Personal training versus cutting the budget

I went to the gym today thinking I had rescheduled with my trainer from this morning at 9:30 (in favor of the interview) to 1 p.m. I get there and figure out that we rescheduled for tomorrow at 1 p.m., which I cannot make because I have lunch/second conversation with the law firm. So he was kind enough to put my in an early slot (6 a.m.) before the rest of his very full schedule begins. While I felt like an idiot to show up on the wrong day, I am fortunate that he’s able and willing to work with me to accommodate my last-minute schedule changes and obvious memory malfunctions.

With our recent belt-tightening, M and I have had many good/bad, inspiring/depressing conversations about wants and needs, dreams and aspirations for ourselves as individuals as well as us the couple unit. One of the biggies for both of us is our overall health and wellness. M is hugely supportive of keeping me healthy, and let’s face it, with the diabetes, taking care of myself and my health is more complicated than just getting an annual physical. I have been doing a just okay job of managing my condition, but it seems like each time I take a step forward something goes haywire and requires some sort of an adjustment. Still, one step forward, two steps back is still forward momentum of a sort.

I had these initial training sessions as part of our return to the gym incentive package. With the 20% salary cut that was effective July 1, I was thinking and feeling that I should not purchase additional sessions, because the expense would be huge. M, however, felt I need to prioritize my overall health, and since J is motivating me to workout regularly (sort of … the unrest of the past few weeks has been disruptive to the process), it is not something we should cut. Vacations and adventuring could be shortened or cancelled completely if it came down to one or the other. So through that round of budget talks the personal training stayed put.

Now that I have gone to part-time/remote, my salary has taken another 25% to 50% hit, depending upon the monthly accounting cycle for my main job and my ongoing part-time gigs. For purposes of budgeting we assumed it would be a 25% hit, because M has picked up some fun paid tasks for part-time boss #2 and that contributes to our overall monthly income. On top of that, I can also nearly always pick up more hours for him simply by letting him know I am available to do more. Part-time boss #2 always has a rolling list of projects in his head awaiting my availability and willingness to step up and do them.

But 25% cut on top of the initial 20% is a huge hit to our income. We have agreed that maxing out our retirement contributions is highest priority behind the mortgage, mandatory utilities, and food, but everything else is on the table for slashing to meet our new, lower income. Personal training seems like one of those luxury items that would be first to go, but no, M insists it this investment is more important, because without me moving and exercising regularly I will not wear well. J motivates me to move, to exercise, to DO, and it’s worth the expense in M’s mind. He, M, cannot do that for me. He can either be the husband that I love or he can try to be the personal trainer I snap at, scream at, resent, and allow to impair our marriage. Because for whatever reason, M’s coaching me sounds like criticism no matter how gently he tries to deliver it. J, the relative stranger I barely care about (although I do like him very much as a person), can tell me nicely or bluntly that I’m doing something wrong and it is simply a matter or trying to make the appropriate adjustment in posture and form. Failing or faltering with J feels like a characteristic of me learning to be more athletic, whereas witih M it feels like he thinks I am not trying and it turns into an immediate attack on my character or worse.

So we can put a dollar figure to this discussion – personal training at my gym is $65 per hour session if you purchase just single sessions with the trainers. Packages are $550 for 10 hours/sessions, $840 for 16 hours/session, and $1000 for 20 hours/sessions. Half hour sessions are also available, but since I am not interested in that I did not even inquire about the cost. Obviously, at $50/hour (best deal) in addition to the $89.95/month gym membership, J is not a cheap date.

With M’s blessing and strong encouragement, I signed on for another 20 sessions with J and the associated $1000 charge on my credit card. This is a newly acquired rewards credit card and offers 0% financing for the first 15 billing cycles, so I could stretch it out over several months if needed. I have mixed feelings about the expense. Mostly I am very happy to have secured my weekly session to continue learning safe and sane strength training practices, but I am concerned about the expense. I do not want to find myself eventually pulling money from other savings goals to pay for it, yet I’d be very sad if I had to give up the things J is teaching me because I’m cheaping out. Except I’m not cheaping out; I have real, valid concerns abou the expense.

