Last week I realized that I have been going to the same gym – or gym franchise, Exersuisse f.k.a. Kieser Training – for 10 years. There were several reasons why I started. With the girlfriend I had back then, we thought it would be a good idea to exercise together. It turned out that this was a dumb idea, as each person has their own program. We also had different daily schedules, so agreeing on which time to go training was cumbersome. Another reason were the back pains I had. At the time, I had already been riding BMX for 10 years. When I started and when I was seeing videos of Dave Mirra doing weight-lifting, I always thought it was pointless. I thought that just practicing BMX would naturally develop the physical strength needed specifically for that sport. As the years passed, it occurred to me however that an overall good muscle build can prevent injuries. When I look at some of my – often a couple of years younger – BMXing buddies, I think I took the right decision. And finally, a bit improved physical appearance is a nice side-effect of going to the gym.
5 years ago, I started writing an iPhone app to track my training program. At first I wrote a web app1, and then tried to write a native iOS app2. But as with many personal projects, the motivation faded away and the idea was abandoned. Instead, some days ago, I put all the data I had in a spreadsheet3, and extracted pretty much all the information I wanted. Sadly, I have the data neither from my first four programs, nor from the sixth one. This means that basically 3 out of the 10 years are missing. Here’s however what I got:
- 10 years
- CHF 8’180
- 299 sessions
- 21 complete programs, now on the 22nd. A Kieser Training program was 20 then 19 sessions of training on 12 machines. An Exersuisse program is 19 sessions of training on 10 machines. I don’t know why they modified it when the franchise changed names.
- cost per session is about CHF 15 4
- average program duration is 27 weeks
- average time between sessions is 8 days
I mostly wanted to know how much money I waste by being lazy not going to the gym. It has been 10 years, I have never liked training, and I still don’t. Basically any excuse is good not to go. So it turns out that every session – between 45 and 60 minutes – costs me CHF 15. It’s easy to forget the cost of something if you pay for it up front, in other words if it follows a subscription model.
I hoped the stats would show that I go at least once a week to the gym. Well, I failed myself. Actually, I could have been a bit more thorough in my stats and taken into account the weeks spent in the army5 or on holidays. One could also argue that I could have compensated for these absences by going more often to the gym. So, basically ignoring absences, 10 years of training divided by 299 sessions gives an average time between sessions of 8 days. The following graph shows the fluctuation of the time between sessions. Ideally it should be a flat horizontal line pinned to the 2 days Y axis value. Instead, it’s a glorious mountain landscape. The 2 big peaks of 123 and 59 days are actually injuries: Achilles tendon rupture and collarbone fracture. The other peaks are – like I mentioned before – holidays, army or pure laziness.
Of course my spreadsheet also contains all the data about the settings at which each machine was operated during a session. Overall it looks quite messy.
You can single out for example the machine that trains abs where the load has been stagnating pretty much forever. I think this means that my abs are bad.
On some other machine for bench presses, there is an ever increasing load. Maybe only because the supervisor tends to make me start off with too low a setting every time that machine is part of a program.
And on some other one for leg presses, the weight setting has increased at the beginning, but then stabilized.
I have no idea if all of them should stabilize at some point. I don’t know either why I can’t seem to be able to improve on some body parts, like for example the back muscles, which are the reason why I started all of this.
More recently, after each session, I started to write down my weight. I have no scale at home, and I figured that the conditions to measure it where comparable each time: evening, not having eaten yet, regular intervals – well, not really, see above – etc. The result is pretty funny and totally useless. Basically, my weight can be randomly anywhere between 86 and 92 kg. Being 188 cm tall, that’s more or less acceptable I guess.
putting fun back in functions
you tried to be smart and calculated CHF 8’180 / 299 = CHF 27. Which is obviously more than CHF 15. True, but my current subscription runs out end of 2017. The CHF 8’180 contain the current subscription and the first 3 years, while the CHF 15 per session cost do not. ↩
it’s mandatory in Switzerland ↩