People like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman talk about the obvious benefits of “financial fitness” all the time. I’ve noticed, however, that no one ever talks about the literal, physical aspect of that term. The detrimental finances of fitness.
We have three teenage boys, and they are all athletic, so naturally they eat a lot. This didn’t come as a shock to us. We even had a cautionary tale from my mom about my senior year in high school. My two older sisters had left home for college, but my mom reported that year was her highest food bill year ever, with just one of us left in the house.
How can you tell if a teenage boy is sleeping? He’s not eating.
Son Number Two, however, has taken this teenage boy eating thing to another level. To heavily paraphrase a Garfield T-shirt I saw once: He’s into fitness. Fitness whole side of the fridge into his mouth.
Number Two bought himself a gym membership last year, and he pre-paid for an entire year because that was the best deal. It’s a relatively inexpensive gym, but it was still a sizeable chunk of money for a teenager to put down. We talked it over with him, then let him make the decision. I figured at worst it would be a good financial lesson to learn.
It has been a good financial lesson – for the gym. They are learning that if they offer my son a one-year, prepaid membership, he can go to the gym often enough to make it only cost about two cents per visit. Sorry, Crunch Fitness, you blew that one.
It doesn’t seem to matter what his day consisted of, he will end it at the gym. He goes to a two-hour lacrosse conditioning workout, and then heads straight to the gym for at least an hour afterwards. He’s a crazy person.
As you can imagine, he requires quite a bit of food. I did too, at his age, but here’s the difference - I never cared what I ate. I just wanted a lot of it. He’s following weightlifters and fitness instructors on social media and so now I have at least one teenager who wants specific food. Mostly protein.
I’m still lobbying congress for the inclusion of nachos on the healthy eating pyramid, so I tend to kinda zone out when he starts taking about macronutrients and grams of something or other per scoop of protein powder.
Here’s what I do know, though. Protein is expensive!
It was expensive before gas was ten dollars per ounce. Now it’s just insane. Combine that with the sheer amount he’s eating, and not even a 9-1-1 call to Warren Buffett could help us now.
The Costco bag of chocolate protein powder costs more than the set of tires I bought in high school for my Jeep. Add to that the two Costco rotisserie chickens he wanted for “this week,” that will only last him three or four days. And you’ve seen the Costco chickens. They’re the size of adolescent turkeys. They make grocery store rotisserie chickens look like someone oven-roasted a parakeet.
The other night I was cooking dinner on the stove – literally fifteen minutes before dinnertime – and he was standing beside me, frying up six eggs in a pan on the next burner.
“Just a quick pre-dinner snack, Dad.”
Fifteen minutes later, he ate a full dinner, went to the gym, and had a six more eggs and a thirty-seven-dollar protein shake when he got home.
I love my boys and everything, but I’m kinda looking forward to when all three of them are in college at the same time. Even with the skyrocketing cost of tuition, it still has to be cheaper than this.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2022 Marc Schmatjen
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