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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s shocking principle

I was watching an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger last night. He was talking about “shocking” his muscles. He described how he would play a game trying to “beat” his muscles. When they thought they had figured out his “tricks,” he would switch it up.

“One of the main things of course in order to create size and to create muscle growth … sometimes the body will hit the wall and what that basically means is that the body is saying, ‘Look, I know all your tricks. I know you’re gonna start first with benchpress and then I know you’re gonna walk over to the chin up … I know that routine. I know exactly everything you do and I am prepared for that.’ So you have to go and use the shocking principle.”

“Let’s see if the pectoral muscle is used to that, and then all of a sudden you will find that your pectoral muscle is shaking. After that, you don’t know what to do because it’s cramping and it is being tortured and it is in pain because you’ve now shocked the muscle.” The same “shocking” principle applies to your lifestyle. Having a routine is a good start. Setting your sights on a goal and building the plan to achieve it. In my experience, however, running through the same routine over and over will result in diminishing marginal returns — in terms of both enjoyment and effectiveness. You get bored. You burnout. You stop paying attention.

To some degree, you have to push on. As long as the routine is effective, even if it’s boring, it’s worth enduring to get to your goal. At some point, however, it makes sense to make a change — to “shock” your lifestyle. The goal remains the same. The method changes.

Like Arnold switches up the order of his exercises, switch up what you’re doing on the weekends, who you’re hanging out with, when you wake up in the morning, when you go to bed at night, what genre of books you’re reading, what kind of art you’re making, where you’re traveling, what you’re thinking about during your commute, etc.

Notice you’re not stopping or starting anything. You still do the same types of things and work towards the same goals. With the “shocking” principle, you’re just going about your normal routine in a different way in order to avoid getting bored or burning out; the newsness will get you excited to work even harder and make progress on the same goals with a different approach.

Here’s the link to the video:

Originally published here:


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