Food & Fitness Opportunity Cost – Are You Prioritizing The Right Priorities?

In life we make choices. And generally the prioritization of these choices revolves around resources. With time being the most precious.

For example:

We don’t stay up for another episode on Netflix because we work in 10hrs, and we like getting 8hrs of sleep.

Or:

We play 9 holes on Sunday instead of 18 because we have a lot to get done around the house before the new week starts.

Prioritization based on importance, or choosing one thing over another, also happens. Like missing poker night with your buddies to go to your daughters dance recital, or cancelling a shopping date with a girlfriend to visit a sick relative.

Point being, that’s it’s easy to see how both of these behaviors can be applied to diet and exercise.  But what’s not so easy (or common), is recognizing how this extends beyond deciding whether or not to go to the gym or eat that dessert.

Unless of course you’ve taken an economics class, and understand the concept of Opportunity Cost.

Just like in life, some of us are doing a better job prioritizing our health, and we’re experiencing the results from our efforts. But unlike life:

Many of us are making the right choices and not seeing the results, because we’re confused about what the right choices are.

OR we don’t recognize that the good choices we’re making are displacing better ones – that have a higher opportunity cost.

With exercise, I obviously mean choosing cardio as your method for getting fit. Since, other than being inefficient, ineffective, and potentially damaging, the cost of not doing weight-training is too great.  Whether we’re talking about strength and muscle gain, or increases in resting metabolic rate and insulin sensitivity.

And since, the majority wants to exercise very little, or has very little time to exercise. This choice that seems quite small is actually quite substantial.

Especially when you understand that those choosing jogging, cycling, and swimming often end up abandoning exercise altogether because they’re not reaching their goals.

…or worse, start dedicating more time to it!

cardio.risk.return.

Nutrition is a similar story. As we have a certain amount of food we can consume in a day, and each choice displaces another.  Although, the major difference with food, is that we have to eat! Which some would argue makes it’s more significant.

Plus, the endless number of options. With plenty of opportunity for ‘healthy’ foods to take the place of ‘healthier’ foods – that have an extremely high opportunity cost.

For instance, an apple is a good choice over a chocolate bar, but not necessarily a better one.  And people definitely benefit from choosing the apple over the chocolate bar, but not enough to outweigh the cost of not eating something better.  Like animal protein!

Or simply put:

You may be prioritizing your time properly (exercising and avoiding junk food), but your putting your energy towards the wrong behavior (cardio and apples).

And as a result, you’re not getting rewarded for your efforts.

Stay Lean (and smart)!
Coach Mike


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