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Today’s Health Upgrade
Monday Motivation from Arnold
The longevity test
Workout of the week
Monday’s with Arnold
Let’s talk about limits.
I was talking to my team recently while we were writing one of these newsletters. They wrote something about finding where your limit is, and it really bothered me. Once I explained why, they said I had to share my thoughts.
I absolutely disagree with the idea that you can ever find your limits. You can find your current limit, but you will never find your actual limit. I always tell you guys that most of my lessons come from the gym, and this is no exception, so let me explain with a training story.
When you start lifting weights, the bar might be your limit. But you haven’t found your limit because the next month your limit might be the bar with two, 10-pound plates. I think you can lift forever and never find the end of progress. I failed to bench press 500 pounds many times, but that didn’t mean my limit was 495. And I proved that when I finally benched 500 pounds. Understanding that limits are self-perceived can change how much you accomplish.
For a long time, there was a “limit” on the Olympic lift the clean and jerk. For decades, nobody ever lifted 500. But then, one of my heroes, Vasily Alekseyev did it. And you know what happened? Six other lifters did it that year. There was no limit. You’ve probably heard the same story about Roger Bannister, the medical student who ran the first four minute mile, which was long considered the limit of human speed. Once he did it, it became common.
Someone just had to go out there and prove the limit was fake, and then the old limit became the new normal. Limits are completely made up and all in our heads (please obey legal limits and don’t take this email out and show a cop that Schnitzel told you limits are fake, though).
You might think your limit right now is deadlifting 300 pounds, or speaking one language, or doing 5 push-ups, or running a mile in 10 minutes, or reading one book a month. Whatever you think your “limit” is, get that idea out of your head. Those thoughts are the real barrier.
The joy of life is seeing how much more we are capable of doing, and battling so that who we are tomorrow is better than who we are today. Live your life with the curiosity to see what your body and mind can really do, and the knowledge that you’ll never really know how much you can accomplish if you don't create a limit. If you do this, I promise you’ll feel more fulfilled.
The goal of last month’s challenge was showing you that consistent routines beat limits every time. I was consistently raising my bench press. Alekseyev was consistently raising his clean and jerk. Bannister was consistently lowering his mile time. What’s to stop you from consistently reading more, doing more push-ups, or learning more words in a new language. Not a limit, that’s for sure.
If you think I sound crazy, just try this: do as many push-ups as you can. Tell me how many you do. If you believe in limits, that’s yours. But then I want you to do it again in a week and tell me the number again. I have a feeling you’ll be saying, “Dang it, that Schnitzel knows what he’s talking about.”
How long will you live?
Want to know how well you’re aging? You might want to see if you can pick up the heaviest dumbbell in your gym.
That’s because grip strength is one of the best predictors of longevity.
A study of more than 140,000 people found that grip strength was a better predictor of early death than blood pressure (typically the gold standard). But scientists wanted to know why. Recent research on 1,200 men and women helped provide some clarity.
Turns out that people with a weak grip show signs of accelerated DNA aging.
Grip strength is, in general, strongly linked to resistance training. And because strength training keeps your cells younger, the stronger your grip the more likely your body can help you fight off disease and age-related injury (think falling). Not to mention research shows that strength training, in general, helps reduce the likelihood of heart disease and high blood pressure.
If you’re looking for a baseline, researchers suggest the cutoff for longevity is about 23 to 39 kg (50 to 85 pounds) for men, and 16 to 22 kg (35 to 48 pounds) for women.
Need a new workout to tap into the fountain of youth? Read the next item.
The 15-Minute Rule (Workout of the Week)
Sometimes, all you need is one pair of dumbbells for a great workout. This plan will get your heart rate up, challenge your muscles, and even get a good pump. This is a full-body workout, doesn’t require much space, and will show you how much you can do in very little time.
Put 15 minutes on the clock. Perform 10 reps of each exercise listed, shifting from one movement to the next with as little rest as possible. The overhead press will likely be your “weakest” exercise, so use a pair of dumbbells that you can do for 10 reps on that movement. It might feel easy on the other exercises, but that’s OK. You’re not building maximum strength with this workout. Your heart rate will start to rise, and each muscle group will stay “fresh” because you challenging different muscles with each set. Do as many sets as possible, and once the timer goes off, the workout is done.
Exercise 1: Dumbbell row — 10 reps
Exercise 2: Dumbbell lunge — 10 reps
Exercise 3: Dumbbell overhead press — 10 reps
Exercise 4: Dumbbell Romanian deadlift — 10 reps
Exercise 5: Dumbbell overhead farmer’s walk (walk with dumbbells held over your head) — 10 reps/steps
Exercise 6: Dumbbell squat — 10 reps
Exercise 7: Pushups — 10 reps
Note from Adam: If you don’t have dumbbells, you can also use kettlebells or bands. Don’t have that either? Throw some books in a backpack, and do all the same movements while lifting the backpack. Row the bag, hold the straps, press the bag overhead with both hands, and wear it while doing lunges and squats.
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