We need to talk

Hello again to all of you. I am going to cover the elephant in the room, but that’s a very serious subject,...

Hello again to all of you.

I am going to cover the elephant in the room, but that’s a very serious subject, so I wanted to start with some candy before we get to the medicine.

First of all, I have a great charity contest going on where if you donate to After School All Stars, you get the chance to come to LA with a friend and attend an outdoor party at my house and hang out with me. It will be fun - trust me. Enter Here!

People have been asking for updates on all of the animals. So here we go.

Cherry continues to bite anyone’s ankle who comes to meet with me. Dutch and Lulu team up and chase each other around constantly, since they’re the puppies of the house. And Whiskey seems happy that Lulu has someone else to play with most of the time, because she can eat grass and destroy my lawn without having to deal with either of them. Now please enjoy the animal content you all ask me for every month...

We need to talk

Cherry and I were photographed on my electric Hummer for my Der Spiegel article.

Did everybody watch the Olympics? I loved watching the Olympics this past month. Even amidst all the turmoil in the world, it was amazing to see all of the countries come together through the different challenges so the athletes could compete and inspire millions of people. I am a fanatic about watching the Olympics. I love the old school sports, like shotput and the hammer throw, and I always watch gymnastics and weightlifting. I also love how the Olympics can inspire us, no matter our age. We saw a 13 year-old win gold in skateboarding, and a 62-year old equestrian rider win silver! If you missed it, here is a great recap of the best moments.

I was also on the cover of the big German magazine, Der Spiegel. I am so happy that our environmental work in California is drawing attention all over the world, because California can inspire the world to clean up the air while building the new clean economy that’s made California number one in economic growth over the past 5 years.

We need to talk

Last week I went on a bike ride and worked out at Gold’s Gym with my friend Michael Regan, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency! We talked about environmental issues, the mind connecting to the muscle, and we had a really great training session - chest and back for those of you wondering. I explained that a training program for the gym is no different than a plan to clean our air. And we had a great pump. Check out the video below!

The Controversy...

Now, let’s deal with the COVID stuff. If you are furious at me for my comments, read this because I think you can learn something. You might hate 90% of it and agree with 10%, but I’ll take that. If you agreed with me and think you’ve heard enough, please read this because there might be something here that helps you deal with people who don’t agree with you.

Earlier this month, I spoke with my friend Alex Vindman and Bianna Golodrya of CNN about Alex’s new book, and during that interview, I was asked about a Facebook comment I made back in January that had just gone viral again, where I discussed COVID, masks, and vaccines, and my opinion that we should listen to experts when 9 out of 10 of them agree.

We need to talk

In my answer, I had some harsh words. Here is the video:

And here is part of the transcription for those of you who prefer that:

Of course, some outlets decided to take one line out of this conversation which was, “Screw your freedom,” and ran with that. That’s fine! They have the right to choose clickbait instead of informing their audience.

The outlets began printing it, right-wing pundits tweeted that my father was a Nazi (they thought this was a revelation, because they probably missed my video after actual neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville chanting, “Jews will not replace us,” and I guess they also missed my video after January 6th), and some fitness influencers decided that this was the last straw and they could no longer support me. That is also fine! That’s also their right.

If they listened to the whole quote, they would have realized that I am talking about all of the whiny babies that I see going viral on the internet who think that being asked to put on a mask is a perfect reason to throw a toddler fit in a grocery store and look like an absolute child. These are people who yell “FREEDOM” in their American flag hats while not taking any time to study the history of our nation and how freedom and duty have ALWAYS gone hand in hand. They think being an American means not caring about their fellow Americans, and I’m sorry, I can’t accept that.

That’s why I wrote my piece in The Atlantic to explain the history behind my thoughts, with quotes from the founding fathers and our Constitution that emphasize the responsibility that comes with our hard-earned liberty.

But my favorite quote came from a member of the World War 2 generation. That generation sent its men and boys all over the world to fight, and asked the people who were at home to ration food and gasoline and sacrifice all types of things to ensure America’s victory.

