Arnold on rest days, diets, and the healthy habit he finds challenging

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • How to strengthen your routine

  • Arnold Q&A

  • Weekend challenge

Want more stories 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.

4 Ways to Strengthen Your Routine

Arnold says it all the time: If you want amazing results, build automatic routines. But it's not always as easy as it seems. How often do you try to follow the routines of others, only to discover that your lifestyle doesn’t align with a 15-step morning plan that requires more time than you have?

Thankfully, routines don’t need to be overly complicated or detailed. Arnold’s morning routine is simple: wake up, drink coffee, feed the animals, bike to the gym, workout, bike to breakfast. That’s it, and it’s incredibly effective.

To help simplify the process, we pulled together a few tips of what to do (or avoid) that will help you build a routine that sticks.

Make it easy to win

Your routine doesn’t need to be long. Start by focusing on just two or three things you'd like to accomplish. Not sure what to select? Look at the bigger picture of what will make the day a win, so — even if things get crazy — you know where your focus needs to be so you can still make any day a success.

Avoid the morning scroll

Some habits can make it harder to build healthier habits. One example is starting your day with social media. We recommend avoiding your social accounts for the first hour of your day. You might be surprised at what happens when you don’t have that distraction.

Turn on your brain

It doesn’t matter if you meditate, read, write, do a crossword, or listen to a podcast. Do something that you enjoy that makes you think. The combination of mental stimulation + enjoyment = positive outcomes. For once, we don’t need to cite a study. You’ll feel better, and that is what matters.

Create a habit loop

Great habits are formed by following a simple system: you need a cue (something that reminds you to act), a behavior (the action or habit), and a reward.

For Arnold, it can look like:

Cue: Friends show up

Behavior: Ride bikes to the gym and lift weights

Reward: Breakfast

Whatever you do, creating a simple habit loop is a great way to program the types of changes you want.

Arnold Q&A

This week, we’re featuring questions from The Pump app. The community is currently closed, but you can join the wait list, and we’ll let you know when we open the doors again.

Question: After your surgeries, did you have any struggle with the push and pull of what you wanted to do vs what you could do? In those temporary situations surrounding injury or illness do you have any go to tips for giving yourself grace on the days your body says REST! And did you listen when it said that and tone it down for the day or is that when the "no matter what" comes into play? I'm doing well but the ups and downs get in my head sometimes. Thank you!

I had days after surgeries where I literally just went through the motions with zero weight. You want a mix of sticking to routine relentlessly, but never overdoing it. Because the goal isn’t short-term, it’s long term. So yeah, I could have been a “badass” and gone heavy after my surgeries and hurt myself, but where would that have left me? Routine and little steps get you ahead

Question: Can you talk about your routine for stretching before and after the workouts?

I don’t stretch before I train. I prefer light warmup sets. After I train, I normally stretch but just basic things. I touch my toes, I put my foot on a machine for more hamstring stretch. Adam and Daniel say I’m too flexible for my age. I believe that’s because I stretch in every exercise by using full range.

Question: Arnold, I love your emphasis on positivity and being kind to ourselves and others. What are some activities you do for rest days? Do you practice yoga, stretching, or anything else physical but not intense? I'm industrious and struggle with rest days.

I don’t really have rest days, but I’m on a different program. Take a walk. Ruck like Daniel. Just relax. Your program will deliver results. Just don’t overdo it because the key to your program is that every workout is 100%. Don’t go kill yourself on a run thinking you’re helping yourself when the next day your squats are 70%.

Question What are your thoughts about diets?

I personally hate giving people a diet. No one will stick to it long term. That’s why we are focused on weekly challenges that build on each other and change your life, not your diet. But so many people want it, we will work toward a middle ground. If you look at people with huge weight loss from a diet last year, you will almost always find a person who put all the weight back on today. Changing lifestyle is sustainable.

Question:: Do you take in more fluids on training days and do you go for water or electrolyte drinks? Thanks again, great job!!

I’m awful about hydration. It is one thing I have to work on. But I just drink water or sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice!

Weekend Challenge

We were inspired by Arnold’s struggles with hydration because we’re sure he isn’t alone. Drinking water is one of those habits that is so easy and still so difficult. If you need a reason to drink more water, it has more benefits than you might realize. For example, in one study, scientists looked at what happens if you drink 16 oz. of water — just 2 cups — about 30 minutes before each of your three main meals. They found that the water before meals:

  • Increased fullness

  • Shut down dehydration, which helped manage hunger

  • Boosted digestive metabolism by up to 30%

  • Helped reduce the stress hormone (cortisol)

  • Supported weight loss

Not to mention, staying hydrated can help lead to better workouts. So, this weekend, your goal is to drink 1 cup of water (2 cups for bonus points) before every meal. You can drink more throughout the day or with your meal. But the challenge itself is to focus on hydrating before you eat. Give it a try, and let us know how it goes!

As always, thanks for reading. We hope you all have a great weekend!

-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel