The Optimal Aging Podcast

Let's Talk about Time and Money in Selling Fitness to People over 50.

June 29, 2021 Jay Croft Episode 37
The Optimal Aging Podcast
Let's Talk about Time and Money in Selling Fitness to People over 50.
Show Notes Transcript

Let's talk about time and money.

We all get the same 24 hours in a day, but some people insist they just don’t have time to exercise. It’s the No. 1 excuse, isn’t it? Right up there with “I can’t afford it.”

Luckily, the over-50 demographic has more time and money, generally, than younger people do. But the objections persist -- so you need to know how to address them.


2:50 -- A breakdown of how people spend time
5:30 -- It's your job to connect with prospects
9:10 -- What are their values, fears, and disappointments?
10:20 -- How much we spend monthly on coffee, hair, TV and more
15:10 -- Focus on people who can afford your pricing
16:05 -- Three Things I Like This Week


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Three Things I Like This Week -- Special Books Edition:

Let’s talk about time and money.


They’re probably the two biggest excuses fitness professionals hear from prospects.


“I don’t have time to work out,” right?


Or, “I can’t afford a gym membership.”


How many times have you heard that?


And you’ll hear it again and again, of course – so you need to have content ready to share that illustrates how neither of these statements is true – or even relevant.


And, since you’re working with people who are a little older, you should always be aware that – GENEARLLY SPEAKING – they have more time and money to devote to their fitness.


That doesn’t mean they’re not going to complain about it or dodge the issue or find some other way to say, No, no, I’m fine here on the couch. And it doesn’t’ mean that lots of people over 50 still work every day and struggle with demands on their time and money.


But you should have that idea top of mind – along with some ready information about how everybody either has or better make the time and money to lead a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise.


First, let’s talk about time


Do you have someone in your life who’s always talking about how busy she is? You say, “How are you?” and she reliably launches through a litany of all the demands on her time, which always takes a long time in itself and usually leaves you wondering, What’s the big deal, girl?


By the time we’ve reached 50 or so, we’ve probably learned to manage our time and priorities better. And it helps that kids aren’t so dependent on us anymore. A lot of us work less or maybe have even retired altogether.  But even in retirement, there’s spending time with family, keeping up the home, fighting traffic, etc. etc.


But, as the famous saying goes, “Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”


And we all get the same 24 hours in a day.


Here’s an interesting illustration of how we generally spend our time on this earth. 


Let’s say people get an average of 25,915 days, or about 71 years, to live. Of that, they spend just 0.69 percent (or 180 days) exercising.


That’s according to a survey of more than 9,000 people around the world, conducted by Reebok and global survey company Censuswide. 


The survey also reports that people:

·      Spend almost a third of their lives (29.75 percent) sitting down

·      Stare at some kind of screen 41 percent of the time, or 10,625 days

·      Socialize with family and friends 6.8 percent, or 1,769 days


The US government and the World Health Organization suggest people get at least 2½ hours every week of moderate intensity exercise. A Harvard study says that just 15 minutes of physical activity a day can add three years to your life. And the Journal of the American Medical Association said last year that not exercising puts you at greater risk than smoking and diabetes.


Point that out to your reluctant prospect or truant member and ask them – Do you still want to say you don’t have time?


Add It Up


Let’s drill down a little more and examine a week’s worth of time.


Seven days a week multiplied by 24 hours a day equals 168 hours a week. Now, ask your prospect to make a list of how he spends his time on a weekly basis. Have him write down how many weekly hours he spends on the following.


·      Work (or committed volunteer time, if you’re retired)

·      Sleep

·      Commute

·      Errands

·      Family time

·      Religious services or community involvements


Total that up and subtract it from the 168 hours. 


Get the message? No matter who they are, they really do  have time to exercise, age responsibly, and improve their quality of life. It’s up to them  how to spend  that time – and it’s up to YOU to make all this clear to them in an emotionally resonant way – that shows you are concerned about them but that you’re not going to coddle them or let them play the age card. And in a way that shows them THE BENEFITS OF LIVING A HEALTHY LIFE when we’re older – the independence, the ability to travel, to play with kids, to enjoy sports and hobbies. They have time for all of that. They WANT time for all of that. It’s up to you to connect their desires to your business.


As Rick Mayo puts it, remember that you’re selling THE SMILE – and not THE BRACES.


Point out ways to improve their chances of success.


hey can make time make more time for them to use how they want. 


Help them see there are plenty of ways to get your minimum amount of exercise in each week, even when they don’t go to the gym or studio. They can mix and match, and even incorporate movement into daily life by taking the stairs, parking far from buildings, and walking the dog.


Help them make a fitness plan that includes these five points.


1.     Choose convenience in location and time of day to workout.

2.     Work out with a friend, partner or group.

3.     Treat  workout time like any scheduled appointment. They wouldn’t casually blow off a doctor’s appointment. Help them give exercise the same importance.

4.     They should choose something fun. Studies (and common sense) tell us that people are more likely to make time for fitness when it’s something they enjoy.

5.     Looking better is great, but older people are more concerned with feeling better, moving better, and enjoying life on their own terms for as long as possible, so keep the focus on that.