He said:

Thank you Bill Platt.

With all of this going on, it was a wild week! One of my favorite strongmen I’ve ever worked with took my poster off of his gym wall, then a bodybuilder who played me in a movie copied that move, which wasn’t very creative. We lost a sponsor of the Arnold Sports Festival, we added new sponsors immediately, and angry people yelled at me on the internet, accusing me of being a liberal, and selling out - I guess they think I get paid to promote health, and they missed my fitness crusade for the past 50 years. But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. They might have been confused when I donated $1,000,000 to buy protective equipment for our healthcare workers at the beginning of this pandemic and thought I made money instead of giving it.

So you might be wondering how I’m doing!

The answer, as always, is fantastic. When the worst thing that happens to me this month is some people yelling at me, then losing a sponsor for the Arnold Sports Festival, that’s when you realize how lucky we are to live in this country.

In fact, if nothing else, this whole episode has made me say, “I love this fucking country.” Because you know what? All of these people have the right to complain, and they won’t be sent off to prison. And I have the right to say what I believe. That’s beautiful.

What Can We Learn?

I have looked at this as a learning experience. I’ve seen so many people make up their mind based on three words of a 5 minute answer, but I’ve also seen tons of them change their mind when they saw the full context. I have seen outlets try to educate people instead of firing up their passions and succeed. I have also seen outlets that post a photo of me walking outside in a parking lot with no mask to try to get their readers and viewers as angry as possible about me… following the rules. Yes, you can tell your friends, even Arnold says you don’t need to wear a mask outside.

I’ve watched all of it and learned. A lot of our news sources, whether it’s social media or mainstream news, and whether it is left or right, prefer that you’re emotional instead of informed. Yes, the bulk of this outrage came from the right wing, from my own party. But I also saw liberal accounts clip my speech to a 10 second clip because they agreed with it.

There’s an old joke this brings to mind, and I think it’s true. If Jesus showed up today and had a press conference in Santa Monica, and he showed he could walk on water, half of the press and social media accounts would write, “This guy is supposed to be the son of God, and he can’t even swim?”

We know that outrage and controversy sells in the social media age. So how do we break out of that?

One quick question that I think could help all of us when we see things on social media or the news is to ask: “Is this teaching me something, or is it making me feel something?”

All of us could do with a lot more teaching and a lot less feeling these days.

It makes me worry about us as a people. We are constantly choosing our feelings over learning and being open-minded to other ideas. We haven’t been able to come together around very simple steps that can help prevent the spread of this disease. That makes me worry about how we would respond to an even bigger challenge. We have to stop making everything political, or we will be in big trouble when the next crisis strikes us. We have to be able to come together.

A mask should not be political, and it should not be the reason for a protest - I can tell you that right now.

A lot of my friends asked me if masks really worked last year, and this is the story that I shared with them. Two hair stylists who were infected with COVID and symptomatic treated 139 clients over several days. But everyone wore masks. And they spread it to zero people.

If you are someone who thinks masks are an infringement on your freedom, can I ask what happens to you when you get caught not wearing a mask? Is it that you are politely asked to put one on? Or is it that you may be asked to leave the business if you refuse? At worst, you might have paid a fine? Was your freedom really taken away? Think with your learning brain, not your emotional brain right now. Even in the worst case, if you paid a fine or got kicked off an airline for refusing to wear a mask, did you lose your freedom?

No, you didn’t. If you live in the United States, you probably made a social media video complaining about it, and you might have even gone viral. That’s not the behavior of a dictatorship.

We live in a wonderful country where you have boundless opportunity and more freedom than anywhere else. You’re lucky.

But with your liberty comes responsibility. I used traffic lights as an example in my answer, and I think most of us have accepted the limitation traffic lights place on our freedom. We also have speed limits and rules against drunk driving. When an ambulance turns on its sirens, you pull over, even though you don’t know the person they are trying to save. Men in this country still register for the Selective Service, which means that if we end up in a war, the government can draft you to send you off. It is against the law for a man between 18 and 25 to fail to register. Think about that.

