“They traded their health for wealth, and now they’re trying to buy it back.” -Jim Schmitz, Former Team USA Olympic Weightlifting Coach
I still remember this quote from my own USA Weightlifting Certification back in 2010 that Jim led. He also said something like “it’s important to keep your back flat, so to remember it I like to quote the duck from the AFLAC commercials. Just think ‘AFLAC! Back flat! AFLAC! Back flat!’” That one is more memorable, lol, but probably not as important for this article.
He was talking about the state of many clients he often sees come in his door over the years. Clients who made some money by burning the candle at both ends for a while, and then later on try to reconcile the health consequences of that lifestyle, and it doesn’t go as planned.
People have been asking why CrossFit is so “expensive” since its inception, and before that even. How can anyone afford Personal Training rates in general? Or “add-ons” like Nutrition Coaching (in quotes because it’s actually the most important thing). Often in the same breath as they express what difficult and dire straits they are in, how their doctor told them they have to make a change, how down and out they feel about it, how it affects their ability to do their job, take care of their kids and be present with their spouse, and how important it is that they get back on track. It tugs at the heartstrings. Sincerely, it is one of the core reasons why I decided to change my own career path to ultimately help people more directly.
It’s complicated further because we are considered a “gym,” and by that label are by default lumped into the same mental category of other “gyms,” including those that offer vastly different levels and types of service. So a prospective member naturally holds in their mind “$1 Down, $10/mth | Planet Fitness Gym Membership” (seriously, just Googled this), alongside our rates, and must ask themselves “what’s the difference?” We know the difference is Coaching versus Access, but it’s often not obvious at first. Or that their business model is based on you not showing up.
We could get into all that, but I’d rather just get to the heart of it. People (who are even entertaining the notion of making a change) can afford a Coach when getting help is important enough to them that it takes precedence over other things in their budget. How can anyone afford a lawyer, or a medical specialist not covered by their insurance? Because they have to. Because the situation makes the alternatives untenable.
The challenge is that the compounding interest of poor health choices can be deferred for a while, through the 20s, 30s, and 40s even. Human being are infamously bad at solving problems that haven’t fully materialized yet, however inevitable they may be, like old age, or saving for retirement, or climate change. They’re just not real yet. Our minds don’t process a future problem the same way as a sabertooth tiger.
But like death and taxes, when it comes to your health you can invest now, or pay later. And that bill will come. When you are considering whether it’s worth it to invest a couple hundred bucks or more per month in coaching to turn your health around, the right comparison isn’t the easy access gym across town, it’s the cost of medicine and care later in life. And many of us with parents or relatives who have been there are quite familiar with how astronomical those expenses can be (thousands per month or more). And it’s not the same. When it comes to your health, you can’t “buy it back” later. And it might not even be you paying for it, but your family.
“That won’t happen to me. I’m different.” Or better yet, *sticks head in sand* “lalalalala I can’t hear you!” Or “maybe next year.”
Look, if we’re even having this conversation in the first place, it means that you still haven’t figured it out on your own yet, but you obviously have some sense that you need to do something. Otherwise you wouldn’t have had the courage to schedule an appointment and be sitting in our office, telling your story. You would be busy living your life and experiencing good health and all that comes from that. But that’s often not the case. Everyone needs help sometimes, and it’s not a scarlet letter to wear.
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
Cypher Health & Fitness