Arnold Schwarzenegger has been passing the time in quarantine by doing what he does best: working out. The actor and bodybuilding legend recently shared a gym-free exercise plan that anybody can try at home, and he has some more words of advice for people who are looking to become their fittest selves during lockdown.
In a recent interview with former Men’s Health fitness editor Adam Bornstein for Ladder, the supplement company backed by the bodybuilding icon and Lebron James, Schwarzenegger recalled that he would do pushups to “earn” his breakfast at just “4 or 5 years old,” and explained how this instilled in him a lifelong sense of discipline, which has helped him maintain his shredded physique well into his 70s.
When asked if he has any rituals, Schwarzenegger emphasized the importance of building good habits, and said that he carries out exactly the same routine every single day. Here’s what a typical morning looks like for The Governator:
“Part of my routine is to wake up in the morning at 5 o’clock, then I make my coffee, I feed the animals, I go and read the paper, go through my iPad, see if there are any important messages,” he said. “If it’s a part of the routine I don’t even think about that. I have my bike already mounted on the back of my car, drive down, take it off, and ride the bike… then I go to the gym for 45 minutes to an hour, that’s also routine. It’s always kind of the same thing, I’ll do arms and deltoids one day, and then the next day I do chest and back, calves, abs… and then it repeats itself, that’s the whole week.”
“What’s also routine is at night, I do some extra cardiovascular work before I have dinner,” he continued. “In my home gym here, I go upstairs for half an hour and do the arm cycle or the treadmill. The idea is to burn enough calories so that when I eat dinner, which is very minimal, that I don’t have to really worry about calories or gaining weight, because the older you get, the faster you gain weight, the more the body picks up, because your metabolism slows, you have to be very careful. So those are kind of routine things that I do, and you’ve got to add as many of those routine things as possible, because you do them without every thinking about it… I’m a big believer in that.”
Schwarzenegger added that there’s no reason anybody can’t do the same as him and start formulating their own routines, and opined that embedding these habits in our daily lives can help us to make healthier choices without even being conscious of it.
“Say ‘I’m going to wake up in the morning an hour early,’ and just work on that,” he advised. “And then the next time, say ‘I’m going to wake up early and I’m going to make my coffee or my tea, and I’m gonna read papers.’ The key thing about a routine, is that you don’t ask yourself should I, shouldn’t I, you just do it. We don’t ask ourselves ‘should I inhale now? Should I exhale now?’ We don’t ask ourselves if we should take a shower every day.”
“You just add slowly to that routine, because it is extremely important that we do things automatically, simply because we know that the brain is very tricky. It pulls tricks on you… You have a New Year’s Resolution or a goal weight, you say you’re going to lose 20 pounds, and then you see something sweet and you say ‘oh one day doesn’t matter’… and this is why it has to be automatic. So when they bring bread to the table, [you say] ‘thank you very much, no bread,’ right away, you shut it down. So there are certain things we do that are automatic, and they’ll really help you to achieve your goals, that’s the bottom line here.”
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