The 6 Qualities of Rugged Flexibility

If you want to thrive in times of chaos, unpredictability, and change, your best bet is to build a mindset that is...

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Let’s take this outside

  • The positive corner of masculinity

  • Recipe of the week

Arnold’s Podcast

Motivation every day. Want Arnold to help you start your day? Each morning, we post a new podcast with tips you’ll find in the daily email and bonus stories, wisdom, and motivation from Arnold. Listen to Arnold's Pump Club podcast. It's like the daily newsletter but with additional narration and thoughts from Arnold. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Let’s Take This Outside

Are you tired of feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Simply stepping outside into nature could be the answer to finding some peace and tranquility. 

A recent study found that exercising outdoors in nature increases your mental well-being and energy compared to indoors or urban settings. 

The scientists reviewed 24 different studies and found that not only do workouts in nature increase your happiness, but they also reduce anxiety and fatigue and improve self-esteem. And it’s not like you need to spend much time outdoors, either. One study suggests you can experience the mood and energy-boosting impact from as little as 15 minutes of exercise in a park. 

According to the researchers, green spaces, such as parks or forests, exposes us to stimuli that have a soothing and rejuvenating effect on our mind. This calming influence can help improve your mindset and lead to a greater sense of well-being.

When it gets colder outside, we know it can be difficult to be in nature. But remember, the threshold isn’t high. Find one or two days per week to get outside for at least 15 minutes and move around. It’s a small investment for a positive difference you will feel. 

The Positive Corner of Masculinity: Featuring Brad Stulberg

Editor’s note: Ketch’s Corner is changing its brand to “The Positive Corner of Masculinity.” We promised our team would take on masculinity with one column a week, and this week, we’ve got the first column from the fantastic Brad Stulberg. If you have ideas you want us to cover in this space, let us know by replying. We are following a Pump Club rule: instead of just complaining about the loudest voices on the internet, we are doing something about it by presenting a positive alternative. We would love your feedback to help us help as many men and boys as possible avoid the bitterness and anger on so much of the manfluencer internet.

The 6 Qualities of Real Manliness

Here’s an observation: the strongest men I know may deadlift 500 pounds, throw a discus hundreds of feet, or run ultramarathons. Yet their true strength lies in their caring and being considerate and calm.

The men I know who want to be strong and tough—but who aren’t really—are loud, defensive, and overly proud.

Perhaps this is because once you have genuine strength, you don’t feel the need to flaunt it.

Going through challenging experiences—working for it, earning it—this stuff humbles you. It makes you compassionate. It makes you see beyond yourself. It makes you real.

Now, perhaps more than ever, we need new (and better) models for masculinity.

It’s not that everything about traditional concepts of what it means to be a man is wrong. I spend a lot of time in the weight room, and I’m proud of it. It’s just that traditional concepts of masculinity are often too limiting.

We are going through a period of intensifying and accelerating change and disorder. As I write in my new book, in order to navigate these times and all of life’s inevitable ebbs and flows, we need a masculinity that is equal parts rugged and flexible.

To be rugged is to be tough, determined, solid, and strong.

To be flexible is to be soft and supple, to bend easily without breaking.

Put them together, and the result is rugged flexibility: a gritty endurance and anti-fragility that thrives over the long haul.

Here are some of the core qualities of rugged and flexible masculinity, all of which I aspire to instill in my son:

1. Genuine Strength

Clear-headedness, composure, and stability amid uncertainty.  The ability to respond to challenging circumstances instead of reacting. (Not to be confused with chest-thumping, peacocking, or machismo acts of power.)

2. Wisdom

Allowing yourself to be open and shaped by experience. Not being scared of change, and not being scared to change. Knowing your core values, the hills you’ll die on, but being willing to apply them in different ways and circumstances.

3. Emotional flexibility

Feeling your feelings and being able to name them, talk about them, and let them move through you instead of repressing or fusing with them.

4. Humility

Knowing what you don’t know, which, for almost all of us, is the vast majority of everything. Understanding that your view of the world is merely one of billions. Being curious instead of certain, open instead of closed.

5. True confidence

Not feeling the need to intimidate, one-up, or make others feel bad to be okay with yourself. Realizing that confidence is an inside game. Knowing that when you aren’t feeling okay with yourself, that’s fine too—asking for help when you need it is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength.

6. Physicality

Connecting to your body and being grateful for what it can do. Maintaining your health so that you can show up, protect, and care for those around you for a long time.

You may wonder, aren’t these qualities for everyone, not just men? The answer is probably yes. This is really about being a good person, regardless of your sex or gender. But I’m a dude, and I think dudes, in particular, would benefit from this roadmap.

I look forward to continuing to explore masculinity in the coming weeks, along with the other guys from the Pump Club. Until then—be rugged, be flexible, and be well.

Brad Stulberg is the author of Master of Change, a new book that explores rugged flexibility. You can follow Brad on Instagram here.

Recipe of the Week

It’s Ketch. I haven’t shared a recipe in a while, so I thought I would share this one because this recipe is so fast and delicious, and it’s perfect for this time of year. 

I’ve been using a lot of venison recently because we’re obsessed with Maui Nui Venison. The meat has more protein per calorie, more nutrients than other red meat, and almost no saturated fat. And they’re on an environmental mission. These axis deer are invasive in Maui, and they’re eating so much grass that the runoff is killing the coral reefs. I immediately became a member, and Katie and I have been eating venison chili, leg medallions, and our favorite lean snack are their jerky sticks. If you want to give it a try, all members of the village get 20 percent off. You’re going to be thrilled when you try it. Click here to check it out, and use the discount code PUMPCLUB.

This recipe can be made with meat or no meat. I am just way too into this venison right now to make it any other way. 


  • 1lb venison (or beef, or turkey, or beyond, or if you want, just cooked lentils)

  • 1 can kidney beans, drained

  • 1 can black beans, drained

  • 1 can chili starter (I found this at Whole Foods. Instead of buying crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and smoked peppers, this covers you. You can still do a can of crushed tomatoes with some type of pepper; I like smoked jalapeños)

  • A cup or two of baby carrots, chopped 

  • A white onion, chopped

  • A bell pepper, chopped (this is up to you, I have been skipping because my daughter won’t eat it)

  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder

  • Paprika, Chili Powder, and Cumin


1. I use an instant pot because it’s so easy. I set it on sauté mode, put in a tablespoon of olive oil (remember, we measure those fats around here), and throw in the chopped carrots and onion (and pepper if you have it) until the onions start to get translucent.

2. At that point, I throw in the pound of meat and break it up. I add salt, pepper, and garlic powder and cook until it is browned and well mixed with the veggies.

3. Now, it’s time for the easy part. I add both cans of beans and the chili starter, and I add the paprika, chili powder, and cumin to taste. I think the amounts on these depend on you. Better to start small, mix it all together, taste a little, and spice it up more if you want. Again, I’m now cooking for a little one, so I add my spice to my own bowl.

3. Once you have your spice level, close the lid and pressure cook for 10 minutes. I just saw yesterday there is a chili button, so you could use that. And if you’re using a normal pot and you’ve been sauteeing everything on your stovetop, cover it, turn the heat down to low, and cook it low and slow while stirring.

This gets us going for a couple of nights, easily. I can double the recipe and freeze some. Sometimes, we will have chili with a little Greek yogurt as sour cream and hot sauce; on big lift days, we bake sweet potatoes and put the chili on them.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell