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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

How to Live, Work, and Not be Exhausted

Robert Manni - Thursday, June 22, 2017


New York runs 24/7, but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same. After all, you’re a person, not a city.

Unless you’re Keith Richards in the 1970’s, you can’t roll twenty-four hours straight. Although you like to go fast, every so often your body and mind needs a break. Let’s face it. You work too hard, drink too much, eat too much crappy takeout food, and don’t sleep enough. Over time, that’s a surefire recipe for a burnout.

People require love, sleep, food, and sex to keep their engines fine-tuned. And to win, you need to know how to cool your jets so you don’t overheat. Although this post was inspired by life in New York City, with today’s shrinking world and growing pressure to keep on keeping on, my message applies to wherever you live in our hyped up USA. Hence, I offer you my musings and insights to help you fight your battle and come out on top.

In not particular order here’s how to live well and avoid exhaustion wherever you are. Drum roll, please...

1. Managing your work day – You have too much to do and not enough time to do it. You report to a lazy turd that thinks that being your boss means delegating everything to you. And there are not enough hours in the day to serve him or her and properly set your fantasy football line up. What to do? Start by taking a look at your calendar and clearing out any double and triple bookings and appointments or scheduled events that don’t set your soul on fire. When you get overwhelmed stick to the basics- your job, your health, your girl, and time for creating or chillaxing.

During my career in marketing and advertising, I’ve found that getting to work early saves time at the end of the day. A lot of people who work in advertising drag their ass in after 9:30am and don’t seem to mind staying late, sometimes very late. I was never sure if that was because they had so much work or so they could order in dinner and take Uber home. Unless it was a mission-critical client situation, I wasn’t about to meet their level of mediocre time management. And I hate working on weekends unless it’s a new business pitch. You see, good ideas in advertising and marketing can come at any time and from any place if you have your antenna tuned properly.  So make time to manage your calendar and you’ll save some time for yourself.

2. Exercise – Too tired to work out? I’ve actually found that getting into shape and maintaining a level of fitness negates the probability of burnout. When you reach a high level of fitness, you come from a position of strength and handle most things better. I know it’s not easy to get to the gym everyday, but there are little things you can do to keep your heart pumping strong— like walking and using the stairs instead of taking cabs and the escalator. New York is a wonderful place to walk because it’s constantly changing. I’ve discovered so many cool shops, bars, and casual restaurants simply by using my legs to get around. Walking is also a great way to clear your head and release any built up stress.

3. Meditation or yoga – Another way to keep your mind, body and spirit fresh is by investing thirty minutes in quiet mediation each day, which can also be in the form of yoga. I prefer meditating in the early morning. If you can’t find those thirty minutes, see if you can spare fifteen minutes. Still too long? Then how about putting aside five minutes to stop your mind’s monkey chatter or to perform a few yoga stretches to breath deeply and calm you down? Still not working? Then consider finding some quiet time before your head hits the pillow. Me? I often mediate while walking. Believe me, you can find time to slow down if you are passionate about your goal. If none of this works for you ask yourself if you find time to masturbate.

4. Sleep – Most New Yorkers are exhausted by the time they go to bed. This can be due to their jobs, the incessant noise on the streets, or insomnia. The number of insomnia cases is growing, but you can avoid being a casualty if you hit the sack a bit earlier and sleep a bit later. While laying in bed staring at the ceiling and worrying about all the shit you have to do the following day, try instead to be thankful for your life and all of your gifts. These include having a roof over your head, electricity, and running water. Many of us in the states have it pretty good, so showing a little appreciation to the Universal Consciousness is good form. Then put your phone away, take a few deep breaths, smile, and close your eyes.

5. Manage your media consumption – I had a weird dream last night. I was hanging with LeBron and Laili Ali. I play wrestled Laili and took selfies with LeBron. What does that mean? It means I watch too much media and need to turn the damn television off! Most of us drink in copious amounts of media through our phones, computers, and televisions. Whether its real news, fake news, distractions from the worlds of sports and entertainment, or info we need for work, we are awash in a plethora of random information. Enough is enough, amigo. We need time to process all of the data we input and also time to come up with our own thoughts. Time keeps moving and you’ll keep working like a drone until it’s over. Then it won’t matter how many rings LeBron won or if he’s still in the conversation for GOAT. Most of the media we consume is a distraction to keep you working, living in fear, and too exhausted to cause problems.

