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Today’s Health Upgrade
Can you out-train a bad diet?
Arnold on outsmarting burnout and overcoming setbacks
Have you listened to the podcast? Or as Arnold calls it, his good machine. It's similar to the email, but with a few slight changes and stories that could only be delivered by Arnold. Subscribe to Arnold's Pump Club podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Can You Out-Train A Bad Diet?
The old adage is that you can’t out-train a bad diet. But exercise can help you develop better eating habits in surprising ways.
Research suggests consistent exercise makes you more likely to crave healthier foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
Scientists at Indiana University examined the “transfer effect.” This phenomenon occurs when improving one area of your life spills over into other related areas. In the study, people who committed to a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least four times per week started eating more fruits and vegetables.
While it might not seem groundbreaking, there’s a bigger takeaway: if you find yourself struggling with a new healthy habit or behavior, start with an easier healthy habit...and that can lead to healthier habits that were previously difficult -- if you can do those healthy behaviors consistently.
Too many of us think we’re going to screw up, and that self-fulfilling prophecy is part of the reason we fall short of our goals. But it doesn’t have to be that way; you can follow a less-restrictive, stress-free plan that lets you eat what you love and build healthier habits.
If fruits and vegetables are challenging, you might be better off starting with a walk, doing that four times per week, and seeing if that transfers to other behaviors you want to add to your life.
Too often, people fail because they’re determined to master a specific healthy habit rather than any healthy habit. Don’t let perfection stand in the way of progress.
Q&A With Arnold
Here are a few recent questions from Reddit.
Arnold on beating burnout
There are a few answers to this! I also want to let the people who have been here since the beginning that you might hear some familiar responses. We’re adding 100,000 people a month and I don’t want them to miss anything, and some of these answers will always be the same.
First, you have to have a vision. We’ve talked about this. You have to believe in what you’re doing. You have to have a mission. That helps a lot. But it won’t always stop you from burning out.
In the 70s, I started to feel like everything was happening at once. I had my bricklaying business, I was buying my first building, I was training, I was going to acting classes and college classes. I felt frantic. That’s when I discovered meditation. I went to a Transcendental Meditation place and learned how to meditate and did it in the morning and afternoon every day. It became part of my routine. And not immediately, but gradually, I felt my mind calming down because I learned to focus on one thing at a time.
Eventually, my training replaced my meditation. While I was in the gym, I focused entirely on every movement. Now, that’s how I get through life. Daniel can tell you, between my institute and my environmental summit and my Netflix show and documentary and the book I’m working on, I have a lot going on. But when we sit down to talk, we don’t look at the whole picture. We focus on one thing at a time. If we are talking about FUBAR, I don’t let us get distracted by my next speech.
I think the grumpy old man question is different. I think I stay full of joy because I don’t go finding things to get mad about. Today everybody is on social media looking for a reason to be mad. I don’t fall for that trap. I was just with a friend who was a little bit upset at someone’s supplement company having shyster-ish claims. I said, “What do you care? All we can focus is making ourselves and the world around us better, so that guy sells something we don’t like, who cares?”
There are a lot of people who get rich from your anger. Starve them. Here’s my rule: spread positivity whenever I can, and if I want to complain, first I see what I can do. I hate just talking. I say to myself, “Can you help fix this? No? Then shut up about it, the world has enough useless negativity.”
First of all, I’m proud of you. Second of all, we have an e-book with some workouts you can do at home, including a flexibility one. We will do another one soon, but I know this can help you now! Get it here for free.
I’ve told the story about my heart surgery before. The key is that you set smaller goals. You still need goals. You still need a routine. I wrote down my goals in my hospital room to walk around the nurse station and do my breathing exercises and I put a tally up every time. You need to have the mission in front of you, even if it isn’t big, and you mark it off every single day no matter what, until one day the daily goals can grow.
I wrote a lot more about this in our free New Year e-book, you can get that here.
Weekend Challenge from Arnold
On Monday, I shared different ways to help get out of bed and do little actions to improve your health. To refresh your memory, here’s what I told you about my morning routine:
Even when I feel like crap and sleep a little longer, my animals scream to be fed, so I can’t let them down. They give me a reason not to get stuck in bed. I also tell my friends to meet at 7 am to start our bike ride. I can’t let them down. Do you have anyone — animals, friends, anyone — that can be your reason? Can you commit to meeting, so that you have no choice but to get out of bed?
This weekend, I challenge you to take action and create a support system to start your day.
Today, text or call a friend. Tell them I sent you. And ask them to be your accountability partner for the next week. You might find that you have a partner for the rest of the year.
Each day, you’ll have a different goal, and you’ll help each other accomplish a goal to start the day. After all, we are all about lifting up ourselves — and others.
Set 5 goals, and then try to do one each day. For example, your challenge could look like:
Day 1: Go for a 15-minute morning walk. Just like I have to walk around and feed the animals, find a way to walk for 15 minutes. It can even be walking in circles around your home.
Day 2: Have a protein-filled breakfast. Eating a good breakfast can set the tone for the day.
Day 3: Complete a 20-minute workout. I don’t care if you’re doing pushups and bodyweight squats or if you’re pumping iron with dumbbells and barbells. Let’s build some strength!
Day 4: Do 5 minutes of stretching. On Monday, we shared a workout in the daily newsletter for a five-minute routine you can do when you wake up. But really anything works, whether it’s mobility exercises, foam rolling, or some stretching, like I did back during my bodybuilding days.
Day 5: Call a friend and spread positivity, and challenge them to start doing something healthy to start their day. We know that optimism and positivity are one of the healthiest things you can do for your mind and body. And, if you’ve found that having accountability help you do something healthy to start your day, the best thing you can do is share that gift with someone else and grow your accountability group.
These are just examples of what you can do. The main focus is reaching out, connecting with someone to help you get out of bed, and doing something good for yourself to set the tone for the day. We say it all the time, but these small changes add up to big wins. You’ll build better habits, create stronger routines, and get better every day!
Thanks again for being a part of our village. We all hope you have a great weekend!
-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel