Work the muscles, not the wallet

fitness, gym, health, healthcare, retirement, savings, work outs, workouts

What do you look forward to at the end of a long day at work? A warm welcome from your dog? Plopping down on the couch and watching a favorite TV show? How about a nice cold beer? I’m sure that there is something for everyone and for me it is an ab-crushing workout after a 4 mile tempo run. Oh yeah, nothing says relaxation like cardio and crunches.

So far we have focused on how to save money for early retirement. This has been a primary goal for the Winning Williams household, but it is a long term goal. In the interim we need to fill our cable-free evenings of eating at home with something productive. Fortunately we have been able to workout with each other almost every day for the past four years. That’s right, the Winning Williams have a thrill for being fit and healthy as well.

How can two people so focused on a maximum savings rate afford to go to a gym? Well, it’s easy- we don’t. We work out at home! Here is why we don’t go to a gym:

  1. For the first few years of our relationship Mr. Winning Williams had a 45+ minute commute home each evening. The idea of getting home after 6:30 pm, changing, then getting back into the car to go to the gym was not at all appealing.
  2. We wanted to try out some workout classes at local gyms to see what they might be like, but quickly realized that if we only went to a few conveniently scheduled workout classes each month that the cost per visit would be too high to justify the expense.
  3. We use our workout time together as quality time, being in a gym would be less time to be cute with each other.
  4. With the dawn of the internet and with it internet fitness celebrities, there are dozens of sites that have free workout videos available that we can follow along with.

So we have slowly but surely developed a home gym for ourselves. It started in January 2011 when Mr. Winning Williams was away on a work trip and was assigned a room with a coworker. The coworker started this strange and unusual routine – P90. (The precursor to P90X). Mr. Winning Williams thought it looked simple enough and purchased resistance bands and a copy of the program. Thus began a regular routine for us for the next three years. We eventually inherited P90X as well and were able to see Tony Horton’s happy face in our living room many times each week. We started to see results and started to challenge ourselves to push for more. We started running around our neighborhood sporadically and enjoyed the new daily routine of working out together.

Tony Horton

Tony Horton

We took a trip down to a local shop that sells lightly used sports and gym equipment and purchased an elliptical for $700 in June of 2011. Since then we have incorporated it into our routine on days when it was just too hot to run outside (mostly March-November here in Florida). We also have made a point to roll the elliptical out in front of the TV if and when we are watching a movie or sporting event. The cost per mile run on this elliptical is coming down every day and have made great use of this investment.

Then, one day last spring, I stumbled upon A website full of fun new workouts to try. At first I was skeptical of the super girly videos, but then I tried one and couldn’t lift my arms the next day. I was hooked. I started to incorporate the different exercises into our daily routines and finally talked Mr. Winning Williams into doing a whole ToneItUp workout with me. He agreed that the workouts were challenging, although he did note that his shoulders didn’t need to be perfect for cocktail dresses, and we have incorporated their weekly workouts into our routine as well. While the site does sell a nutrition plan and branded merchandise, we haven’t spent any money to date. However we still utilize these workouts, engage the support of the ToneItUp community, and we have been able to see the continued improvement.

In the past two months we have also changed how we incorporate running into our workout regimen. We moved to a new location and now have access to an eight mile running path that sits on a beautiful stretch of beach and water. We’ve been continually running more and more since the year began. The running itself is absolutely free since we already had sneakers. We did end up purchasing some compression socks and sleeves to aid our aching feet and calves ($44) but the actual action of going for a run has been free. We increased our mileage and have been averaging 10-20 miles a week ( we are now on our way to less than $1 per mile for our recent purchases and are dropping that cost each day).

Now with just a little bit of time each day to plan what workout we are going to do (P90, ToneItUp, a sunset run, or a mixture of some tried and true moves) we have been able to stay healthy and fit for a relatively small cost. While some people would swear that they just can’t workout without a trainer or a coach, I would recommend looking at some of the online communities that are popping up all over the internet. Most have free videos or printed workouts that you can follow along with community support to encourage you and keep you motivated, without a huge cost!

Free Online Workout Videos and Communities (she also has great clips of her workouts on her instagram account @alexajeanfitness) (Can’t forget Jillian. I usually just do a search for “Jillian Michaels” on YouTube and scroll through the videos that come up and pick whichever one looks like it will make my abs the most sore)

Now for those who are reading this and thinking, “I’ve already tried this route, I know that I absolutely need the accountability of a paid membership to a gym or trainer, how can I save money?” rest assured, there is a solution. By being fit and healthy you are doing yourself a huge favor by reducing the likelihood of illness or injury and thereby reducing your healthcare costs. It’s a well proven fact and one that can help you realize the benefits of “investing” time and money into your health.

This is why we have focused on being fit and healthy. We know that in the long run we are making our lives in retirement easier with the expectation of lower healthcare costs as well as the knowledge that we should be able to enjoy ourselves long into our “golden” years. We only have one life to live and one body to live it in, we intend to take care of what we’ve got!

Now, shut off the computer, get up and go do a super awesome workout!

2 thoughts on “Work the muscles, not the wallet

  1. Buyer beware, circular knit compression (seamless) socks lose their compression power VERY fast. Flat knit or warp knit compression products like Althletics8 calf sleeves last for the life of the product and are only $32.50 for the pair! Keep running y’all!


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