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How much should it cost you to work out?
Meet the woman who does yoga three times a week — and pays six cents per workout — and the guy who spends $15,649 a year on exercise
That personal trainer isn't free.
That personal trainer isn't free. Shutterstock

How much do you spend per year on, say, a gym membership, your own exercise equipment, a personal trainer, or your favorite yoga class?

Once you have a number, think about how that amount compares with what your friends spend. If, for example, your buddy pays $1,000 per year and you pay only $100 per year, you might assume that your approach is smarter.

But hang on. If your friend works out 365 days a year (yes, really), and you break a sweat just once a month, take a closer look at your "cost-per-workout." For you, it's $100/12 or $8.33. For your pal, it's $1,000/365 or $2.74.

To find out if your cost-per-workout is worth it, ask yourself two questions, says Rachel Sanborn, a certified financial planner at LearnVest Planning Services. "Does my routine get me moving? Can I afford it?"

If you're paying a lot, but you can afford it and you're seeing great results, it's worth it. But if you're struggling to pay the bills and you're not working out often, try a new exercise strategy.

"To cut back, get rid of any fixed costs, such as a monthly gym membership fee. Then do free workouts — follow routines on YouTube or Hulu, rent fitness DVDs from the library, or walk or run outside. If that's not enough, make a small, one-time purchase that'll help you get in shape. For instance, buy a $20 kettlebell, as opposed to an expensive rowing machine," says Sanborn.

To get an idea of where your spending habits fall, we asked 10 real people to share their cost-per-workout. Meet the woman who does yoga three times a week — and pays six cents per workout — and the guy who spends $15,649 a year on fitness. (And see how he's lost 20 pounds doing it ...)

"I built a home gym."

Name: Juliana Cohen
Age: 29
Location: Boston
Occupation: Research fellow
Family status: Married with one child
Typical workout: Cohen turned an extra room in her house into a gym, and exercises in it five times a week.
Workout costs: Recumbent bike (free from a neighbor), elliptical machine ($1,850), Bowflex machine ($1,800).
Math: $3,650 total per year/260 workouts per year.
Cost per workout: $14.04

"I compete in obstacle races."

Name: Keith Allen
Age: 31
Location: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Occupation: HVAC sales consultant
Family status: Married with one child
Typical workout: For Allen, fitness is a way of life. He goes on trail runs five times a week, plays 64 dodgeball games a year, and takes a yoga or pitayo (pilates/tai chi/yoga) class with his wife at a gym twice a week. Instead of a run, he'll sometimes do an intense, full-body training session either outside, in a gym, or in his home gym. Or he'll compete in a race (either a road race, trail race, or obstacle race, which involves scaling walls, going through mud, walking on balance beams, and other unconventional challenges).
Workout costs: Runs (free), dodgeball ($200), gym membership ($89/month), race registration ($650), training sessions ($300), training board ($85), hurdles and cones ($50), water backpack ($65), flooring for home gym ($100), foam roller ($30), yoga mats ($80), jumprope ($20).
Math: $2,648 total per year/428 workouts per year
Cost per workout: $6.19

"I rely on my app and jogging stroller."

Name: Kate Dyksterhouse
Age: 28
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom
Family status: Married with one child
Typical workout: Dyksterhouse runs three times a week by putting her baby daughter in a jogging stroller and using the Couch to 5K iPhone app.
Workout costs: Jogging stroller ($400), app ($2), iPhone ($100 initial fee + $60 per month)
Math: $1,222 per year/156 workouts per year
Cost per workout: $7.83

"I'm really into boxing."

Name: Shaun Rai
Age: 52
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Occupation: Financial consultant
Family status: Married with one child
Typical workout: Rai boxes twice a week in a boxing gym (70 percent of the time alone, 15 percent of the time with a trainer, and 15 percent of the time with a class), goes road biking twice a week, and runs on a beach and in parks (while incorporating bursts of push-ups, squats and plyometrics) twice a week.
Workout costs: Boxing gym fee, which includes classes ($125/month), trainer ($60/hour), gloves ($150), jumprope ($50), shoes ($75), three pairs of hand wraps ($15), road bike ($2,100), biking shorts, jerseys, gloves and leg warmers ($600), bike helmet ($125), bike shoes ($200).
Math: $5,715 total per year/312 total workouts per year
Cost per workout: $18.32

"I do free yoga and go for walks with my dog."

Name: Amy Miles
Age: 37
Location: Huntington Station, New York
Occupation: Vet assistant
Family status: Married with three kids
Typical workout: Miles practices yoga three times a week by watching free online videos on sites like YouTube, and she either walks or jogs while taking her dog outside five times a week.
Workout costs: Yoga mat ($25).
Math: $25 per year/416 workouts per year
Cost per workout: $.06

"I run and lift."

Name: A.J. Bingham
Age: 30
Location: Austin, Texas
Occupation: Lobbyist
Family status: Single
Typical workout: On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Bingham does a strength-training routine at a gym that includes using body weight resistance and lifting weights. On the other days of the week, he does cardio by sprinting on an outdoor track, running hills, or sprinting on a stationary bike at the gym.
Workout costs: Gym membership ($35 per month), running (free).
Math: $420 total per year/365 workouts per year
Cost per workout: $1.15

"I go to fitness classes and use a trainer."

Name: Maureen Kaminski
Age: 31
Location: Bayside, New York
Occupation: Senior marketing associate (financial services)
Family status: Married
Typical workout: Kaminski goes to Barry's Bootcamp class once a week, does strength training with a personal trainer twice a week, does cardio at her gym or outdoors four times a week, and uses one fitness DVD at home (either Bob Harper Yoga or Jillian Michaels Trouble Zones) once every other week.
Workout costs: Bootcamp ($30 per class), personal training ($35 per session), gym membership ($74 per month), DVDs ($30 for both), Garmin sports watch ($160), four pairs of dumbbells ($60), resistance bands ($25), boxing wraps ($15).
Math: $6,378 per year/442 workouts per year
Cost per workout: $14.43

"I play a lot of team sports."

Name: Jonathan Samuels
Age: 42
Location: New York, New York
Occupation: Physician (rheumatologist)
Family status: Married with twins
Typical workout: Every week Samuels goes for two runs outside and does three strength-training workouts in his apartment's complimentary gym. He plays basketball 18 times a year, tennis 18 times a year, and softball 12 times a year. Plus, he rides his bike 40 times a year.
Workout costs: Runs and strength-training workouts (free), basketball ($200), tennis ($550), softball ($160), bike and bike helmet ($350).
Math: $1,260 total per year/348 workouts per year
Cost per workout: $3.62

"I use my city's bike-share program."

Name: Valerie Paschall
Age: 29
Location: Washington, D.C.
Occupation: Writer
Family status: Single
Typical workout: Paschall plays once a week in two 11-week soccer leagues and uses her city's bike-share program about four nights per week.
Workout costs: Bike share program ($75), bike helmet ($35), soccer league fee ($170 total), cleats ($60), high soccer socks ($12), shin guards ($20)
Math: $372 total per year/230 workouts per year
Cost per workout: $1.62

"I do triathlons."

Name: Howard Edelson
Age: 53
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Occupation: Political campaign consultant
Family status: Married with one child
Typical workout: To compete in triathlons, Edelson bikes two days per week, runs two days per week, and swims two days per week. He mixes short, speedy workouts with long, slow workouts. A personal trainer assists him with his workouts two to three times a week. He has lost 20 pounds since the beginning of the year.
Workout costs: Club membership for the pool ($2,200 per year), road bike, helmet, and glasses ($4,000), wet suit, bathing suit, and goggles ($700), Triathlon Garmin training watch and heart monitor ($499), energy bars, gels, and drinks ($300/year), personal trainer ($60/hour), Triathlon registration fees and US Triathlon Membership ($150).
Math: $15,649 total per year/312 workouts per year
Cost per workout: $50.12

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