Let’s start this out with some knowledge bombs. More than 2/3 of American adults are considered to be either overweight or obese with the obese population over 35%. Nearly 75% of adult males are considered overweight or obese.

And if I had to guess the percentage of that population that has, at some point, said something like “I don’t have time to workout.” or “Eating healthy costs too much!”, I’d guess around 98%.

In the end, you’re only given one body. I strongly believe that you should take care of what you’re given, especially when it’s literally a matter of life or death. The “side effects” of carrying excess fat can vary from heart disease to diabetes to coronary vascular disease and even cancer.

Go ahead and tell me that buying fruits and vegetables to supply yourself with a balanced diet costs more than medical treatments for any of the aforementioned diseases. The simple fact is that sick care - paying medical bills for having neglected your body - costs a whole lot more than health care - treating your body right by eating properly and exercising regularly.

In this article, I’m going to provide you with ways to reduce your expenses and manage your time more efficiently in order to develop a long-lasting healthy lifestyle. And before you click out of this, keep in mind that a healthy lifestyle is NOT synonymous with a miserable one. It’s all about moderation and making the right choices when the time is right. Do this and I promise you will be happier, more confident, and certainly healthier.

I Want My MTV

At this point, nearly 100% of American households own at least one television set. Without going into details about the cost of the actual TV, most of you understand that cable bills aren’t cheap. The average bill is in the $65 range before you include taxes and fees. While I understand most of you cannot fathom the idea of a day without your favorite show, just consider for a moment what you could do with that extra $65 per month. It could be enough to buy yourself some fresh fruits and veggies instead of buying their frozen counterparts.

Admittedly, it is difficult to imagine a month without TV (or a minute without your cell phone). When you look at the bigger picture, what is more important? Supplying your body with nutritious foods or watching the newest episode of Game of Thrones?

While we’re on the subject of TV, consider a bit of time management. The average person spends about 5 hours per day in front of the TV. That’s insane! Do you realize what you could be doing with that time?! If I had a penny for every time someone told me they don’t have time to workout, I could quit my day job. All you need is 20-30 minutes a day, realistically. That is certainly a hell of a lot better than 0 minutes. You could go for a walk, go on a hike, a bike ride, go swimming, take a class at your local gym, or do a quick circuit at home. There really is no such thing as “I don’t have time”. It’s only a matter of your priorities. And if fitness isn’t near the top of your list, you need to get your priorities in order.

Junk Food Junkie

On any given week, the average person will eat at a restaurant 4 to 5 times. By the end of the month, that’ll add up to over $230. For a single person cooking most of their food at home, that’s just about the entirety of your food allowance spent on 5 meals per week.

The cost of a meal eaten outside of your home is pushing $15. If you spent that money on home cooked meals, you’d be able to eat 3-4 times. Something that is ingrained in my head is shopping at cost per calorie. It makes sense: you buy food for energy. Calories are a measurement of energy. So, I buy my energy at the lowest cost while maintaining quality. Same thing you do with gas for your car or electric for your home. Of course there are times when quality is more important than cost. In these cases, I’ll “splurge” to make sure my body is getting the right nutrients. All of that to say, for actual meals (meat, veggies, etc), I try to keep the cost to under $5 per meal - usually closer to $2-$3. For snacks, I usually shoot for spending about 50 cents per 100 calories.

Compare those prices to the cost of eating out. Not only are you eating 3+ meals for the same price as one at a restaurant, but you’re eating healthier. Home cooked meals will have significantly less fat and a whole lot less sugar and sodium. Sodium is the biggest factor here, with restaurant meals typically containing over 1000mg of the stuff, or about half of your daily value. If you’re like me, a home cooked meal will contain under 50 mg, typically 0 mg, of sodium.

“I can’t afford to eat healthily.” just got eliminated from your list of excuses. You’re welcome.

Little Red Corvette

How much are you paying per month on your car? There’s a record number of auto leases, and for good reason. For most people, it’s the cheapest way to get in that car you otherwise couldn’t afford.

Do you really need that brand new car? No, but you WANT IT! Well, didn’t you say you want to look good on the beach this summer, but you can’t afford a gym membership? Hmm…something seems off here.

Leases cost an average of about $300 per month for 3 years. Gym memberships are as low as $10 a month if you go to some globo gym. While I would recommend going to a place that actually cares about your fitness level, any gym can get the job done when you’re just starting out. As long as you don’t partake in their bagel and pizza parties once a week (WHAT KIND OF GYM DOES THAT?!?!)