6. Eat clean – We really are what we eat, and for many of us that’s not good news. Meat, sugar, salt, dairy and most importantly pesticide-filled GMO’s are not going to help build your energy stores. I find that the cleaner I eat— and that means organic fruits and veggies—the better I feel and the more zip I have. So, consider avoiding fast food lunches, all that tasty bacon, and mid-afternoon sweets that cause your energy to spike and crash if you want to stay on top of your game.

7. Treat yourself with respect- If you aggregate the prior points my recommended behavioral considerations all point to treating yourself better. Whether it’s your food, sleep and work habits, the media you consume, or even how you get around town, a healthy dose of self-respect will make you re-examine your life choices and daily regime. If you are present you will find ways to prime your energy pump.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Ed Whitlock, the only man in his seventies to run a marathon in under three hours.

Where to Meet Men

Robert Manni - Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Since publishing my novel, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love, I’m frequently asked by women where they should go to meet single men. In a previous post, I addressed where guys can find women, and how to approach them within their sanctums. For women, the challenge is far easier. Men are easy to find and easy to approach. So ladies, all you really need to do is think like a man and show up where the fellas like to hang out. The truth is men are everywhere and are usually thrilled when a woman initiates contact with them. But to make it even easier, I’ve broken down the ten top offline locales where guys congregate. Of course men can also be found online or through an app, but I’ll spare you Tinder or Match.com tales and focus on the old school, yet always-effective style of meeting your match organically.

So, in no particular order, here is my Guys’ Guy’s Guide For Women Looking For Guys. All you need to do to succeed is to clean up, show up, and smile and the men will be eating out of your hand. It helps to be friendly, but in most cases you won’t even have to start up a conversation. Men are almost always on the prowl.

1. Bars – Let’s face it. Most men, even if they don’t drink alcohol, like to hang out in bars with their friends. Go into any respectable bar, tavern, or beer garden after work and it will be teeming with guys letting off steam after a tough day. In New York, a great area to meet guys is downtown’s FiDi district. You’ll find lots of financial types throwing cash around after a pressure-packed day in the market.

Sports bars are always loaded with guys also. You may have to compete with the games on television, but if you know anything about sports and have a friendly way about you, you can meet men in bars any night of the week. Whisky and beer tastings and cigar bars are also great places to meet guys, unless you hate whisky, beer, and cigars. Remember, this post is about where guys hang out. No judgments and no you to change in any way. I assure you there will be more guys at the bars than in knitting class.

2. At sporting events – When guys are not watching games on TV, they are attending them. Go to any Knicks, Giants, Jets, Rangers, Nets, Yankees, Mets, or Red Bulls game and you’ll see thousands of men. Yes, they are there to watch a live game which they paid for, but guys enjoy meeting women anywhere so don’t be shy about wearing your team jersey or striking up a conversation with a guy at a game. Timing is everything so you may want to hold back on the rare occasion that the Jets are 1st-and-10 in scoring position.

3. Participating in sports – Yes, there is a trend here. Guys can be found anywhere sports are involved, and often when alcohol is part of the curriculum. Sports that guys like to play while downing a few brews are fishing, golfing, softball, and bowling. You can also find a lot of guys biking, running road races, skiing, surfing, snowboarding, jet skiing, boating, playing tennis, squash, or table tennis. And, you will always find guys working out in the gym, and I’m sure you know guys love to spot fit women in the gym. Sure, you’ll meet guys in yoga class, but there are more guys at the gym and this is about fishing where the most fish are.

4. Near the water – This is another great place to meet guys. Guys love boats, boat shows, surfing, jet skis, fishing, or simply relaxing at the beach or by a lake. And, being outdoors on a nice day seems to loosen people up. You’ll find lots of guys sitting at outdoor cafes enjoying the view with a refreshing beverage in hand.

5. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and planes – Most guys love vehicles. They like to fix them, polish them, ride them, and talk about them. So, if you’re a woman who loves her wheels, there are lots of places to meet men including car shows, car or dirt bike tracks and races, riding motorcycles, and at auto repair stores. Of course you’re not going to hang out at a parts store unless you need something for your car. The point is dudes like their wheels.

