Fitness Rewards: Break a Sweat without Breaking the Bank

Congratulations! You just ran a whole three miles on the treadmill. Or maybe you just took your first hot yoga class, or took your bike to work instead of your car.

You're taking the necessary steps to have the body of a fitness model that will surely lead to a life of longevity and happiness. You deserve that $8 smoothie or that fancy new face wash. Come to think of it, it's only fair if you get a new running outfit, and yeah, I guess it's time to get that pair of ridiculously high-tech running shoes that use computer systems to correct your stride. After all, you worked hard to achieve your goals and should be rewarded!

The high cost of small rewards
Unquantifiable
is the money I've thrown away on harmless little rewards for myself. It's an easy trap to fall into. We set goals. We take steps to accomplish them, and a treat on the way home never hurt anyone. Besides, you're investing in yourself, and what could be a more solid investment, right?

Well, with wellness industries taking in billions of dollars each year; high-end running shoes costing as much as $200 a pair (to be replaced every four months, depending on mileage, according to experts. What experts?!); the average smoothie costing more than a meal; and the local grocery store that accepts food stamps yet sells moisturizers for upwards of $40, I suspect we're investing more in ad campaigns than we are in our own wellness.

That said, a reward can be a wonderful thing and inspire us to continue to work toward a healthier, better self. So what can we do to step out of our role as consumers and simply do something to better ourselves?

Doing the thing before you get the reward
You've made the decision to start running. Great. You went to the bookstore and bought Born to Run ($24.95); picked up a running magazine at the checkout counter ($4.95); and stopped by the specialty running store and bought a new pair of shorts ($36.50), a sweat-wicking running top ($49), a new pair of sneaks ($165), and a protein bar ($4). You decide to wait until later for that fancy pedometer.

Suddenly you're $280 and 350 calories in the hole, and you've yet to run a mile. I'm all for investing in the longevity of your exercise, whether it be running shoes or a new yoga mat, but you have to clock the miles first. Strap on that old pair of sneakers in your closet, put on your high school gym shorts, and hit the pavement for a couple weeks. Hate your first run, ache after your second, and keep on keeping on until you start to actually enjoy your runs, or at least the benefits. Then start thinking about investing in rewards.

Planning goal-based rewards
Buy the new running shorts, but do so after your first 25 miles. Get yourself that swanky tank top after 25 more miles. Once you're 100 miles in, you'll have your new outfit, and you'll be well on your way to training for your first half marathon with the gear to get you through.

Think of it this way: If you pick up an extra shift and work overtime, don't splurge on dinner afterwards because you're tired and deserve it. You've practically cancelled out your extra work. Instead, think about what you really want and reward yourself after five extra shifts.

Let it be bigger. Let it be useful. Let it be something you actually want rather than a fatigued impulse buy. Rewards can be an incredible incentive to save and to work harder for the next thing, but plan ahead so you don't cancel the work you do.

Let your reward be more of that thing
You feel great after your run. You feel great after your yoga class. Don't use your money to find something to supplement your elation, invest in your continued elation. Most yoga studios, for example, offer much better deals with class passes and monthly memberships. I've heard stories of monthly or yearly memberships being used often enough that the per class fee goes down to $2 a class instead of the $18 drop-in rate.

Running clubs with local run shops are often free if you can get up early enough. The more hours you clock at any given activity makes it more of the norm, and often the elation stays but the desire to reward yourself for your hard work declines. If you take a yoga class every day, you really don't need to supplement with a smoothie after each one, but that Saturday afternoon smoothie filled with raw cacao, hemp seeds, and whatever other Mayan superfood they're tossing in there will taste that much better.

Doing the research
What do you need, and what are you simply told that you need? Ever hear of your grandfather over-supinating his strides on his runs in his glorified leather slippers in the 40s? How much did the yogis living in caves in the Himalayas spend on their recycled organic rubber-substitute mats? How much would that smoothie cost if you bought the ingredients and put them in your blender at home?

To start running, you need your feet and a desire to pound the pavement. Some studies have shown that there is no correlation between expensive running shoes and less wear-and-tear on your joints. People ran before we had computer systems in our soles. What's changed? Advertising. The yogis on the banks of the Ganges river don't spend $90 on their yoga mats and special wash their gourmet clothing fabrics. They put on their loincloths and salute the rising sun.

