My Challenge to You (and Myself)

Hello my friends! 

Welcome to the start of my monthly newsletter. One thing we’ve learned during the pandemic is that connection is more important than ever. From Zoom meetings to FaceTimes, we have all found new ways to stay connected. I’ve watched my institute become more and more successful with their email newsletters every month, and I realized it was time for me to do my own.

I get questions non-stop about how I stay positive during the pandemic, how I train, how I eat, and I decided I can use this newsletter to answer questions and keep all of you up to date on what I’m doing, what I’m thinking, and what vision I’m currently chasing.

I ride my bike every day. I train every day. And I’m keeping my diet pretty clean, although I am not exempt from the COVID-10. I’ve gained 10 pounds, and when I wear dark clothes during Zooms I feel pretty good, but when I look at myself in the mirror at night and see the belly, I’m cursing at myself, saying, “Arnold. You won 13 world bodybuilding titles. The Guinness Book of World Records called you 'the most perfectly developed man in the history of the world!' What the hell happened to the six pack? What is going on here? This is depressing.”

I decided to switch from sweatpants to regular pants for a meeting recently and let me tell you, I spent the whole meeting feeling like I was in a straitjacket, just waiting to put my sweats back on. I know I won’t start shooting any movies or TV shows until the summer, so I haven’t had that big vision or motivation to avoid the bread and the sweets and get in perfect shape.

Now I’m committing to all of you: This month I am going to drop the weight I gained and get back to 218 again. I am going to conquer March. Who is with me?

It’s March 11th. You might have started the month with a big vision of how you were also going to conquer this month. If you didn’t start with a vision, sit down now and write one down. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be “move every day.” Or “finish this book.” Or “perfect my resume.” Then get going! If you did start with a vision and got derailed, dust yourself off and get going. We all have setbacks, but they aren’t permanent - you can do it. And if you’re just kicking ass, take a second to congratulate yourself, and then keep going.

I had a lot of meetings this month through the Schwarzenegger Institute, with everyone from environmental leaders to voting rights lawyers, but I want to share the one that meant the most to me.

I sat down with the leaders of the USC GOP and Trojan Democrats to discuss bipartisanship and political civility. One thing that has always bothered me about politics is that some people refuse to even sit down and talk with people from the other party. It’s absurd. But political parties are in the business of villainizing the other side. That’s how they make money - the more they make you hate or fear the enemy, the more donations come in. I’ve had it.

When I gave my address to America after the January 6th riots, I was approached by the Trojan Democrats to speak at a virtual event about how we can come together so I told them I’d love to, but I wanted the Republican and Democratic students to come together. I knew they didn’t work together too much, so I thought if I could talk to both about my vision of bringing people together, it would be heaven. I want to teach them that together, we are always stronger than when we are divided. Even though we all have different views, I wanted them to understand that together, we have 100% of the brainpower working for our country, instead of the 50% you get when you only work with one party.

I was inspired by the way they worked together to put the event on and I’m planning on bringing them together to discuss specific issues now. Imagine the power of the college Republicans and Democrats bringing a homelessness proposal together to the Legislature: “See, you foreheads, we worked together since you wouldn’t.” This is exactly why I started my institute at USC, to preach the message of bringing both sides together, starting with the students.

Check out the video and let me know what you think on reddit.

If there is one political message you leave with, please don’t make people the enemy over politics, because then you can’t talk and find common ground. Even when someone is prejudiced, I try not to demonize them, because once I do that, I have lost my chance to open their mind and get them to think differently.

On a much lighter note, here is some advice for those of you always struggling with finding gifts. I celebrated Valentine’s Day by painting some handmade cards like I always do. I’ve been doing this ever since my kids were born - Christmas cards, birthday cards, Easter cards... My family always loves when I paint things for them and if you ever need a good gift idea, I promise you, paint something. I use painting as a form of meditation, and sometimes I even make my staff stop working to paint with me, even if they don’t want to! Everyone who paints with me agrees that these gifts are the absolute best. Of course there are the gifts you buy, but painting shows you put time, effort, creativity, and heart into your gift.

This was my painting for my granddaughter, Lyla.

Besides that, I’ve been doing my normal work of Zoom meetings and reading scripts. My Netflix spy series - which reminded me of a new version of True Lies, so I signed on immediately - is coming along and once it’s safe to shoot we’ll get going. I have also signed on to a few other scripts I’m excited to share but the one I’m really excited for is the script for the sequel to Twins, Triplets, that we’ll get any day. We plan to shoot that later this year and after seeing Eddie Murphy in Coming 2 America, I’m so excited to work together finally.

And finally, I thought I would give you guys a fun video that you won't see anywhere else. I grew up in a family of ice curlers. My father won the European championship, and I won the youth championship. But this is not the ice curling you see on TV with the brooms. Here, you throw the 15.5 lbs stone as far as you can. Some people throw it and it slides 200 meters. When I was skiing last month, I decided to go back to my roots.

I hope all of you are ready to conquer this March. Keep me updated with your big wins.

Here are a few of my favorites from last month:

  • Pump of the month: If you’re joining me in getting back in shape, here’s my at-home workout that I wrote for reddit at the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Song of the month: The Man Comes Around - Johnny Cash
  • Movie of the month: Harriet
  • Quote of the month: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” -Theodore Roosevelt
  • Book of the month: The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

Archive Shot of the month:

Before we go, I have a couple questions:

  1. Would you prefer to get this on the first of the month, or a little while later like this to give you a push if you lost your motivation?
  2. If I shared a joke every month, do you want me to keep it safe for work and politically correct or go a little bit out there?

​Keep pumping,