If You Think You Can’t Afford A Trainer… Tucson Personal Training Blog

Personal Training in Tucson - The Protocol Strength & Conditioning, Llc

By: Jerry Trubman, Owner and Founder

Tomorrow is the first of August and The Protocol is turning 8. If you’ve been reading this blog since those days, you know that I tend to get a little weird during this time of year. It’s still hard to believe that what we started 8 summers ago with a few ladies on a basketball court would turn into what we have today.

Somehow, some way, we’ve managed to surpass all the odds and stay relevant in a fitness world that suffers from serious ADHD. Small gyms, despite generally having superior coaching, have a really bad habit of going out of business. As a matter of fact, every place that we considered ‘competition’ when we started is not around anymore today with the exception of one… and he and I are friends (Hi Danny!).

It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it. This is actually what inspired today’s post: I’ll never forget what it was like to be broke and worry about how next month’s bills will get paid. Many people think that what we offer is an uber-premium product that only the wealthiest people can afford. This is simply not true.

Sure, the economy is better now, but please remember this business started in the midst of one of the greatest recessions in modern history. Our business model, out of pure necessity, was built on affordability. 8 years ago, I envisioned small groups of 3-6 people that would essentially split the cost of private training sessions. We had school teachers, retail store employees, and bartenders who could (if it was important enough to them) comfortably afford to take our classes.

In 2018, not much has changed. Yes, we’ve tripled in size since our first facility, but we still have all types of people here… and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I guess the only appropriate thing to say here is, “thank you.” If you’ve been a part of this in any way at all, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

So let’s get into today’s topic. In today’s post, I share a little about my personal financial struggles and I hope some of my thoughts will help others who are facing the same challenges.

When we started The Protocol, we had, literally, no budget for anything. Any purchase that needed to be made required me to find a way to ‘invent’ the money to pay for it. The most common way most people ‘invent’ money is to, of course, borrow it… but we made a decision from the very beginning that we weren’t going to do that. As a matter of fact, to this day The Protocol still has yet to use a single dime of borrowed money. Our growth, although slow, is 100% organic baby!

So, regardless of whether it’s your business or your own personal household budget, if borrowing money is out of the question, that would leave you with a couple of other options:

1. Under-consume (learn to get by on less)

2. Price-shop (try to always get the very best price on everything you buy)

I’ve done plenty of both in my day, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that the less ‘stuff’ I accumulate, the better I feel. One of the founding principles of our gym was to figure out how to do the most with the least. In a fitness world filled with overcomplication, I hope our place serves as a ray of simple sunshine in a fitness culture filled with shiny new objects. Although minimalism is a critical part of my overall being, today let’s talk more about the second thing: Price-shopping.

The impetus for today’s blog comes from a little project I was forced to take on over the July 4th holiday: Our washing machine broke down. This was the third time in its 12-year life this has happened. On the surface it sounds pretty crappy, but let’s consider something: When I first went out to buy a washer and dryer, instead of getting advice from a salesperson, I spoke to a friend who fixes appliances (I’ve actually done this with every home appliance I’ve bought as an adult).

‘Quality of product’ and ‘ease of repair’ were the priorities in the buying decision. The one I bought wasn’t cheap, but each of the three times it broke, the part was less than $60 to get it working as new. And two of the three times it broke, I was easily able to fix it by watching a YouTube video. Same story with the fridge and television, and both of those home appliances had far outlasted their normal lifespan before needing to be replaced (the 13-year-old fridge is still kicking and the TV became obsolete before it actually died). We live in a throw-away society, and it’s very easy to treat things in our lives as throw-away that don’t need to be.

A wise business mentor told me a long time ago, “A poor man can only afford to buy the very best.”

He was right; every time I bought something cheap, later on I would regret that purchase and have to re-buy the item. As previously mentioned, we had a bare-bones budget when starting The Protocol. Luckily there was a gym that was going out of business and we were able to buy some really good equipment much cheaper than new… but we also bought some cheap stuff. Since then, virtually all of that cheap stuff has had to be replaced, but almost all of the high-quality items are still in use in our facility today, and are still working great.

I had a cheap coffee pot that was given to me as a gift when I first moved away from home. Since there was never anything wrong with it, I kept it for a very long time. It was a terrible coffee pot: Luke-warm water, coffee tasted bad, no timer, etc. When the heating element finally went out on it, I bought a nice coffee pot (in case you’re wondering, yes, I did take the old one apart and try to fix it before throwing it out). Wow. What a difference! The coffee was hot, tasted so much better, and it could even be set up to start 15 minutes before waking up!

I said to myself, “I should have bought this years ago.”

What I’m trying to say here is that every time I invested in quality, I got to enjoy a high-quality product for many years. A few years later, Scott Gilliland of Adventure Coffee Roasting (click here to buy the best coffee in the world) turned me into a coffee snob, so I manually press coffee now without any machine at all, but I digress…

There are some places where price shopping is a good thing; others not. Of all the things we could site as an example of this, personal health and wellness has to be at the top of the list.

If we get tired of fixing old washing machines, we could always buy a new one.

But we only get one body. And if we screw it up, we don’t get another one.

Re-read that last statement again… slowly. This should change how you ‘price shop’ for yourself.

Are you buying the best quality food you can possibly afford, or do you eat what makes you feel good today?

Are you training in a high-quality fitness facility, or do you have a big-box gym membership for ten bucks a month that you rarely (if ever) use?

Do you invest in high-level coaching, or do you just go to the gym and wing it? Or, if you do get a coach, did you pick them the same way you picked which octane of fuel to put in your car?

Do you invest in proper care and maintenance of your body (chiro/physio/massage/etc.), or do you wait until you feel like absolute crap to go to the doctor for pills? (If you’re in Tucson, AZ and looking for someone for chiro/physio/massage, all three of the links above are clickable to great people)

Food, training, coaching, and body maintenance are three places to reconsider your budget.

If you think donuts are a food group, you download workout programs from Instagram models, “can’t afford” massages or chiropractic care, all while complaining about aches and pains and how you can’t lose weight… but you have a new iPhone, something is wrong. You are squandering the one belonging that has been given to you that cannot be replaced. Of all the places to scale back your budget, your own body is not a good place to start. 

You can take a rowing class at our facility and receive high-level coaching from Matt for 15 bucks a class (click here for info). Full-time training packages at The Protocol start at $180 per month and nutritional coaching is included in that price. For $260 per month, you can have semi-private coaching here up to 5 days a week. For someone who has made the decision to have strength, health, and wellness as a priority in their life, these are not astronomical figures. 

Just like having to replace cheap goods that break down shortly after purchase, any money ‘saved’ on taking care of yourself will more-than-likely end up being spent on increased healthcare costs and prescription medication. Pay now… or pay even more later.

Until next time,

Jerry Trubman is a coach, clinician, author, blogger, and powerlifting state champion. With over two decades of lifting experience, he has devoted himself to seeking out better answers, and distilling them into practical programs that produce great results. Jerry has coached "Team Protocol" to 4 National Powerlifting Championships in the 100% Raw federation. He writes the internationally-read blog, “The Healthy Addiction” and lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife Marie and dog Sadie. To subscribe to his blog, click here.

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