How much pomegranate juice to you remember drinking growing up? What's the difference now? There's advertising for it. I heard a story that a son with an MBA inherited his family's pomegranate farm and had no idea what to do with it because no one ate pomegranates, so he commissioned studies to figure out what possibly could be redeemable about a pomegranate.

What did they find? Antioxidants. What a buzzword! They're a superfood! They found an angle to advertise their new inheritance, and now you find pomegranates in everything. Is it worth the extra bucks or are you simply funding more advertising to further fool yourself? (Last year the FDA sent a warning letter to pomegranate juice manufacturer POM Wonderful for making unproven claims of antioxidant and disease-prevention benefits.)

Read reviews online. Talk to people in the field who have some years, miles, or classes until their belts and figure out what's actually necessary.

It's important to reward yourself for a job well done or else Jack becomes a dull boy. That said, do the job well first and make sure your reward is equally worth your while. What do you reward yourself with post-workout? What could you do without, and when does it make sense to invest?

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Nicki
Nicki
8 years ago

If part of your plan with running and staying fit includes 5K or other charity races, I’d suggest not buying a wicking shirt for full price. For $25 you get a race entry fee plus a t-shirt although some are cotton and some are the wicking type. At this point I have an entire wardrobe of wicking shirts from years of races. Yes you could say the races are cost efficient because you can run for free on the same roads, but for me I need the goal and public commitment to do the race to help motivate me to… Read more »

VanimaAndune
VanimaAndune
8 years ago

I feel like running shoes have gotten a bad rap more than once on this site. I agree with April that it is important to do the work before you start rewarding yourself, especially when trying out a new activity. Running doesn’t require any special equipment to get started, but if you’ve tried it for a few weeks or months, it’s worthwhile to invest in good running shoes. Yes, they cost over $100. But straining a calf or knee because you have bad shoes may mean you can’t run for several weeks and the problem can recur if you keep… Read more »

Leland
Leland
8 years ago
Reply to  VanimaAndune

100% agree. I switched to new shoes not too long ago, thinking I could save some money with something different. 6 months later, I’m back on the old shoes, after a 10 week break to recover from an injury. Oh Asics, I’ll never turn my back on you again!

Seriously though, spend the money at your local running shop once, and then keep an eye out for ridiculous discounts online (set up a Google alert). You can get 2-3 pairs wholesale for $70 a pop next year and not have to worry about shoes for 1-2 years.

Pamela
Pamela
8 years ago
Reply to  VanimaAndune

Actually, Christopher MacDougall in his book, Born to Run, highlighted scientific research that found highly cushioned running shoes actually promote injury. The shoe companies can’t deny the evidence anymore and are now coming out with “new” models that are more like their earlier shoes with less padding.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Pamela

Ah, yes, I missed your post on my first scan of the comments, but yes!

Angie
Angie
8 years ago
Reply to  VanimaAndune

I think you missed the point of the article, VanimaAndune.

Heck, you missed who even authored it!

abby
abby
8 years ago
Reply to  VanimaAndune

I came here to say the same thing. I caution against just throwing on your years old sneaks and hitting the trails. If they’re relatively new, and you haven’t put much wear and tear on them, then sure, you’re fine for a few weeks while you see if this is something you’re going to stick with. But anything more than that and you’re just going to cause yourself pain and injury, possibly permanent.

kms98kms
kms98kms
8 years ago
Reply to  VanimaAndune

If you are a runner and are running more than a couple miles a day – don’t buy running shoes at DSW…they have much cheaper versions of the shoes and the support your feet need will not be there. I’ve run in the shoes from DSW and the one from the running store (same models) and the running store far outweighed those from DSW. Also as a repeat customer, I’m offered a discount from the running store…often the best shoes for you are not the most expensive pair. The people at a running store would be able to give you… Read more »

Nancy
Nancy
8 years ago
Reply to  kms98kms

What exactly is a running shoe store? Is that like footlocker or are there stores that only specialize in running shoes?

Jaime+B
Jaime+B
8 years ago
Reply to  Nancy

Yes, there are specialty stores for running, though they usually cover other things as well – Footlocker is not one of them. Here in KC there is Gary Gribbles Running Sports. There’s also a New Balance store where they will measure your foot properly, but I don’t believe they can evaluate your stride. You can google running stores for your area and start making phone calls. 🙂

Courtney
Courtney
8 years ago
Reply to  Nancy

I go to Potomac River Running in Virginia. They will have you step on a thingy to measure your feet (not just size, but how high your arch is and where your weight bearing falls) and then watch you on a monitor while you run on a treadmill. They’ll then recommend several brands and have you try each one on and run in them to see what’s working best for your feet and your gait. All of this was free, and the shoes themselves (I ended up in Asics) weren’t any more expensive than at a regular sporting goods store.