6. Anywhere food is served – Make no mistake, guys love chowing down. The old adage about the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach still rings true. So with that in mind, keep your peepers open for hungry guys anywhere and everywhere food is served. A steak house is a good place to start. Most guys love meat. Personally, I gave up eating animal flesh eight years ago and have never felt better, but my ears still perk up when I hear that old familiar sizzle of a juicy steak hitting a fired up grill. Guys also like Mexican, Italian, ethnic foods, seafood, and foods they can pick up in their hands. Guys love breakfast, but not so much brunch, but that’s for another column.

7. Traveling – Happening guys are often on the go. That makes airport lounges, airplanes, hotel bars, ferries, and shared car services prime locations for meeting men. And when a guy is in transit, if he’s not on the phone or buried in his iPad or a book, guys are savoring their escape from being chained to their desks. I’ve met lots of women traveling, and have found that women on the go are empowered, aggressive, and usually up for fun. Ladies, it’s time to cash in those frequent flyer miles. You can easily meet quality men on a subway or a bus if you keep an open mind and are opportunistic about these means of transportation. We all have to get to work, right?

8. Tech Stores and conferences - There are so many guys into tech that you can have your pick at any tech or digital conference, store, or class. And guys love show off their technical chops to ladies. This should be easy pickings, especially if you go for the “nerds” who seem to be taking over the world.

9. Work – Despite all the warnings, work might be the very best place to meet guys. It’s also a great environment to see men in action. You can tell if they’re arrogant, power tripping, or a Guys’ Guys by how they behave and treat their colleagues. The only caution is when dating your boss or a guy who reports to you. Otherwise, all bets are off if you use your head and can handle the potential adversity that comes with having a relationship in a working environment. Your best move might be to pick a guy who works for a vendor or a company you do business with, especially if you can keep your romance separated from your working relationship.

10. Anywhere – The bottom line is men are all over the place and every single dude I know is open to meeting interesting women. I’ve only scratched the surface here, but I think you get the picture. Making new connections with men is a matter of confidence, demonstrating your sense of fun and adventure, and a desire to play the game of love. Good luck.  I hope you win.

This week’s ”Guy’s Guys of the Week” are all the wonderful single women in New York City. My hometown is bursting with the smartest, hardest working, super capable, beautiful, and stylish women in the world. I empathize with their plight to meet men who are worthy of their talents. 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Detoxifying Your Life

Robert Manni - Wednesday, January 25, 2017


We’re bombarded with toxins every day. Whether they’re in the food we eat, the air we breathe, or the media we consume, human beings are under constant attack.

Autopsies show that most people who die had cancer in their bodies, even is it was not the cause of their death. Why? We enter this world pure, pristine, and in most cases, blessed with good health. But over time, due to our lifestyles, the foods we ingest, our thoughts, the images we view, heavy metals, the pollutants in our air and the water we drink create a poisonous environment within our bodies.

Some people claim that we can’t detoxify our bodies and that cleanses don’t work, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide after you do your research. Even so, there sure are a lot of people who are sick and contracting chronic autoimmune diseases. I’m a Guy’s guy, not a western doctor, but I’ve experienced a life-threatening health scare that forced me to stare into the abyss. As a result, I’ve taken the time to dig into the things that make us toxic and how we can clean up and live as healthy a lifestyle as possible. And that means eliminating and replacing much of what our body, mind, and spirit consumes.  My suggestions are based on reading, interviewing numerous healers on my podcast, Guy’s Guy Radio, and my personal experience. If our collective human makeup and physical chemistry is the same, why are some of us sick and others healthy? It’s a mystery and yet it makes sense. Some of us treat our body, minds and spirit like shit, and I think we can agree that there are steps we can take to help maintain better health. These are my suggestions, but ultimately, you’ve gotta live your life and make the choices that feel right for you.

Let’s break this down into three parts: our body, mind, and spirit and explore some tips and insights to consider that might enhance your day-to-day existence. My goal is that you are as healthy and happy as possible.

BODY – Our western diet has not evolved with our optimal health in mind. The bulk of our daily meals are laden with too much sugar, salt, meat, fried or processed foods, dairy, and GMO’s. The cumulative effect of a steady diet of these over the years can result in chronic autoimmune diseases, intestinal fungi, parasites, and lead to cancer. Add alcohol consumption, tobacco, drugs, prescription meds, and a lack of sleep and water, and our body chemistry can turn toxic. It’s imperative that we drastically reduce or eliminate much of these poisons while at the same time hydrating more frequently and getting more sleep.

We are what we eat, so choose organic foods and do your very best to cut out meat and sugar. Cut out the obvious bad stuff like drugs, prescription meds (when possible) and tobacco, drink as much filtered water as you can (about 8 liters a day if you can handle it) and get more shut-eye. Even a short nap helps because we’re a sleep-deprived culture. You might also add apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, Himalayan sea salt, and clay to your water, food, and oral health regime to aid health and hasten the elimination of toxins from your overloaded system. Even our environment plays a role with all of the electromagnetic energy pulsing trough urban locales. Over time all this can accumulate inside of you. Your body is a temple, but over time even the sturdiest temples crumble if they are not properly maintained.

MIND – If we are what we consume, that includes media, music, media, news, social media, films, video and games, porn, etc. Garbage in. Garbage out. Studies have proved that there is energy in all of the above, so be mindful about what you watch and read, and the music you listen to. It will impact your outlook and your health. As a marketing and ad guy, I always check out the ads running in the subways for the latest movies, television shows, and music. Most of it is dark, creepy, and violent. Is it any wonder why young people (I don’t want to put this all on millennials, but…) hold such jaded views on life and their fellow man? But more than that, when we consume all of the negativity, it poisons us from within.

I like to binge on the latest Netflix series as much as the next guy, but I am careful about how much violence, hate, and broken characters I allow into my consciousness. And let’s not forget good old Facebook and its daily barrage of memes and posts about our new president. I’m not a fan, but I also don’t want to allow his odd behavior be a constant distraction and annoyance. Concerning social media, the best thing I have done this year is to “unfollow” a bunch of guys from my high school that apparently live to defend anything Trump does, says, or lies about. Fellas, have at it, but I’m out. And I feel so much better.

SPIRIT – This might be the most important area to focus on if you want to detox your life. When you boil it all down, every real decision we face forces us to choose between love and fear. Choosing love requires us to do what we can to enhance our spiritual practices. Walking the righteous path is not easy, but it pays off if you maintain stamina and a determination side with love when the world around you gets crazy and people behave like jerks. To help detoxify spiritually, I meditate, affirm, appreciate my gifts, pray, forgive myself and the other guy. I know it sounds sappy, but if you give the righteous path a fair chance, over time you’ll raise your vibration and reap the rewards of living in alignment with your truth.

These are my simple suggestions that I hope will help you they way they have helped me live my best life.  That’s what I am doing right now. Sure, I’m a work in progress, but I am making consistent strides. And it feels great. Do what’s best for you, but always, always, always choose love. And remember to love yourself while you’re at it.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Lord Dhanvantari who is considered the physician of the Devas (gods) and the father of Ayurvedic medicine.    

5 Unconventional Things to do This Fall

Robert Manni - Thursday, October 20, 2016


When the leaves start turning red, gold, and brown most folks pull out the sweaters from the back of their closet and slide back into their tried, true, and predictable pattern of fall activities.

Now, there is nothing wrong with football games, pumpkin pie, picking apples, or taking a long drive to bask in the peak colors of the autumn foliage. Folks who live in the Northeast love having four seasons and they know how to make the most of the myriad activities that take place at this wonderful time of year. Some call it cuffing season, when the swimsuits get packed away and it’s time to snuggle with your partner for the wintery months.

 So, are we in too much of a routine now, folks? That’s where your Guy’s Guy comes into the picture. As somewhat of a contrarian when it comes to following set rules, I’ve cobbled together a handful of ideas for you to consider as we head deeper into autumn. So in no particular order here is my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Unconventional Things to Do This Fall.

