Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes.
Today’s Health Upgrade
A note from Arnold
Muscle soreness solution
Workout of the week
From Arnold: My Morning Routine
I always hear people telling me I motivated them, and I have to tell you, it’s one of my favorite things in the world. It’s heaven to hear that I have an impact. But motivation will only take you so far. It is wonderful to feel all pumped up, but if that’s all it takes, people wouldn’t fall off the wagon. To harness that motivation, you need to build a routine.
Last Friday, I talked about how I create routines. And many of you wanted to know more about my routines. I’m going to share how I start every day, but I want to mention something important to keep in mind. You need discipline until your routine is so automatic that you never think about it. Because once you start thinking, your mind will fight with itself.
The part of you that wants to sit still (it lives in us all!) will tell the motivated part that you can start tomorrow. The only way to silence that is by removing those thoughts with simple behaviors that guide you like a machine to start your day. That’s why when I wake up, there’s never any question about what I am doing.
Each morning, I make the coffee and feed the dogs and Whiskey and Lulu. While I drink my coffee, I check my emails and read a couple of newspapers. And as soon as my coffee is finished, I ride my bike to the gym and exercise, and then I eat breakfast. That’s the first time of the day that I let myself start thinking.
It’s been like this throughout my life, although not always with so many animals. I was first motivated by Reg Park, the former Mr. Universe who became Hercules in the movies. But having that spark of motivation wasn’t what created my success. It was my routine.
Think of it like a car with a dead battery. You jumpstart the car; that’s your motivation. But if you don’t drive around for a while, the battery will die again immediately. If you start trying to get fit, your body is used to sitting still. You have to move for a while to make sure that spark doesn’t fade. That’s why we have you picking small actions you accomplish every day for my big vision challenge.
I want you to build a routine so the spark from your motivation never dies. Keep going, I see all of your comments, and I’m proud of you. Every day, check off that routine until it’s so automatic that you don’t even think about it. -Arnold
Should You Take Painkillers When You're Sore?
Did the first week of your 2023 workouts make your body wish for extra off days? If so, think twice before grabbing the ibuprofen. That’s because popular pain relievers might slow your recovery.
While inflammation has a bad reputation, a little increase after your workout can do your body good. When you exercise, your strained muscles release chemicals that trigger your body to increase inflammation to repair the damage and make your body stronger and more resistant. This is what you want to happen.
But, when you take pain-relievers like ibuprofen (what you find in Advil) or naproxen, it could reduce your body’s natural inflammatory response and slow your recovery.
Your best bet for faster recovery is to go for a walk, which increases blood flow and helps your muscles feel better. Other recovery options with scientific support include foam rolling, wearing compression garments (think tights), or even drinking tart cherry juice.
Workout of the Week: The Countdown
If you’re looking to get your heart rate up and feel the pump without heading to the gym, try this simple workout. But don’t confuse simple with easy.
The workout consists of two exercises that you perform back-to-back, resting as little as possible. The goal is to focus on good reps on every set. Use the chart below to adjust the workout to your skill level.
How to do it:
Set a timer to see how quickly you can complete this workout.
Perform the starting number of reps of pushups (use the chart below to customize your experience level, as beginners will do a different number of reps than advanced).
Then, perform the starting number of reps of lunges (again, use the chart below to determine how many reps you should perform).
After you complete your lunges, return to pushups and do one fewer rep than your first set. (Example: if you did 10 reps on the first set, you’ll do 9 reps on the second set.)
Then, do another round of lunges and do one fewer rep than your first set. (Just like pushups, if you started with 10, then you’ll do 9.)
Continue alternating exercising and descending by one rep until you only perform only one rep of each exercise.
Customize the Workout
Select your experience level and do the number of recommended reps.
Advanced (5 years of training or more): Start with 15 reps of pushups followed by 15 reps of lunges (on each leg)
Intermediate (~2 years of consistent training): Start with 10 reps of pushups followed by 10 reps of lunges (on each leg).
Beginner: Start with 5 reps of pushups (if needed, you can do these on your knees or place your hands on a bench or chair to make it easier), followed by 5 reps of lunges on each leg. (If lunges are hard, put your hand on a wall, couch, or chair for balance support.)
An example: If you’re doing the advanced workout, you would do the following:
15 pushups + 15 lunges on each leg
14 pushups + 14 lunges on each leg
13 pushups + 13 lunges on each leg
And continue dropping by 1 rep each round.
By the time you complete the final rep of pushups and lunges, you’ll have performed 120 pushups and 120 lunges. And your body will feel it.
If you’re looking for more workouts, soon Arnold will release his new fitness community, The Pump. You can join the waitlist here.