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Today’s Health Upgrade
Monday motivation from Arnold
The morning grogginess solution
Workout of the week
Your weekly reminder: The gym isn’t the only place to find fitness. Whenever you have a chance, get outside and have fun. This weekend, our writer’s room was on the slopes.
Adam, Arnold, and Daniel at their offsite writer's room.
Monday Motivation with Arnold
Editor's note: Want to hear Arnold's voice reading his Monday Motivation? Subscribe to Arnold's Pump Club podcast on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. We released the teaser last week, and episode 1 went live today. Let us know what you think.
I keep getting a question from people in our email replies and on social media, and I want to take it on this week.
People ask me what to do when they feel like they can’t get out of bed, and my first thought is to say, “I just gave you workouts, a story about how I had to come back from a surgery where it was a win to walk ten steps, and a system for meeting your goals, how can that not get you going?” But last week, I told you to flex your empathy muscles, so now it’s my turn. I have realized a lot of people are just stuck, and I want to reach out to you, too.
When you feel like you can’t even get out of bed, my motivation to you can’t really do its job. So let’s analyze what’s going on. We are going to share more studies about how people get unstuck, but in the meantime, I think that part of this is, whether it is chemical or something else, you’ve convinced yourself you don’t have any power, and you don’t have a reason to try any more. Maybe you’ve tried a few times, and you’ve failed, and you just think you’ll fail again no matter what. You’ve internalized that whatever is holding you back will always win.
I think you need to show your mind and your body that you are in control and you need a reason to try.
Let’s start with the reason. Even when I feel like crap and sleep a little longer, by 6 am, the sun is coming through my window, and the animals are screaming to be fed, so I can’t let them down. They give me a reason not to get stuck in bed. I also tell my friends to meet at 7 am to start our bike ride. I can’t let them down.
Do you have anyone — animals, friends, anyone — that can be your reason? Can you make a commitment to meet so that you have no choice but to get out of bed? If you don’t, I have news for you, you’re going to have to make yourself the reason. Let me be the one to tell you, you are worth it.
Now, let’s deal with how to show your mind you’re in control. You can do this. I’m not asking for anything crazy.
I don’t want you to set insane goals. I want you to start tiny because I want zero chance of failure. I don’t want your mind to be able to say, “See, I told you that you couldn’t do it.” Because if that part of your mind wins, then I lose, and, more importantly, you lose. We don’t want that.
Write down the smallest goals. It can be: “I will train for 5 minutes a day.” “I will get out of bed.” “I will do five squats next to my bed.” Hell, if getting out of bed feels like too much, then try, “I will do 5 toe touches in bed.” I want you to write your goal on a piece of paper, put it next to your bed with a pen, and make a tally every day when you do it. No matter what happens, I want you to make that mark.
Don’t worry that it seems small. Right now, we are just showing your mind that you can do it. Once you start to feel unstuck, we can make your goals bigger.
This is physics; an object at rest wants to stay at rest. So we aren’t trying to get you moving fast, we are just trying to get you moving at all.
Go write that goal down. Text someone and make a commitment to meet them tomorrow morning at a park or the gym or on your front porch. Do that, and we’ll be here to pump you up every day.
End Morning Grogginess
Do you wake up ready to smash the snooze? If you have trouble getting out of bed, adding carbs to your breakfast — and four other habit changes — could be the jolt you need.
Researchers recently assessed nearly 800 people (about 70 percent were twins) to determine behaviors that improved morning alertness. If you want to win your mornings (and stop hitting snooze), here’s what appears to make a big difference:
A hopeful and optimistic mindset
Performing exercise the day before
Eating less often (people who ate 1 to 4 times were better off than eating 5+ times)
Waking up later than usual — but not going to bed earlier than usual
Enjoying more carbs for breakfast
The study didn’t look at light exposure, but that’s a simple trick that can help optimize your circadian rhythms, so you get up with more energy (and fall asleep easier at night). Try to get approximately 5 to 10 minutes of light into your eyes as early as possible, and that can help sleepiness kick in earlier, which can prime you for a more energetic morning.
The carbs for breakfast might be the most surprising tip, but your body is designed to burn carbs more effectively in the morning hours. Your body is more insulin sensitive in the morning, which means your body can make better use of glucose without a big spike in blood sugar. Think of it as morning fuel without the crash.
Win the Morning, Part III
First, we helped change your mindset. Then, we offered some habits to make it easier to get up.
And now, we want to provide a workout you can do the moment you step out of bed. But don't worry, no equipment is needed and it's an easy and powerful way to start your day.
This 5-minute routine will turn on your brain, get your blood flowing, and fix tightnesses caused by a lack of mobility, so you feel and move better.
Most of us spend our days hunched at a computer or slouching while sitting on chairs or couches. That's not good news for your posture and can even lead to an increased chance of injury, aches, or pains.
But, if you "wake" up the muscles in your core and upper back, it can help fix your posture, and your entire body will fell the difference. This do-anywhere four-exercise circuit can be a great warmup. But, we’ve found it to be an amazing morning jumpstart. After you get up, do 1 set of each of these four exercises. Once it’s done, you’ve already taken a big step toward conquering your day.
Cat Camel: 5-8 reps (inhale on way up, exhale on way down)
Kneeling thread-through to reach: 3-5 reps on each side
Bird Dog: 5-8 reps on each side
Bent over IYT 15 reps on each variation (I, Y, and T)
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