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A Note from Arnold:
For those of you only on my original list who are confused about why I haven’t sent a monthly newsletter in a while, this is what I’ve been doing every day. I’m sharing with you this week because I have a bunch of big announcements, and I am thinking of merging these lists. More and more often in these daily emails, I’m sharing news, telling my personal stories and taking questions every single week, with workouts and recipes and health and fitness advice. I think you’ll love it -- but if you want out, no hard feelings, just hit unsubscribe.
Today’s Health Upgrade
Arnold's new book
Hate stretching? Do this instead
The insecurity epidemic
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Be Useful: My book is coming
I told you guys I had a lot of big announcements coming this week. This one is one I never thought I’d make. When I was 15, I had such clear visions of being the greatest bodybuilder of all time, moving to America, making millions of dollars, and becoming a leading man in movies. But some of the things I’ve never envisioned have given me the most joy.
I never envisioned getting addicted to giving back. I never thought I’d be Governor of the sixth-largest economy in the world. And I really never thought I’d be a self-help guy who got paid to travel the world giving motivational speeches or had hundreds of thousands of people who wanted to hear from me every day in a newsletter.
But my dad always told me, “Be useful, Arnold.” And every time people come up to me and tell me how my advice has helped them throughout their lives, I can see that it’s useful when I share my life philosophy, rules, and tools.
Right now, if you read the news, you see stories every week about the crisis among men, and the crisis among women, young and old. I think a lot of the issues we see come down to people lacking a sense of purpose and usefulness. And I think my life philosophy can be really helpful in helping these people find their mission. So I was finally convinced to sit down and write a book about my philosophy. This way, I can make my tools available to everyone.
Hate Stretching? Do This Instead
If warmups were as enjoyable as coffee and pre-workout, everyone would do them. Unfortunately, stretching is about as much as a trip to the dentist (sorry, dentists!), so it rarely gets done. But, while we won’t support skipping warmups, new research suggests you don’t need to stretch to improve your flexibility.
A recent analysis reviewed 11 different studies and found that strength training is just as effective as stretching at improving your flexibility.
Adding weight to exercises can help you improve your end range of motion, which supports better flexibility. If you think about it, the logic makes perfect sense. Resistance training forces your muscles, tendons, and ligaments to all work together to move a weight. And, if you focus on good form, it will train your body to improve how you move, how strong you are in different positions, and your range of motion.
Before you think your body is too damaged to undo years of poor movement, scientists found that people in their 70s with mobility and flexibility issues saw beneficial changes to both with strength training.
Does this mean you only need to lift weights? Not exactly. For many body parts, a good workout will do the trick. But some areas of your body, such as your hips, can be tough to target.
If you feel like your lower back, hips, and ankles could use a little attention, try these three moves:
Give these three moves a try before your workouts or when you’re chilling at home watching Netflix. It will give your body exactly what you need without the usual boredom of static stretching.
The Insecurity Epidemic
We try to cover all the topics that can help you live a healthier life. But sometimes, the issues that research identities are really a symptom of a bigger problem.
Case in point: survey data suggests that the average person feels insecure at least five times every day. This lack of confidence can impact everything from taking chances at work, dating, or even picking up a new habit.
Even more surprising? People feel most comfortable with the other aspects of their life once they are more secure with their exercise behaviors. It's just one more example of how building an exercise habit can pay off in other ways.
The biggest challenge for many people battling insecurity is developing a positive mindset — which is exactly why we created this village. We want it to be the positive corner of the internet.
To start making changes for the better, it helps to know that being aware — or even comfortable — of these insecurities is a key part of changing them. The study of behavioral change shows that if you want to build better habits, motivation, inspiration, or action are not the first step to improvement. It’s actually shifting your self-perception. That’s what makes it easier to take action, and then have more motivation, and then see better results.
From Arnold: I think the best way to gain confidence is reps, reps, reps. And you have to force yourself. I’m not talking about being afraid to jump into the pool and going to the highest high dive; I’m talking about little steps. Not stepping off a cliff, more like stepping off a curb. Enough to feel like you pushed yourself without catastrophically failing because we want a little win to build on.
I still remember when Reg Park, my idol, Hercules from the movies and Mr. Universe, the man I patterned my life after, asked me to speak after a bodybuilding posing exhibition in Ireland. I had never, ever spoken to a crowd, and my English was non-existent. I think Reg must have realized that in a crowd of bodybuilding fans, I was pretty safe since I was the new kid on the block.
He said, “Arnold, come say a few words.” I froze. I was terrified. But I leaned into the microphone. “I no speak English.” Here’s the thing: they clapped a little.
Reg said, “Why don’t you tell them you love Ireland?”
“I love Ireland.” Louder cheers, maybe I could pull this off.
“Tell them if you’ll come back.”
“I want to come back.” Even more cheers. I wasn’t schvitzing as much now.
Thanks Arnold, tell the crowd you love them.”
“I love all of you.” Big cheers.
Each rep, each broken sentence built my confidence more. I started traveling to South Africa, where Reg would have me speak even more. The key was getting those small wins to build myself up, and to see, OK, I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and I didn’t die. Actually, I kind of liked it.
Find ways to wade into whatever makes you feel insecure; you don’t have to dive in head first. If it’s talking to people, don’t join a debating society. Make a goal that every day, you’re going to talk to one person, whether it’s the mailman or a coworker or the person who makes your coffee. And just like your training goals, mark it off every day. The more you do the reps, the more you’ll feel comfortable doing what scares you. I told you, all of my lessons start in the gym. Progressive resistance training works for almost every aspect of your life.
If you find yourself struggling, focus on building your confidence muscle, and everything else will start falling into place. It won’t happen overnight, but those little wins will help you evolve beyond who you are today into the person you want to be tomorrow.
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