I finally figured out a no-fail way to motivate myself to exercise: my bank account. Sure, I’ve read the articles in women’s magazines that suggest giving yourself a monetary incentive to hit the gym or the mat, but I never considered that for myself until recently. My option? Expensive workouts.
I’ve always had a lukewarm relationship with working out; I wasn’t raised in a family that exercised regularly, I never played organized sports, and I’ve always considered exercise more of an obligation than a fun activity for my spare time. I mean, if it’s a toss up between watching Dawson’s Creek on Netflix and running a 5k, chances are 99-to-1 I’ll choose Dawson and Joey. But of course, the reality is that it’s necessary, both for mental and physical health, to regularly move your body. As I inch further towards my late twenties, it’s important that I find an exercise routine that I enjoy and that I can stick with. And I think I’ve done it!
I recently signed up for an (expensive) 10-week session of Barre Body classes. I paid in-full and up-front for the privilege of sweating my ass off while squeezing a ball with my glute muscles and doing poorly executed grand battements. And you know what? I really enjoyed it. The class was different, challenging and fun, and I loved the personal attention I got from the instructor. It was worth every penny, but what was worth more was the motivation that paying up-front gave me.
Once the check cleared, I knew I had to be there every class session or lose a good chunk of change (the studio does have a generous makeup class policy, in case you’re wondering…but no refunds!), and it motivated me to actually get my ass to class in a way that running, hiking, and going to the gym never ever did. Even when I belonged to a gym that included classes in the monthly membership fee, I rarely took advantage of them. If the classes are optional, I’ll pretty much opt out. I know, it’s pretty lazy, and maybe not the best financial plan, but for now it’s my exercise reality.
Runners are always saying “running is free and you can do it anywhere!” I’ve tried running; I suck at it. I’d like to eventually become a runner in the future, but the truth of the matter is that I’m really not going to be rolling myself out of bed at 6 am for a “free” run. What I will roll myself out of bed for, however, is something I’ve already paid for. For now, my new plan is to pay in advance for all my future workouts: yoga, Zumba, ballet. (Can you tell I’m a group fitness person? Another new realization!) I’d love to eventually work with a trainer or take a bootcamp, too.
I’m not totally ruling out YouTube yoga, though; there’s certainly something to be said for free or low-cost workouts, especially in our current economy. But for the time being, look for me handing my credit card over the counter at my local Pilates studio: that’s the motivation I need.