When it comes to pursuing financial independence, nothing can secure our route more so than having a healthy level of frugality in our lives. To help everyone in that effort, I’ve been documenting my frugal hobbies and this is the latest in my series. This post will focus on my latest frugal hobby, the gym, and the 4 money benefits you can gain from any gym.

As the great blogger and early retiree, Mr. Money Mustache, described his approach to Staying Fit with No Gym in Site, our brain and our body have a nasty way of linking together.

A comforting thought would be to think our brain is separate from our body, capable of stepping up and beyond the myriad of confusing emotions our body experiences.

We are intelligent and enlightened and can think clearly…………..right?

Well, the evidence out there suggests our bodies and our minds are much more connected than many believe.

From a primal point of view, our brain is being influenced by the foods we eat, the places we go, and the activities we engage in. Watching television for 6-8 hours like the average American will yield a much different financial result than spending that amount of time reading a money book.

4 Money Benefits from any Gym

Going to the gym is one of those things many of us can agree is good for us, but likely, fail to implement. I count myself in this group, despite having competed in a half dozen triathlons. I still find it a challenge, especially during Chicago winters.

One benefit is coupling gym time with audiobooks – this approach has netted me at least 50 books in my lifetime, so I highly encourage it on days where you don’t need music.

To gain the benefits of reading in the gym, I often link audiobooks up to my phone and listen while in the gym. In the past, I’ve even picked up $1 audiobooks and listened via cassettes. Old school!

Another great frugal benefit of the gym is it acts as a form of preventative healthcare.

Fortune is a cruel mistress, capable of striking us down at any moment. To push back against many negative future events, we can strengthen our bodies. Bonus: by strengthening our bodies, we are also strengthening our minds.

The third, and possibly most obvious, is the gym keeps us from spending. Of course we need some basic gear such as shoes and socks, but if we stick with the basics, we can eliminate impulsive purchases.

A common “hack,” I would use early in my life would be to squeeze in a work out after work on a Friday when everyone else went to Happy Hour.

I would skip the initial meet up time at happy hour and arrive to join the party an hour or 90 minutes later. Barely anyone noticed and I actually was often complimented for working so late at the office on a Friday. 😉

The last big benefit to being in the gym is the simple benefit of hard work.

With our bodies, we tend to see results after many, many days of repetitive activity. We will not become sluggish overnight if we slam our first pizza of the year. Similarly, we will not instantly be healthy if we opt for a salad instead of a cheeseburger after a single meal.

These decisions take time to compound, but they do compound. The small 0.0001% change we make today on our body will put us in a slightly better position tomorrow. In time, the changes become noticeable and eventually, remarkable.

Being in the gym has refocused my efforts towards optimizing my financial lifestyle along with my overall lifestyle.

Does the gym play into your financial plan? Do you consider the gym as one of your frugal hobbies?

-Matt

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