The Hidden Costs of 'Free' Workouts: Why Nothing Comes Without a Price

The Hidden Costs of 'Free' Workouts: Why Nothing Comes Without a Price

Free and Custom Workouts: Buyer Beware

Starting a fitness journey can feel daunting, especially if you're stepping into a gym full of strangers without knowing where to begin. On top of the initial discomfort, the expense of gym memberships or personal trainers might not fit into your budget. If you find yourself in this situation, you might be tempted by a free workout plan as a solution. However, it's important to consider not just the financial savings but also the importance of injury prevention, the likelihood of achieving lasting results, and the potential unforeseen risks associated with these free plans.

Working Out for Beginners 

If you have little to no experience going to the gym or practicing physical activities outside of high school gym class, it is likely you may not know what a good workout plan looks like. This is why beginners gravitate towards free workout plans, but it can be hard for some to invest money and time into something that you aren't familiar with.

With that said, our bodies are complex machines. Free does not equate to functional: Computers are also complex machines, and if you require it to run fast, store lots of data, and support demanding software for work, you are likely to invest more money and more time nto having it running optimally. Same goes if you have a pet or a child, you are more likely to give these things the best you're capable of in order for them to have optimal lives: So why compromise with your body?

With traditional workouts there are many isolated training exercises. These isolated training exercises may lead to muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth), but do not connect the dots. It’s common when someone decides to start a fitness journey to have a lot of motivation and push themselves for fast results. In desperation for results, a person may look for free workout plans or beginner workout plans in the comfort of their home.

One may choose a particular custom workout plan based on the aesthetics of the person they see in the advertisements for that program. However, it's important to keep in mind that the aesthetically-pleasing individual most likely didn't develop their appearance using that program, or they are likely using isolated training exercises that do not provide a holistic approach to fitness. At Functional Patterns, our approach is much more fundamental and focuses on working out all of the body at the same time.

Many fitness programs offer free workout plans without proving they lead to results. In contrast, Functional Patterns (FP) focuses on delivering proven outcomes through a systematic approach, rather than just addressing temporary fixes for problems. Effective workout plans for beginners, which are truly beneficial, often come with a cost, reflecting their value. It's important to understand that while free workout plans might seem appealing, they could end up costing more in the long run if they lead to injuries or other issues that require treatment.

The Danger of Free Workout Plans

The idea of “free” is always appealing. We see this in marketing: “$0 Down, Low Monthly Payments” or the ever popular “Buy One, Get One Free.” But as with most things in life there is always a price tag and the cost of our health is an expensive one. When asking yourself “how can I exercise for free?” please consider the potential risks and long-term effects it may come with.

There are many online trainers and fitness influencers that provide these custom workout plans and full body workouts at home for beginners. However, these trainers and influencers are not always checking your execution, or analyzing your movement patterns to determine whether or not you are producing results. Coordinating the form of an exercise and correcting how the body adjusts to load and force are two separate practices, and they must go hand-in-hand if you wish to prevent injury and sustain your gains. 

To explain further, when someone who is not properly trained tries to teach another person who is also inexperienced, it can lead to serious problems. This situation increases the risk of injuries, disappointing outcomes, and a misunderstanding of how our bodies function. These injuries could lead to medical bills, having to take time away from work, experiencing pain, suffering mental stress, and developing unhealthy habits.

According to the (CDC, Cost of injury & calculators 2023) “The 2019 cost of injury in the U.S. was $4.2 trillion, according to a report in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The costs include spending on health care, lost work productivity, as well as estimates of cost for lost quality of life and lives lost.” It has been more common to have companies that offer wellness programs for employees to combat the high cost of claims and money spent on unhealthy employees. An article by Dr. Steve Aldana, the CEO of Wellsteps states a study done by the CDC found that (Aldana, 2024) “Those who got between zero and 150 minutes of exercise a week spent $5,076 per year and those that didn’t exercise at all spent $5,813 per year.” 

The potential cost of going to rehab, and medical expenses from training with the free workout plans are counter intuitive. Rather than saving money initially just to spend it later, the approach should be to invest in what is sustainable. As an example, many people like to buy new vehicles or appliances because they come with a warranty and gives a piece of mind to avoid costly repairs- maintenance is cheaper than a full-on replacement. FP’s approach is to lengthen and prevent the time injured or needing rehab. It is an approach that requires time and investments, however this allows for a longer lasting effect

What is the Best Workout for a Beginner?

As a beginner searching for the ideal workout and considering a tailored workout plan, it's crucial to evaluate the credibility of the source, the specific results you aim to achieve, and the hidden pitfalls of free options. Many free workout plans lack completeness and fail to address the underlying mechanical issues in our bodies. Functional Patterns stands out in this regard. With resources like the 10-week online course specifically designed for beginners, Functional Patterns provides a holistic approach to fitness. Choose to invest in a sustainable solution rather than being swayed by the allure of free offerings.




  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, November 8). Cost of injury & calculators. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  2.  Aldana, Dr. S. (2024, January 24). This is the impact of employee wellness programs on Health Care Costs. Employee Wellness Programs. 
Back to blog