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Today’s Health Upgrade
Member of the week
Book of the week
Member of the week
Meet Matt Wolfe. We're honored to share his story, and that he's a part of our village.
Tell us about what you just went through.
In September of 2022, I was 6 months out from a herniated disc I had suffered from over training in Taekwondo with a chronic spinal injury. I have a spinal disability called Spondylolisthesis, essentially broken vertebrae that can only be repaired through spinal fusion, and I have chosen to live my life without surgery. As a result, strength training has become an integral part of my health and wellbeing. Feeling pretty good as I had just finished my course of PT, yet still keeping up my routine, I found a lump on my jaw one morning while finishing a protein shake.
Fast forward to November and I was just starting 4 months of Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy after getting diagnosed with an aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in Oct. As a part of my treatment, I was told I would not be able to use my daily anti-inflammatory that I had come to rely on to help me mitigate my pain. My only other recourse in managing my pain is physical activity, specifically pumping iron. So, for the next 4 months I set myself to getting into my gym and Dojang as much as I could physically manage. I learned how to push myself for one more set of drilling sidekicks or back extensions when I felt like puking, and I learned when to step off, take a breath, compartmentalize my pain or nausea in the moment and then get back at it.
During all of this I joined the daily newsletter and it, combined with Arnold’s encouraging words and my time in the Dojang and gym, served to help me through what has become my most challenging life experience to date. Ultimately over the course of my treatment, I logged 32 hours in the Dojang and pumped 588,963 pounds. Last week, I received word from my medical team that I am in complete remission.
How did you go through all of that without being overwhelmed?
I decided that it was my job to beat cancer. I owed it to my wife and my son to do absolutely everything I could to beat it. So, I felt I had no other choice than to address it in the best way I could, as though it were my profession. I consider myself lucky enough to be my own boss and a partner in my Design firm. When I told my business partner the news, he told me to go and be with my family and do what I needed to win this battle. I credit him for giving me the support in the office that I needed in order to get my job done on the home front.
So that’s what I did. I tuned everything else out, anything that caused me stress or distracted me from my goal I simply turned off. No sad movies or depressing books; I surrounded myself with inspirational stories and self-help books, aromatherapy, meditative music, and herbal pain relief.
On days when the side effects would subside enough that I could get around on my own, I would “save myself,” mentally and physically by devoting all of my strength to focusing for 1 to 1.5 hours in the gym or Dojang. Then, I would collapse and rest for a day before mustering the strength to get up and do it again. I dedicated myself to sleeping, eating and drinking as healthily as I could. I quit drinking alcohol. I don’t eat red meat anymore. In fact, about the most “extreme” thing that goes in my body is whey powder or an amino acid supplement. I printed, laminated, and posted Arnold’s words of encouragement on my bathroom mirror to help me stay focused on my goal as well. Staring at his message every morning, treating those words like an order from one of my instructors, helped to keep me focused like a laser.
You inspire me, and I’m sure there are a lot of people waiting to be inspired by you. What’s your message to the rest of the village?
At the end of my treatment, I asked, “what can I do to ensure my cancer doesn’t return?” My doctor told me I was already doing the single most important thing I can do to control whether my cancer returns: exercise!
People always tell you to take things one day at a time and I think, generally speaking, we don’t really give this tactic enough credence. In Taekwondo you learn to compartmentalize and focus in the moment. Practicing that shedding or dissolving of other worldly concerns is part of what I love about it. It’s that emptiness that I forced myself to live in throughout my treatment. I focused on exercise as much as I could. In that respect, I really learned how important and effective we can be with our minds and bodies when we set ourselves to one singular goal.
Set your goal to move something, every day and never stop progressing as stagnation is boring. So go and entertain yourself, as my doctor says, ”Exercise!”
Laugh a little more, live a little longer. That was the outcome of a 15-year study analyzing more than 53,000 Norwegian men and women.
It's no joke that a good sense of humor could be a life-changing trait.
Women who laughed more often were associated with a 48 percent decrease in death from all causes, 73 percent lower risk of death from heart disease, and 83 percent lower risk of infection. Men’s numbers were not as impressive, but they still experienced a 74 percent reduced risk of death from infection.
Why the gender differences? Scientists aren’t sure, but one potential reason is that — on average — men had lower humor scores as they aged compared to women.
To help more people live longer, we want to hear what makes you laugh. Share your favorite joke on Twitter and tag Arnold.
Book of the week
What do Hugh Jackman, Dr. Andrew Huberman, and Pulitzer Prize winner Siddhartha Mukherjee have in common?
They all praised Outlive, a new book from Dr. Peter Attia. Forget biohacking. Outlive focuses on the idea of "Medicine 3.0," which prioritizes prevention (rather than treatment), the uniqueness of each individual, and maintaining quality of life.
The book came out this week, but we got an early look and were impressed. We love practical tips, and we appreciate that the book isn't just about living longer, but also maintaining a higher quality of life.
Dr. Attia was kind enough to sign several copies for us to share with our village. Want to win a signed copy of the book? Please share on Twitter how Arnold's Pump Club has helped support your wellness journey. Tag Arnold and use #ArnoldsPumpClub. We'll contact 5 winners.