The Problem With Plastics

Some toxins are sensationalized. Others are a real threat.

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Arnold’s Monday Mindset

  • Stop Microwaving Plastics

  • Workout of the Week

Arnold’s Podcast

Motivation every day. Want Arnold to help you start your day? Each morning, we post a new podcast with tips you’ll find in the daily email and bonus stories, wisdom, and motivation from Arnold. Listen to Arnold's Pump Club podcast. It's like the daily newsletter but with additional narration and thoughts from Arnold. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Arnold’s Monday Mindset

This weekend, like many of you, I watched the final of the Women’s World Cup. I was inspired.

It was a fantastic game, and England and Spain both left everything on the field.

But what really inspired me wasn’t the effort, strategy, or any of the soccer. What inspired me came after the whistle, when Spain celebrated their first Women’s World Cup victory. I saw a Spanish player step away from the celebration to hug one of the English players who was crying on the field. And then, as the camera panned, you saw more and more players from both teams embracing each other. English players congratulated Spanish players, Spanish players consoled English players, and all of us at home witnessed one of the best parts of sports.

Sports have the power to bring all of us together. They always have. They remind us that we can be fiercely competitive without hating each other.

As I watched this inspirational demonstration of sportsmanship, I thought about how often people ask me how all of us bodybuilders could train and practice posing together at Gold’s Gym all year when we’d have to face each other on stage.

For some reason, people love this idea that everything has to be zero-sum. You have to lose so I can win. There is some truth to that - only Spain went home with the trophy this weekend. But both teams learned lessons, both teams played a fantastic game, and both teams inspired us.

I’ve never believed that everybody can be a champion — that’s not true in competition. But everyone can win. If you learn, improve, or inspire someone like me watching at home, you win.

I want to thank the English and Spanish teams for reminding us that we can compete without becoming enemies and showing us the power of reaching out to someone, whether just to congratulate or console.

They inspired me, and I hope they can inspire you, too.

On Our Mind: Are Plastics Dangerous?

Have you ever wondered if microwaving your food in a plastic container is a problem? Or if hidden factors in your environment could be affecting your health?

Many studies suggest that exposure to chemicals in plastics could pose a significant threat to your health.

Sometimes science reveals surprising connections between seemingly unrelated things. We don’t like to push fear or overstate what we know, so pay close attention. Research suggests that too much exposure to endocrine disruptors — the chemicals found in certain plastics — can result in reproductive disorders, obesity, diabetes, and certain cancers.

The two biggest concerns are phthalates and bisphenols, which are found in items like plastics, cosmetics, and even our food. (More below on how to avoid these.) One research review suggests that too much exposure to these chemicals has a similar impact on obesity as a lack of exercise or poor diet.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the chemicals cause obesity. It could be that what you’re consuming comes in containers with these plastics. For example, fast food restaurants and many ultra-processed foods tend to have higher levels of phthalates.

It’s easy to be fearful, but we have solutions and good news. First of all, these chemicals do not stay in your body forever. So if you can reduce your exposure, you can quickly reduce or eliminate the threat.

If you want to limit your exposure, try any (or all) of the following:

  1. Store more food in glass, steel, or ceramic containers.

  2. If you need to keep things in plastic, stop microwaving or warming your food in plastic containers. The plastics can leach onto your food. Simply plate your food first before warming it.

  3. Recyclable items have numbers associated with them. Check the number and try to avoid or limit #3 (phthalates), #6 (styrene), and #7 (bisphenols).

  4. Look for products with labeling that call out “phthalate-free,” “paraben-free,” or “BPA-free.”

  5. When possible, cut down on ultra-processed foods. We know this isn’t always possible, and not all these foods are bad. But the less packaging involved, the more you might reduce risk.

Workout of the Week

Ask Arnold the secret to success, and he might tell you, “more reps.”

If life is all about reps, consider this workout a way to get ahead of the competition and win the game. This workout consists of 4 circuits. Do one set of the first exercise in the first circuit, then one set of the next exercise, and then one set of the third exercise. Rest for 1 to 2 minutes, and then repeat the circuit. Once you complete all the sets in a circuit, then move on to the next circuit and repeat the process.

Circuit 1

1a. Bodyweight squat: 10-20 reps

1b. Pushup: 10-20 reps

1c. Backpack or band row: 12-15 reps

Circuit 2

2a. Squat jumps: 5-6 reps

2b. T-pushup: 8-15 reps per side

2c. Lunges: 12-15 reps/leg

Circuit 3

3a. Single-leg hip thrust: 12-15 reps/leg

3b. Backpack or band overhead press: 8-20 reps

3c. Lateral lunge: 12-15 reps/side

Circuit 4

4a. Plank walkout 6-15 reps

4b: Reverse crunch: 10-20 reps

4c. Hollow body hold: 30 seconds

Beginners: do the lower number of reps and 2 sets of each exercise

Intermediate: do the lower or higher number of reps and 3 to 4 sets of each exercise

Advanced: do the higher number of reps and 5 to 6 sets of each exercise

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

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell