The real world is full of unavoidable expenses.
Rent: $950. Subway card: $116. Subway card to replace the one you lost at the laundromat: another $116.
The list of things that drain your bank account goes on and on.
Some of these expenses can be justified.
I literally can't see without my contacts that have to be replaced every two weeks.
I got too drunk and left my bar tab open.
Some expenses, like a gym membership or a caramel soy latte, are a little bit of both. They aren't vital for existence, and yet they certainly increase your quality of life, but there's the issue of reconciling the exorbitant price tags.
When you're already giving up half your paycheck to your landlord, it's hard to find room in your budget for your best friend's birthday dinner, let alone workout fitness classes.
But, if you look at it from a health and wellness standpoint (plus testimonials from fellow gym-goers), it's 100 percent worth it. Here are some justifications for paying for workout classes -- you'll feel better about feeling better.
1. You're also paying for the environment.
A sign of a good workout is feeling uncomfortable. You're not going to see changes unless you push yourself and consciously decide you will hold that pose five seconds longer or crank the tension up one more level. This feels good after it's all said and done, but in the moment, it sucks.
That feeling, however, should be a good kind of "uncomfortable," not one you get because the air conditioner isn't working or your bike clearly hasn't been cleaned in two weeks.
The $37 you drop for an hour-long barre class at Exhale New York isn't just going toward an intense workout. Someone cleans the floor-length mirrors and vacuums the carpet every night. And that someone has to get paid.
2. There are more amenities.
While not all studios provide guests with showers stocked with products, fresh towels or free water, many of them do. Trust me, a 6 am spin class is a heck of a lot easier to commit to when you don't have to remember to bring body wash or shower shoes.
3. Science says you're better off buying experiences.
In a study cited by The Wall Street Journal, Professor Ryan Howell found an experience has a greater positive impact than a material good. He said,
People think that experiences are only going to provide temporary happiness, but they actually provide both more happiness and more lasting value.
Did you have a bad day at work? Did your boyfriend break up with you? Instead of heading straight to Zara to blow $60 on a skirt you won't even bother to try on, open your laptop and buy a couple SoulCycle classes. You'll be able to shut out the world around you in a productive way, and the high you feel from nailing the last hill will last longer than you'd think.
4. You can't put a price on your confidence.
In the words of Elle Words,
Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.
She was right about Brooke Wyndham's innocence, and she was right about this. Nothing will make you feel as good as looking in the mirror and actually being proud of what you see. And if that takes a few extra hundred dollars a month, so be it.
5. The instructors actually know what they're doing.
Trying a new workout is nerve-racking. You're scared you are going to look like an idiot, and you don't want to be sore because you did the entire routine incorrectly; you want to be sore because you actually worked your abs for a full 45 minutes.
One of the perks of a boutique fitness class is the instructor. Not just anyone can become a Cycologist or a certified boxing coach. These people trained for months so they're able to tailor the workout to your specific needs. If you paid $40 for a ModelFit class, you want to be there. They want to be there, too.
6. The attention to detail is crucial for efficient workouts.
Many of these pricey classes focus on specific things. When you go to ClassPass, you can find classes dedicated to toning your butt or working your shoulder muscles.
While you can lift weights for weeks at a $20-a-month gym without seeing results, the focus on certain areas of the body during a class will actually have you seeing a difference in your triceps or lower abs.
7. The variety will keep you from getting bored.
If you aren't passionate about running on a treadmill (because who is?), it gets old. Real fast. You can change up your playlist, but at the end of the day, you probably aren't going to be telling your coworkers about how you can't wait to run 5 miles on a 2.5 percent incline.
In a 2012 American College of Sports Medicine article titled "Benefits of Group Exercise," Shawn Nolan, PhD says,
A common reason given for quitting an exercise program is boredom. A variety of class formats will keep you motivated and interested, as well as give you different instructor styles, music selection, and interaction with other participants. For many, an hour-long workout goes by very quickly when there is music playing and you are trying new exercises.
He's right: It's the reason I stopped my elliptical sessions and the reason I started to pay good money to go to spin classes alternated with strength training workouts. My body stays challenged, so my mind does, too.
8. You're less likely to skip the workout.
If you signed up for a 10-person yoga class, you need to be there. Your name is on the list, and you (and your bank account) will be held accountable if you, for some reason, decide happy hour is more appealing than vinyasa.
Sure, you can reasonably spend $30 on a cab home, but hitting snooze on your morning workout alarm is just throwing away hard-earned cash.
9. You'll work harder for the burn because you paid for it.
As humans, we like to the most out of everything. It's the reason all-you-can-eat buffets exist and why you keep wearing those ratty Victoria's Secret underwear.
If you handed over $32 for an ab-focused class, you're naturally going to want to work your muscles as much as you possibly can in those 50 minutes. And when you give it your all, the results will mirror your effort, making the workout worth every single dollar you spent.