Feeding The Golden Goose
In the gym, we seek intensity. We are trying to get stronger. We are trying to get faster. And ultimately, we are trying to achieve a high quality of life through health and fitness. But it’s easy and often very tempting to seek results that aren’t built upon a solid foundation. Our strength and speed are the result of putting in time to build a foundation of proper mechanics, timing, and mobility. And then, we try to combine these things to achieve solid technique. But all too often, we become so focused on the intensity, we forget about the foundation we’re trying to build. Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People references one of Aesop’s fables about The Goose & The Golden Egg:
The story is about a countryman that finds one of his geese lays one golden egg each day. Although the man was building wealth with the daily golden egg, he was impatient and didn’t want to wait for the daily eggs. He decided to kill the goose and cut it open in an attempt to get all the eggs at once. But the goose was empty and he no longer had a goose that laid golden eggs.
Our ability to produce results (the goose) is just as important as the results themselves (the eggs). When we work at intensity that is far beyond our ability to maintain acceptable technique, we risk injury. But less obviously, we are practicing poor technique, often at very high repetition! This is killing the golden goose. We may gain some elements of fitness (cardio, muscle development), but at the same time, we are developing neurological habits that are incorrect and difficult to reverse. The golden eggs made the goose special. Just as results make the work and focus worth the effort. But we can’t forget the importance of what is producing those results. To get healthy & lasting results, we have to feed the goose. We have to work within our capacity. And it’s at the edge of our ability and capacity that we are still able to feed the goose while receiving those precious eggs. And on that note, who wants some scrambled eggs (or tofu with turmeric)!?