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Today’s Health Upgrade
Sex, giving, and pizza?
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Arnold’s Tuesday Motivation
This week I want to talk about something I’ve said for years because I truly believe it. I see a lot of comments and questions from all of you on social media or in the email inbox (don’t forget, reply to this email with any questions you want us to cover or trends or fads you want us to break down).
“Am I too old to lift?” “Should women do strength training?” “Won’t resistance training hurt my running?”
Let’s be clear. Fitness is for everyone. More specifically, resistance training is for everyone.
We have shared study after study about the benefits of strength training. People with strong muscles live longer and, more importantly, live better. Strength makes everything easier.
If you are a runner, strength training will improve your running. In fact, strength training will improve any sport you enjoy. I see messages every day now from people who were hesitant about lifting but got sucked in by this email or the app, and they’re surprised at how they’ve improved in their running, or cycling, or soccer.
This is heaven to me because lifting weights was seen as a negative for most sports when I started training. Now, every sports team has a bigger gym than we ever had in the 70s. Even golfers talk about how training has benefitted their game.
If you’re older, it is never too late. I hope you’ve seen the studies we’ve shared about how strength training can minimize common injuries, strengthen your bones, and help you live longer with a better quality of life. It helps with balance and coordination, and it protects your brain. But if you haven’t been reading for a long time, trust me. Add some resistance to your life. You will benefit in so many ways, and even though it is harder at our age to build muscle - it isn’t impossible. Trust me — I’m turning 76 this week.
If you’re a woman, there is absolutely no reason to fear getting bulky or any of the wild crap you hear. To be honest, I got used to hearing this from everyone — not just women — back when I was competing. It always shocked me. Did people think they would hit the gym once and suddenly look like they were ready to get on stage at a bodybuilding show? When people said, “I don’t want to look like you,” I thought, “Are you nuts? It took me 4-5 hours a day, 6 days a week to look like this.”
Building muscle is very gradual. You are not going to wake up one day looking like a bodybuilder. And more importantly, we know that women are more prone to osteoporosis. Strength training has been shown to help. Not just by protecting bone density. By increasing bone density.
You can ask me about any demographic, and I will have the same answer. Add some resistance training to your life. Fitness is for everyone.
We will always be here to give you the motivation and the weekly workouts. I’m just asking you to pump yourself up.
Gym Anxiety? Read This
After reading Arnold’s motivation, you’re probably pumped to get started, push harder, or get back into a routine. But, we know that sometimes the idea of going to the gym or improving your health can create a lot of stress, anxiety, or fear.
Researchers found an incredibly effective way to reduce your anxiety and help you remove the barriers that stand in the way of taking action. If you want more self-belief, it’s time to put in the reps and practice positive self-talk.
Researchers recently examined different methods for helping inactive people fight their anxiety and overcome the hurdles that prevent them from being active. Some people saw reduced anxiety and stress just by working with a trainer. The scientists believe that having someone hold you accountable makes it easier to take the first step, and then once you are in the gym with support, you realize many of your fears aren’t as bad as you imagined.
But the most significant changes — with zero percent dropout (which is incredible) — were experienced by those who did a 12-week workout and practiced mindset techniques that help reframe thoughts and emotions.
The researchers used “cognitive behavior techniques,” which include many different methods that help you examine your anxiety, rather than beat yourself up for experiencing it. One technique is identifying your current state compared to your goal state. Let’s say you’re not exercising because you’re worried others will judge you. Instead of obsessing about the judgment, ask yourself, “Who can I become if I could work out just a few times per week?”
Becoming more aware of how your emotions hold back your potential can help you take action. Another effective technique involves removing judgment from your emotions. Everyone is nervous or uncomfortable in the beginning. These emotions are not problems; they are part of being human. And, the real issue is not what you think but how you react or punish yourself for having the thoughts in the first place. (If you want an in-depth guide on strengthening your mindset and improving self-perception, read this book).
Life is a mind game. But if you can accept that every emotion isn’t inherently bad, and that many fears are bigger in your mind than in reality, you can take steps to remove the power from the anxiety that controls your outcomes.
If you need a place to start, don’t worry about stepping into the gym. Try going for a couple of ten-minute walks per day. You’ll feel better and realize you can overcome these emotions. Or, give yesterday's bodyweight workout a try.
If your anxiety is severe, remember, there is no shame in asking for help. As Arnold tells us, there is no such thing as being “self-made.” We all thrive with the support of others. Real strength is asking for help when you need it. No matter what, know you’ve got this!
Sex, Pizza, and Giving?
What do sex, pizza, and giving all have in common? They all stimulate the same part of your brain. But unlike your favorite slice, the mental boost can pay off in other ways.
Research suggests that helping others is one of the best things you can do for your health and your happiness.
An analysis of 27 studies on happiness found that acts of kindness — anything from donating time and money to providing assistance designed to benefit others — increase well-being.
Research also suggests that helping others strengthens your social networks, encouraging you to interact more with others. Not only does this improve your self-esteem (doing good makes you feel good about yourself), but it also leads to more interaction and connection, which are both associated with happiness and a longer lifespan.
One study suggests that helping others can reduce early mortality rates by 22% compared to those who don’t engage in acts of kindness.
Nutrition and exercise get a lot of attention (for good reasons) but don’t forget that social health is also an important component of health. And one of the easiest ways to strengthen your social muscles is to help others, give back, and spread positivity.