Edit Your Subscriptions

Do you remember when “having a subscription” meant that you were either getting a daily newspaper or a monthly magazine? If so, you’re as old as I am. In today’s world, there are so many things you can subscribe to and not all of them cost money. You can have subscriptions to someone’s social media feed (get notifications) or to magazines or to electronic newsletters or to services and products. You can have a subscription to damned near anything and every company out there wants you to subscribe to their service or to receive their products. Think about it: a subscription with dollars attached is a guarantee of at least short term repeat revenue for them, and you get what you want out of it to boot, right?  Now, please think about this: what subscriptions do you have wherein the services or products are dedicated to helping you improve your health and fitness?

I had to stop and think about mine. I currently have subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Beachbody on Demand and Shakeology. As I think about them, I’m not sure I’m getting my value out of Netflix or Amazon Prime but I can guarantee you I’m getting my money’s worth out of Beachbody on Demand (BoD) and Shakeoloy. I use those last two daily. Upon further consideration of subscriptions I realized that HOW we use them can be a determining factor in their value to us… and to our health or fitness. To that end, I want to encourage you to edit your subscriptions – not what they are but how you use or view them.

Netflix: All too often I see posts on social media about binge watching something on Netflix. “Netflix and chill” is an actual social activity. I subscribe to Netflix and enjoy watching some television shows that are either no longer available on regular television or I simply enjoy watching on my own schedule rather than when the network makes it available. More often than not, I enjoy Netflix on the sofa, but rarely is it ever more than two nights per week and even more rarely more than 40-60 minutes (depending on show length). I’ve realized by looking at my own use that Netflix encourages me to be a couch potato. It encourages me to be less active. Add in the temptation to snack while watching something and that’s just more unhealthy behavior. One goal for 2019 (and forever thereafter) is to limit my use of Netflix AND to start using it only when it’s entertainment while I exercise. I can put it on the television and ride my elliptical while watching a show; a far healthier behavior model than binge watching shows while feeding my face.

Amazon Prime: I have a subscription to Amazon Prime and like to read… a lot. I am very aware of the fact that Amazon Prime applies to all of Amazon, not just the books, BUT… I don’t shop Amazon a lot and I watch virtually zero programs from their video channels. As sad as it may be to admit, I’ve never listened to an audio book either. For me, Amazon Prime is all about the books and I am a voracious reader. My challenge is that I like to read things that are a happy mix of entertainment AND educational in some way. I have found a few authors who do a great job of research before writing particular topics into books (Dean Koontz is one of those authors), so while I read the fiction he provides, somewhere in there I will also learn about something real. Amazon Prime can be a great value for reading and the potential learning tools available. However, it can be as equally dangerous as Netflix for inspiring… well… doing nothing if you’re watching TV shows or movies and doing nothing while you watch them. If you can find a way to be active while you watch something then you’ve defeated the negative side of such a subscription.

Gym: Here’s one folks need to think about. I’ve subscribed to gym membership at several different gyms and they can be absolutely wonderful and empowering. That said, if you’ve ever been to your regular gym… the one you go to four to six days a week all year long… during the first two weeks of any new year, you know how many people make a resolution to get fit. Those people all bought a gym membership and it will be June or July before they realize they’re not using it, it’s wasted money and then they’ll cancel it (and maybe incur a financial penalty for doing so). If you’re going to use the gym membership and stick with the resolution, I encourage you to do so. If you don’t like going to the gym or often can’t make the time simply because of the commute, then reconsider it. Working out at home can be just as effective unless you are lifting for pure brute strength or serious body building. My “home gym” is in my basement and consists of dumbbells ranging in weight from five pounds to twenty-five pounds (with some thirties and thirty-fives coming soon) along with a mat and an elliptical.

As mentioned above, I subscribe to Beachbody on Demand (BoD) which is a streamed service carrying over 700 workouts, all constructed and led by certified personal trainers. The programs cover everything from pure cardio, to a mix of strength training and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to a focus on functional strength and performance training (not to look good but to perform well). There are week long programs that are as much about mindset as they are fitness and programs that are 80 days long to focus on really building healthy habits, both in the kitchen and in the gym. In the past three months (as this is written), I’ve used my BoD subscription at least six days per week and usually it’s seven days per week. On my “rest” days, I use the stretch and recovery programs available.

I accompany the BoD with my Shakeology subscription and have enjoyed one of these snack-replacement shakes every day since mid-October – so for the last three months. We (my wife and I) have a monthly subscription so we receive a 30-day supply in the mail of the chocolate flavor and the café latte flavor (my favorite). We also get single serve packets in chocolate, vanilla and café latte. They come in real handy for when we are on travel and don’t want to miss out. While the flavors are limited to chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, café latte and green berry, the ways you can make different shakes with them is limited only by your imagination. If you get online and search “shakeology recipes” you’ll get thousands of returns for shake recipes, cookie recipes, brownie recipes and more. Shakeology isn’t just for making shakes anymore; it’s come to be used as a flavorful and healthy replacement for other cooking powders (flour and meals).

My goal has been to focus my subscriptions so that the use of them, at least 90% of the time anyway, benefits my health and fitness in some way. Staying healthy and fit is a challenge on many days and I just don’t feel like I need to increase that challenge by using a product that encourages me to be lazy. So I’ve adjusted how I use those products (specifically Netflix in this case). Have you considered how you use your subscriptions? What you subscribe to? Whether or not your subscriptions are promoting your health and fitness or encouraging you to neglect them?

Think about it. Make the necessary changes in 2019.

 

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