Right now the coach’s expertise  and convenient location and almost perfect hours are worth more than the small group community to me. I have to swallow the fact that I am paying for more than I am using-kinda like cable and my CSA share. Because I want to continue running and I am choosing not to work out on days I run, and the gym is not open on the weekends, I will only be getting to the gym twice a week for now, which puts the per session cost through the roof.

But is it worth it?

Do you know how much I love to watch The Weather Channel, and The Voice On Demand? Do you know how much I love fresh chard, tomatoes and basil? I watch television less than 20 hrs per week, and only watch a handful of shows on a few stations, yet I pay for ALL the bells and whistles because I am afraid not to. Right now it is worth it to me to overpay. I happily paid my CSA share fee in March to get weekly fresh, organic, locally grown produce, even though I probably threw out 25% of it because I either didn’t like it, or didn’t eat it in time. The share was too large for two people. I paid for more than I was able to eat. I could have split my share with someone, but I had no one willing to do that. So I paid. It was either pay or go without.

It’s the principle

I struggle with the high cost of trying to stay healthy and fit, and I am in a point in my life where I don’t have small children to raise or college to pay for.  I get that it is a business and people are willing to pay for it, but when the cost of eating fresh food and training with skilled, knowledgeable professionals is unaffordable for those that may need it most, no wonder as a society we fall prey to fast, pre packaged processed foods, high in sugar and fat with little nutritional value. If economic choices need to be made, people often choose cable and Internet over gym membership. I now know why I gained 35 pounds when my children were in school. I was working to put food on the table, gas in the car, and clothes on their backs. Gym membership was a luxury to me. We ate hot dogs and macaroni, salty soup and peanut butter sandwiches on white bread. So I am having a really hard time not thinking about how expensive my gym membership is.

It’s the value

I am at a point in my life when I am financially helping grown children and parents AND trying to save for retirement which looms closer each year. I am deciding to make some sacrifices in order to walk, sit, sleep and move without pain. Right now gym membership is by far more expensive than the Chiropractor and a bottle of Advil. It is more expensive than spin classes. It is more expensive than cable. If I have to stop getting my hair done you will know why. If I have to sell my Camaro you know why. Right now my gym membership is worth it. I only wish it felt more in line with my internal values. At what point will I say I can no longer justify the cost? I guess I will know when I feel it is no longer valuable to me.





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