Mondo Duke
Mondo Duke
8 years ago
Reply to  VanimaAndune

Running shoes are the only thing one shouldn’t cheap out on. When I began running in earnest, I ran in my old crossstrainers and I absolutely hated it because I came home hurting. Once I got into my barefoot/minimalist style shoes, running became far more joyful. I had attempted running multiple times in my life and always stopped because it just didn’t feel right. I believe now that it was the shoes I was running in that did this.

Lisa
Lisa
8 years ago

Love it, Tim Sullivan. Keep the logic and the humor going!

Nick
Nick
8 years ago

Great post, Tim. My favorite post-workout reward is 2-3 glasses of cold water. From the tap not the fridge! You hit it on the head when you talk about the dramatic increase in advertising dollars for products that are supposed to make you healthy just by purchasing them. Being a good consumer is about making choices. Personally, I think it’s better that people invest in a yoga membership than cable. But I’m so thrifty at this point in my life that I’d rather buy a yoga dvd to learn the moves and then go outside for my workouts. This article… Read more »

Mary
Mary
8 years ago

Since not only fitness but weightloss is my goal, I reward myself with a piece of workout attire for every 5 lbs lost, even if it’s just a new pair of socks. Plus, being able to buy smaller sizes every 10 or 15 pounds is another part of the motivation.

Great article. Thanks for sharing.

Sherry
Sherry
8 years ago
Reply to  Mary

That’s a great idea!

Annie
Annie
8 years ago

I have to agree with VanimaAndune; while the rest of the running gear that people treat themselves to is optional, a pair of good running shoes is necessary, whether you’re just starting out or are a consistent runner. The last thing a beginning runner needs to happen is to pull a tendon or the like because they’re running in a pair of Vans or something totally inappropriate. I have been running consistently for over three years and definitely don’t replace my shoes every 3-4 months unless I’m training for a half marathon. Like Vanima, I also occasionally buy shoes at… Read more »

Pamela
Pamela
8 years ago

Do you remember how easy it was to stay in shape as a kid? Or if you’re under 35, and grew up on cable TV and video games, maybe you don’t.:)

The idea of pedaling a bike in front of a tv screen sounds like torture. When did staying fit become so much work?

Riding my bike to the park for a swim in the lake, running for pleasure with my dog, and showing all the cool hiking trails in my area to out of town friends is fun. That’s what I see as the reward.

Bethany
Bethany
8 years ago

Thanks for the great article! It was a great reminder to me to think about my fitness spending. I am often guilty of spending way too much money on fitness equipment and paraphernalia. Spending on your health and fitness is a good idea but that doesn’t mean you are justified in buying anything you want that is fitness related (like I used to do). I cancelled my gym membership last summer to increase money to my “debt snowball” and have been very surprised at how well I can workout with no gym and no fancy equipment. I run every other… Read more »

DollarStretcher
DollarStretcher
8 years ago
Reply to  Bethany

Bodyrock is great. Also try Scooby’s home bodybuilding workshop.

dave
dave
8 years ago

My suggestion is to read ‘Born to Run’ before you buy any of that other stuff 😛

Paularado
Paularado
8 years ago
Reply to  dave

That’s what I was going to say. Born to Run is actually required reading before you start for knowledge and just pure inspiration. You can get it for much cheaper than $25, however. I’m new to running, and that book is what got my into it.

I get great workout wear from my local thrift store. I scored two pairs of Adidas running skorts for the summer and I just got two pairs of Nike Training pants for the winter along with several wicking shirts. Maybe your thrift store doesn’t have anything like that, but it’s worth a try!

brooklynchick
brooklynchick
8 years ago

“cloth Ghandi diapers?” I think you mean dhotis, and this is the first time I’ve read something offensive from a GRS writer.

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  brooklynchick

Yes, this is offensive and ignorant, highlighted by the misspelling of “Gandhi .”

A juvenile rah-rah attitude permeates this piece, which seriously needed a decent editor.

