Arnold’s advice for when you don’t have “it”

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

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. 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.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Arnold’s Monday Motivation

  • Book of the Month

  • Weekly Workout

Monday Motivation from the Boss

After last week’s Monday motivation, Daniel told me he hit a deadlifting personal record after two months of being stalled, and a month of feeling weak.

I told him reading the draft might have helped, but in reality, we never know why some days, we’re strong, and other days we just aren’t.

Back in my bodybuilding days, I always did my famous double split routine, where I trained did a 2 hour workout in the morning and a 2 hour workout hitting a different muscle group in the afternoon. I shared the chest and back workout with you guys in the e-book, and one of our subscribers who also happens to write for the muscle magazines and has interviewed me a few times, Roger, is actually doing my full 4 hour a day routine and documenting it now if you want to follow along.

But Friday was my favorite training day. Because Friday, Franco and I went to the gym and lifted heavy. Both of us came from powerlifting before we started bodybuilding, so we took real joy in pushing ourselves and seeing how strong we could get. We were moving big weight, like 500 on the bench, 545 on squat, and 700 on the deadlift. Franco was stronger than me.

But some days, we came into the gym fired up and the weight didn’t move. It could have been that we slept worse, that what we ate the day before didn’t work, that our warmup wasn’t perfect, that our head wasn’t in it - who knows? Sometimes when we slept shitty, ate pie, and sped through our warmup sets, we hit our records.

It didn’t always make sense. But here’s what did: no matter what, we were back to lifting heavy the next Friday. And even if we had a couple weak Fridays in a row, eventually we were strong.

That’s the big secret to being strong and succeeding: just showing up over and over and giving yourself a chance. Nobody likes to say that because you can’t put it in a pill a make a fortune, but it is the truth. Whether it is at work, or at home with your family, or in the gym, you’re going to have days where you don’t have “it” and you’re going to have days where you feel like you could run through a wall.

This week I don’t want you to obsess over and analyze the times you’re weak or don’t have the spark. Whenever you start to analyze, take a pause. Think about the last time you were strong and how good that felt. Now remind yourself that will come again, not through any magic, but just by staying consistent and doing what you’re doing over and over.

The only way you give yourself a chance to find your good days is by showing up every day.

Book of the Month: Stolen Focus

We teased this on Friday when we asked you to give up social media for the first and last hours of your day - how’d that feel?

Every month or so, if we read a book that improves our lives or really makes us think, we’ll recommend it here.

Stolen Focus, by Johann Hari, can help everybody who reads this email. It blew our minds. Our machines and our social media play a huge role in our lives, and Johann explains in beautiful writing just how high the stakes are.

I see it every day. People bumbling around the gym staring down instead of focused on their exercise (we explained in an earlier newsletter that phone use pre-workout can decrease your strength by nearly 30%). People who meet me, and instead of wanting to say hello, punch their thumbs at their phone trying to find the camera app for a minute until I’ve passed. People looking like zombies at restaurants looking down at comments from people they don’t know on their machines instead of across the table at their real friends and family.

I’ve talked about needing to get space from all of this to find your vision, but this book puts into perspective just how much of our brains are being stolen by machines. I’ll share two things I learned that might blow your mind.

First, in a study of workers who checked email and their phones versus workers who avoided all distractions, they found that the workers who checked their phones lost 10 IQ points - double the IQ loss people have when they get really stoned! Think about that.

Second, in a study of students taking a test where some switched off their phones and some didn’t, the ones who were allowed to keep their phones on and received intermittent text messages performed 20% worse than the students with no phone access.

If I told you I could make you 20% smarter with one simple trick, most of you would do it. But when I tell you it’s just putting down your machine, how many of you will stay strong?

I love this book because it gives some fantastic advice about how to begin to disconnect in your personal life. But it also looks at the bigger picture, and shows that Big Tech has addicted us in the same way that Big Tobacco did in the past. It recommends reforms and gives you organizations to learn more. In short, it tells you to get off the couch and do something, like I am always telling you.

Check it out, and keep going with the first hour and last hour of your day free of social media. We’ll check in throughout the week with more ideas about how to unplug, because when it comes to fitness, training your mind is just as important to me as training your body.

The 5 Minute Workout Challenge

If you feel like you stare at machines or sit too much, this week we’re going to focus on loosening up and working on your flexibility and mobility.

You can do this anywhere, in less time than it takes to brew your coffee (so maybe do it while you’re waiting for that sweet caffeine in the morning) and you can make it a standalone routine or a pre-workout warmup.

  1. The world's greatest stretch: do six per side. Watch the video, but there are 4 parts. The high knee hug, the Spider-Man lunge, the overhead reach, and the hip raise in the lunge position. If you learn better from reading, here’s a write up! Once you finish your sixth rep, stay on the ground and transition straight into…

  2. Cat-cow stretch. Do 10 reps, where each tap includes both parts of the stretch. Once you finish your final stretch, sit on your booty and get ready for…

  3. 90/90 hip switches. Do 5 per side. If these are too hard, check this article out. And don’t be afraid to use your hands, you don’t need to be hardcore like all the people you see online to loosen up those hips. Once you finish that, stand up because next is…

  4. 10 second squat hold. You don’t even need a video for this. Squat down, and hold the position for 10 seconds. Rock side to side if it feels good, and after you count to 10, squat back up.

  5. Now do 5-10 bodyweight squats.

Feel better? This should take about five minutes, but you can fly through it faster to get your heart rate up or really slow down and enjoy the stretches. You can do as many rounds as you want.

Arnold’s advice for when you don’t have “it”

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