We can see limitations on freedom all around us, because that’s how society works. It is how every society since the beginning of civilization worked, and the United States, with all its flaws, is the pinnacle. We will always have more work to do, but that’s part of what makes us great.

If all of us ran around only caring about ourselves, be honest, we’d have a pretty shitty country. It might work out for a few people who make themselves into warlords, but eventually they’d have their own limitations on freedom, and who would you complain to then?

Talk to your doctor

I have had a few friends ask me if I would do all of this over again. My answer is, I maybe would be a little less Arnold in the answer and simply explain that freedom has always come with responsibilities without saying “Screw your freedom.” I love the freedom and opportunity this country offers, and I talk about my devotion to the United States and the debt I owe to this country in every speech. I am always giving back to this country because of what its freedom offered me, because as I found success, I also found that freedom comes with a duty to help your fellow Americans.

But I received several messages from fans who said my outburst caused their grandparent or friend to be vaccinated, and to me, that’s worth it.

While we are talking about vaccines, I want to be clear about my views on what you should do if you’re on the fence.

Talk to your doctor.

That’s what I did. I talked through the vaccine with my doctor and he told me it was definitely the right move, that we knew COVID could be deadly. And I got both shots. I have been perfectly healthy, and the best part is, I’ve been able to go back to mostly my normal life, and soon I will be talking to my doctor about a booster shot. The best argument I can make for the vaccine is that I want our economy booming and I don’t want this virus to slow us down ever again. I doubt any of you do, either.

Listening to your doctor can be the difference between life and death. Believe me, I know. My mother had the same congenital heart issue I have in her aortic valve. I had my first surgery to repair it in 1997. They told me I’d need to get it replaced again and you probably remember my screwed up heart surgery a few years ago.

My mother was a different story. The only reason the doctors checked my heart initially was because they found the aortic defect in my mother and knew I might have the same issue. But she didn’t want to listen to the doctors and have it repaired. She told me “When God wants me, he can take me.” I debated and debated with her. I told her God might have inspired the surgeon who knew how to fix it. I tried everything. We were lucky, she made it to 76 and got to meet my kids and see me on movie sets and meet American Presidents with me. I always made sure my mother felt like a queen, because that was what she deserved. But one day she went to visit my father’s grave like she did every week, and she just collapsed. Her heart failed her. A part of me will always think, if she had listened to the doctor, she might still be here. She might have even gotten to meet her first great-grandchild.

It reminds me of the old story of the man who sat on his roof during a huge flood. A rowboat came by and offered to rescue him, but he said “God will take care of me!” Then a motorboat came by, then a helicopter -same thing. When the guy drowned and got to heaven, he asked God how he could have let him down, and God said, “I sent you a rowboat, a motorboat, and a helicopter. What else could I do?”

I personally feel the same way about the vaccine when I see people searching for miracle cures, from hydroxychloroquine to this horse parasite medicine. People are searching for a miracle cure from the influencers who agree with their politics. Meanwhile, the miracle might be right in front of them.

I also know that there are some people with conditions that prevent them from getting the vaccine. Besides protecting ourselves, one reason the rest of us are getting the vaccine is to protect them.

Talk to your doctor, not people who don’t have your health as their main responsibility. The Instagram and Facebook accounts you follow that give information on vaccines are not concerned about your health. They are concerned with getting more followers and making money.

I have seen way too many stories about people who listened to politicized information about the vaccine instead of their doctors, and then changed their minds when it was too late.

At the end of the day, everyone has to make their own decision about getting vaccinated. But if I can inspire even a few of you or your friends or family to avoid another one of these tragic stories that tore families apart, I want to do it.

First, I want to talk to my fitness friends, because I know how being fit can make you feel invincible.

Bill Phillips is a fitness icon who thought he was safe because he had already had COVID. He is a great guy who has furthered our fitness crusade and changed millions of lives. But he ended up on a ventilator after contracting the Delta variant. For my friends in the fitness industry, this particular fact may matter the most: he lost 70 pounds of muscle. I am wishing Bill all the best in his continued recovery and I know he’ll be back, but I also want to thank him for using his tragic situation to encourage people to talk to their doctors and get vaccinated. Read more here.

