Find The High-Hanging Fruit

Most people tell you to reach for the "low-hanging fruit." But there's a reason Arnold recommends going after the goals that are...

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Every weekday, we make sense of the confusing world of wellness by analyzing the headlines, simplifying the latest research, and offering quick tips 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: Living Longer

  • Monday motivation

  • Fast(ing) fat loss?

  • Jumpstart your week

  • Workout of the week

Arnold’s Podcast

Want more stories from Arnold? Every day, Arnold’s Pump Club Podcast opens with a story, perspective, and wisdom from Arnold that you won’t find in the newsletter. And, you’ll hear a recap of the day’s items. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Arnold’s Corner

Today, I want to talk about fruit.

No, not the berries I eat with my granola and yogurt.

I want to focus on the difference between high-hanging fruit and low-hanging fruit. I’m sure most of you have heard the metaphor, but just so we are all on the same page: low-hanging fruit is the easy stuff.

If you imagine an apple tree, the low-hanging fruit are the apples on the bottom branches. You could ask a child to pick the low-hanging fruit. The fruit higher up in the tree takes more effort. You might need to climb. There might be a little risk. There might be discomfort.

But it feels so fantastic when you get that high-hanging fruit because you know it requires more effort. The effort makes the reward sweeter. It is more fulfilling.

When I talk to people about fitness, I find that many never go beyond the low-hanging fruit. They want to be fit and healthy to be easy and comfortable.

They want the 28-day abs, not the 90-day program that forces them to do the basic lifts. They want the fad diet, not the lifestyle change. They want the fat loss or testosterone-boosting magic pill, not the effort of eating well, sleeping well, training hard, and moving more.

I’ll be honest: I don’t even think we should count these things as low-hanging fruit. Low-hanging fruit at least has value. These things are the spoiled fruit that’s fallen off the tree, rotted in the sun, and been gnawed on by bugs. The magic pills, the diet hacks, and the bogus short-term workouts, like the spoiled fruit, will probably make you worse off.

The reality is the low and high-hanging fruit might be different for all of us.

The strong person at the gym who benches more than everyone else but never enters the squat rack? That’s someone going for low-hanging fruit. The plant-based eater who stays thin but never does any resistance training? Low-hanging fruit.

We all do it. I’ve done it!

When I started in bodybuilding, I built a big foundation. I loved squatting and deadlifting and benching heavy weights. When I came on the scene at 18, the bodybuilding magazines talked about how huge I was. They said it could be the beginning of the Schwarzenegger Era. I became the youngest Mr. Universe ever at age 20.

Then my dream came true: Joe Weider, the publisher of the muscle magazines, invited me to America to compete in his federation’s Mr. Universe. And I lost to Frank Zane, who was much, much smaller than me but much more defined.

I was devastated. I let myself cry for a night. And in the morning, it was time to be honest with myself.

I’d been picking the low-hanging fruit. Yes, I trained longer than almost everyone. Yes, I trained heavier than pretty much everyone but Franco. But those were the things I loved. Those were the things that came easily to me. That was my comfort zone.

If I wanted to make my vision of being the greatest bodybuilder of all time a reality, I had to escape my comfort zone. 

It was time to diet before competitions, at least a little bit. It was time to do the training I didn’t enjoy, the reps and reps of crunches and leg raises to match Frank’s ab definition.

I hated every minute of it. It was boring. It was uncomfortable. It sucked. 

But that was my high-hanging fruit. I accepted that I had to go after the high-hanging fruit because it is the only way to achieve your full potential.

We all have different low and high-hanging fruit. Some of you might find that it is easy to train, but it’s hard to stop eating shitty food. Some might find it is easy to eat really healthy all week, but it is hard on the weekend to say no to the fried food and beers, so you end up pushing your week’s calories from a level where you maintain or lose weight to a level where you gain weight with two days of bingeing.

Some might think it is easy to eat well and train, but you don’t sleep well or make any effort to connect with people socially.

We all have our own fruit sitting at the top of the tree. My challenge to all of you is to sit down and figure out what it is for you.

What’s holding you back from your full potential? Be honest with yourself.

Once you figure out your own high-hanging fruit, it’s time to make a plan to go after it. 

