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Today’s Health Upgrade
The multivitamin test
Arnold Q&A: Training in his 70s
The Multivitamin Test
A good multivitamin can help you cover gaps in your diet, but is it better than real food?
Researchers in Denmark compared a diet with fruits and vegetables to the same diet without fruits and veggies, but with a multivitamin instead.
The researchers found that multivitamins don’t nourish your body as well as food. One possible reason is that fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients and micronutrients that your body knows how to put to use.
Does that mean multivitamins are bad? Not at all. They are still perfectly fine for nutritional insurance and are better than doing nothing (especially if you’re light on your fruits and veggies). But before you start popping pills, the nutritional upgrade you’re looking for is likely easier than you imagine.
In the study, the participants added the following to their meals:
Lunch: Broccoli and carrots
Dinner: Onions and tomato
Do you need to eat these exact foods? Not at all. The point is that your body will react well to just a few servings of fruits and vegetables, so try adding to one meal…and then another…and then a third. Be patient, build the habit, and you might be surprised how easy it is to transform your diet.
I really owe this person a drink. But the truth is, it’s hard to maintain as you get older. Forget building. Just maintenance is a struggle. You have to adjust. The main reason I keep up as much as I do is because of my relentless routine. There is no skipping workouts. There are no crappy days. It always happens, no matter what is going on, no matter how I feel. The other reason is that I’ve adapted my training. I’m realistic. I am not going to hit any records. I do my bike ride, and then I do machine circuits. I pick 5 or 6 exercises and I do 5 or 6 rounds with no rest beyond what it takes to move to the next machine. About 30 sets total. My reps are high, about 15-20 each set. By the end, I’m schvitzy. I’m not as strong as the young guys in the gym, but more than once when they’ve tried my workout, they’ve had to stop to catch their breath.
An example might be: lat pulldown-incline press-machine row-machine bench press-pullover.
I never had this problem. I felt like I belonged in America from the time I was in middle school. So when I finally got here in 1968, it felt like home. I literally was so excited when I got the invitation after I won the Mr. Universe in England that I didn’t go back to Munich, where I lived in the gym, to get my things. I called my friends Franco and Albert and said “I’m not coming back.”
Now, when I got here, I didn’t speak great English. So I took English classes non-stop. I didn’t want to speak German at all for a long time, I wanted to force myself to assimilate. There were a lot of times people laughed at me, like when I wanted more cabbage at the delicatessen and told the owner I loved his garbage. People made their careers out of making fun of my accent. I didn’t let that bother me because I knew I was in the right place, and that was their problem. I guess the answer is, I always felt like I belonged, and when I ran into issues like my English, I used the same will I used in the gym to overcome them.
I’m simple. I have coffee and go. No time to think.
Challenge of the Week
Ever feel like your willpower is in short supply? Welcome to the club.
We all have a limited amount of “willpower” because the part of your brain that controls it also manages your day-to-day tasks, short-term memory, and staying focused. In other words, your busy life drains your willpower, which is why it’s helpful to have ways to override your brain's limitations.
Research suggests a little friendly competition can help you dig deeper and achieve your goals even when you’re not feeling super motivated.
Scientists gathered 94 families and tracked their daily step counts using a smartphone or an activity tracker. The experience was gamified for approximately half of the participants. These families were awarded 10 points daily if everyone in the group hit their step goal. The other half of participants simply tracked steps for tracking’s sake.
The result? People in the “competition” group walked more than a mile per day farther on average than those in the regular group. The result held true even during a 12-week follow-up when the game was off.
This weekend, we want to help you create a real-life version of the study to help you level up. Here’s what we recommend:
Step 1: Reach out to (at least) three people, preferably friends or family (you’ll see why in a moment). But you can always join an online group, as well.
Step 2: Set the terms. Make it fun, but keep it based on the action you can measure. There’s no right or wrong way to keep score. But make sure there is a way to assess how you get “points” and how someone wins.
Step 3: Set a timeline. Short timelines work great for focus, so make the finish line as short as 1-week, but no longer than 2 to 3 weeks. Once the game is over, you can reset the terms and play again.
Step 4: Create a reward. This doesn’t have to be crazy, but it should feel good. For instance, you can meet for breakfast or dinner with your group, and the winner for that week doesn’t have to pay. Or, everyone contributes $25 per week, and the winner gets the money.
Step 5: Let the games begin. It'll feel great if you bring how the prize, everyone in the group wins if you stay consistent, work hard, and see the results you want. The added social interaction will add more connection and support to your life.
Give it a try, and let us know how it goes. We hope you all have a great weekend!
-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel
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