Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Thank you to the more than 250,000 people who have joined this community. Arnold has a special message for you. Here’s a daily digest 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
Member of the week
More cheese, please
Recipe of the week
Member of the Week
John is our second contest winner from The Big Challenge. From the beginning, the goal has been building a community. I call it a village. So I loved these answers.
1. How did the challenge change your life?
The challenge has changed my life in several ways. When I subscribed, I had a good reason to get back on my feet in the gym, but it felt like I was going it alone. The Pump Daily keeps me in the company of this vast community of people pushing themselves just like me. These little newsletter moments during the day help keep me focused and engaged. A lot of my exercise and sports nutrition knowledge was dated.
The Pump Daily re-educates me as the research has developed new hypotheses and theories. The articles about the benefits of including fruit are diametrically opposite to what I was taught as a young weightlifter. It had an enormous positive impact on how I cope with hunger. The emphasis on sleep as a key component to building the body I want and achieving the level of performance I’m chasing has changed how I schedule my day. I don’t feel alone after two months of sharing this community experience. People I hang out with let me know that they’re subscribers too. My wife goes to the gym with me as part of our pre-work routine now. A lot of online groups purport to offer Community. This is the first time I feel like it’s more than lip service.
2. What’s your message for people who feel stuck or uninspired?
The key to motivation for me is acceptance. At the start of the challenge, I focused on what I used to be able to do. Every move felt like I was dragging a giant sled behind me. I had to accept my body as it was, not as I wanted it to be. Things were in pretty rough shape. It made acceptance a hard pill to swallow. I had to ask my doctor for an inhaler to walk around the block. I couldn’t do ten reps with just the bar for squats. These were big blows to my ego. I was stuck looking at my years gone by of lead rock climbing and 600-pound deadlifts. One morning at the gym, I just looked in the mirror. I noticed a little more definition. It was the tiniest indication of moving toward my goal. But it was something! I pushed to walk for two, then three miles. My times were faster in the second half!
Structuring goals the way Arnold has them laid out is very helpful. The method is based on behavioral therapy and is time-worn. Set the big goals, then create more easily achievable ones that fill in the space between the goals. They reinforce the movement toward the desired behavior. If you get stuck or feel uninspired, change your tactics for getting to your main goal. For instance, I want to get back to the level of fitness I had in the Army fifteen years ago. You know where I was at the end of December. Going for a walk every day, using a GPS tracking app, and being pissed that I was so far from my goal took the air out of it. I changed to a stationary bike for a couple of weeks, then hit the asphalt again. The change in tactics worked! It brought me much further and made it fun rather than a chore. I may not be where I used to be yet, but I’m better than I was last week or the one before that.
3. What are your big goals moving forward?
My big goals moving forward are: 1) to achieve a self-rescue level of fitness. An early fitness promoter named Earle Liederman laid out a challenge in his 1926 book Endurance. He proclaimed, “Every man should be able to save his own life.” Liederman proposed that such a level of fitness should allow them to swim at least half a mile, run at top speed for two hundred yards or more, jump over obstacles over waist height, do fifteen to twenty pull-ups, and do twenty-five dips. Each week I improve, I incrementally build the strength, endurance, and conditioning needed for that gauntlet.
2) Graduate Nurse Practitioner school. I had some health issues that eventually forced me to take a break from classes just before taking on Arnold’s challenge. I’ve spent the intervening months studying and practicing. I just registered for my classes and am ready to return strong!
3) Connect better with my family. I have two teenagers and a wife at home. I want to move beyond setting an example for them and meet them where they are. It’s the most challenging goal because I have to reconsider my desires for those relationships and change my perspective from where I want them to be toward what they are trying to be. One way is to tap into the family relationships I had growing up. Many of those people are gone now, but practicing the things that mattered to them—like learning to shave with a straight razor, the way my great-grandfather did as a barber after leaving the family farm—put me in the right reflective action mode to connect with my own family here and now.
More Cheese, Please
It’s popular to blame individual foods for many health problems. But that restrictive, extreme approach is a big reason why so many people struggle to find a nutrition approach that works for them. Even something as timeless as dairy has come under fire on claims it causes obesity, dangerous levels of inflammation, and cancer. The truth?
Research suggests that dairy has many health benefits and is linked to improved lifespan.
That was the result of a review of 29 studies assessing the health of more than 900,000 people. The scientists found that -- despite what Instagram reels might have you believe -- there’s no strong link between eating milk-based foods and premature death or cardiovascular disease. If that wasn’t enough, a different study of 45,000 people found that a moderate amount of dairy reduced all-cause mortality and didn’t increase cancer risk.
What about inflammation? Scientists reviewed 16 different studies on the topic and found that dairy had no inflammatory impact on healthy individuals
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s even a review of 27 different studies suggesting that people who eat dairy lose more fat and retain more muscle.
If you are lactose intolerant, follow a vegan diet, or feel bad when you have dairy, the simple answer is to remove it from your diet. You can fill your diet with healthy, nutritious foods in many other ways. But if you enjoy dairy, there’s no need to fear, and many reasons to think it can support your goals and even improve overall health.
Recipe of the Week
You loved last week’s recipe from Chef Robert Irvine — author of the new book Overcoming Impossible — that we brought him back for another meal you can whip up in less than 30 minutes. This dish is high in protein, less than 200 calories per serving, and big enough to feed a family or have extra for leftovers. Enjoy!
Kale, Broccoli, and White Cheddar Frittata
Ingredients (8 servings)
10 large eggs
½ cup milk
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
½ Spanish white onion, small dice
2 cups sliced broccoli
2 cups baby kale
1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, add eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper.
In a 10-inch cast iron skillet or non-stick pan over medium heat, add grapeseed oil and onions, and cook for approximately 4 minutes, allowing onions to get some color. Next add broccoli and kale allow to cook another 3 minutes.
Add egg and milk mixture. Cook on stove top for 2 minutes.
Place egg mixture in the oven, cook for 6 minutes and top with grated cheddar cheese.
Cut into wedges and enjoy.
Lift your friends up, get a personalized, signed copy of my Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding
Help me with my fitness crusade and recruit new members. Share your referral link and if 2 people sign up for The Pump Daily, you’ll be entered to win a personalized, signed copy of my Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding. Five winners will be selected.