Arnold on mental health, taking days off, and being fake

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes....

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.

A Note from Arnold:

For those of you only on my original list who are confused about why I haven’t sent a monthly newsletter in a while, this is what I’ve been doing every day. I’m sharing with you this week because I have a bunch of big announcements, and I am thinking of merging these lists. More and more often in these daily emails, I’m sharing news, telling my personal stories and taking questions every single week, with workouts and recipes and health and fitness advice. I think you’ll love it -- but if you want out, no hard feelings, just hit unsubscribe.​

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Lay off the Google

  • Q&A with Arnold

  • The Fear and Comfort Challenge

Want more stories from Arnold? Be sure to subscribe to Arnold's Pump Club podcast. It's similar to the email, but with a few slight changes and more perspective from Arnold. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Maybe Don’t Google That

We’re all guilty of using Google to answer our most pressing needs and questions. But with the obesity epidemic plaguing the entire world for decades, it might be time to ask an important question: are search engines playing a role in making us less healthy?

A recent survey suggests that nearly 40 percent of people will search for health answers online instead of visiting their doctor, and many of the answers they find are not helping.

Maybe not surprisingly, the high volume of searches has led to a world of confusion. That's not to say Google is the core of the problem. It's much more complicated. But some changes you can't influence, and others are in your control. And the misinformation clearly isn't helping.

Case in point: 64 percent of people believe all carbs are “bad” for your health. If you’ve read this newsletter, you know that all carbs are not bad, and high-carb diets can support healthy fat loss. While eating too much processed food and sugar can be a problem, carbs — including foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, and fruit —- are associated with better mood, fat loss, brain and heart health, and longevity. Many diets work, but the extreme diets are the ones that tend to fail in the long run.

We’re not saying to quit the internet. But, we are suggesting that it’s becoming harder to find quality information. Change can be very hard, and a little bit of discomfort can benefit you. But, if your search leads you to extreme restriction, cutting out an entire food group, or eating in a way that makes you miserable, it's likely not the solution you need. That’s why we created this newsletter. We’ll keep bringing a mix of science-back information, practical advice, and plenty of positivity.

Arnold Q&A

Arnold on mental health, taking days off, and being fake

Wow. This is a big one. I first want to acknowledge the psychologist that commented asking me to remind my audience that there is nothing wrong with therapy. I agree 100 percent. I talked about this in a previous newsletter, but you should treat your mind no differently than your body. You have to train both. If your knee was holding you back and making you limp everywhere, you’d go see a physical therapist. There is no shame at all in admitting you need help with your mind. None. In fact, if you’re thinking about giving money to some guru who promises to make your life perfect, spend it on a therapist instead. Let’s train those minds.

So… back to the question. I don’t know what’s going on with men’s mental health. I see articles about a mental health crisis among men. But I also see articles about a mental health crisis among young women and girls. It seems like we might just have a human crisis.

I’m not an expert. You’d be better off asking the psychologist who asked me to make a comment about therapy. But you want my opinion, and so did she. So I’ll share it.

I am simple, so I ask myself what changed. Here is what I see: social media. People spend all day online, and there are a lot of bullshit artists and charlatans and outrage salespeople on the internet; the “influencers” who tell you that you have to wear this or you’re worthless, the people who tell you the world is falling apart even though by most measures it is better than ever, or the shysters who sell you some bogus class about how to be a man. I’ll give you guys a hint: nobody needs a class on that. And nobody who is a real leader goes around calling themselves an “alpha.” It’s absurd. If anybody did that in Gold’s Gym we would have laughed until they stopped.

Social media has caused a crisis of confidence because people lose their sense of purpose scrolling feeds all day. They’re told to be scared, and they’re told they aren’t good enough. We need to sign off and build up confidence in the real world, which I talked about earlier this week as something you do by taking a small step to do the thing that makes you uncomfortable and then taking a bigger step and on and on. You don’t need to project this crap on the internet. That’s fake confidence. The real kind takes work and constant reps and feeling uncomfortable, and too many people shy away from all of those things. I think people aren’t willing to feel a little out of their comfort zone for even a minute, but life isn’t going to be comfortable all the time, so it throws them out of whack when they hit the crappy parts.

If I could tell these men and women anything, it would be to turn off the social media, think about your biggest insecurity, and go start working on it out in the real world. Go outside, exercise, talk to real people. Stop listening to these influencers and what they think you need. They are selling you. And before anyone says I’m “throwing shade” at someone specific, I just learned about all this how to be a man stuff recently when a reporter said to me that I was the antithesis of a few of these shysters I hadn’t heard of, and I couldn’t believe it is happening. But I am happy to be here to provide a positive voice on social media and the internet.

And again, I’m not an expert. If you’re struggling, get help. That takes real strength.

Arnold on mental health, taking days off, and being fake

Here’s a simple rule: if it’s just soreness, you can train. It won’t hurt you. But if it is real pain, like if you touch it you wince, take another day off. It’s not worth it.

Arnold on mental health, taking days off, and being fake

I am pretty much the same me, all the time. So it’s natural. The goofiness you see in interviews? Me. The strategy you see in Pumping Iron? Also me. I don’t fake anything because I think that gets you in trouble. It’s why when I got asked if I smoked pot when I ran for office I said “yes, and I did inhale.” It’s why I smoke stogies even though I’m a fitness guy. I don’t want to lie to you, I could hide it like other people. But that’s fake. I’ve been in the public eye most of my life. It would be too hard to fake it.

I am fantastic -- thank you for asking, my friend.

The Fear and Comfort Challenge

Sometimes, the challenge you need is the most obvious one to try. But the reason we don't take the action is because we assume something so simple can't possibly make a difference.

This weekend, I want you to try something new. It might not seem like much of a challenge, but I want you to understand why this is harder and more beneficial than you think.

Research suggests that doing something new promotes a surge of dopamine that can improve learning and memory. But it's not just that your brain becomes stronger -- it also becomes happier. Dopamine is also linked to having more positive emotions and fewer negative ones.

We are building the positive corner of the internet. That means we're focused on sharing the healthiest behaviors, highlighting how to build habits and make long-lasting change, and helping you see that the life you want is waiting for you. Our job is to help pave the road. Your job is to walk it...and keep going whenever there is a bump or detour. As Adam says all the time, you can't screw this up! It's more than a mantra; it's a science-backed approach to not letting slip ups feel like failures, and realizing that you don't have to be perfect to make incredible progress.

Getting your mind right for the journey is a big part of the battle. And the best place to start is a little bit of novelty.

So try something new. Maybe it's finding more stillness by reading a book or listening to a podcast. When was the last time you explored a new city or surprised an old friend. You could try a new sport or sign up for a new class. It can even be as simple as trying a new recipe or letting your kids prepare you a meal. If nothing sounds right, take the challenge you know is good for you, and go a full day without social media.

Fear and comfort stands in the way of many things you think about doing but never try. Let this weekend be the moment where you let go of that fear, embrace discomfort, and take an action that will springboard you into a better headspace, and a happier, healthier week ahead.

As always, thank you so much for reading. We hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel

Arnold on mental health, taking days off, and being fake

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