I told my team to go ahead and collect stories of people who shared or believed in misinformation instead of their doctors’ medical advice, just in case it helps you convince any of your friends or yourself. I don’t want any of you to end up in this position.

COVID-19 Obituaries

Former Newsmax host dies of COVID after deathbed about-face on anti-vax beliefs [Dick Farrell, 65]

Pastor Landon Spradlin died of coronavirus after Facebook post doubting its threat [Landon Spradlin, 66]

Former Nashville official who publicly doubted COVID-19 dies of virus [Tony Tenpenny, 57]

Conservative talk radio host dies of COVID-19 [Phil Valentine, 61]

Unvaccinated Las Vegas man died regretting not getting vaccine [Michael Freedy, 39]

Dickinson City councilman dies after contracting COVID-19 [H Scott Apley, 45]

Man who made fun of vaccination efforts on social media dies of Covid [Stephen Harmon, 34]

COVID-19 Killed Their Brother. Misinformation About The Virus Divided Their Family. [Kyle Dixon, 27]

Ohio man dies from COVID-19 after ripping DeWine's lockdown - New York Daily News [John McDaniel, 60]

South Carolina local GOP leader dies of COVID-19 [Pressley Stutts, 64]

Fitness enthusiast, 42, who rejected vaccine, dies of Covid [John Eyers, 42]

Coronavirus-denying fitness influencer dies from COVID-19 [Dmitriy Stuzhuk, 33]

Anti-vaxxer Colorado sheriff's deputy, 33, dies of COVID complications [Daniel Trujillo, 33]

Top Fox producer Eric Spinato dies from coronavirus [Eric Spinato, 52]

After La. nurse dies with COVID-19, vaccine posts go viral [Olivia Guidry, 24, Michael Pappas, 30]

Congressman-elect Luke Letlow dies after battling Covid-19 [Luke Letlow, 41]

Norway: Top COVID-19 Denier Dies From Virus After Hosting House Parties [Hans Gaarder, 60]

Covid denier, 28, warns mum 'this is not a hoax' before dying from coronavirus [Curt Carpenter, 28]

Texas Anti-Mask ‘Freedom Rally’ Organizer Fighting For His Life With COVID-19 [Caleb Wallace, 30]

Your doctor took an oath to protect you, that guy on Instagram didn't.

If you took the time to read any of these stories, I think you can understand that this virus isn’t some hoax.

People are so obsessed with being contrarian and “questioning everything” that they have lost sight of the truth. We have listened to our doctors for years, and now that something serious is happening, suddenly some people say, “well, instead of listening to my doctor, I am going to do my own research.”

I understand you don’t have faith in government, but that doesn’t mean everything is a conspiracy and all of our institutions are broken. In fact, our medical institutions have continued to progress and innovate even as government has been frozen and failed the people for years. I mean, did we not all get our polio shots when we were younger? What about smallpox? Measles? It is a victory for medicine that these diseases have become problems of the past. But somehow today medicine has become political.

It’s because people are dividing us on even the simplest issues, and they are doing that for one reason only: to make money. Whether it’s for their Instagram or their campaign accounts, they just want money.

I can already hear, “Don’t doctors make money, Arnold?” YES! Because they went to medical school for years, then had a residency and an internship, we pay them to take care of us. They also take an oath to protect us. If I went to my doctor and said, “Fuck you, I’m getting out of this office and only getting medical advice from the internet,” he would try to convince me that’s a very bad idea. Not because of money - he has a hundred other patients paying his bills, too. Because he took the Hippocratic Oath.

Do you think the influencers you see on Instagram took an oath to take care of you? Of course not.

We seem to be living in a world where people think they can be famous with no success and a few hot takes. They make money from your fear and anger, and they thrive on it. They can choose that path, but it burns fast, not long. Lasting influence requires credibility.

