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Today’s Health Upgrade
Member of the week (and an Arnold FaceTime surprise)
The 2-week diet
Recipe of the week (From Chef Robert Irvine)
Member of the Week
Claudia is our member of the week and the first winner of the challenge. Here’s my FaceTime with her.
Now I’ll turn it over to Claudia.
How did The Challenge change your life?
When I first started the challenge, I was a bit scared. I had so many things I wanted to do, and I was not sure I had any energy to do any of them. Even writing down the action list was challenging for me, setting priorities, trying not to overwhelm myself, and choosing only three things.
Once I started to get into it, by checking off the three items I have set as my goals every day, little by little, I discovered that I could actually do whatever I wanted without being scared anymore. Some days it was difficult for me, my body would not cooperate to do the workout as I wished, or my motivation was down, but having this piece of paper on my wall and being able to see how much I had already accomplished the past days gave me the energy to continue.
Step by step, day by day, I got better at it, and I started feeling better about myself. For the first time in a long time, I felt proud of myself and happy again, smiling in the morning and looking forward to the day to come. So to summarize in just a few words: this challenge helped me put my fear of failure aside and go for it. For me, the challenge really helps to start loving yourself again because you can see how much you can do.
What’s your message for people who feel stuck or uninspired?
I actually was there, too, at the stage of feeling stuck. I just came out of a burn-out and depression, which lasted for some time, so I know this stage quite well by now…
My message would be: step-by-step. No need to set incredible goals and think you have to become Superman or Superwoman overnight. Give yourself patience and time, and start with little things. A couple of minutes of workout, a couple of minutes of meditation or shutting down your phone, a nice walk outside, a couple of pages of a book you love… Start with easy goals, and see how satisfied you will feel when you see you can make it. And then start setting bigger goals, and just go with the wave, no pressure. We live in a society where everything has to be fast and almost perfect. No need to overstress it, be gentle with yourself, and you will start moving again and feeling inspired by new things again.
Step by step :)
What are your big goals moving forward?
Thanks to the challenge, I can now set bigger goals for myself. I aim to create my business this year and get back in even better shape than before my burn out (I practiced several different sports, so this is a BIG challenge!). I added a new goal for March: to start learning Japanese. I always wanted to do that, so now that I’m riding the wave, I will just go for it and add it to my daily items list!
Take a Diet Break
A two-week diet might sound like another gimmicky plan — but it’s a science-backed solution that could help you overcome one of the biggest frustrations of restrictive eating plans.
Research suggests taking a break every two weeks could be an effective way to get results from your healthy eating plan.
The most challenging part of many diets isn’t the first few weeks — it’s the weeks where your motivation drains, your hunger (and diet fatigue) increases, and healthy meals can make you want to dive into a bag of cookies.
This causes two problems:
People “break” from their diet and believe they screwed up and made a terrible mistake. In reality, a few treats won’t ruin your progress…but going off the rails completely will.
As a result of the perceived error, people quit their plans, abandon their habits, and spiral.
If this describes your past experiences, learning to walk away from extreme behaviors that don’t allow freedom can be a life-changing decision. In the research mentioned above, scientists found that alternating two weeks of calorie restriction with two weeks of maintenance could help increase fat loss (compared to continuous restriction for 16 weeks.)
How do the breaks lead to better results? Because they help prevent the one-two punch outlined above.
Diet breaks can increase diet adherence without you losing your mind. For many people, it’s easier to stick to a diet for two weeks at a time compared to 16 straight weeks. The key is ensuring you still keep your healthy habits during your diet breaks while giving yourself more freedom (it’s not an excuse to eat everything and anything). Combining short-term focus with short-term breaks might help you stay on track, avoid burnout and extreme hunger, and help you accomplish your goals.
Recipe of the Week (Feat. Chef Robert Irvine)
Robert Irvine is an old friend and the celebrity chef with the biggest delts and biceps. His heart is also as big as his muscles, and he’s always giving back and helping our men and women in uniform. His latest book, Overcoming Impossible, is another example of his mission to help people thrive. I asked him if he would send us a recipe once a week for all of you, and since he’s a mensch, he agreed.
Shrimp Fried Rice
Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
20 16/20 or jumbo peeled deveined shrimp
8 scallions, whites chopped, greens thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped and peeled ginger
3 cups cold cooked white rice
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
4 large eggs
½ cup frozen edamame, thawed
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt and cook, turning once, until just opaque in the center, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Heat remaining 1 tbsp vegetable oil in same skillet; add scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice and 2 beaten eggs, stirring constantly. Cook until rice is crisp and eggs are cooked through, about 2 minutes.
Pushing rice to one side of skillet—or in a separate skillet—fry 4 eggs sunny side up until the whites are cooked through, about 3–4 minutes. Set aside.
Add edamame, peas, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and cooked shrimp to rice. Cook, tossing constantly, until shrimp and vegetables are heated through, about 1 minute. Top with fried eggs and scallion greens.
CHEF’S TIP: This dish is less than 400 calories (per serving) and packed with protein, healthy fat, and carbs. To make your life easier, pre-cook the rice, either in a pot or rice cooker, according to package instructions the night before you make this meal. This eliminates a time-consuming step and helps you eat quicker!
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