How much money are you willing to spend to achieve the strong and lean body of your dreams? Here are some guidelines to help you start your journey after you set your health and fitness resolutions.
Know your goals and numbers.
Would you like to lower your blood pressure, run your first 10-km race, build more muscle and join a circuit training class without giving up, or burn more calories while enjoying an hour of nonstop dance class?
How much weight would you like to lose by next year? Studies show that the most conservative rate of weight loss is at least 10 percent of your starting weight in six months (or five percent in three months).
How much do you earn per month, per year? How much savings do you have now? Estimate your total expenses for this year and for each of your basic needs so you would have an idea about your budget next year.
Set a monthly budget for your major expenses like food, groceries, transportation, bills, rent, amortization, self-care, clothes, travel, children’s needs, and your health and fitness.
The budget will depend on your income, lifestyle, needs and target savings. If your monthly income is P20,000 and your monthly expenses cost P15,000, you can still allot a budget for your fitness lifestyle by cutting back on unnecessary expenses, and engaging in affordable fitness programs that suit you.
The zero-P1,900 plan
Walk or jog outdoors 30-60 minutes on most days of the week, preferably a total of at least 150 minutes per week. Walk instead of taking a cab, and you can save P100 for a five-kilometer-distance ride.
Do body weight exercises at home or at your local park for 20-30 minutes at least twice a week to improve strength and functional fitness. If your company has a corporate fitness center or wellness program, use it!
Buy a fitness video or book with credible fitness experts or consult with a fitness expert on a monthly basis for your fitness program.
Just giving up your daily high-calorie coffee drinks or desserts can already help you save an average of at least P2,000 per month. You can even use this for a monthly membership fee for a reputable health club or a good pair of running shoes.
The P2,000-P3,900 plan
Join a health club so you can try all the latest group fitness classes that can already improve your overall fitness: full-body resistance training classes, dance and cardio-based classes (including indoor cycling), mind-body classes like yoga, Pilates or fusion classes. Join free personal training and nutrition sessions so you can have a monthly program guide.
If you plan to train for short- or long-distance road races, get a qualified fitness/running coach who can train you at least once a week, and give you a weekly fitness and running program you can do on your own the rest of the week. With this budget, you can already register in a once-a-month race of your desired distance.
Design and create your own home gym if you choose to work out on your own. I recommend that you get one to two pairs of dumbbells (P1,000-P2,000), an exercise mat (P500-P1,000) and stability ball or cushion (P500) and a session with a fitness consultant (P700-P1,500) who can come to your house to design your program.
Limiting or eliminating “extra foods” with extra calories, such as beers, chips, chocolates, processed foods and canned/bottled flavored drinks, can really help you save P2,000-P4,000 (plus the calories) per month. So plan your grocery list and choose only “real healthy food” like lean meat, skinless poultry, seafood, whole grain breads, rice, vegetables, fruits and eggs.
The P5,000-P9,900 plan
Sign up for unlimited monthly group sessions at a fitness studio of your choice offering yoga, dance, circuit workouts and ballet-barre classes. These studios offer free trial sessions and charge cheaper if you get bulk sessions or commit monthly. Just make sure you will really use the sessions, and you will allot time for your chosen schedule at least two to three times a week.
If you want personalized attention from a trainer, sign up for once- to twice-a-week personal training session (P500-P1,200 per session) on top of your monthly gym dues.
If you want to exercise at home, buy your basic fitness equipment set (P2,000-P4,000) and hire a trainer who can come to your house at least once or twice a week (average of P800/session). Trainers usually bring a suspension training device (P7,000-P10,000) that can be incorporated into your body weight workout.
Cut back on dining-out expenses and learn to prepare and cook food at home. You can save P4,000-P8,000 per month just by limiting your dining out to once a week or twice a month.
The P10,000 and above plan
Buy your own cardio equipment (P10,000 and above) like an indoor bike, treadmill if you just want to work out at home, plus your set of home fitness equipment.
Get personalized Pilates training with a certified Pilates instructor (P1,400-P1,800 per session) once or twice a week to prevent or rehabilitate injuries, improve core strength, flexibility and overall strength, or go to a personal training studio (P1,000-P1,500 per session) to improve total fitness if you are not really into group fitness classes, so you won’t be paying monthly health dues anymore.
Avoid expensive expenses for quick-fix weight-loss strategies that can cost you P10,000 or more, only to regain all the weight that you will lose because of the unrealistic weight-loss results that cannot be sustained for long.