Back in my day, I had to win 5 Mr. Universe competitions, 5 Mr. Olympias, and 1 Mr. World before anyone wanted to make a movie about bodybuilding. Today, people have learned that they can be famous just for yelling on the internet and profit just by making people angry. I’ve had it with them, but I want to reach out to those of you who have been misled and say one last time:

Don’t listen to me. Don’t listen to the people you follow. Your doctor took an oath to protect you. None of the rest of us did. I’ll always try to give you the best advice because I don’t need any more money or more fame, but I still haven’t taken the oath your doctor took or done the work to be an expert in medicine, and no amount of googling will change that.

Faith in Institutions

As I’ve continued to learn from this, one thing that really strikes me is that so many people have lost faith in institutions.

As I said, I think our medical institutions have succeeded for years, but if we are talking about government, our institutions have failed the people for years.

When is the last time our Congress invested in our infrastructure? Hopefully they will pass the money we need for roads and schools and broadband and the real infrastructure we need to rebuild America soon, but we have had decades of bridges collapsing and roads falling apart, and government hasn’t done its most basic job. The last major investment in our infrastructure I can remember was when Eisenhower was President and we built the interstate highway system. That was more than 60 years ago!

And for years now, we have read article after article about income inequality, and the growing concentration of wealth among the top 1% (like me) while the middle and working class are left behind, but has government sat down and seriously tried to deal with the issue, the way Teddy Roosevelt did during his presidency? He had problems with companies consolidating too much power over American workers, and the country’s politics, and he used his office to do something about it. All our politicians seem to do is fight with each other.

And then there is our insane racial inequality, where the average Black family that attended college has $70,000 in wealth compared to $268,000 for the average White family. Black Americans still deal with appraisers putting lower values on their homes, like this couple that saw their appraisal go up by $135,000 when they removed any evidence that a Black person lived there. THIS HAPPENED IN 2020! It is a huge failure of our institutions that these things still happen. As a guy who got his start in real estate, I know the value of an appraisal. That can get you the loans to put your kid through college. And what big things has the government done to make things better since the Civil Rights Act? That was more than 50 years ago!

So if you don’t have much faith in government, I don’t blame you. Our politicians have been failing to deal with the big, big issues for years.

But I will tell you this: You don’t fix government by acting just like the politicians that fail to deliver big wins by acting just like the politicians. Politicians love to fight. They love outrage. They love it because that’s how they raise money. They lock your grandparents and your relatives into monthly contributions using their fights as their fundraising appeals.

Don't Play the Politicians’ Game

I don’t have much faith in government, but I try not to respond with more of their anger. WE DO NOT HAVE TO PLAY THEIR GAME.

Politicians love to talk about problems and not solutions. The fact is, problems are better for fundraising than solutions.

I believe we have to respond, the way my heroes Teddy Roosevelt and California Governor Hiram Johnson did, by changing the game.

Ask yourself: Am I part of the solution here, or am I part of the problem?

If you are always hungry to learn, you will always find solutions. So before you let the politicians get you angry, ask yourself, what reforms can you fight for to encourage politicians to work instead of fight?

When I became governor, I didn’t know that political reform would become part of my legacy. I was always hungry, and I learned like a sponge, so when I saw that the Democrats and Republicans couldn’t come together, I asked why? I found out that through gerrymandering, they draw their own districts to make sure they always get re-elected. So I stumbled into what we call redistricting reform. In California, we ended the 200 year old system of gerrymandering by putting the people in charge of drawing the lines, not the politicians. Everyone said we couldn’t do it, but we did. And then we campaigned around the country, so that this year, one-third of congressional districts will be drawn in a bipartisan way, instead of by the politicians. This is how you drain the swamp and produce better politicians who want to work for the people instead of for themselves.

I also learned that our primary system drags politicians to the extremes, and then it’s too hard for them to come back together when they need to actually work. So we passed an open primary system, where all of the candidate have to appeal to all of the voters. Research has shown that that reform has led to the people being much happier with their representatives who now actually work together to get things done. Because let’s not forget, since the time of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the work of government has been to compromise to get things done for the people. We have always had parties, even though my hero President Washington was an independent and advised against them. But they knew their first job was getting things done.

