The High Price of Being Fit?

Zac Efron knows demonstrates that you can get in shape OUTSIDE the gym. You are welcome, by the way.

I was doing some paperwork for a new gym that I’m joining when I started to wonder about the amount of money that I spend – on a yearly basis – to stay healthy and fit. Indeed, it’s not cheap. At /month, my gym membership adds up. And protein powders and supplements aren’t particularly affordable, either (though try this trick to save some dough). Not to mention gym clothes and running shoes.

Sadly, the upfront costs of a healthy lifestyle can be prohibitive for people on limited or fixed incomes. Just the other day, a man at my gym told me that he was going to cancel his membership because he was having a hard time making ends meet.

But here’s the thing: While being healthy and active might not always come cheap, it pales in comparison to the truly high cost of being inactive.

ABC News reported that obese people spend, on average, $1,500 more per year on health care. And that obesity, in total, costs the United States nearly $150 billion in direct medical expenses.

And that’s just from a dollars and cents perspective. It’s hard to put a price tag on the improved quality of life and longevity that healthy people enjoy.

It’s worth noting that if money is tight, there are plenty of ways to get into shape without breaking the bank. Like working out from home, joining a public gym (years ago, I joined a public gym in NYC for $79 per YEAR) or exercising outside (like Zac Efron in the accompanying picture). Moreover, many health care plans offer discounts for monthly gym memberships.

The bottom line: While getting into shape may carry a hefty upfront cost of time, money and energy, it’s certainly a worthwhile investment.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. The more important question is how much would you be willing to pay to stay fit. I bet its at least an order of magnitude more than what you actually pay.

  2. AXOLOTL15 says:

    Sorry to rub it in your faces, but for the past year my gym cost me a meager 15$. It’s a municipal gym, plus I get student discounts. :p

    However, in a couple of months I’m moving to New York City, so i’m gonna have to get used to paying what costs me half a year at my current gym for one month in a NY gym. ๐Ÿ™

  3. AXOLOTL15 says:

    Another heavy cost besides money is time. As a full time student with an average course load of 19 credits per semester, I can attest that the gym took a large chunk of my study and sleep time. It’s time well invested, of course, but I can imagine it must be hard for folks who have two jobs, commute for hours and take classes on the side (like a friend I know).

  4. Walking is always free. Many people do it all over the world, each and every day. Most of them don’t have adequate footwear, so that’s not a complaint either about gym shoes.

    • christopher says:

      thats what i do-walk the dogs 2x perday-3 miles-1hr per day does the trick-thats how i get my walking.

  5. Its 5o.oo a month to join the YMCA in Phoenix

    • christopher says:

      50 dollars at YMCA-its a pretty public place-but too pricey.i would look somewhere else.

  6. I saw Zac Efron a few weeks ago in LA – he is TINY!!!

  7. zac efron <3

  8. Charley says:

    First thing I’d cut is the supplements. 99% waste of money. I’m not talking about vitamins but needlessly expensive excess protein and the like. Eat a good balanced diet.

    • AXOLOTL15 says:

      I have to take Adderall, which slashes my apetite, so protein shakes are a must for me in order to get the amount necessary (about 150 g daily, that’s a ton). Though I agree, most “athlete” vitamin supplements are just caffeine extracts. It’s cheaper to just buy tea or coffee.

  9. I was lucky i only had to pay i think like 700 for 3 years up front and after the 3 years I only have to pay $50 per year, at 24 hr fitness and I can go to virtually any club around the world that is a 24 hr fitness