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Today’s Health Upgrade
Arnold's Monday motivation
All the small things
Workout of the week
Arnold’s Monday Motivation
"Opinion is the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self."
Someone sent this to me this week, and it said it was from Plato. I looked it up, and apparently, he never said this (just like a lot of quotes I see from myself!). But that doesn’t bother me. It’s a great quote, and we can all learn from it.
It’s easy to have an opinion. Today, it’s easier than ever to broadcast your opinion to everybody. Unfortunately, because of the way social media works, it’s the negative opinions that get the most love. People love to complain or criticize. It doesn’t take much effort, and it’s an easy way to get likes.
Like always, I’m asking you guys to take the harder road. Try to understand other people. Find your empathy.
Last week we heard from one of our readers, Dave Danna, who is on a weight loss journey and spending almost as much effort being positive on social media as he is in the gym. After I tweeted with him, a lot of people said they never saw positivity like that on social media. All I did was take 30 seconds to pump somebody up.
I decided we’d make an effort, as we do in this little village, to spread positivity. Every day, we’ve been pumping someone up on Twitter, adding a little empathy with the hashtag #ArnoldsPumpClub. My favorite part has been seeing how quickly the positivity spreads. Before I can even get to someone who needs a lift, I’ll see that three or four of you have pumped them up.
That’s what it’s all about. This week, you’re going to have a lot of opportunities to have an opinion. But you’ll also have a few opportunities to use empathy and to lift up someone else. My challenge to you is to look for those opportunities.
If we want a more positive world, it’s our job to build it. Flex those empathy muscles. Let’s do it.
All the Small Things
Note from Adam: Ever feel like trying to optimize every aspect of your health creates more stress than results? You're not alone.
When I first started in fitness, I tried to “optimize” everything. I stressed every detail, tried every program, and set the standard to perfection. For all that obsession, my results were minimal.
But one change — something inspired by Arnold (and the backbone of my next book) — helped more than anything else, and it wasn’t a supplement or specific workout program.
I learned that the do-it-all, stress about everything, perfectionist mindset does more harm than good and prevents real progress. Arnold has always said that we can’t let perfect be the enemy of progress.
A perfection mentality looks great on paper and motivational posters. But a plan with little-to-no margin for error doesn’t help you build good habits. Instead, it pushes the boundaries of stress and anxiety and makes it more likely that you’ll screw up. And once that happens, the ball starts to roll downhill, you say “f*ck it!,” and one bad meal or missed workout turns into two months on the couch. This is where all diets go wrong. They break you mentally, and then the physical struggles follow.
Instead, it’s better to embrace that mistakes will happen and perfection is not needed for life-changing results. You just need to build a step-by-step path that is built to withstand and even embrace the screw-ups as part of the journey.
Arnold’s motivation today was about empathy. You need empathy for yourself, too. When you commit to a plan, spend a few minutes to let yourself know there will be speedbumps, wrong turns, and screwups along the way, but when those happen, you’re going to forgive yourself and keep moving forward.
What’s that look like in reality? Know that you will miss a workout. You will have a meal that doesn’t fit your plan. Be prepared for it. And when it happens, let it go. Just get back on your plan. If you spend too much time sweating the small stuff, you won’t have the energy to focus on what really matters.
If you can allow yourself to experience setbacks without being completely derailed, you make it easier to follow a plan that will deliver faster results and build the habits that will change your life for the better.
Is there a part of nutrition or fitness stressing you out? Let me know about it on Twitter, and I'll be answering to provide guidance.
Workout of the Week
Just because a workout is short doesn’t mean you can’t see amazing results. We stress this each week, but many people have their doubts. So we’ll keep sharing difficult but time-efficient workouts to show you what’s possible.
Myo-reps are a strategy created by Norwegian strength coach Borge Fagerli in the mid-2000s.
Here’s how it works:
Start with an “activation” set of 10-20 reps with lighter weights. Take this set almost to failure (but leave a rep or two in the tank…you’ll need them), and then put the weight down
Take 3-5 deep breaths
Grab the same weight, do 3-5 controlled reps, and put the weight down. This is one set.
Repeat this process. So take another 3 to 5 breaths, and then perform 3-5 reps. Do this for 4 rounds, so you’ve done 5 total sets including the first 10-20 rep set.
Myo-reps can help with building muscle because it taps into many of the ways that a muscle grows. In particular, muscular tension, metabolic stress, and muscular damage are the three primary drivers of growth. Plus, the limited rest will keep your heart pumping.
Myo-reps are best used with 1-2 “pump” isolation exercises like bicep curls or lateral raises.
But if you’re doing bodyweight workouts, you can apply this method effectively. Start with just your body weight for the “activation” set and then add some weight, even if it’s just some books in a backpack.
Here’s how it looks (remember, just 3 to 5 big breaths separate each set). Normally, the weight would feel light. But in this case, because rest is limited and your muscle is activated, you’ll be able to create fatigue and overload with a lighter weight while maximizing your intensity):
Set 1: 15 reps
Set 2: 4 reps
Set 3: 4 reps
Set 4: 4 reps
Set 5: 3 reps
Here’s how to bring it to life in a workout.
Upper body workout #1
Exercise 1: Chest press variation (like dumbbell bench press, incline press, or pushups) 3 x 8-12 reps
Exercise 2: Row variation (like dumbbell row, T-bar row, or pullups): 3 x 8-12
Exercise 3: Lateral raise w/ myo-reps for 5 sets (First set 1 x 15-20 reps and then 3-5 reps per set like above)
Exercise 4: Biceps curl w/myo-reps for 5 sets (First set 1 x 15-20 reps and then 3-5 reps per set like above)
Upper body workout #2
Exercise 1: Row variation (like dumbbell row, T-bar row, or pullups): 3 x 8-12
Exercise 2: Chest press variation (like dumbbell bench press, incline press, or pushups) 3 x 8-12 reps
Exercise 3: IYT raises* w/ myo-reps for 5 sets (first set 1 x 15-20 reps and then 3-5 reps per set like above)
*You can do the bodyweight version or with dumbbells; perform the reps for the I’s, Y’s, and T’s….these will burn)
Exercise 4: Triceps pressdowns w/ myo-reps 5 sets (first set 1 x 15-20 reps and then 3-5 reps per set like above)
At-home, bodyweight version:
Do 15-20 bodyweight squats
Take 3-5 breaths
Immediately do 3-5 squats
Repeat steps 2 and 3 three more times (for 5 total sets of bodyweight squats)
Do 15-20 push-ups
Take 3-5 breaths
Immediately do 3-5 push-ups
Repeat steps 2 and 3 three more times (for 5 total sets of push-ups)
Give it a try, and let us know how it goes!
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