This latest generation of politicians seems to think their job is tweeting or screaming crazy shit on TV that they can use in a fundraising email before they fly off to Cancun to get away when their state is in crisis. We need politicians to re-learn their jobs, because these decades of gridlock are weakening America. They need to look at the founding fathers and how they had vicious partisan battles but still came to work planning to pass laws for Americans, not to just block everything.

And I tried to pass some campaign finance reform measures. It didn’t go well. You don’t get everything done on your to-do list when you’re governor.

These are just some of the reforms to our system that can put the politicians back to work and give the power back to the people. Right now, politicians and pundits are the only ones who profit from our complete stagnation and nonstop fighting against each other instead of fighting for the country.

So if you are worried about our institutions, the answer isn’t to behave like them and scream at each other. The answer is finding ways to repair our institutions. What have you done?

I will continue fighting to return power from politicians to the people, but I can’t do it alone.

After you ask yourself what reforms you will fight for, ask yourself this.

Did I vote for a politician because of their accomplishments, or because of their political party or the way they talked? Whenever I see Congressional approval, I wonder how more than 90% of these people get re-elected every year. They’re less popular than herpes. You would not vote to re-elect herpes. But many of us vote emotionally. Instead of thinking, “Did this politician improve my life and the lives of his constituents,” we tend to think “This politician seems angry about the same things I am, so let’s re-elect.” But now think about the things you’re angry about, did your representatives do anything besides talk? Maybe it’s time to rethink the tremendous power of your vote. Vote out everybody who doesn’t do their job, no matter what party.

We need to get away from this unserious business of yelling at each other online for clout and get back to working with each other to fix things. We have to restore faith in our government by electing people who treat working on policy as the job, and don’t think the main responsibility that comes with their taxpayer-funded paycheck is getting re-elected.

I am really worried about us if we can’t find a way to work together again and do the people’s work, not the party’s work.

If you remember the book I recommended you read in April, Think Again by Adam Grant, it is all about changing your thinking to listen to new ideas. There is even an entire chapter in there about vaccines. I recommend it again!

Community Heroes

With all of this going on, it can be easy to become too negative. But remember, there are stories all around us of people who have been lights in the darkness of this pandemic. There are heroes all over the world who have stepped up to help their fellow humans. If you get too sad about everything going on, look to them and be inspired. Because we always have the ability to have an impact on the world around us, and even if you just help one person, you’re taking control and turning this negative into a positive. I think a lot of this desperation and anger we see in the world is because people feel a loss of control, and I want you to remember that you always have the ability to take some control back by helping your community. I want to highlight three stories about people who have been heroes during this time to inspire all of you.

15 Incredible kids who stepped up in 2020

Heroes Among Us: East Side Riders Bike Club serves up free pancake breakfast meals in Watts

Muralist EZRA L.A. elevates community heroes and Feed SoCal

Help our Firefighters!

I want to also talk to you about the wildfire situation on the West Coast, because our firefighters do everything they can to protect us and they can always use our support.

Every year we go through what seems like unimaginable tragedy. People are displaced from their homes, entire towns burned to a crisp, and many of us are left wondering what comes next. Will it get worse? As governor, I’ve seen first hand how our California firefighters are the toughest and bravest in the world. These guys need our support now more than ever. Usually I host an annual event to raise money for California firefighters, but with COVID we’ve had to cancel it two years in a row. So this year I‘d love for everyone to donate to their local fire departments. Most of them have funds to take care of widows and children and support firefighters. Here are the ones I support:

And finally, I know some of you might have thought I forgot about this one, but the Zoom winners from last month will get a separate email today so we can schedule this, and I can’t wait to get on a Zoom with all of you.

Fan Questions:

Can you give your fans an update on filming?

I have a few projects that are very close to being ready: Triplets, an action film, and my Netflix TV show. They’re all racing to see which we will film first, and I hope by the end of this year, I’m finally back on a set. It’s been too long with this pandemic!

