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Today’s Health Upgrade
Advice From Arnold
The king of pre-workouts
Workout of the week
Advice From Arnold
Last week, I was at dinner at a nice restaurant, and the waiter told us about his life. After he stepped away, someone in our party said, “Man, he can talk.”
I said, “Some people just need to be heard. We don’t know his situation at home. He might be alone, he might have someone there who never listens to him. It never hurts to listen.”
My friend immediately said I needed to put that advice into the newsletter, and I do listen, so here we are.
There’s an old saying, “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” In this age of social media, it seems like we live in a world of mouths, so my challenge to you this week is to help someone else feel heard.
That might mean listening to your significant other, it might mean calling your mom or dad, it might mean listening to the challenges of a stranger.
I’ve benefited so much throughout my life by always listening to mentors and staying hungry to learn, and I think there’s a good chance you’ll learn something. But even if you don’t, you’ll have made someone else’s day a little better and given them the benefit of being heard, so it’s a win no matter what.
The Best Pre-Workout
If you don’t want to buy an expensive supplement but you want a competitive edge, there’s one ingredient that can likely make a noticeable difference, regardless of your activity of choice.
A review of 21 studies found that caffeine is the champion of performance-enhancing benefits.
Many supplements claim to support your workouts, but few have the claims to back them up. In this extensive review, the researchers found that caffeine improved:
✔The perception of fatigue
You’ll find caffeine in most pre-workout products, but a few cups of coffee or tea might deliver the same results at a fraction of the cost.
The timing and amount will also determine your output. If you want to see how it works for you, the research suggests taking caffeine 30 to 60 minutes before your workout. To reduce fatigue and improve focus and mood, as little as 100 mg (or just 1 cup of coffee) can do the trick. If you want to maximize the other performance benefits, the right amount depends on your body weight, with the research suggesting 3-6 mg/kg boost your workouts. If you don’t like math, most people will need approximately 200-300 mg (or 2 to 3 cups of coffee) for the ideal effect.
Workout of the Week
The next time you hit a wall with your workouts, this technique can help bust you out of your rut.
As we’ve discussed before, transforming your body is a relatively simple equation, but it’s not easy. To see the best results, you need to train with intensity (relative to your own strength) and progressively challenge your muscles with more weight, sets, reps, or challenging exercises (or all of the above) — and do it consistently.
Wave training is a technique that helps trick your body into building strength and muscle. The method alternates sets of low-rep training with higher reps.
The low-rep set activates more of your motor units (what causes your muscle fibers to fire), and when you shift to the higher-rep set, it can help you lift more than usual.
Here’s an example:
Set 1: Perform 3-5 reps at 225 pounds.
Rest for 2 to 3 minutes.
Set 2: Perform 6-10 reps at 185 pounds
Rest another 2 to 3 minutes and repeat 2-3 more times.
The 185 pounds should feel lighter than usual (thanks to priming your nervous system with the heavy set), which can help you do more reps than you normally would at that weight.
You can also apply this to bodyweight training by alternating harder and easier variations of the same exercise.
Let’s say you want to work your lower body:
Set 1: 5 reps (per leg) of Bulgarian split squats
Set 2: 10 reps of bodyweight squats
These are also called mechanical drop sets because you’re moving from a harder exercise to an easier one.
You can use this method on one main exercise per workout (like a squat, deadlift, row, or press). Give it a try, and let us know how it works!
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