Drum roll, please… 

1. Hit the Beach – Yes, you read that correctly. After Labor Day, most people snap into that back-to-school mode way too quickly.  The Hamptons crowds return to Tribeca and the “Bennies” finally pack up and leave the Jersey Shore towns to the locals. But, guess what? With climate change scientifically proven and the warmer temperatures going deeper into the year, September now feels like summer. If you hit the beach in September and October, the traffic is minimal, the water is still warm, and there are no crowds. And, the beach is peaceful and calm. Just the way we like it when we want to get away for a few days. And, September and early October have a number of holidays that can make for a number of three-day weekends. As I write this, we are in the latter stages of October and it’s 82 degrees in New York City. There is still time for a swim. And when the water gets too cold, you can always take a nice long stroll along the boardwalk.

2. Change Your Eating Habits – Just because summer is over and you’re more apt to cover up your body more it doesn’t mean it’s the time to binge and pack on the pounds for the next six months. In fact, the new season is the perfect time to review your dietary habits and make a commitment to a lifestyle change, namely in your relationship with food. Please note that I did not recommend going on a diet. If you want to knock off some poundage for a short time, diets are great. And, there is no better time to diet than in the late spring so you can show off your stuff all summer long. What I’m suggesting is a complete review and potential overall of how you eat and relate with food. It takes time to make real changes in this area, but if you give yourself six months you will see miraculous results that will stay with you next summer and beyond. If you can cut way, way down on meat, fried foods, dairy, bread and pasta and pizza, and of course, sugar, you will find yourself be bursting with energy while your carnivorous friends are loading up on comfort foods, becoming more sedentary and probably getting a bit chunky. You know this happens every year. So don’t be that guy. Change your relationship with food.

3. Take a Trip to the Zoo - There are two times of the year to go to the zoo—in the spring and in the fall. My first preference is the spring because the animals are lively and pretty randy, too. But fall is also a great time to check out the Bronx Zoo. The foliage is gorgeous, the crowds are manageable, and the animals are fairly active as the weather cools down. In the summer and winter you rarely see the animals doing anything beyond sleeping or briefly lumbering over to their food tray. 

4. Train for a marathon - Yes, I realize that the NYC Marathon takes place on the first Sunday of November. A year before running my first marathon, I was running on a Sunday morning listening to the marathon broadcast on the radio through my ear buds. I decided right then to run in the New York City Marathon the following year. And I did. Instead of cramming three months of training into a grueling summer, I began laying down my training base and running foundation a year in advance. I’m really glad I did this because by the time race day came around I was in tip-top shape and ran a faster time in my second thirteen miles. Having that strong foundation of running for a solid year also gave me time to cultivate some personal discipline and learn how to listen to my body when those inevitable tweaks and injuries sprang up.

If you don’t fancy yourself as a marathoner, you could start a fitness regime in the fall with a goal of getting into the best shape of your life by the following summer. If you stick to your program, most likely you will.

5. Make a List, Then Do Your Holiday Shopping Before Thanksgiving – Some folks love that scramble for presents during those frantic final weeks and days of December. Not me. I prefer to think things out in advance, set my budget, and scour the e-tailers for the best prices on the items I want to buy for my peeps. Yes, this is a bit anal, and you may get slightly better deals if you wait until the last minute, but who needs the hassle? If you try shopping early some time, you’ll realize how much easier it is to shop, how much money you can save, and how much more time you have on your hands during the holidays that you can spend partying with your homeys and loved ones.

There will be plenty of days ahead when you can you curl up in that chunky sweater with your honey in front of the TV. This year, consider trying on a few fresh ideas for fall. As DT says, “What have you got to lose?” If you don’t see me, I’m probably at the beach.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Robert Zimmerman, better know to most as Bob Dylan, folk singer and the voice of our generation, for his being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Well-deserved.

Why I Stopped Eating Meat

Robert Manni - Saturday, July 30, 2016


Nothing beats the taste of a well-cooked steak.

The grill marks, the dripping juices, and the scent of seared beef are enough to drive any carnivore insane. Add a fresh tossed salad, a side of grilled veggies, baked potato, and a glass of a full-bodied cabernet sauvignon and you have the components of a perfect meal. That’s what I thought until eight years ago when I first eliminated meat from my diet. Over this time I slowly but steadily dropped beef, pork, lamb, and then poultry from my menu. Although I’ve gone strictly vegetarian for a few months here and there, I still eat fish. I know that habit will become permanent, but I’ll only go there when it feels right.

