How I lost $600 to a Weight Trainer — Poor Financial Decisions I made this Year
We all love free stuff right? Of Course! But the thing about free is that it is never free and you pay back for it in some other way. An example is when you buy 2 items for a fee and get 1 for free. Another example is social media apps — free but eats up your time. We scroll endlessly and mindlessly through Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter. This goes to show that when something is truly free, then you are the product.
I love free stuff, and I learned the hard way that I would always have to pay back in some way. Sometime in Mid November, I was scrolling mindlessly through my Instagram page when I saw an ad for a free 6 weeks workout in my city. The trainer on the ad went on about how this 6 weeks high intensity program would make me lose 20 lbs. Lose 20 lbs. in 6 weeks free? I felt like I had hit the jackpot. Of course I signed up, and signed my roommate up too. I had their details and I figured, since it was free stuff then I wanted them to enjoy the benefits with me. We always talked about working out, and went on a high intensity walk about 3–4times a week and we knew we had to do better. The next day, I informed them that I had signed them up for the free workout program and we had to visit the workout venue the next day for consultation.
The next day, we drove a few minutes to this workout center and met with the trainer. He gave us the three challenges and told us we could sign up for any. The first was $599 and was a full cash back if you lost 20lbs at the end of 6 weeks. The second was to pay $299 and get no cash back at all, even with losing 20lbs. The third was to pay $600 which would go into your workout program for the rest of the year. My roommate wanted an extra day to think about it, but the trainer goes “the moment you walk out that door, you will lose this opportunity. This discount does not come up everyday bla bla bla… What I did not realize is that this was a huge marketing tactic and we were being sold an impossible dream. Almost like the way the media markets unrealistic bodies (Disney-like tiny waists with huge boobs and butt). You strive for these bodies but will almost never get them except through surgery.
We then ask the trainer to give us a moment to talk about it. The trainer left the room, and my roommate and I decided to go along with the program. An interesting thing to note was that the trainer had said $599, but I thought it was $5.99 (They are pronounced the same way till you specify). So when my roommate said they wanted to do it, I decided to go along with it because I figured I was okay with losing $6 if I failed to lose 20lbs in 6 weeks. We called the trainer back and informed them that we would go with the first option which was the cash back. They gave us the forms to sign and put in our payment details. This was when I saw it boldly written, $599 and not $5.99. I hesitated, but my roommate was already completing their form as if nothing was wrong. I was a fitness enthusiast, and counted calories in my food. I also walked 10000 steps a day, about 3–4 times a week. I knew that losing 20lbs in 6 weeks was really hard and almost impossible. Yes it could be done, but the weight would not be lost in a healthy way. It is suggested by health experts to lose 1–2 lbs. a week. In 6 weeks, that would be between 6 to 12 lbs. which is nowhere near the 20 lbs.
I was really hesitant to sign and pay, but I was the one who had signed up myself and my roommate for this. In addition, since my roommate had completed their form and the trainer was in the room hovering over me the pressure was on. I felt like I was in the principal’s office and had no other option. I signed the documents knowing that this was a lost case. Granted I could do a water fast for 3 days every week and eat painfully below maintenance calories (about 1000 less). But I did not want to do this. All I wanted was to work out and eat normally. Sadly, we signed the documents and were given our meal plans. I got home that day, feeling stupid and miserable. I had some credit card debt and I could have paid off a part of it with the $600 but of course I had to make a stupid decision.
Although the workout turned out well, it was not worth $600 in 6 weeks. Of course I learned from my mistake, and resolved to make minimal financial mistakes. I began educating myself on finances and began making money moves.
I learned that:
- Nothing in life is ever free. You will always pay back in cash or kind
- Don’t be afraid to say no when you feel uncomfortable about something. Try not to give in to pressure
- Have a fixed budget and follow through. I spent that $600 because I took it from my investment funds. It was the funds for my investment that month. Although I had a fixed budget, I figured I could take money from my investment account, thereby not adhering to my own rules