When I was at University (over a decade ago now) two of my house mates were studying economics. One of them would often use the term “false economy” in conversation in reference to things that people were doing to save time or money, which, in the long run would have the opposite effect overall.
I particularly liked the phrase and concept and have used it many times over the years with our Group and 1:1 Personal Training clients at the RISE Personal Training Studio in Buxton, Derbyshire and at DW Sports Fitness in Macclesfield.
The following are some examples of what I consider to be false economies that clients have mentioned to me over the years, along with another way to think of it (see also our article on Paradigm Shifts)
Those extra 5 minutes in bed
Clients often tell us that they don’t have time for breakfast (or to prepare that day’s food or go to the gym before work) by the time they’ve got out of bed. When we suggest setting the alarm 5 (or 30 or whatever) minutes earlier, they’ll often reply “I’m tired enough as it is”. We’ll then explain that one of the main reasons that they are tired is due to their low physical endurance and / or poor diet. By getting up those few minutes earlier to do things to address this, they will, long term, be up on the deal energy wise.
Saving money on food
The eating we will recommend will probably cost more then what you are eating now. There is a reason cheap food is cheap – it’s crap! In life you get what you pay for. Saving money on food by eating cheap ‘staples’ such as bread, pasta and potatoes will not get you the weight loss, physique, health and fitness you want. You have to speculate to accumulate. Spend money on good quality, real food and you will reap the rewards with improved quality and duration of life.
Cutting a workout short
We understand that things sometimes come up and, if you’re a few minutes late due to unforeseen circumstance, you may need to cut your workout short to make a time dependent deadline – such as picking the kids up from school. However the majority of the times we find that people just drop their least favorite part of the workout (such as stretching) to get home “for tea”, “because I’m tired” or “Eastenders”. All of these things can wait (assuming you have Sky+ or equivalent, or at the very least a VCR) for the few minutes it would take to get the most out of your workout.
If you don’t find time to exercise because you are “too busy” then, statistically speaking, you are likely to die younger then those that do. I know it’s not a nice thing to say, and we’re aware anyone can “get run over by a bus tomorrow”, but all research shows that the probability is that regular exerciser will live longer then a non exerciser. YOU WILL GET THAT TIME BACK!
Not working towards a goal because it’ll take too long to get there
Although we’re all about getting the quickest results possible, we are 100% honest about time frames with our clients. If someone is a considerable distance from their goal, we will tell them that it may take 6 months, a year or even 5 to get there.
People often then say “oh, it’s not worth it, it’ll take too long”. Remember – you will (hopefully) live for that time anyway. You will get to 5 years down the line anyway. You can either get there and be slim (or whatever you want to be) at that point. Or you can get there and not be. It won’t save any time to not try.
If you’ve found yourself using any of these false economies of fitness, then maybe it’s time for a rethink?