I’m not suggesting that eliminating meat from your diet is right for everyone, but I’ll tell you this. I have never looked back and have never felt better nor had more energy any time in my adult life.

So what happened? Eight years ago I met the woman who would become my wife on a first date. We’d met online and in person at the little restaurant at the 79th Street Boat Basin. She told me she was a vegetarian, so when it came time she ordered a salad, a grilled Portobello mushroom, and a glass of white wine. I was hankering for a juicy cheeseburger and fries, but before ordering something came over me. It was an actual sensitive thought! I considered what blood dripping down the side of my burger and across my mouth might look to her. It could make her uncomfortable and might be a major turn off. So I ordered something else. After dinner we took a walk on the path along Riverside Park. The rest is history.

During our next few dates I inquired about her choice to become a vegetarian—why she chose it, what she ate, how long she had been a vegetarian, and if it made her feel any different. She told me that she been a vegetarian on and off for years after being a meat-eater for most of her life. She casually filled in the other blanks, but did not tout or try selling me on the virtues of going meat-free. I liked that. I also decided to give it a try. After a few rough days, it was relatively easy switching from beef burgers to turkey or tuna burgers. But, I still missed my steak. After a few weeks, I mostly forgot about meat and became more comfortable with the many alternatives.

Then I got sick. I developed a weird bronchial condition that sapped me of my energy at about 5pm every day. I would leave work soon after, usually drenched in a heavy sweat. I’d go home and lay on my bed still sweating, but with chills. I’d wrap myself in a blanket and cough a lot. It wasn’t fun and I wondered if this had anything to do with my diet. Thankfully my future wife visited and comforted me. She said my body was “detoxing” and the toxins from the stored meat molecules in my system were releasing into my system and challenging my immune system. At least I knew the cause. Finally, I took a powerful antibiotic and was soon back to normal. That short bout of what I can only refer to as “detoxing”(for lack of a better term) subconsciously convinced me to never eat meat again. A few months later I eliminated poultry and that was it.

Over time, my weight fluctuated due to my replacement of carbs for meat, but eventually I got a handle on how my system was reacting and handling the change from carnivore to “pescatarian”.  I eat wild-caught fish whenever possible to avoid the toxins in farmed fish.

How do I feel? My energy feels light; I am more active, and clocking better times in my runs than twenty years ago. My strength level is steady, with no loss even with the added eight years. Additionally, my digestive system feels less taxed after a meal than when I was eating meat. I really can’t think of a down side to the change.

Initially I did not stop eating meat because of the stress on the environment or the cruelty of factory farming. But, it’s true. Farming animals is inhumane, unhealthy, a cause of pollution, and unnecessary. There are lots of tasty alternatives to meat and no reason to kill animals for food unless you live in a remote part of the world where wild animals are your only choice for sustenance. Additionally, farmed animals are fed poorly. Cows are meant to eat grass, but are usually fed cheap GMO, grains sprayed with pesticides. Steroids and sedatives like Prozac are given to the animals to help eliminate stress. These poor creatures have good reason for their stress. And, we consume all of the crap the animals eat along with the toxicity from their stress hormones. If that’s not enough, the beef you buy in the supermarket is often injected with chemicals that change the color of the meat from brown to red. But, don’t let me sell you. Your Guy’s Guy is simply sharing his experience in eliminating meat from his diet.

And guess what? My wife now eats fish so we share a happy little household. There is no meat either cooked or stored in our home and it really makes the energy more peaceful. What about our three-year old? We’ve decided to feed him healthy organic foods whenever possible and no meat when he’s with us.  We allow him to have poultry at day care, but no beef, pork or lamb. When he gets older, he can make his own choices. That said, he’s a healthy, happy kid so we must be ding something right.

I hope this sheds some light on the virtues of eliminating meat from your diet. It’s not necessarily for everyone, but it worked for me. Whatever you decide to do, eat healthy, amigos. And, there is nothing as tasty as a well-cooked steak.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK are Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Leonardo da Vinci, Prince, Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, and all the other people who helped change the world without eating meat.

