I’ve prided this site on being a good mix between topics on life, and on finance. Fortunately for me those two topics often collide. Health and exercise is definitely one of those areas where they collide, and one that is near and dear to my heart. Not because I’m some weight training guru, but rather I’m trying to lead a healthier lifestyle. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease a couple years back and ever since I have been fighting a weight gain, on top of having a lowered immune system which means exercise is all that much more important. The gym I currently attend has been building this massive expansion next to it with a large sign that reads “X-Fit”. Since I have no idea what the hell “X” fit is so I decided to ask, after all, if it helps me get into shape even quicker I’m all for it. Well, apparently the “X” stands for “Cross”, and not “Exercise” as I first thought, rookie mistake! Yep, CrossFit training, the new rage I have been reading about on multiple Facebook statuses, as well as a countless number of health magazine articles as of late.
Let me start by explaining that I pay about $20 monthly for my current gym membership, and I am also fortunate enough that my employer provides a 50% reimbursement at year end for all of my dues. Quick math tells me that I’m basically paying $10 a month for unlimited exercise. If only the number of days I attended coincided with the word “unlimited” and I’d be carrying invisible suitcases everywhere I go! Anyways, imagine my surprise when I found out that this new CrossFit program would cost me upwards of $100 MORE per month. I mean $100 was the low end of the program, which didn’t even pay for the amount of days I was already attending the gym each month, and believe me that is pitiful. Now you can see why this is both a life AND finance topic.
To be fair I thought I should do a little more research on this CrossFit business before I disregarded it. After all, there was a time when I thought spending money on a gym membership was a waste too. A quick Wiki search will tell you that this program was invented around 2000, and apparently is quite popular as this licensed program is now affiliated with over 7,000 gyms! It is a perpetual change of exercise that mixes weight lifting, aerobic, and resistance exercises into combined and endless activities. This sounded a bit like a heart attack waiting to happen, but again I wanted to be fair, so I decided to peer through the windows of the new “X-Fit” building to see what the hype is all about. What I saw shocked me quite a bit actually. There were people hitting monster truck tires with sledgehammers, and when they weren’t hitting them they were rolling them up and down a small track. I look over and see others climbing up and down a rope like we were back in elementary school gym class. Another glance over and there are others stacking and un-stacking large boxes and doing some exercises with them that my words could do no justice to describe. This whole time I’m thinking “is this worth $100 more a month” ?
Anyways, despite my objections to this new found fad I have been reading a ton of positives about it. Again, those positives are all coming from the usual source these days, Facebook. Don’t underestimate the power of a Facebook status, our annoying friends have a way of convincing us to do stuff just by throwing it in our digital faces. My wife’s friends constantly post up baby pics and all of a sudden we HAVE to have a baby..I mean, think about the power of Pinterest! It’s all about the power of suggestion. I’m pretty sure if my beautiful face was the “pin of the month” on Pinterest I might even stand a chance with Kate Upton. My point is, even seeing how ridiculous this CrossFit looks in person I am still finding myself swayed towards joining this new fad at my gym. I have no shame, I can freely admit the hold that “power of suggestion” has over my flimsy psyche. So in the end I found myself asking, “what day should I sign up”. Then fortunately for me one of my favorite movies was on last night and it snapped me back into reality.
So last night my wife and I are lying in bed, she is Pinteresting per usual, and I am flipping through the channels. Much to my delight I see that there is a Rocky marathon on TV, and I’m just in time to catch Rocky’s typical training sequence for his impending fight with Ivan Drago! Queue the Rocky theme music and his hard knocks training sequence, and the man is ready to take on Goliath if need be! But the first time in my life I looked at Rocky training and instead of the usual goose-bump induced feelings that I get I had one of those “ah-ha” moments. CrossFit wasn’t invented in 2000 but some dude that came up with an innovative exercise program, it was invented by Rocky Balboa almost 40 years ago! The man chases chickens, lifts bags full of concrete and brick, he also moves large tires around, lifts rickshaws with people sitting in them, you name it. Rocky was the true inventor of CrossFit all this time and we never realized it. What’s even more eye opening is that we never see Rocky sign up for a gym membership or pay anyone $100 each month for his training. Yet he was still able to take out Apollo, Mr. T, and Ivan (I don’t want to get into the whole Tommy Gunn thing, let’s just pretend that never happened).
Moral of the story… be healthy, exercise, eat right…but don’t waste your money doing it!