Tim
Tim
8 years ago
Reply to  brooklynchick

“Confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer.”

Thanks to you both.

mitigateddisaster
mitigateddisaster
8 years ago
Reply to  brooklynchick

Thanks for calling that out. I read this post in my email and came here specifically to reference that comment.

April / Tim – thanks for editing.

Malcom
Malcom
8 years ago

April, I read this blog daily and respond seldom. I I must say that I am really unimpressed with this new author and concerned about some of the statemetns he has made. Two statements most importantly. First, I think it is misleading to give the impression that expensive running shoes are not necessary. There is a big difference in the construction of a running shoe at Target and the construction of a running shoe at a speciality store. The shoes look the same but are very different. I also know that wearing shoes past their life can cause serious injuries.… Read more »

Malcom
Malcom
8 years ago
Reply to  April Dykman

Thanks for responding. Of course I will keep reading his articles. This is a great blog.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Malcom

I disagree with the shoe injury paranoia. For millions of years human beings have walked, run and jogged without the help of hi-tech polymers. Now there are even running shoes with huge inner springs in the heel for older people or those with problems. But our feet have their own shock-absorption system. The ball of the foot, the arch, and the calf muscles and their corresponding tendons are perfectly built to absorb the impact of running. Since the invention of the running shoe, we have been taught to land on our heels, and the ensuing stomping this causes have caused… Read more »

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Its a little hard to run when you don’t have an arch to speak of. And yes, humans went without shoes for thousands of years (if the climate is right) but most of us in the Western world have adapted to wearing shoes.

We did a lot of things for thousands of years we don’t now, yet I don’t see too many people trying to live as we did back then.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Carla

I don’t know. Part of the postmodern drive in our culture is a reevaluation of technology and the realization that not all progress is necessarily good, or that at least there are harmful side effects to it. Take, for example, the green revolution– after years of monoculture bumper crops dependent on oil-derived pesticides and fertilizer, it dawned on people that organic produce is better for our health and the environment, and now we pay a premium for it. Suburbs popped up all over in the 50’s, when the car was king; now people want to return to walkable communities, to… Read more »

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  Carla

Unfortunately for me, walking barefoot is very painful. At home I wear indoor shoes with supports.

Courtney
Courtney
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

“The ball of the foot, the arch, and the calf muscles and their corresponding tendons are perfectly built to absorb the impact of running.”

Well, if you want to get all evolutionary about it, our feet are designed for WALKING and SPRINTING. Running was too energetically inefficient for cavemen to spend precious calories on, unless their lives depended on it (i.e. sprinting away from a saber tooth tiger or someone with a bigger club than you). As a species, we were designed to walk for long distances, not run for miles.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Courtney

Assuming we did not evolve to chase prey for miles, or that the traditional !Kung are not representative of paleolithic cultures, it still would not follow that we’re meant to land on our heels when we walk, sprint, or step at a speed between those two. Also, my apologies to elephants– in some other post I accused them of stomping, but it turns out they walk (of course!) on their tiptoes: http://elephant.elehost.com/About_Elephants/Anatomy/The_Feet/the_feet.html —— EDIT EDIT EDIT: Check out this video starting at 56:40 the chasing hunt begins– they run after the antelope for FOUR hours! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfeNcsQZmZY (we are of course… Read more »

Courtney
Courtney
8 years ago
Reply to  Courtney

For what it’s worth, I don’t heel-strike in my shoes either. I land on my mid-foot.

I’ve been reading a bit into “pose running” and find it interesting as a concept (that instead of pushing off with the back foot, to focus more on picking the front foot up and then ‘falling’ forward with the front foot, letting gravity do more of the work. Your knees stay bent the entire time.) I haven’t actually tried it yet though – maybe tomorrow!