How did you keep such a close relationship with Franco over 50 years, and what advice(s) could you give me, and others, to strengthen relationships, so that we can have meaningful life long friendships?

Franco and I just immediately clicked. From the first moment we met in Europe, we knew that we both helped each other. Franco made me stronger, and I helped him with his bodybuilding. Later in life, we always gave each other advice and cheered for each other’s successes and were there to comfort each other after our falls. So the first piece of advice I would give is that any long-lasting close relationship has to go both ways. It has to be symbiotic, where you both help each other, or it won’t work.

The second piece of advice I’d give is that you have to make an effort. When I moved to America and Franco was still back in Europe, we had to write letters to communicate. But it kept us in touch, and eventually I was able to convince Joe Weider to bring Franco here. Until Franco passed away, we were constantly making an effort to email and FaceTime each other, and hang out in person. We played tennis for years (even though Franco sometimes didn’t show up), we had dinners all the time, we hung out with each other’s families, and sometimes we just sat up late laughing and playing chess over a bottle of Franco’s homemade wine. When we each got married, we were groomsmen in each other’s weddings. When we had our kids, we were the first ones to show up in the hospital with flowers. When our kids had their christenings, we were always right there for each other. We were even godparents to each other's children. And in the sad moments, we were also always there for one another. Franco was the one who gave me the news that my brother had died when we lived together in Santa Monica, and when one of his parents passed away, we canceled our training session and sat on the couch together watching TV all day, just to be together. You have to make an effort to make any relationship work and make sure you stay connected.

And finally, you have to accept that your friend isn’t the same person you are. I know you guys got a kick out of the stories about Franco disappearing in the middle of a tennis game, but if I got enraged about that, it could have led to a major fight. I just laughed about it, because I knew Franco had this very outlaw upbringing in Sardinia, and that goofy sneakiness was part of his personality. Instead of getting upset, I got a kick out of it, and those moments that could have been fights became stories we told while we were laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe.

This weekend is the 2nd anniversary of Franco’s passing, and I miss him every day. Thank you for this question because I got to spend a lot of time reminiscing.

We need to talk
We need to talk
We need to talk
We need to talk

When Franco was sick with his heart issue, I always read him funny stories and shared old photos on my iPad to cheer him up.

Do you have any advice for a girl getting into weightlifting?

I would have the same advice for you as I do for any boy!

But it really depends on what type of weightlifting you want to do. Do you want to lift to just feel better and look better, or do you want to get into powerlifting, or are you inspired by the Olympics and want to start Olympic lifting? They’re all good options.

First of all, don’t get discouraged because of your gender because, remember, fitness is for everyone. If anyone gives you crap about it, let your lifting do the talking. If you want to just start lifting to feel better, take it one step at a time, start with lower weights and really focus on your technique. Slow and controlled. Don't worry about the fancy exercises you see on Instagram either, stick with the basic lifts like the squat, deadlift and press until you master them. After a while you'll see yourself getting better and stronger, and before you know it you'll be deadlifting more than all the guys in the gym.

If you are like me and you were inspired by the Olympics and you loved watching these men and women do their lifts, read about Kate Nye. Until 2014, she was trying to make it into the Olympics in gymnastics. She didn’t achieve that dream, but only 5 years after she started weightlifting, she had the United States’ best result in over 20 years by winning the silver medal in Tokyo. She overcame some tremendous mental health struggles, and I hope she inspires you, because she definitely inspires me. Read more here.

Stay consistent and stay confident and no one can beat you! One day I’ll be talking about you in my newsletter to inspire another young woman to start her fitness crusade!

Here are a few of my favorites from last month:

  • Pump of the month: Pull-ups. It is always important to mix in bodyweight exercises with your weight training.

  • Song of the month: Shine a Light- Rolling Stones

  • Movie of the month: Gunpowder Milkshake

  • Book of the month: Here, Right Matters by Col. Alex Vindman

Archive shot of the month: With Guns N' Roses on the music video set of "You Could Be Mine"

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Your friend,