Now that a few hours have passed, I have come to realize that my financial priorties and concerns about them are less pressing of a concern. Our budget is tighter with this luxury expense, but not impossible and we will not be living on rice, beans, and ramen noodles and sitting in a dark house without A/C. Good things are happening in my world right now, though, and I feel more confident that I will acquire either another full-time job with benefits or I will devote myself to self-employment and all that entails. I am only just starting the “what if” research for self-employment, because there are a lot of factors to be considered with officially setting myself up as a business entity. The past couple of weeks have done a lot to boost my confidence, and several friends have rubbed my nose in the fact that I do not give myself enough credit for my knowledge, experience, and the self-discipline to pace myself, prioritize, and succeed on my own and outside the structure of an established organizational environment.

Universe, I hear you! I will think about all the valid points brought up and what I really want to do for the next chapter in my career and employment history. As I am now 54, the choices I make next could very well lead to the final chapter of my working life, so I need to weight those choices carefully and make (hopefully) wise decisions.

6 thoughts on “Personal training versus cutting the budget

  1. M is right – J is worth the investment. Because YOU are worth the investment. Your health is support important and the more you can do to help yourself – the better it is. You are positioning yourself in all areas of your life for a wonderful long life filled with things you & M love. This is almost as important as retirement savings!

    My trainer is a smidge cheaper although i am training 5 days a week so big volume discount. But the payoff is huge. I’m off insulin after almost 20 years (yes years), bloodwork is best in ages, weight is slowly coming off but down over 3 sizes now – all since beginning of the year.

    So I’m cheering you on over here!!!

    • OMG!!!! Off insulin? Completely? I knew we suffered similar struggles, but that’s AMAZING and so inspiring. I cannot even imagine working with J 5x per week. He’s a wonderful guy, but I think he’d grow weary of working with ME that much. But since I do not think I am even crawling (more like rolling over) in the baby steps exercise scheme, he does inspire me to try harder to fit the workouts in, to practice the things he’s shown me, to tell him when we meet what I’m having trouble with and getting over those issues. A lot of it is simply patience – I need to build up some of the balance and weakness I’m presently lacking – but I knowing I will see him on our days means I want to be able to show SOME progress, which means moving and working at it. For that he’s absolutely priceless.
      But dang! Off insulin? What an amazing i thought. Maybe I don’t reach it, but maybe I do? Stranger things have happened! I’ll just be happy to go see my endocrinologist and have him give me good news from my numbers. Not yet, but maybe in December if I put forth consistent effort.

      • If you had told me 3 years ago I would be smaller than I have been in well ever and off insulin and working out 5 days a week I would have said you were crazy. The big change has been the last 7 months with D (my trainer). I’m about to take the next step and commit to a diet the next 8 weeks to get the fat off my mid-section. Even if this was the best I ever got – it is amazing – but I think I can clear the final hurdle.
        So keep it up with J – your dedication alone means he won’t get tired of you and you will make progress. The stuff I do now is so much more than at the beginning or even three months ago.
        And yes – I believe getting off insulin can be done – not easy and totally OK if you can’t. But the only way I could really breakthrough was getting off the insulin. But I have friends and family on insulin who do well managing their weight and the diabetes on it – so everyone is different.
        BTW – it took almost 3 years to get fully off insulin and I added a pill. But I’m ok with that. 🙂

      • My primary goal is not necessarily to do away with the insulin, although I’d love it if i could pull myself together enough to make that breakthrough. Heck, I’m not even sure I’m in this to lose weight (although I think it’s a goal somewhere in my priority). I want my diabetes to be controlled and stay controlled, and a bit component of that is exercise. I’m looking at my cheat sheets for this week’s exercises and feeling really good about it. With my remote schedule, I no longer have reasonable excuses for not going to the gym, for skipping yoga practice, for not focusing on my more intense cardio. There’s baseline cardio – rowing each morning and a minimum of 10K steps daily – but HIIT sessions do a lot for my confidence and overall good feeling. I can do this, and now I’m truly inspired to keep going forward. THANK YOU, my friend!

  2. This is a great post! I love hearing about your wellness journey. Getting fit (physically & emotionally) is my #1 life goal. Side note: my wellness goals are substantially different than most, i.e. heart healthy & healthy weight gain (naturally very petite), alas.. but we’re all in the same boat. We wanna feel good! For some reason though, the motivation hasn’t quite kicked in yet. But I think about it all the time. I struggle most with eating habits. I would love to hire a nutritionist/cook & trainer. FYI: 1 personal training session at my gym is $60, 10 sessions: $500 + $20/month membership fee. It’s a small gym.

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