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Today’s Health Upgrade
Arnold’s Machine Challenge
Questions from Instagram
Rise Against the Machines
Last Friday, we challenged you to stay off of social media the first and last hours of your day. Yesterday we talked about our monthly book recommendation, Stolen Focus.
Today I want to add to the theme of unplugging from your machines and challenge you again, just a little bit. I have told you guys before that I was lucky to grow up in Thal, with absolutely no distractions. My house had no phone and no television. Hell, we didn’t even have running water. I had my first shower when I was 15, and it was freezing cold at the gym and I loved it.
Some people today might hear that and think it sounds like hell. But for my imagination, it was heaven. I had all the time in the world to think and daydream, and I believe that is why I became so good at seeing my vision in front of me. I don’t just mean thinking, “I’m going to be a bodybuilding champion.” In my imagination, I heard the crowd, I felt the pedestal under my feet and the trophy in my hands. It was real. I don’t know if I had devices around all the time to keep me focused on external things instead of going inside my mind to daydream that I would have developed such strong visions.
Of course, there’s no way for anyone to live like I did in Thal 60 years ago. But most of you who are over 30 probably remember a time before we all ran around with computers to look at anytime we got bored. Think back to that time, because we are going to try to capture it.
Now, I realize even a full day without your phone might get some of you fired. So let’s start smaller. 10 minutes. Put your phone in another room where you can’t hear it and just sit and think - even if you miss a call, nothing bad is going to happen in 10 minutes. No tv, no books. Just you and your brain. See what happens. Maybe you’ll just think about your latest problems at work. Maybe you’ll get a little stressed. Just remember, this is all natural. You are supposed to be able to sit with your thoughts. Big Tech might want you to forget that, but it’s true.
Even today, now that I have my own machine, an iPad, that I use for work emails and FaceTimes and chess games with my friends, I do my best thinking at night when I sit in the jacuzzi with nothing but my thoughts, and in the morning on my bike ride to the gym.
I think if you make this a habit, you’re going to start loving it. And then you can turn that 10 minutes into 30, and then an hour. Let me know how it goes on Twitter and Instagram once you get back on your phone.
And no matter what you do, don’t use your phone in the gym for anything but tracking your workout or playing music.
Q and A
This week I wanted to try taking some questions from all of you on Instagram and Twitter, because I want this newsletter to work for each and every one of you. I’ll start with three.
First of all, Travis, you forehead, you can pick up the phone and FaceTime me. So everybody knows, Travis is one of my co-stars in my show that’s coming up on Netflix, FUBAR. But this is a question I get A LOT. So I wanted to take it.
The short version is, your body doesn’t care about this stuff nearly as much as your mind. That could be my answer to 90% of the questions I get about health and fitness, because most of the rules people ask me about were made by somebody who was selling. The 30 minute rule was almost certainly made up by companies trying to sell you something. We never really schvitzed about this, even in the old days. Sometimes after training we laid out on the beach for a couple hours before eating. I don’t think people should stress about this as much as they stress about building a routine where they train every day and eat protein at every meal.
The science version is, the “anabolic window” is quite a bit longer than 30 minutes. Eat 1-2 hours before your workout or within 3 hours after your workout. That’s it. And obviously, Travis, whatever you are doing is fine because I saw you on set pumping up, and you’re ripped.
This is a fun one, because it is really hard to answer. I think the answer has to be Sergio Oliva, who won Mr. Olympia twice in a row before he beat me for his 3-peat in 1969. He was the dragon I had to slay to get to the top. His body was incredible. Really, take a second and go google him. Just a monster, and a sweetheart of a guy. It took everything I had to beat him at the Mr. World and then the Mr. Olympia in 1970. I mean everything. I don’t think I had a longer comparison round than that Mr. World contest - the judges could not make up their minds. We were pouring sweat hitting and holding our poses, and I finally had to pull the trick on Sergio and tell him I thought we should just leave the stage. Once he walked off, I hit another pose, and from then on, I never lost again. Besides being an inspiration to me, I also just loved hanging out with the guy in Chicago.
I could also say Franco, because his body was incredible, and he won the short division every year so it was always the two of us posing against each other for the final trophy. And all of you know how much I love Franco.
OK, tomorrow I’ll take your questions about training at home, because there were A LOT of them.
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