Courtney
Courtney
8 years ago
Reply to  Courtney

+1 for the mention of !Kung – haven’t seen that since college anthropology. Also, very late reply, but I thought of this while running yesterday (4 miles!) Our ancestors, when they did run, did not run on concrete and asphalt and tracks. They ran on dirt and grass. Concrete/asphalt are far harder surfaces (I avoid running on sidewalks whenever it’s safe to do so) and thus create a much bigger impact shock to the legs and feet than natural surfaces.

xoxobra
xoxobra
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

The thing this point misses is that Pele and that Indian soccer team likely always played on soft turfs like grass or dirt. Man-made concrete streets and sidewalks are everywhere now, and it’s not as forgiving on your feet as grass and dirt are. I feel like this is the difference that most people don’t consider. Many have gotten stress fractures in their foot from reading Born To Run and jumping out of the gate with their barefoot style shoes, without giving their feet any time to adjust to the dramatic decrease in padding they’re now working with. I’m not… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  xoxobra

I agree, takes getting used to going barefoot after decades of shoes, and extremism can be harmful. Absolutely–takes time to train a foot from atrophy into full health. I should not have said “you’ll be running with $0 shoes in no time”; that was careless, but unfortunately I can’t edit. I walk shoeless but run with shoes (in the city). I run in some old Nike cross trainers, and if I was running on my heels they would be woefully inadequate–but given that I land on the balls of my feet, the rubber sole is more than plenty to make… Read more »

Anonymous Woman
Anonymous Woman
8 years ago
Reply to  Malcom

I agree with others here about the shoes When I ran in a past, the biggest mistake I made was running in cheap and/or worn out shoes. My feet are a flat as pancakes and I need the support for running (now weight training, etc). I would never go cheap again – unless I want to end up having knee surgery before I’m 40. There are many places you can buy some of the same brands and models online at a fraction of the cost of retail. I make sure shipping and returns are free. In terms of workout clothes,… Read more »

partgypsy
partgypsy
8 years ago

I would like to start jogging, but do not have any form of athletic shoe. I’m afraid of buying a pair of shoes that cost $90 and I end up not liking them. I also don’t like shoes that feel heavy or built-up. What is the cheapest/lightest type shoe I can buy to wear running that I won’t injure myself with? Keds?

kms98kms
kms98kms
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

El Nerdo – I think there are benefits to shoeless running but the jury is still out on if it is better to run barefoot or not. Personally – I don’t feel comfortable running on the street in my barefeet (especially when its 0 degrees outside) so that leaves me with buying the $100 Vibrams shoes…I also have some support issues in my feet and run better with running shoes (on my mid-foot, not my heel). Everyone is different, and I agree some of the best runners run barefoot, but not everyone is able to do so.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Yes, of course, everyone is different– it’s just wanted to steer the discussion away from the “we must have mega-computerized shoes or we’ll die” groupthink.

Also, for low temps, try moccasins?

bon
bon
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

vibrams in the winter = cold

Crane
Crane
8 years ago
Reply to  partgypsy

i have tried a few pairs on the lower-cost end and settled eventually on saucony progrid. the earlier models are WAY better than the recent ones (which have far too much padding) and should be pretty cheap since they came out years ago.

but i agree with the writer that the most important thing is to start slow and pay attention to your stride.

Tim
Tim
8 years ago
Reply to  partgypsy

Hey there, Like others have said above, check out your local running shop. The one near me offered me a free gait analysis (involving a tread mill and a slow motion camera) that I honestly thought was for my own benefit and not just to try to up-sell me something. They’ll help you find a pair of shoes in your budget and you’ll get to walk around the shop. Most even have mini tracks you can jog around on just to test them out. That said, with any new form of exercise, investing in what’s needed to keep you safe… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Thanks for this clarification. A gait analysis should be the FIRST thing anyone does if they want to start serious running. No shoe will save you from injury if you have bad body mechanics.

If you can’t get a gait analysis at the running store, or if there isn’t one in your area, spend the money with a qualified personal trainer to give you a proper gait analysis. It’s much smarter to correct body mechanics BEFORE you start investing in gear … or physical therapy.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Let’s not get into an argument about evolution vs creation on your first post. 😉

Katie
Katie
8 years ago
Reply to  partgypsy

When you find your local running store(s), be sure to ask about their return/exchange policy. I never had gait analysis or was fitted for a running shoe until last year… which, by the way, I waited to do until I’d completed the FREE Couch to 5K program because I agree wholeheartedly with the theme of this article. When I was fitted, the shoes I bought ended up causing me serious blisters and hot spots. After a week of running, I went back to the running store, showed them my blisters, and they re-fitted me and exchanged the used shoes for… Read more »

Stellamarina
Stellamarina
8 years ago
Reply to  partgypsy

I am too old to go running these days but I do a lot of walking. Being cheap, I buy Dr Scholls shoes at Walmart…around $24 Have used them for years and buy them out when new seasons shoes come in…I do not even need to try them on…I know they will fit and be comfortable.

