Be A Smart Little Piggy

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

No, no, I’m not comparing you to a piece of walking bacon, I am referring to a classic fairy tale that can teach you a lot about life. Today we are going to cover just how much the story and underlying principles of the Three Little Pigs can teach you about life; specifically training, health and performance.

“Why the hell is this kid writing about the Three Little Pigs?” you may be wondering. Although my mother read the story to my brother and I millions of times, as she was the best mother a little lad could ask for, I have not revisited the story recently. What caused me to reminisce about one of my child favorites is the fact that my brother, who is a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton in California…SEMPER FI, is about to come home on leave.  I couldn’t help but to think of all the stuff we used to do together; play sports, listen to bedtime stories, raise hell, etc. And because my life is now dedicated to human health and performance, I couldn’t help but realize how smart the Three Little Pigs really were…well at least one of them anyway.

If you don’t know the story of the Three Little Pigs, it goes a little something like this….

Three little pigs were sent out into the world by their mother. She informed them that there was a big bad wolf around who was looking for an easy meal. Two of the pigs did not take the threat seriously and decided to take the easy road and construct their houses out of straw and twigs. The wolf had no problem ah huffin and ah puffin and blowin their houses in. He then had a nice three course meal with a base of pork chops and ham (at least in the original story; some retold versions have the pigs running to their brother’s house but the original has a stronger message).  I’m guessing the wolf was probably pretty full, but he decides to go for a side of bacon and visits the house of the third little pig. The only difference, the third little pig took his time and built his house out of brick and mortar, which was too strong for the wolf to blow down. The wolf then tries to trick the little pig and eventually slides down the chimney only to find himself swimming in a pot of scalding hot water. Needless to say, the wolf was unable to top of his pork extravaganza and wound up as dinner himself (according to the original story). If you prefer the retold version, the wolf found himself hustling his arse off to get far, far away. And that’s the story…at least the sparksnotes vesion.

HE'S OUT THERE...LET'S SEE JUST WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

In order to be healthy, reach your fitness goals and improve overall performance, you must take into consideration that life is full of “Big Bad Wolfs” that are just looking to have succulent pulled pork sandwich for dinner (can you tell that today I will be having a nice cheat meal?). To keep the wolf from blowing in your house and having easy access to a free meal, you have to take time to prepare. You need to understand that the wolf (improper training / movement, stress of life, unhealthy eating habits, inadequate sleep patterns, etc) can be avoided or dealt with if the proper time, preparation and effective habits are employed.

Listening to a your Mama (professional): Just as the mom of the three little pigs encouraged them to set off on their own but to take caution, when it comes to training it is always wise to seek the advice of a qualified professional…yes there are some “professionals” out there that will advise you take the easy way out and build your house (training outcomes) out of straw; leaving you unprotected from the hungry wolf (training / daily stress). The professional should be able to devise an individualized training program that is conducive to your goals, limitations (movement patterns, time, equipment, etc) and any other needs. This will be the floor plan for your house, so make sure that it is a good one…you can never ask too many questions.

SEEK ADVICE, JUST MAKE SURE IT IS REPUTABLE ADVICE

Picking the right materials:  Unless you want your training efforts to result with you ending up like pig one and two, your training must be built from the right materials. You cannot expect your house to withstand the mighty huff and puff if it is built out of straw. So make sure to gather your bricks (proper and individualized training modalities) and mortar (healthy nutrition, daily habits, sleep, etc.) and get set to construct your house.

Building your house:  No house will stand long if the foundation is cracked or even worse, non-existent.  You must build an efficient base from which to construct your walls and if not, the walls will come tumbling down as soon as the wolf begins to blow. Everyone wants results now, but as the story depicts, the little pig who puts in the extra time and effort and listens to the advice of a proper authority (in the case of the Three Little Pigs their Mama; when it comes to training, a reputable performance coach) will save themselves from roasting on an open campfire with an apple in the mouth and a stick up the…

DONT LET YOUR TRAINING END LIKE THIS

Outsmarting the wolf: Your house will only protect you for so long against a determined wolf, unless you are able to outsmart the sharp-toothed canine. If you do upgrade your house (putting the pot of hot water in the chimney access, or in the case of training, progressive programs, adequate rest, improved movement, healthier nutrition, etc.) your house will be protect you for a while but ultimately you will still end up the main course for the wolf. It is up to you to whether or not you place a pot of boiling water at the base of the chimney (consistent training, nutrition, lifestyle habits). And if you don’t know where to get the water, just ask Mama…or a performance coach that you trust.

You Want a Rickety Ol’ Shack? Didn’t Think So.
So go ahead and begin to construct your house. Do not just settle for a little shack made of straw, but rather build a strong, sturdy house from brick and mortar. The house in this case does not only relate to training, but also relationships, financial goals, personal development and more. Ask for advice on how to build your house (seek professional guidance), make sure to gather the proper materials (nutrition,training modalities, etc), take your time to construct a solid foundation (movement pattern work, etc) and start laying the brick and mortar (strength, power, lean muscle gain, etc). Even better, don’t stop until you have built a mansion full of trap doors and hidden booby traps. That way you’ll be ready for any big bad wolf.
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