F is for… False Economy

George Osbourne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, will present the 2012 Budget at midday tomorrow (Wednesday), outlining the Government’s plan for the economy for the year ahead. Amidst a tough economic environment the world over, the onus of the coalition government has been directed towards reducing the deficit and, essentially, looking at where we can save money. But do all money saving initiatives actually save us money in the long run?

False Economy (noun)

An action which saves money at the beginning but which, over a longer period of time, results in more money being wasted than being saved

Now, it’s not always in a government’s interests to play the big game, but it’s sure as hell in your’s. When we talk about false economy in a training context, it’s not so much money that we’re focusing on, we’re talking time and effort. Remember:

Time + Effort = Results

In Exercise Choices

It takes time to learn how to lift properly and, sadly, that’s why many don’t bother. Who needs barbells when you’ve got machines, right? People love them because they’re easy, there’s no learning curve. The sooner you can start jacking the weight up, the sooner you can start to make progress. This may be great in the short-term but you need to look at the big picture. The big compound lifts are infinitely more effective than machines when you perform them properly. Spend time learning how to do the basics. Yes, you will have to check your ego and start at the bottom of the ladder, but you’ll be equipped with far more powerful tools in the long run.

In Exercise Execution

Deadlifting like Quasimodo may add 30kg to your PB this very minute, but rest assured that your spine won’t thank you for it. Take the weight off the bar and do it properly. No more half squats, half presses, half pull ups (ok, there is a time and a place for them). Spend time making sure that you’ve got the strength and flexibility to perform each lift correctly. Do things the right way and you’ll get the right results whilst limiting the risk of injury.

In Injury Prevention

I do admit that 99% of the time doing pre-hab is about as enjoyable as actually watching the budget, nonetheless, it serves an important purpose. Weak links will come back haunt you. Weak links will halt your progress and increase your risk of injury. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but they will eventually. Acknowledge where your weak links lie and then do the work required to sort them out. Ten minutes a day, three times a week could be what prevents you from spending six months out on the side-lines.

In Programming

Following the latest programme in Men’s Health may save you some time, but it’s unlikely to be your best bet. Once more, look at the big picture. No short term fixes, just step-by-step progress towards the end product. If you’re going it alone then make sure you do your research first, learn from those who know what they’re doing. Don’t just programme to your strengths and what you enjoy doing, programme to your weaknesses.

In Nutrition

This is probably a whole article in itself so I won’t dawdle on it for too long. Just like a car, put good fuel in your body and it will perform better. For example, grass fed, organic beef will have a much healthier fat profile than your supermarket value range. Spend time researching your food and your supplements. We can’t always afford the gold standard but do the best you can with what you have available. The old adage that ‘you get what you pay for’ doesn’t always ring true, but it’s not a bad indicator.

In Coaching

It’s up to you not to sell your athletes short. If you think you’re lacking in a skill set, let’s say coaching Olympic lifting for example, then find a way of improving it. It may cost you time, it may cost you money – it may even cost you a bit of macho pride – but you’ll be a better coach when all is said and done.


Training is a pretty good metaphor for life; you get out what you put in. To get the best results you need to acknowledge that you are worth the investment. Invest your time, effort and money in building a strong foundation; don’t cut corners. You are worth it!

Exercises, Nutrition, Performance, Prehab & Rehab, Psychology , , , , ,

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