 

10 Tips for Wellness at Any Age

Robert Manni - Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Guy’s Guys like staying healthy and fit, so consider this a greatest hits package for your wellbeing.

Over the past few years I have devoted a number of blog posts to relationships not just relationships between people, but the relationship between our body, mind, and spirit. Your Guy’s Guy will be migrating to new topics to write about, so I wanted to summarize the learning I’ve gleaned from reading, interviewing guests on Guy's Guy Radio, and from personal experiences, including a few health challenges. Guy’s Guys believe in paying it forward, but take these insights as you see fit. I’m not delving deep into the science behind these nuggets—there is ample material online and offline you can find supporting these suggestions.

So, in no particular order here is a summary of what I’ve learned over the past few years about staying healthy and fit. Drum roll, please…

1. Hydrate. Our bodies are composed of two-thirds water. Aging is dehydrating. Think about all of the old people who cross your path. Over time, a lack of drinking enough water speeds aging because our bodies dry up. Experts suggest we consume a minimum of eight 12-ounce glasses of water per day. That does not factor in incremental hydration needs from working out or drinking beers with your friends. Now, how many of you are quaffing the right amount of water on a regular basis?

2. Eat organic. Let’s face it, most of the food offered in the supermarket is processed, GMO-based or lacking in micronutrients due to the time it takes to get the food to the supermarket. It is now estimated that 96% of consumers in America are undernourished when it comes to micronutrients. The solution, and it is the only solution, is to choose organic and locally grown food whenever possible. Never eat farm-raised fish. Even the EPA suggests that we should only consume one serving of farmed salmon every six weeks! If that doesn't open your eyes to how messed our food supply has become, take a look around at the growing cadre of obese people we see and think about all the folks with auto-immune diseases, adult diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. This is just the tip of the health iceberg, so it’s time to choose your foods wisely, amigos.

3. Walk. One of my favorite things about living in the city is that I get to walk around a lot. And I love walking the streets of New York…at least most of the time. I avoid cluster-f-cks like Times Square and Fifth Avenue due to the out-of-control influx of random tourists now, but for the most part, walking the streets of New York is stimulating, great exercise, and a superb way to learn your way around town. When I first moved into Manhattan back in the eighties, every Sunday I would walk from my flat on West 34th Street to Chinatown for lunch before taking a different route home. I'm also referring to taking the stairs instead of the escalator and not clogging up the stinky elevators at the express subway stops. They're not there for lazy people who could use the exercise of walking up the stairs. They are for parents with strollers, seniors, and people with disabilities. Period. Sorry, I have a toddler and I had to mention that.

4. Rest. What ever happened to eight hours of sleep? If you are a city dweller with a high-stress job and a penchant for going out on the town a few nights per week, you're probably not getting more than five or six hours of sleep. Over time, this adds up in a bad way and eventually falling into a deep, restful asleep becomes a challenge. Consider grabbing a power nap whenever you can spare 30 minutes. It helps. And by all means treat yourself to at least one evening per week of staying home and hitting the sack early. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your batteries recharge.

5. Meditate. Mediation is a gift. It will clear your mind, keep your cool, and unleash your inner self for guidance. Sounds ethereal? Maybe, but over time, this age-old practice has been considered one of the most important ways to stay physically, mentally, and spiritually sound. Many people think that they're not capable of meditating. Their mental monkey chatter has taken over and they cannot quiet their minds. Here’s a tip. Limit your media intake. Don’t worry about having so many incessant random thoughts when you meditate. Like clouds, they will pass across your mental skyline and dissipate. If you stick to it, over time these monkey mind thoughts will lessen and you will become a blank slate. That’s when you get answers. Just let go, amigo, and the universe is yours.

6. Run. I live near Central Park and there is no better training run than the outer 6.2-mile loop circumnavigating the park. It’s filled with rolling hills, beautiful scenery and lots of good-looking runners. And it never gets any easier. I realize people break down and due to injuries many have to forego running by the age of forty, but if you don’t have any physical limitations, a run in the park, no matter the distance, is a great tonic for the body and mind.