Accept that it won’t be easy. It might really suck. You’ll want to quit, and you’ll have to force yourself to keep going.

But it will be worth it. When you make the effort to see your true potential instead of only picking off the easy wins, you’ll learn who you really are. You’ll shock yourself with strength you never knew you had. 

And when you pick that high-hanging fruit, it will be sweeter than you can ever imagine.

You really don’t have any excuses. We are trying to give you everything you need to succeed in this daily newsletter and our app, The Pump. Every weekday in this newsletter, you have me and my team providing motivation and the best information, helping you make sense of all the latest research. In the app last week, Adam and Daniel shared a video showing you how to train with the intensity that creates muscle growth with a first-set mindset, and they showed you how to eat well on a budget and when you’re short on time. 

Everyone who receives this newsletter can learn from me and the smartest people I know. And the app members get to interact directly with me and the experts, receive custom workouts, build better habits, and get accountability and support. 

We have given you the ladder.

You have to choose to climb it, and the fruit will be there.

Fast(ing) Fat Loss?

The latest diet study might be one of the best yet at proving what’s becoming an undeniable conclusion:

Many diets work for fat loss — and what matters most is what you eat and how much of it — not when you eat.

Researchers compared whether intermittent fasting was more effective than eating most calories later in the day. One group ate 80 percent of their calories before 1 pm and consumed all of their calories within 10 hours. The other group ate 50 percent of their calories after 5 pm but had a longer “eating window.” The catch: the researchers prepared all of the meals for the participants to ensure everyone ate the same foods and amount of calories. 

After 12 weeks, both groups lost a similar amount of weight and had no differences in insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, blood lipids, and fasting glucose. 

Your main takeaway: you can choose the eating pattern that works best for you. If you prefer a variation of intermittent fasting — whether eating earlier or later in the day — then that can work. Or, if you feel better when you spread your meals throughout the day, that can also work. Your health and your weight are determined by the foods you eat, not necessarily when you eat. 

Jumpstart Your Week

💪Article to Read: Dad’s Rock: The Evidence

We hear more bad news than good news. We must remember that there is a bias toward negative news, and it’s never a reason to lose hope. From a Pump Club favorite, here’s some good news about dads.

💪Podcast that got our attention: Dr. Andy Galpin’s Perform 

Big takeaway: Despite the “PR every day” mindset, Dr. Galpin explains why doing approximately 70% of your aerobic exercise at a low intensity could be the sweet spot for heart health.)

💪Pump Perks: Brain health, memory, overcoming poor sleep, more strength and muscle. The benefits of creatine are impressive, but most creatine is not high quality and has misleading labels (studies suggest it’s an issue in nearly 90 percent of products!) Momentous is our go-to choice for quality, purity, and trust. (Get 20% OFF when you use the code “pumpcode.”)

💪The next time you make a mistake, remember: “An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” – Niels Bohr, Danish physicist and Nobel prize winner

Workout of the Week

Last week, we taught you how to break out of a rep by varying rep ranges. This week, we show you that small changes can make a workout much harder. 

The only difference is that we’re simply shifting the rep ranges to different days in this workout. Same workout, but it will challenge your muscles in a new way.  

This full-body workout has you complete three exercises each day but with a different rep range for each (for the bodyweight exercises, feel free to increase the challenge by wearing a backpack or a rucksack). The combination will help you challenge your muscles to build strength and endurance while helping you build muscle. Movements are interchangeable for the target muscles (for example, you can substitute a leg press for a squat, as both work your quads), but you want to focus on the varying rep ranges. 

Day 1

  • Overhead press: 3 sets x 8-12 reps 

  • Front squat: 3 sets x 8-10 reps 

  • Romanian deadlift: 3 sets x 8-12 reps 

Day 2

  • Inverted row or pullup: 3 sets x 6-8 reps

  • Dumbbell press or pushup: 3 sets x 6-8 reps

  • Lunges: 3 sets x 6-8 reps/leg

Day 3

  • Deadlift: 5 sets x 5 reps 

  • Dips or incline press: 5 sets x 5 reps 

  • Bent-over row: 5 sets x 5 reps 

Give it a try, and let us know what you think!

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell