How much does it cost to get shredded? We tell you right here
I have been on a fitness kick lately. My goal is to get to 10% body fat from around 16-18% (hard to measure.) The workout and lifestyle changes associated with this have been fairly tangible. The diet changes have been more noticeable. One thing that really has slipped under the radar so far is the financial impact of this pursuit.
And honestly, I haven't really thought about it. Since I have my gym at my house in the backyard, the change really didn't add commute time or gas consumption to any equation. But financially I know there have been some changes and I would like to illuminate them for our readers that might be interested in a very basic fat loss program.
The most impactful thing is the diet:
Before embarking on this quest I never really tracked my food costs; because I would just eat whatever, whenever I liked. Now I have a fairly fixed routine which is not meal prep level, but it is consistent at least. I do not eat until ~1:30pm on most days. At that time I will consume a 9$ subway sandwich which is easy and the only thing remotely healthy around me where I work. Later for dinner I will eat 5-10$ worth of meat and 1-2$ worth of veggies. Simple right? Most people would not be able to sustain this for obvious reasons, but I can pretty easily and I feel fine so there you go. The supplements are a different story entirely financially.
The second thing is the supplements:
I take, in order of importance, the following:
- Protein - Protein. duh. This stuff also has a lot of BCAA's (Branch chain amino acids) which most major protein mfg companies profile on the back of the jug.
- Creatine - If you don't know what creatine is, then take a scoop every day with your protein shake. It makes you thirsty. From my perspective it mostly effects water retention and some intangible benefit to the muscles. And of course, drinking more fluid is always good as long as it isn't all sugary.
- RSP Aminofocus - energy/caffeine/bcaa's basically a less pronounced preworkout tool.
- RSP dyno - pre-workout that gives a killer pump and blood flow for about 20 minutes. I do not use this every day maybe every 3 days when I do arms.
- RSP Thermogenic pills - Makes your breath hot. Makes your stomach hurt with prolonged usage. Appetite is nonexistent when using these so be careful! I literally would not be hungry all day and had to force myself to eat lunch/dinner as normal. Really cool stuff that might be more useful to me if I had a bigger appetite or cravings.
Lifting: whenever I do a hard workout I have a protein shake with some Creatine afterwards. I vary the size of the shake by the intensity and volume of the lift. Crap workout = 1 scoop of protein max. Before said hard workout I will or won't take a supplement depending on how much lead is in my pencil. I play it by ear essentially. And no; I do not overcompensate, if I feel like crap I likely will not take anything and I will just drop the weight and up the reps to get through the muscle groups I need to. There is no need on those days for a mental boost of any kind, generally you can't fix your central nervous system with over the counter drugs anyways, so why bother. Sometimes during the workday I will use the Aminofocus or thermogenic if I feel like it. I don't think I will be taking many more thermogenic pills because they bug my stomach.
Holy crap Dave I thought this was about finances not supplements! What gives!?
I mentioned this was a goal based exercise right? So I am getting to 10% body fat come hell or high water. My calculations for a reasonable and sustainable body fat loss are pretty textbook: I have calculated that for a 1 lb loss of fat a week, I will create a 500 calorie deficit per day on average with my diet and exercise routine. This will ideally allow me to lose 4lbs of fat a month which equates to roughly 2% body fat a month. The results are also textbook:
As you can see from approximately June 19th to August 10th, 7 weeks have elapsed. I have went from 195lbs to 189lbs which is a 6lb loss. With any allowance for water weight taken into account we could say I was dead nuts on my estimate of 7 lbs in 7 weeks. The fact is, I do not know what my body fat percentage is besides judging by how I look in the mirror compared to others on the internet who have had their fat measured and pics taken. I do not know my lean body mass, I have to assume that while my lifting weight and volume remains the same and near my limit of ability, that I am not losing lean muscle mass. In fact, due to the changing workout routine I believe I can actually lift more now than when I began, at a very minimum my volume is increasing per workout. For instance, last night I squatted 225lbs x 22 times for a set of breathing squats and felt like I had a couple more reps in the tank. This result is definitely an improvement over my prior lifts; as I recall that such a workout would have left me floored and unable to walk for days on end. In reality I am have likely gained a lb or two of lean muscle mass but I am not counting on it so I leave the estimates on the conservative for the time being.
All I mean to say is that realistically you can't track these metrics with a high degree of accuracy, but you can predict on average what your progress will be. With that prediction you can get to your goals and set them realistically. Think 2 months of bone crushing lifting and dieting are gona turn you into a 8% body fat machine from 18%? probably not. Even if it did, the results would be unsustainable to say the least. However, if you run realistic calculations and use realistic assumptions, it is very possible to predict what will actually happen. And if you take it slow you can maintain your lean muscle mass while you are at it. At this rate I put my approach to 10% body fat attainable at somewhere in middle of October to the beginning of November. Wow - that's a long time to reach a fitness goal!
So hey this is supposed to be about finances right so here is the lowdown on what I spent:
- Skip breakfast food and snacks every day! This is probably saving me some money. Again normal humans probably could not do this without some side effects.
- 9$ subway sandwich a day vs whatever else I used to eat. Basically a financial wash because everything is 10$ now for lunch whether it is healthy or not. This is about 1k calories.
- 10$ for meat and veggie dinner. Let's call this a wash for the sake of simplicity since I eat less for dinner but it is a higher quality of meal. This meal is about 1k calories as well.
- Supplements: I spent about 180$ on enough of everything above to get me through 3 months. Probably will have to refill something at some point by November but whatever. This is an added cost compared to my prior 'normal' schedule. That is 60$ a month for those of you who need that layed out here.Side note: I try to offset calories burned by working out with protein shake calories. My average shake is probably 350 calories after a 30 minute mid intensity workout.
And yes this is how our minds work at FJJ. We actually run calculations and do a ton of research into fitness and powerlifting and write overly long winded articles just to say this:
It costs about 60$ a month to lose 4 lbs of fat in that month.