| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth

Air Cav infantry Soldiers compete in company challenge

It is amazing what a portion of chocolate fondant and vanilla ice-cream can do for one. I know it is not exactly ‘low carbs’ diet friendly but it was a balm for my tortured soul after the day I had. And it is travel again: I am writing this in my hotel in Cracow, Poland where I am doing some lectures over the next day or two.

It all started well except that Lufthansa sell tickets with very short connection time. Then again, we are talking a German airline here and stereotypes aside, I’ve been told before that I had 19 minutes and thirty three seconds to transfer and this is enough (after I missed my flight so I would really not share my answer). Today the whole problem was that the UK is not in Schengen (for my readers in the US, this is an area of free travel in Europe where one doesn’t go through passport control) and Poland is.

This meant that I had to go through two passport controls and one luggage check; there were queues for all that and the seconds were ticking. Once past the luggage check I really sprinted to the gate – gosh, I probably was close to the four minute mile mark. Got on the bus last, hot, bothered and absolutely fuming! And I was called ‘sir’ by the guy checking the luggage.

I always knew that all this running and karate I do will pay off big time one day and today it did; but this made me think about the need to keep fit and healthy, and consider whether this is possible without hurting one’s back account; in brief is it possible to exercise and save on fitness.

Keeping fit requires focus, persistence and, in many cases assistance. Few people manage to do it on their own and most need to join a gym and/or hire a fitness instructor. This can become an expensive affaire that may call for people to use their credit cards. There are, however, a number of things that can be done to ensure you aren’t left out of pocket by your efforts to get/keep fit, get healthier and catch your next flight.

Look for a better deal

The cost of gym membership can quickly add up across the course of the year. If you are put off by fees then why not find out if you can do things a little less expensively? Many companies are able to team up with local facilities and offer their employees cheaper rates and it is always worth haggling with the manager before signing up.

When looking for better deals don’t forget that gym membership can be expensive also because you are paying but not using the facilities; apparently this is exactly what 85% of the people joining gyms end up doing about six week after joining. Best value for money gym membership is one where you pay the optimum price for the highest use – of facilities and expertise.

Get outdoors and exercise for free

Many physical activities can be carried out for free or with a minimal amount of expenditure. All running requires, for instance, is a good pair of trainers and a suitable area. If you’re unsure about how to start off then take a look at one of the many online guides and apps – such as Couch to 5k – which are dedicated to helping you reach your goals without over-exerting yourself. A number of local parks also host a variety of fitness events so you needn’t do things on your own.

Further, there are three basic exercises you need to do to keep in good shape: squats, press ups and pull ups. Boring I know, but it is good for one and the advantage is that these can be done almost anywhere. I love doing pull ups in parks – after the fortieth teens stop smirking and give me some respect.

Add exercise to your normal routine

When I was losing weight last (after I had our son) I noticed that my weight loss and fitness were only very vaguely related to how much I did in the gym; one of the factors contributing to weight loss and fitness gain was the general level of physical activity I did, be it mopping the floor or walking/cycling everywhere.

A few simple changes to your daily routine could help to improve your fitness and even save you money in the long-term. If you use public transport to commute to work then why not get off a little earlier than normal and walk the rest of the way? Another option is to cycle to work instead, you could be surprised by how little time this takes and many employees are now willing to help their staff members get a better deal on a bike.

Buy your own equipment

While buying your own equipment might require an initial investment, in the long-run it could help you to make a substantial saving. Exercise bikes and cross trainers can be found for a reasonable outlay and save you from having to sign up to your local gym.

I have found though that I am not disciplined enough to use the equipment at home. We had an exercise bike that gathered dust in our house for about ten years and finally in a de-cluttering fever we got rid of it. There is loads of lower level equipment in our garage; and I am tempted to buy a treadmill but am resisting.

Finally…

Which of the ways mentioned above people use to exercise and how they save on fitness is very individually specific; I for one know that I need to go to a gym and work with a trainer. This is why fitness is one of the budget lines we never cut out of our budget though I did have a bartering arrangement with my trainer (who happens to be a close friend and kindred spirit). Other may prefer to forego gym membership and the support of a qualified professional.

The take away though is that while method is down to you, becoming more fit is a must!

photo credit: The U.S. Army via photopin cc