CNM
CNM
8 years ago

@partgypsy: In my experience, you really should get a pair of running shoes from a running store. The store in my area has plenty of shoes at the $100 price point and there are frequently sales/clearance shoes for less. Going to a cheap store, like a Nike outlet or TJ Maxx is just going to be a waste of money as they do not actually carry the same shoes but rather cheap “fashion” shoes that are not meant for running. Many times I have been suckered into buying a cheap outlet pair, only to replace them after a month of… Read more »

partgypsy
partgypsy
8 years ago
Reply to  CNM

Thanks all. Yes I think if I just pick up a pair of shoes without any guidance, then I will waste my money. Need to figure out where a running store is. I used to jog a little when a teen but that was ages ago. But a friend of mine started it up again so if I get back into it I’ll have a running partner.

Kathleen
Kathleen
8 years ago

This is really all about running, not “fitness.” I was hoping for an enthusiastic discussion about building muscle (which we lose with age if we don’t attempt to reverse that trend), not tearing it down through running.

Save your money for a good gym membership. The camaraderie and variety of equipment is worth it. (Yes, you can buy DBs and a bench for your home, but you are limited in exercises.) And, if you want, run on the treadmills, which will save you on knee surgery.

Tim
Tim
8 years ago
Reply to  Kathleen

Kathleen,

You make some great points. I’m totally in. What do you say we cover a few more fitness regimes in future posts?

Thanks!

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  Kathleen

I agree. I joined a gym two years ago and never looked back. Now that I can no longer run, I take full advantage of what I can do most days of the week at the gym. Unfortunately I do know of a lot of people who waste their membership by simply not going…

Courtney
Courtney
8 years ago

Some of you need to go out and buy a sense of humor. I found this post to be hilarious! And it’s got some good points. Don’t get caught up in the storm of buying all the “stuff” that comes with a fitness program. Do you really need all the bells and whistles to get in shape? I am in the middle of week 2 of a yoga/pilates/kickboxing class. I have not spent any more than the $110 fee for 12 weeks of classes. However, the instructor recommends that I buy “yoga blocks” because I have extreme wrist pain when… Read more »

balancedB
balancedB
8 years ago

Take three deep breaths Malcolm, this was a great article by Tim. He could have made it a little more clear, don’t run in flip flops or wing tips! But the POM Co. has gotten away with their hype and very high prices for too long. It’s time for them to tell the the truth ( stop making unproven claims and lower the price..) and not rip off the consumer. Love the writing Tim, keep it up! ( off to yoga class..)

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

So true about not needing all the expensive trappings. It reminds me of what Mark Bittman says about cooking and not needing any expensive or special equipment – just basic pots, cheap knives, stainless steel mixing bowls,etc. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/09/dining/09mini.html?pagewanted=all

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago
Reply to  Laura

I LOVE chopping veggies with my expensive knife. I’m never going back to cheapo knives. But, I also don’t plan on buying another new expensive one for a long, LONG time. =)

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

It was a good article and it made some great points, but every time a new staff writer comes up some people get twitchy.

And… wait, where did Sarah Gilbert go? I loved her articles but she’s not in the staff writers page. https://www.getrichslowly.org/bloggers

Hmmmm….

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  April Dykman

Oh! Good to know! I love her stuff.

Carla
Carla
8 years ago

I agree with others here about the shoes When I ran in a past, the biggest mistake I made was running in cheap and/or worn out shoes. My feet are a flat as pancakes and I need the support for running (now weight training, etc). I would never go cheap again — unless I want to end up having knee surgery before I’m 40. There are many places you can buy some of the same brands and models online at a fraction of the cost of retail. I make sure shipping and returns are free. In terms of workout clothes,… Read more »

partgypsy
partgypsy
8 years ago
Reply to  Carla

wow didn’t even think of the running bra. Way back when I did run (a little) has nothing to speak of, but will need some assistance now!

