The Cost of Training

I had a conversation with a friend with who was looking into gym memberships. I was told “yeah man, I don’t think I’m going to do anything right now, it is all too expensive” I sent him these figures below: the healthcare cost associated with not having an active lifestyle.

Cost of a minor heart attack:
$1,000,000 indirect.
$760,000 direct before insurance.
$50,000 average post insurance.
Does not include loss of wages, prescription medications, or follow up care.

Cost of stroke:
$40,000 direct post insurance
$140,000 rehabilitation, post insurance.
Only 10% of stroke survivors make a full recovery. Only 25% recover with minor impairments.
41% one year morality rate.

Cost of Type 2 Diabetes:
Lifetime: $106,000.
Life expectancy reduced by 10 years.

Cost of Hip Fracture:
Not including physical therapy or follow up care.
50% one year mortality rate.


Cost of a gym membership: 500-1800 per year
Cost of training accessories: 75 per year
Cost over 40 years:  $23,000-75,000

A gym a membership is a planned cost, spent little by little over a lifetime. A medical emergency is just that: an emergency. It is an unplanned expense that might or might not be accounted for. One thing is guaranteed, it is a major life changing event which will have major ramifications.

Exercise has been shown to add five years of life expectancy, even in overweight individuals. These five years are priceless. This is five more Christmases, birthdays and other special events spent with loved ones. You cannot put a price on time.  

Physical exercise has also been shown to decrease depression. Depression affects 25% of Americans today. In a 2006 meta-analysis of 11 studied showed exercise was just as, if not more, effective than those treated with Zoloft.

In 2011, a study looked at 127 individuals who had not had improvement with symptoms of depression with pharmaceutical treatment. 87% reported major improvement with exercise, 8% reported some improvement, and only 5% reported no improvement. We are in the middle of a drug epidemic in America and exercise is a viable alternative to many antidepressant medications. The use of antidepressants has increased 400% from 1998-2008. Exercise has been show to increases natural levels of endorphins in the body as well as increasing norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter which plays a key role in mood.

Monetarily, the cost of a gym membership over 40 years will range from $23,000 to $75,000. If you’re looking to save more, most gyms allow you to purchase a year membership instead of a monthly. Savings for a yearlong membership are often 10-20% off the monthly price. Lastly, if this is all still too much... There are countless no-gear training workouts you can do at home, in the park, or at the beach (and I’d be happy to talk with you about ways of budgeting to allow for training in a gym). At the end of the day, there is no excuse for not being physically active.

I want to help as many people as possible through this platform. If something in this post jumped out at you, feel free to send me a message or contact me at and we can talk about solutions to your fitness needs.

George Cullen