Anyway, my point is that if you can afford a $300 per month car, you can afford a gym. And even if you can’t, you can spend under $100 to get a couple dumbbells and resistance bands and get a great workout at home.

If material things like cars are hitting your bank account hard and that’s making your health take a back seat (no pun intended), you may want to reevaluate how much you really need that new BMW.

The Best Part of Waking Up…

More than half of the population over the age of 18 drinks coffee every day. Understandably, it gets you through your tough work day with enough energy so that you don’t appear to be a zombie.

If you go out to Starbucks every morning, you’ll pay an average of about $3 a day, or $21 a week, which is $84 a month! (I know you noticed my impressive math skills). Seriously, though. $84 a month for a drink in the morning?!

$84 is 142 pounds of bananas, or 71 pounds of apples, or 121 pounds of carrots, or 80 pounds of spinach. I think you get the point. You could buy more healthy food than you’d know what to do with even if you cut your coffee consumption in half.

And the best part is, eating a healthy diet will give you more energy! You may not need that morning coffee if you spend the money you save on fresh, healthy foods. Not to mention, you won’t be staining your teeth or becoming increasingly dependent on caffeine, which, by the way, is defined as a drug.

Dr. Feelgood

Obesity costs everyone a lot of money. Medicaid costs reach over $5 billion per year just for the medical care of obesity related health issues. And that figure doesn’t include those not on Medicaid. Overall, costs can get as high as $210 billion per year.1 Obesity is also associated with job absenteeism and lower work productivity, costing employers over $500 per obese worker per year.2

Healthcare costs for obese individuals can increase by as much as 81% when compared to their healthy weight counterpart.3 By reducing obesity, we can reduce doctor visits, healthcare costs, prescription drug use, emergency room visits, and fatality rates.

As I mentioned earlier, over 35% of the population is obese and that number is rising. Nearly 70% of the population is overweight with the potential to become classified as obese should they continue on the same path they’ve been on.

My suggestion is that financial distress or lack of time are not the cause of pushing away from proper nutrition and exercise. It’s laziness. A lack of desire to do what it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle. My grandma refers to this as your ego. The part of you that knows what you’re doing isn’t right, but your desire to do it anyway outweighs the consequences of those actions.


Your health and well being should be your number one priority. It’s as simple as that.

Nine times out of ten, there is no excuse not to stay fit and healthy. What bothers me is when free time or financial constraints are made out to be the be-all and end-all. Looking back to college when I was living off of a negligible income and had limited spare time (I was on the Olympic Weightlifting team, track and field team, was President of the Exercise Science Club, and worked a part time job so I could afford books), I can tell you it’s quite possible for you to achieve whatever goals you’re saying you don’t have time or money for.

It’s all a matter of priority. You need to make the decision of what’s more important to you. If it’s eating at restaurants, drinking a morning coffee, buying a brand new car, and watching your favorite show, don’t ask why you don’t have a six pack. Ask how you can adjust your habits to support your health goals.

As always, use me as a resource. You can email me any time with your questions or concerns. And take advantage of my free newsletter! It starts off with 2 weeks of daily workouts and nutrition tips to get you started on the right path.

Also, check out my newly launched YouTube channel for exercise tutorials. I’ll be posting regularly. Leave a comment if there’s an exercise you want to learn.


1 Cawley J and Meyerhoefer C. The Medical Care Costs of Obesity: An Instrumental Variables Approach. Journal of Health Economics, 31(1): 219-230, 2012; And Finkelstein, Trogdon, Cohen, et al. Annual Medical Spending Attributable to Obesity. Health Affairs, 2009.

2 Gates D, Succop P, Brehm B, et al. Obesity and presenteeism: The impact of body mass index on workplace productivity. J Occ Envir Med, 50(1):39-45, 2008.

3 Arterburn DE, Maciejewski ML, Tsevat J. Impact of morbid obesity on medical expenditures in adults. Int J Obes, 29(3): 334-339, 2005.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Rivera is an expert trainer with a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Science and 7 years of training experience. He started ImperiumAthletics.net as a way to spread his knowledge to a broader audience, and does so through personalized nutrition and exercise programming, ebooks, blog posts, and a newly established YouTube channel, the Muscle Minute. His goal is to build a healthy community that can rely on one another for support and encouragement. In this community, Chris hopes to eliminate the expectations of all the new fad diets and gimmicky exercise programs, and replace them with developing a knowledge base across the Imperium Athletics family that will allow everyone to successfully reach their goals by doing things the right way.