Stupidly Happy
Stupidly Happy
8 years ago

Loved the article and suggestions. My wife and I began running last year after years of saying we needed to get in better shape. Bought nothing new – just started with a walk-run regemine and gradually increased our run times and shortened our walk times. Our rewards for this was seen on the scale after a few weeks. After a few months, we actually could wear the clothes we were going to donate because they were “small” on us. Not only are we healthier physically but mentally too. One side effect of this is (and not intentionally) is we eat… Read more »

Rachel
Rachel
8 years ago

I wasn’t going to comment but after reading some of the cutting remarks, I thought Tim should hear that this was an interesting and fun-to-read post. My husband and I have disagreements about this particular topic frequently since he comes from the “can’t do it until I have the right gear” camp and I hail from the land of “you shouldn’t buy the gear unless you’ve already proved you like it.” He has made so many purchases over the years (e.g. rock climbing shoes, crampons, water filters) that have never been used. I don’t think Tim’s point was to never… Read more »

Craig
Craig
8 years ago

I’ve spent the last 14 months losing over 150 lbs and just recently ran my first half marathon as a way to stay motivated at the end of my weight loss journey. Never really added it up, because to me the investment was a no brainer, but a rough estimate just now put me at $600 or so for the year. That includes 14 months of $10 a month gym membership, 5 pairs of shoes, and a handful of quick dry compression clothes for long runs (and to prevent chaffing). It probably sounds high, but a good chunk of that… Read more »

Fake
Fake
8 years ago
Reply to  Craig

Craig, can I just say, way to go! You give hope to others.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago

Not too interested in the shoe/no shoe debate! Will someone please humor me with a discussion of goals? This is something I was thinking about yesterday – excellent timing GRS. =) I do not feel rewarded by stuff. Getting a new workout outfit or shoes will not make me get on my treadmill. I feel guilty for making myself a reward that’s based on finances. I wouldn’t be spending any money at the gym (I have free gym available to me but don’t go) anyway, so I don’t see the value of spending money on fitness. I have free medical… Read more »

Cat
Cat
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

“I have free medical so I don’t have a long-term reward of lower healthcare cost, I don’t have any healthcare costs and never will…”

Well, good for you!

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago
Reply to  Cat

I’m genuinely interested in getting good advice on how I can motivate myself to exercise. It’s not like I’m the size of an elephant but I’m also not in my correct BMI range.

I can see how the cost of medical would be a good motivator to me if I was facing those costs in the future. But I’m not!

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

My motivating factor is my health and vanity. 😀 For me, health is not always about cost, its how I feel day-to-day. I have MS and exercise and diet is the one thing that keeps me feeling somewhat “normal” most of the time. I also have PCOS which I manage though diet and lifestyle. My first 10 years into adulthood was misery, and I never want to go back to that again. In terms of vanity, being able to fit into a pair of jeans in a certain size and style and look good, not having my waist be the… Read more »

a
a
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

Just because you don’t have to pay for the medical care, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be worried about long term health risks. If you develop a health issue, there are costs that aren’t just monetary. You may have to spend time getting treatments and the treatments may have side effects. I probably don’t exercise as much as I should, but I found the best motivation for me is doing something I enjoy for exercise. I can’t stand running just for the sake of running, but I love playing soccer. So some of my entertainment budget goes to paying league fees… Read more »

Paularado
Paularado
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

Vanity and Energy, that’s what motivates me, not health. Vanity is my biggest motivator. I like looking good. Second, I love the overall feeling I have when I’m exercising. It’s like being a kid again where you just want to run because you can. My energy levels go way up when I’m exercising. It doesn’t take long to get into better shape and that’s really fun…to feel fit. Health….well, that’s just too vague a concept to get me to exercise. Also, exercise to me is not getting on a treadmill; it’s going outside and experiencing the outdoors whether that’s on… Read more »

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

Thanks for the ideas!

jSarie
jSarie
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

In terms of motivation, would you be able to frame your workouts as immediate rewards like cash or calorie bonuses?

I used to work about 5.5km from my house, so walking to and from the office saved me $5/day in train tickets and opened up several hundred calories worth of extra eating. I used to use that as an excuse to hit the fast-food places with co-workers, but if your goals are frugality or weight-loss rather socialization then the savings/burn can be the reward in themselves.

Susan
Susan
8 years ago

What? You mean I don’t need a $160 Lululemon yoga outfit to practice yoga? So relieved to hear it. Great article, Tim. I thought it was insightful and light-hearted.

brooklyn+money
brooklyn+money
8 years ago

Yeah, um, you do need properly fitted shoes (be they Vibrams or super support whatever works) to run, especially on the road/sidewalk and on a regular basis. And sometimes you even get lucky and need $500 orthotics like I do, woohoo! But running the 1/2 marathon this weekend with no foot pain was worth every penny.

