Arnold's First Thanksgiving

When Arnold had nothing, the kindness of others gave him everything he needed.

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.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • From Arnold: My first Thanksgiving

Arnold’s Podcast

Motivation every day. Want Arnold to help you start your day? Each morning, we post a new podcast with tips you’ll find in the daily email and bonus stories, wisdom, and motivation 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.

From Arnold: Happy Thanksgiving

This is a special version of the newsletter. We won’t have the normal three items, but I do want to share an important story.

It’s Thanksgiving for all of our American subscribers today, so I wanted to let you off the hook before you start eating everything in sight and let you know it’s perfectly OK to go wild. And I wanted to tell you about my first Thanksgiving, and why it is so important to me.

I moved to America in 1968, just before the holidays. I had no idea what Thanksgiving was. I learned quickly.

One of the guys I trained with, Bill Drake, found out I had no plans. He told me I had to come to his parent’s house, and I had my first-ever Thanksgiving dinner. They treated me like I was part of their family, even though I barely spoke English and had a few language screwups at the meal that were very funny.

Around that same time, the guys at the gym found out I lived in an apartment with basically nothing. Then, like a strange group of really buff, shirtless elves, they showed up one after the other. Pillows, sheets, utensils, plates, a black and white TV, and a wooden clock radio I keep by my bed today as a reminder of the kindness I found here. They brought me everything I needed.

That’s why I give back every year around this time and donate turkeys and toys and hand them out at the Hollenbeck Center in East LA, and why I still have some of the gym crew over for Thanksgiving if they don’t have anywhere to go. I know what it meant to me. You never know what it means to someone to offer them a meal or really anything that shows you care.

Today is about more than eating delicious food and lying on the couch.

So, I also want you to know that I’m thankful for all of you. There are almost 600,000 of us in this village. Every day, we are filling the world with more positive people who know that there are plenty of problems in the world, but we won’t solve them by being angry and complaining about them.

I can’t believe the positivity I see every day in the replies to this email, and I am still in shock when I look at The Pump app’s community even after we opened it to all of you in the newsletter village and see that there still hasn’t been a single negative comment. We have never had to use our power to delete anything — what other app could say that? We are proving that positivity can work online. That’s because of the positivity of all of you lifting yourselves and each other. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

Now, I am giving you a free pass. Not just today but for the celebrations to come. Don’t hold yourself back. Eat that pie. The reason we are healthy almost every day is so that we can let go on days like this. Remember that. We aren’t living lives of subtraction. We’ve added health and fitness to our lives so that we can also add some ice cream or mashed potatoes without guilt.

Let go a little bit. Your healthy diet will be waiting for you. Just remember it is there, and don’t let a day or a weekend turn into a month of saying, “Arnold gave me a free pass.”

I won’t even tell you that you need to work out today. But if you want to, do our famous countdown. You can get the whole family into it.

Here’s how it works:

  • Set a timer to see how quickly you can complete this workout.

  • You’ll perform two exercises: pushups and lunges.

  • Perform the starting number of reps of pushups (use the chart below to customize your experience level, as beginners will do a different number of reps than advanced ones).

  • Then, perform the starting number of reps of lunges (again, use the chart below to determine how many reps you should perform).

  • After completing your lunges, return to pushups and do one less rep than your first set. (Example: if you did 10 reps on the first set, you’ll do 9 reps on the second set.)

  • Then, do another round of lunges and do one fewer rep than your first set. (Just like pushups, if you started with 10, then you’ll do 9.)

  • Continue alternating exercising and descending by one rep until you only perform only one rep of each exercise.

Customize the Workout

Select your experience level and do the number of recommended reps. Don’t let your ego choose for you.

Advanced (5 years of training or more): Start with 15 reps of pushups followed by 15 reps of lunges (on each leg)

Intermediate (~2 years of consistent training): Start with 10 reps of pushups followed by 10 reps of lunges (on each leg).

Beginner: Start with 5 reps of pushups (if needed, you can do these on your knees or place your hands on a bench or chair to make it easier), followed by 5 reps of lunges on each leg. (If lunges are hard, put your hand on a wall, couch, or chair for balance support.)

An example: If you’re doing the advanced workout, you would do the following:

  • 15 pushups + 15 lunges on each leg

  • 14 pushups + 14 lunges on each leg

  • 13 pushups + 13 lunges on each leg

  • And continue dropping by 1 rep each round.

By the time you complete the final rep of pushups and lunges, you’ll have performed 120 pushups and 120 lunges if you do the advanced version. And your body will feel it.

Thanks to all of you for reading every day. You inspire us to keep going. Happy Thanksgiving!

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell