The health behavior that's better than quitting smoking

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes....

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. 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.

A Note from Arnold:

For those of you only on my original list who are confused about why I haven’t sent a monthly newsletter in a while, this is what I’ve been doing every day. I’m sharing with you this week because I have a bunch of big announcements and I am thinking of merging these lists. More and more often in these daily emails, I’m sharing news, telling my personal stories and taking questions every single week, with workouts and recipes and health and fitness advice. I think you’ll love it -- but if you want out, no hard feelings, just hit unsubscribe.​

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Arnold's Monday motivation

  • Better than quitting smoking

  • Workout of the week

Want more stories from Arnold? Be sure to subscribe to Arnold's Pump Club podcast. It's similar to the email, but with a few slight changes and more perspective from Arnold. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Monday Motivation

One of the things I hear from all of you the most, whether it’s in the email replies, the tweets, or the Instagram posts, is that you have so much going on, you struggle with stress, and your stress makes it harder for you to focus on things like training and eating well.

I’ve talked before about how I dealt with stress when my life started to feel like too much in the 70s, between auditions, acting classes, training for bodybuilding competitions, bricklaying, buying my first apartment building, and starting to get my first roles in TV and the movie, but we have so many new members of our village, I think it’s worth talking about it again.

Plus, this week is going to be a practical example of everything happening at once because you’re going to see a few big announcements throughout this week’s emails. From FUBAR on Netflix, to our app, to my new book, you are probably going to be a little shocked by how much is going on this week — and that doesn’t even count the solar event I’m doing, the anti-hate event at my institute we are preparing for next week, or all of the media interviews that go with all of this stuff. It is a lot. And I know it isn’t just a lot for me, it’s a lot for Daniel and Adam, so this week, I’m going to have them both chime in on how they deal with stress, too.

In the 70s, with all of those things starting to happen at once, I started to feel completely hectic. You might call it scatterbrained. So I went to meditation classes. I learned to meditate for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening. It helped me settle. But more importantly, it helped me develop what I now call my focus principle: I only have enough focus on one thing at a time. So I do not let the next thing in until it’s time. Daniel can tell you if we are talking about my solar speech and he brings up the interview with Men’s Health happening next, I bring him right back to the solar speech. Until that speech is ready, we don’t talk about anything else — everything else is just waiting down the list until we check off what we are doing right now. When I have busy weeks like this, I will keep track the same way I tell you to keep track of your goals. OK, this interview is done, check it off the list, now we only have 5 things left, but we are only going to focus on the next one.

I know when you have a ton going on, it’s easy to let it all hit at once. It’s the natural way to think. But you have to train your mind to line those things up, focus, and hit them one at a time. Since we have FUBAR news coming, think about a big action set piece in a TV show or movie where I might be fighting 5 bad guys at once. If they’re surrounding me and I have to fight them all at once, it’s going to be a pain in the ass. But if I can line them up and deal with them one at a time, I have a chance. Try to do that in your life.

What might that look like for a busy parent balancing a job and household responsibilities? When you’re feeding your kids, you are feeding your kids. That’s it. There will be a huge temptation to feed them with one hand while checking work emails with the other, but don’t let the temptation win. Then you’ll end up with crying kids and a crappy work email because you’re half-assing both things. Give your kids your full attention. Once you send them off to school or daycare, you can give those work emails your full attention. When you’re working on a project, tune out the emails and give your project your full attention.

One. Thing. At. A.Time. I want that to be your mantra this week. Because, as you’re about to see, it’s my mantra. And it saves me every single day.

Better than quitting smoking

If you’re trying to live a longer life, it’s becoming harder and harder to deny the one thing that will make the biggest difference in your life.

While cold tubs, fasting, and supplements get all the headlines, more strength is the real fountain of youth.

A recent study followed more than 400,000 adults for nearly 20 years. The researchers wanted to see what helped improve lifespan the most. So they controlled for all the normal things that might shorten your life, such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, and then examined behaviors associated with longer life.

The scientists found that just 1 hour of aerobic exercise per week can lower your mortality risk by 15 percent. If you bump that up to 3 hours, you’re looking at a 27 percent reduction. But the real boost occurs when you add strength training.

Those who added resistance training one or two times per week saw a 40 percent reduction in mortality risk. To put that into context, that’s the same health improvement you’d see between a non-smoker and someone who smokes half a pack per day.

The craziest part? Only 24 percent of the 415,000 participants made strength training a part of their life.

As you know, it’s never too late to begin strength training and see the benefits. To help you train at least once per week, give this week’s workout a try. And if you want ongoing support and training, be sure to join the pre-sale list for The Pump app.

Workout of the Week

When time is short, one of the best ways to get in a great workout is by supersetting exercises. That means performing one exercise after another with little rest. You might have seen Arnold train like this when he performed a chest exercise followed by a back exercise.

But we like to throw in a little wrinkle to help make you stronger. That’s where cluster sets come in. Cluster sets are just like supersets, but you do multiple supersets within one cluster. This technique allows you to use a heavier weight than you normally would because of how you’re staging the reps and sets.

Here’s how it works: Select a weight you can lift for 4 to 5 reps for a push exercise (like a chest press) and 6 to 8 reps for a pulling exercise (like rows). Then do the following,

Set 1: 2 reps of push + 4 reps of pull (no rest)

Set 2: 1 rep of push + 2 reps of pull (no rest)

Set 3: 3 reps of push + 6 reps of pull (rest 3 min)

That’s one cluster. You’ll repeat this a total of two to three times, and then you’re done. Two exercises and you’ll be pumped, your heart rate will be up, and you should feel stronger.

Do the math, and you’re doing 6 reps (with your 4-rep maximum weight) on pushing exercises and 12 reps (with your 6 to 8 rep maximum weight) for pulling exercises.

Cluster 2: Pair a lower-body push exercise (like a squat) with a lower-body hinge exercise (like a deadlift).

Here’s how it works: Select a weight you can lift for 6 to 8 reps for the lower body push exercise and 12 to 15 reps for the hinge exercise. Then do the following,

Set 1: 4 reps of push + 8 reps of hinge (no rest)

Set 2: 3 reps of push + 6 reps of hinge (no rest)

Set 3: 5 reps of push + 10 reps of hinge(rest 3 min)

That’s one cluster. Just like the upper body workout, do two to three total clusters and call it a day.

If you’re doing bodyweight exercises, here’s how you can make this plan work for you.

Bodyweight Version

The bodyweight idea is very similar. The cluster sets will help you be able to do more reps than usual. But, because no weight is involved, you’re going to do higher reps. And, we’re going to pair an upper body and a lower body exercise. Here’s how it works

Cluster Example: Assume you do pushups for your upper body movements and squats for your lower body movement.

Set 1: 7 reps of an upper body exercise + 7 reps of a lower body exercise

Set 2: 6 reps of an upper body exercise + 6 reps of a lower body exercise

Set 3: 8 reps of an upper body exercise + 8 reps of a lower body exercise (rest 3 minutes)

That’s one cluster. You’ll repeat this a total of two to three times, and you’re done with the first cluster.Then, for the second cluster, you would select two new movements such as bodyweight row and lunges and repeat the process, and then call it a day.

NOTE: You’ll want to do a warmup and build up to these weights with 3 sets of each movement. In all, each cluster should take about 20-25 minutes. So, a cluster can be its own workout. Or, set aside 45 minutes to an hour and have an amazing full-body workout with just four exercises.

Thanks for being a part of our village. We all hope you have a great start to your week.

-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel

The health behavior that's better than quitting smoking

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 Arnold's Pump Club, you’ll be entered to win a personalized, signed copy of my Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding. Five winners will be selected.