Joan
Joan
8 years ago

Ok, now this article makes me want to get out and exercise. But wait, I only need to go up the steps and to the treadmill sitting with dust in the extra bedroom. Only certain times of the day can I go outside where I live in Arizona. The cow smell is so strong, not to mention a health hazard, as we are told by air quality. So I stay inside but seriously, I need to get on that treadmill. Good post!

krantcents
krantcents
8 years ago

30+ years ago, I started running. I bought good running shoes ($65 at the time) and went running. Roughly 10 years later,I switched to bicycling. Between the bike, helmet and clothes came to much more ($750). The running shoes are long gone, but the I am still using the bike 20 years later.

Jaime B
Jaime B
8 years ago

I can absolutely relate to this with hobbies more than fitness. My fitness level isn’t up to rock climbing, or skiing or kayaking or anything else that comes with high equipment costs, so I don’t usually get sucked into that kind of spending. However, a couple of years ago I took a beginning crochet class and still haven’t gotten beyond the basics – but I have tons of yarn, multiple hook sizes and also bought a bunch of knitting needles. I, of course, bought all of this stuff at retail and didn’t realize you can get all kinds of knitting/crochet… Read more »

Frances
Frances
8 years ago

So you guys all know there are other brands of pomegranate juice out there than POM, right? Or you can just wait until pomegranates are in season and pig out on them then. Yum.

Thought the article was humourous…didn’t take me long to learn to avoid the smoothie bar at the gym. Lattes on work days? Much harder. I’ve just reframed it: four bucks isn’t much to pay for 15 minutes of pleasure and a whole morning of feeling awake. Good thing I don’t work every day 🙂

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  Frances

“Or you can just wait until pomegranates are in season and pig out on them then. Yum.”

Unfortunately pomegranates don’t grow where I live. 🙁

Cea+Wall
Cea+Wall
8 years ago

As a long-time runner and faithful reader of GRS, I just wanted to say “Welcome Tim – great first article!”

I hope to read many future articles written by you.

lhamo
lhamo
8 years ago

Another voice of support for decent shoes. I started running earlier this year and made do with my old shoes that I had already been wearing for walking/weight workouts for several months. Didn’t realize until I ended up with black middle toenails on both of my feet that the loose fit of the shoes was the cause. Splurged on a pair of good running shoes and relieved my painful toes AND improved the quality of my running immediately. Haven’t tried the no-shoe/Vibram approach yet, but if you are going to run be sure you have shoes that fit appropriately, especially… Read more »

Nate
Nate
8 years ago

The Ghandi/Diaper comment is pretty tacky, and probably offensive to some people.

Bella
Bella
8 years ago

Just wanted to chime in that I really liked this article. I’ve got a personal antectdote to share. I can’t even begin to tally the amount of $$ I have spent on trying to improve my health. Gadgets, food trackers, sports equipment etc… Luckily I was already reading GRS when the bodybugg craze hit for real and I didn’t fall into that one – but I sure thought about it – A LOT! The best money I ever spent on an excerise purchase is my mountain bike – I spent A LOT of money but it has been worth every… Read more »

Vince Thorne
Vince Thorne
8 years ago

A bad pair of shoes can indeed hurt you if you run long. FInding wholesale deals on good ones is not that hard. Every other accessory is to pamper oneself. If you are not going to run the biggest expense may be your gym membership.

Joe
Joe
8 years ago

regarding Granddad’s supinating leather slippers, Don’t most people’s granddad’s have bad knees? Maybe the slippers where part of the problem.

It’s one thing to point out that people used to run without fancy shoes – but they didn’t need to still be mobile 40-60 years later, because they were long dead.

Wilson
Wilson
7 years ago

Youtube: Body weight exercises, and HIIT. Combining these into an at home workout is great. I am currently using an iPhone app called “you are your own gym” which is amazing. You can also purchase the book on amazon (hint: qualify for an amazon credit card and get a credit to buy the book).

Julie Vaughan
Julie Vaughan
7 years ago

There are hundreds of activities you can do that won’t cost a penny. Simple exercises you can do in your own living room without owning a gym membership or any exercise equipment. You can following fitness dvds or join one of the many online workout plans that you can subscribe to for only a few dollars. You can even find free workouts online too. Just invest in a good pair of sneakers to protect your feet and you’re away!

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