Now Let’s Talk about Money


Money is funny. We use it to justify so many priorities, and at least as many rationalizations.


So, when people say they don't have the money to spend on fitness, it's helpful to pause and ask: Do you not have the money to spend, or do you choose to spend it on other things? This raises opportunities to learn about their values, fears and disappointments – about why they’re not actually living the life they say they want to live.


By the time they’re at or near retirement, most people are familiar with investing. They’ve been sacking away money in their IRAs and bank accounts. They’ve been taking their prescribed medications and paying insurance premiums to manage healthcare costs. ALL OF THAT WILL JUST GROW AND GROW AS THEY AGE.


Exercise reduces our health-care costs, including medications, and the time lost to illness and injury. We know this without a doubt. Investing in yourself with fitness pays huge dividends in all kinds of ways, including financial.


You are offering a premium service and it’s OK to charge a premium fee. 

Compare it to the typical costs of these 10 items or services. Notice there’s no judgment here. Pets are great, and who doesn’t like a nice meal in a restaurant? It’s just to get you thinking about the return on investments.


1.     Tall café latte at Starbucks: $2.95, plus tax. Multiplied by how many you have a month. Plus whatever you spend on croissants, bottled water, and breath mints there.


2.     Pet care. Baby Boomers spend about $59 a month on dogs, cats, and other animal companions, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. 


3.     Cable or Satellite TV. Subscribers paid an average of $107 per month in 2017, according to the latest annual survey from Leichtman Research Group.


4.     Hair coloring and highlights: About $80-$150.


5.     A one-hour massage: Anywhere from $60 to $150, plus tip.


6.     Monthly restaurant costs: $260 for Baby Boomers, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. That seems low, though, when you consider how just one nice dinner for two can easily top $100.


7.     Smoking and drinking: The average Boomer who still smokes spends about $150 a month on the habit, not counting health care costs, the Labor report says. And Boomers average another $45 or so a month on alcohol. 


8.     Two tickets to see “Hamilton” on tour: About $400, plus fees, to be in the room when it happens.


9.     Major league sporting events: In 2016, it cost an average of $502.84 to take a family of four to an NFL game, according to That includes tickets, food, parking, and two programs. Major League Baseball is a bargain – just $219.53. The same survey found that 34 percent of Americans spent money on sporting events in a year, and 29 percent bought athletic equipment. That compares to 23 percent who paid for gym memberships.



10.  Typical monthly car costs: $878. includes car payment, gas, insurance and maintenance.


Now, we’re not saying you should upsell everybody and push this item or that service all the time. And of course the quality of someone’s exercise program isn’t directly related necessarily to the amount of money they invest in it. And, of course, some people are poor or possibly can’t afford your rates.


But that’s OK. Because we’re talking about prospects you have prequalified. We’re talking about sales conversations. And you’re only have those with people who can pay what you’re charging. They’re just going to need a little push over the finish line to commit.


Offer good value and service. Consider your pricing very carefully. And then confidently show that we’re talking about an investment here – not a simple expenditure.


That’s something everyone can relate to.



That’s why we consider our pricing very seriously to offer you excellence and value every day, every month, every year.


We want you to think of it as an investment. We know you will be pleased with the return.


Now, this is a lot to cover, but it’s going to help you close the deal more often with older people – and probably with anyone, really, since the old age and money excuses are universal. I’ll post this transcript on the episode page so you can print out the lists of suggestions and examples.




Now it’s time for Three Things I Like This Week – Special Books Edition!


Last week I shared about “Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery.” Well, let’s keep it going. Here are three new titles worth a look.


“The Plant-Based Athlete – a Game-Changing Approach to Peak Performance”  by Matt Frazier and Robert Cheeke. This new best-seller connects a plant-based diet with peak athletic performance, and features interviews with professional athletes who've made the switch from meat to plants. The authors argue that we don’t need meat and eggs but can get what we need from a plant-based diet. I’m not suggesting we all give up meat – I don’t plan to. But it’s important to stay informed about what’s on your audience’s minds, and plant-based eating is definitely on the least.


No. 2. The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel. This is a graphic memoir – told in comic-strip style illustrations – about the 60-year-old’s lifelong obsession with fitness. Bechdel came to prominence with her comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For,” then wrote an award-winning graphic book about her upbringing, “Fun Home,” which became a Tony-award winning smash hit on Broadway. Bechdel is insanely talented, and this book is a special addition to the over-50 fitness library.


No. 3 – “Brain Health,” a single-issue magazine from The New York Times subtitled, Expand Your Memory, Know Your brain, Stay Sharp Longer. Brain health is a pretty new field, as science begins to unravel the mysteries of brain health and function. And increasingly, we’re seeing entrepreneurs trying to blend physical and mental exercises to try to improve cognitive function and even fight the chances of developing dementia. The Times has provided a nice intro to the broader topic – it’s one we’ll all be hearing about more.


That’s it for this week. If you missed last week’s episode, go back and check it out for my tips on how to make clear in your content that you want to help people over 50.


Next week I’ll be back with an interview with another thought-provoking health entrepreneur who’s helping us all market to this demographic better.


Till then, have a great week.