“I usually love this blog but it seems to be going a bit Gwenyth (sic) Paltrow-Goop-ish lately. The cheapest option for that training is £650 for ten sessions. If you do five sessions a week that’s roughly £1300 a month and £15,600 a year. How many people can afford that? And that’s just the basic training. Good for you and all, but sometimes I wonder if you are losing touch with your readership.”
I didn’t publish yr comment immediately because I wanted a chance to think about what you said. Here’s the thing: You may or may not know that I started LLG as a place to record what I got up to. Essentially, an online journal.
That it attracted readers was serendipity, but its content is guided by my taste, my lifestyle, my interests. That’s not to say I don’t think all the time about the readers I have gained, (who I value enormously) but a (true) blog is not like a magazine which writes with a certain reader in mind. Essentially everything I cover is seen through my eyes.
Like many people, my tastes & preferences and, most importantly, my budget, vary from day to day, situation to situation and so LLG has always reflected that, always been about the hi/lo mix that exists in my own life. One night I cld be bunking down in a youth hostel dorm in California, the next I’m at the Ritz-Carlton. Yesterday I wrote an entire post about a £2 phone charger, today I mentioned a £300 pair of riding boots. Most importantly, I do not like spending money for the sake of it. No gold-plated bath taps here on LLG. If something is pricey and I have written about it, then that’s because I think it is worth it. Which leads me neatly to the issue of training, about which you have taken exception.
Regarding the training (I am still writing about it, so your question has pre-empted some of the things I would have covered) I would have hoped that you realised I have been writing about the benefits of training – not just extolling the virtures of particular (admitedly expensive) trainers. Firstly, most people do not need to train for five days a week unless their job requires it or they have oodles of spare time, so your sums are a little optimistic. (And nothing at Jonathan Goodair is ‘basic’ as you suggest.) My six week, 3 x a week training period is designed as a short, intensive introduction to get trainees up to speed and in my case, was their standard press arrangement. (Lisa Armstrong of The Times has recently completed the same series and wrote about it in her paper.)
But I believe in it so much that when my six week press period is up at the end of this week, I will be paying myself to train there twice weekly. Yes, it can be regarded as expensive. It’s certainly not something I can easily afford, but I will cut out other things from my life: so that I can pay for it. Because I happen to believe that investing in your health is the most important thing of all.
If you consider that Jonathan Goodair’s Total Body Plan training system, that has such effective results for me and many others, is the products of someone’s entire education, career & focus, then it doesn’t start to seem expensive, but good value. Not that that makes it necessarily affordable, but it is how some people choose to spend their money. Me, I have decided that I will rather pay for training than gig tickets, new shoes or eating out at expensive restaurants.
I have never, at any point, suggested blithely that anyone else train there in some ‘let them eat cake’ throwaway comment. I have merely written about my experience training, as I have written about anything that I experience, be it, as I noted above, a five star hotel or a youth hostel.
I do take issue with the concept that I should only be writing about things at a particular price level. I like to write about a span of things that interest me and they won’t all cost the same: where exercise is concerned, I have also written about swimming daily in Hampstead Heath Ponds – which are free/donation only, or hiking the trails above Santa Barbara. I have readers from all walks of life and affordability is relative: Some can afford to train with London trainers without noticing the cost, others like me will sacrifice to do it, and for others it will never be possible. As it turns out, three readers (that I know of, there could be more) are in the process of signing up to train at Jonathan Goodair as a direct result of my posts. And anyway, since when did not being able to afford to do something affect whether you wanted to read about it or not? I frequently read above my wallet’s capabilities.
Most of all, I hoped that maybe readers who have had problems or issues with training & fitness classes would look beyond the specifics and be reassured by reading my experience of learning to come to grips with my (lack of) physicality and think that if a mal coordinated, dyspraxia disaster zone like myself can do it, so may they. Where that would take place – be it a smart London gym, or a local swimming pool – would be up to them.
And, completely wonderfully, I have been overwhelmed by the generous comments, emails, Tweets & Facebook messages from readers who say that they have found it inspiring and that they have been prompted to start or re-boot their own training regimes as a result.
As with everything on LLG I hope people will take what is relevant to them from across a wide spectrum of posts. If I write about something I think is beautiful, albeit expensive, some fortunate readers might be able to afford to buy if they like it, some might decide to save for it or ask for it as a special gift, some might seek out something similar but more affordable – and some might laugh out loud at how hideous they think it is.
All responses are welcome; as a writer anything that resonates, be it positively or negatively, is rewarding.