The Single Spartan’s Guide to Valentine’s Gains
If there’s anything worse than being single on Valentine’s Day, it’s probably something along the lines of getting caught performing marriages against the emperor’s wishes in Third-Century Rome, being clubbed to death, beheaded, and canonized as a love Saint turned retail symbol for the world’s ubiquitous romantic scam holiday.
But enough about Saint Valentine—whose supposed “From Your Valentine” letter to his jailer’s daughter put February 14 on the map—let’s talk about you, one of a minority of people without anyone to love. Or at least, that’s how the National Retail Federation would have you see it. “Americans are looking forward to pampering and indulging their loved ones with flowers, candy, dinner and all of the other Valentine’s Day stops,” says the organization’s president and CEO Matthew Shay in a press release.
Shay seems like a lovely Valentine’s date, as long as he’s paying. The NRF estimates that of the 55 percent of Americans who will celebrate V-Day in 2018, the average consumer will drop $143.56. That, according to Shay, is the price of love.
So welcome to the 45 percent; Saint Valentine died alone, too. The occasion is only lonely if you don’t love yourself, so take that $143.56 and have a Spartan Valentine’s Day. The top spending areas, according to the NRF, are jewelry, a night out, flowers, clothing, and candy. Here’s how we’d blow our date-night cash on the Spartan version of each category.
Jewelry: $4.7 billion spending estimate for 2018
Spartan jewelry for under $143: Fitbit Alta HR, $119.95
You could’ve indulged in an analog watch or a new necklace, but neither of those things can record your most heroic step counts for the world to see. The overall winner of Wareable’s 2017 fitness tracker review, Fitbit’s Alta HR tracks your sleep and steps, sends push notifications to your Apple or Android smartphone, monitors your heart rate 24 hours a day, and boasts a seven-day battery life. It’s not particularly flashy, but the one-ounce band keeps a low profile on your wrist, plus it reminds you to get off your ass when you’ve been sitting too long. Find us a Rolex that does that, Mr. Bond.
Night out: $3.7 billion spending estimate for 2018
Spartan night out for under $143: Spartan Afternoon Sprint, starting at $129
This is as shameless as plugs get, but do the math with us here: You could get dinner and drinks at a decent steakhouse, dine for a couple hours on a five-course meal, and leave smelling of garlic and meat sweat. Or, you could sign up for your nearest Spartan Sprint and enjoy a looser dress code while you feast on 20 to 23 obstacles with hundreds of people who, unlike your mother-in-law, didn’t make you feel obligated to be there. Your musk is sheer accomplishment, and you’re encouraged to leap through fire at the end, which is altogether a better idea than hurdling a candlelit dinner table.
Flowers: $2 billion spending estimate for 2018
Spartan flowers for under $143: Arnold Schwarzenegger “Conquer” Canvas Wall Art, $125
An extravagant bouquet of roses, especially if they’re delivered last minute, is a pricey gift that you give to a significant other so they can watch something beautiful wilt away. The same happened to Arnold Schwarzenegger, but with this 44-by-26-inch canvas, the cuts and striations of Mr. Olympia in his prime will give you something pretty to look at for years to come. The word “CONQUER” across Arnold’s chest inspires an impromptu gym session, which is more than can be said of a dozen iffy-looking daffodils.
Clothing: $1.9 billion spending estimate for 2018
Spartan clothing for under $143: Salomon XA Enduro, $112
Gift receipts exist because buying clothes for anyone is a complete crapshoot. You can forget returning these slick on-and-off trail shoes, though; their intended purpose is to get absolutely filthy. The heavy-duty outsole lugs provide ample traction for obstacle course racing and the integrated gaiter keeps the sand and rocks away from your feet. At 10.5 ounces, this stable shoe will keep you sure-footed over uneven terrain without weighing you down.
Candy: $1.8 billion spending estimate for 2018
Spartan candy for under $143: MealPro, 10 meals for $120
Spartans know that food is fuel, so although a giant box of heart-shaped chocolates is a nice sentiment, the sugar onslaught isn’t nourishing any PRs. Instead, go for a healthy meal subscription service like MealPro. For $120, the company sends freshly prepared dishes like roasted chicken with sweet potatoes and herb salmon with broccoli and beans to your doorstep. The grub comes in microwavable vacuum-sealed containers, so it’s a perfect substitute for the healthy dinners you don’t always have time to cook.
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