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Today’s Health Upgrade
Hacking fat loss
Arnold on mental health, hitting reset, and workout playlists
Can you trick your body into burning more calories?
Note from Adam: I’ve been training people for 20 years and worked with many of the world’s greatest athletes (including Arnold). So I say this with a lot of confidence: there’s no such thing as “the perfect exercise.” But some forms of exercise seem to do a better job of delivering consistent results for a wide variety of people.
While resistance training gets a lot of attention (and rightfully so) for its endless benefits, rucking can help improve your posture, increase strength and cardiovascular endurance — and it might be the answer you're looking for if you're trying to lose fat.
If you’re not familiar, rucking is simply walking with a weighted bag or pack. This is nothing new, but recent research is making scientists wonder if carrying extra weight can help with stubborn fat loss.
Researchers from South Carolina estimate that rucking can burn at least 2 to 3 times more calories than walking. And, it’s possible that just 15 minutes of rucking (with 30 pounds) burns as many calories as an hour of running, without all the pounding on your joints.
But it's not the extra calorie burn that has scientists so excited. More research is needed to see if it holds up, but one study found that wearing a heavily weighted pack resulted in participants losing three more pounds than those wearing a light vest. The cool part? The pounds seemingly disappeared despite not changing any other aspects of exercise or diet. Scientists are investigating whether carrying the extra weight might trick your body into producing more leptin, a hormone in your fat cells. This could reduce hunger, increase your metabolism, and limit fat storage.
If you want to give rucking a try, check out this week’s challenge at the bottom of the email.
Q&A With Arnold
If you have an injury, you need physical therapy. If you have surgery, you need physical therapy. We all realize how important therapy is for our body. Our minds are no different. I always say to train your mind as much as you train your body. So I think you’re doing a fantastic public service becoming a therapist. And I’d tell everyone, don’t be afraid to get help. If you suddenly couldn’t walk because of some injury, you’d get help. Do the same thing for your mind.
If I train at home, it’s either classic country like Johnny Cash or 50s rock like Chuck Berry. Those genres are America to me, and I absolutely love them.
But at the gym, it’s whatever they play. I don’t carry a machine into the gym. Music just isn’t part of my training. In the old days, Joe Gold didn’t allow music at Gold’s.
Eating that few calories and exercising that much should definitely make you lose weight. I am trying to understand what is going on. I have a feeling your count is a little off, but also I’ve never been a calorie counter, so I don’t know. The good news is you have found your maintenance level. One thing that’s worked for me when I am trying to get more ripped for a project has been just dropping a meal. For me, since I don’t count calories, it has been easier to skip a whole meal. Sometimes, I get going with my day after my training and have eggs or yogurt with granola later than normal, almost as a brunch instead of breakfast. The other way I do this is by cutting dinner most nights and replacing it with a very delicious but light vegetable soup with no cream.
So you fell down. You can get back up and learn from why you fell. But first, you need to stop falling. This drinking and eating and spinning out of control are not going to put you back on your feet where you need to be to move forward. To use another example, you have to stop the bleeding. Get help if you need to, but you won’t find a reset button at the bottom of a bottle or a bag of fast food. Stop the fall.
Once you get the downward motion stopped, look around. You’re still here, on this side of the grass, and you are worth the work to get moving forward again. Yeah, maybe you failed and lost a lot of money. But you had to gain that money to be able to lose it; that means you can do it again. And this time you start out with more knowledge. What can you learn from the failure?
Failure sucks. But I bet if you think about it, you’re more upset by what you think people think about your failure than you are about the failure itself. Here’s my advice for that: we all have failed. Most people probably aren’t thinking about your failure. If they are, this is your chance. They’re wasting time thinking about you - if you start moving forward, you’ve got a head start.
You can do this. I’m rooting for you. Please check in next month.
Daniel here. A couple of months ago, I was organizing my gym equipment, and I found something I’d forgotten about. It was a GoRuck bag loaded with weight plates that I bought back before I had a lot of equipment. The ruck pack was great for training at home because it has multiple handles and can be used for different movements. At the time, I didn’t even use it for “rucking” that much.
I realized I have to walk the cutest dog of all time every day, so I might as well make it more challenging. I’d wear the ruck with the weights. I told Adam this, and he mumbled something about me and my challenges, so I took that as permission. The first time I loaded 30 pounds into the ruck, it wasn’t super comfortable walking three miles. But I kept doing it every day, then the goal became walking 3 miles in 45 minutes. At some point, 30 pounds felt just like walking, so I tried 50 pounds and it hurt like hell. I kept doing it every day, and 50 pounds for 3 miles in 45 minutes became the new standard. It’s now been 50 days straight.
I got so intense about my streak that if you saw me at the Arnold Sports Festival walking behind Arnold with a backpack, that was my ruck. I wore it from 8am to 10pm that day. You heard about the possibility of tricking your body above to burn more calories. I can tell you that I once ate a whole almond butter jar during this streak and somehow, it didn’t impact the scale.
It all shows the power of two things we talk about repeatedly in this newsletter: creating a habit and marking things off every day, and progressive resistance.
This week’s challenge is simply to load a backpack with a little weight and then take a walk or go about your routine and wear it in the grocery store, while you’re doing chores, or even at work (if you work from home). In other words, it’s time to do your first ruck.
You don’t need to start with 50 pounds or even 30. If you’re new to fitness, throw in a couple of books and water bottles. If you want a challenge, go heavy. The goal is just to make something you were going to do anyway a little bit harder.
And then, once you suffer through a little discomfort, celebrate yourself. Tag us on Twitter to tell us how that first ruck goes.
We all hope you have a great weekend!
-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel
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