I work in several different forms of the service-based fitness industry. I own a gym, I personal train, and I do online training and nutrition for clients. While each has its different nuances, I actually sell the same product in three different ways. What is that product? Fitness? Health? Strength? No, that product is time. I sell time because it is the most valuable, non-renewable asset that exists. In this article, I will explain why time is the greatest asset as well and fill you in on the two greatest lies that you continue to tell yourself day in and day out.

The First Greatest Lie

Time is just an idea. It's a human born method for measuring the points between events and measuring our own existence. It holds no exact measurable value because it is invaluable. Once time has passed, it can't be gained back. Time is given and expensed every instance. You can't save it. Because of this, humans are constantly trying to find ways to “gain” time or, better yet, better utilize it. Why do we drive cars instead of walk? Why do we use phones instead of letters? Why do we purchase products from Amazon.com instead of going to the store? The answer is simple: to “save” time. This brings us to our first great lie: “I don’t have any time.”

“I don’t have time to work out.” “I don’t have time to eat right.” “I don’t have time to own my own business.” These are lies that I hear on a regular basis. They are lies that I have told as well. You see, it is a logical fallacy to say that you don't have any time because you and I and every person on this planet have been given the same amount of time. We are given 24 hours every day, 168 hours every week, 52 hours a year. This amount of time has been evenly distributed between you, Bill Gates, Kim Jong-un, a missionary in Africa, a rapist in prison and your next-door neighbor. To say that you don’t have any time is to state that you've been slighted in the distribution of time given to you and we all know that this can't be true.

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The truth is you will spend your time doing something and that something will be your priority. At the end of the day, you will have used up all 24 hours before being given the same 24 hours of time immediately following it. When someone says that he doesn't have any time, he is protecting his ego, which is a natural instinct. When someone expresses frustration that he doesn't have time to work out, he is acknowledging that working out is something that he probably should be doing but he's relieving himself of the responsibility to do so because of his lack of time. When a situation occurs where an individual doesn’t recognize an activity as worthy, he usually won't use the lack of time lie. For example, I don't make my bed because I lack the time but because I lack the desire. To engage in a new activity means replacing activities that previously took up time, and much like rearranging a budget, this can be very difficult. Few people fill their time doing activities that they don't find important. Even if the activity isn't enjoyable, they will do it for the benefits it brings. To shift time is to shift priorities.

How I Sell Time

With the understanding that time is the most valuable asset, people come to my gym and/or come to me to help them reach their goals faster than they could on their own. If the engine in your car needs a tune up, you have three choices: you can attempt to fix it yourself without the knowledge and fail, you can take the time to attain the knowledge and then fix it, or you can pay someone who has taken the time to gain the knowledge and he will fix it. The third option is clearly the fastest option. People do so because they want their car back quickly and understand the value of their time. This is the same principle by which people hire me to train them. They understand that I can get them there more quickly than they could attempting to do so on their own. This is the same reason why people join my training facility.

In Memphis, there are two big players when it comes to commercial gyms: the big box commercial gym that sales its facility at a premium rate (think $75–100 a month for a gym, track, weight room and pool) and the smaller, 24-hour facilities that act as the low cost competitor (think $15–25 a month for a very basic weight room). NBS Fitness falls into a third, niche category that sells knowledge and a specialized facility. We provide the equipment and knowledge necessary for reaching higher levels of fitness, physique and performance goals that just can't be reached at other facilities in Memphis. We sell our memberships at a premium rate in exchange for a superior product. If our clients had stayed at another facility to try and reach their goals, they would be wasting time because they would never achieve them. People trade their money for time.

The Second Greatest Lie

After time, the second greatest “asset” people care about is the idea of money. I emphasize money as an idea, nothing more. Money in and of itself holds no value. It is simply paper and metal that we exchange for goods and services. Because money is an idea, the amount of money you earn is also an idea. If you believe that you are poor, you are poor. If you believe that you are rich, you are rich. If you seek to gain more money, all you need is to create an idea of more money. Don’t believe me? Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are all billionaires because they created an idea. Need to go further back? Henry Ford created an automotive empire based off an idea. The world we live in today would not exist if not but for an idea from Thomas Edison. Unlike time, money is variable and you get to choose how much of it you get. This is the second greatest lie you will tell yourself: “I can’t afford that.”

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“I can’t afford a gym membership.” “I can’t afford personal training.” “I can’t afford a nutrition plan.” Again, these are all lies that I have been told. I have told similar lies myself. Because money is an idea, a medium of exchange, you can afford whatever you want. If you need more money, you can either redirect your current spending or choose to earn more. How do you do so? By gaining skills and knowledge, creating better and different ideas and selling them. But the truth is this—if you fail to exchange money for time, you will forever be without money and lacking of time.

Here's an example. I recently purchased a new building for my gym. Commercial property isn't cheap and I used a decent amount of cash for the down payment. At the same time, I got married, went on a honeymoon, moved into a new house and purchased new furniture, all of which cost money. From a cash flow standpoint, I had more money going out than coming in. So like any businessman, I had to find a way to increase my revenue and income while not going overboard with frivolous expenses.

What would you have done? I will tell you what I did. From a business standpoint, I hired a general manager to manage the training facility. Why? I don’t make money managing the facility. I make money growing the facility. The more time I spend managing it, the more growth I lose out on. So I traded money for time. From a personal standpoint, I hired Shelby Starnes to manage my training and nutrition. Why would a professional trainer who does online training and nutrition hire another coach? Simple. I don’t make any money training myself. I don’t make any money coming up with my own nutrition plan. I need my time and energy to work with my clients and hiring Shelby allows me to focus on what makes me money—time. On top of that, Shelby will get me to where I want to go faster than I will myself. Why? He’s objective and puts more time and energy into developing my program than I would myself. I put my clients first, and at the end of the day, I have little time or energy left to develop my own program. Now, I can devote all my energy and time into following the one he has prescribed to me and into growing my business. I had to spend more money to allow myself the time to earn more money.

What can you take away from all this? Review your thought process toward your own time, money and training. Analyze whether your actions to save money are actually costing you time, a much more valuable asset. Try to catch yourself from saying the two greatest lies that you keep telling yourself and reset your thinking in a way that allows you to problem solve instead of problem create. In many cases, you might find yourself in a similar situation as I found myself in, one in which hiring a coach wasn’t one in which I was worried about whether I could afford to hire him but one in which I couldn’t afford not to.