7. Eliminate sugar. Sugar is the enemy, people. It’s a killer and it is hidden and disguised as corn syrup or other terms in almost all of the processed foods we eat. It causes obesity, diabetes, and other issues for the heart, blood, and organs. Scientists say that over 85% of Americans suffer from hidden Candida (yeast) overgrowth due to sugar consumption. And, folks, we see how many obese people there are today who are breaking down with autoimmune diseases. If there was one tip to take away from this post, it is to cut down or eliminate sugar from your diet.

8. Gluten. There are various opinions about gluten, but the truth is that much of the wheat and grains we consume is infected with mold and sprayed with pesticides before it gets to a factory to be baked and then sent to the supermarket. That’s why many people feel bloated after every meal. Our systems are not built to process all the pesticides sprayed on grains. And our bodies need to expend too much energy on this at the expense of tending to other areas of our health. Our immune systems become overtaxed and we get sick. Studies have shown that all disease begins in the gut. But what can we do? We like bread. The only answer is to limit your gluten intake (that includes pasta) and eat organic and sprouted breads whenever possible. You may miss the indulgence, but you will feel better, and over time your body will thank you through better health.

9. No meat. I stopped eating meat eight years ago and have never looked back. I began dating a vegetarian who is now my wife. Although she never asked me not to stop eating meat, I did so anyway. It seemed like a good time to change my eating habits and I am glad I did. I got sick about two months after ending my meat consumption due to my cells releasing stored toxins, but I stuck with it and eventually it passed. Sure I loved a good porterhouse and sizzling strips of bacon, but I got over it. And although I initially did not stop eating meat due to my feelings about factory farming, after a few years this became another factor in my decision and I will never go back to eating meat again. As a result, my energy is sky high and I feel younger than my years by a good margin. If you eat meat, may I suggest that you only choose grass-fed beef and animals that are farm-raised? It’s the least you can do to stop the cruelty and protect our environment.

10. Forgive. This might be the toughest choice of all. Throughout life we are faced with a lot of a-hole behavior that challenges us in many ways. Do we lower ourselves to respond in kind? Do we simply turn our heads away and ignore the slights? Or do we acknowledge the bad decisions people make and forgive them? I suggest the latter choice. When we forgive, we release negativity and we grow as individuals who are connected by the oneness of spirit. Forgiveness does not require you to forget the transgressions, but it allows you to rise above the darkness. I assure you it will lighten your mental and spiritual load. Try it and you’ll see.

There are many more ways to tend to your physical, mental and spiritual health, but any of these ten tips will add to your wellbeing regardless of your age. Thank you for reading and considering integrating any of these tips into your lifestyle. I wish you all the best.

This week’s GUY’S GUYS of the week is you, and all the folks who have read my novel or any of my 250 blog posts, listened to any of my 150 podcast episodes, or visited my website. The growing Guy’s Guy movement is all about making the world a better place where men and women can be at their best. It’s that simple. Better men. Better world.  

Ask the Guy's Guy: How to Keep Your Man Happy

Robert Manni - Saturday, August 08, 2015

Five Guy's Guy-Tested Diets That Actually Work

Robert Manni - Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Today’s manufactured food is a joke. It’s processed, it’s laden with GMO’s, filled with hidden salt and sugar, lacks nutrition, and is drizzled with flavor-enhancing ingredients that have you longing for more. Just look around and you can see the results. We are a culture with an expanding waistline and increasing heath risks. Face itthe vast majority of us carry around extra, unwanted pounds. And I know you want to slim down, especially during these warm months when our bodies get more exposure.

Guy’s Guys like to stay in shape. Of course we also enjoy fun times along and the food and drinks that usually accompany them. So we need a few surefire ways to combat those excess pounds and win the battle of the bulge. As I age, I’ve made it a mission to find the best methods for losing weight fast, effectively, and most importantly naturally in a healthy environment. I’m not going to get into the science on all these methods I’ll suggest. There's oodles of information online, so pick out the one that feels right for you and see how it goes. You’ll need to stick with any of these programs for at least two to three weeks to get results that last. The last thing you want to do is yo-yo back to your prior habits and gain back all the weight you’ve worked so hard to lose. Use these diets as gateways to adapting your relationship with food and the subsequent choices you make throughout the day. Every decision counts. Sugar is the enemy, so if you are going to diet you’ll have to eliminate the booze, ice cream, and sugary stuff. This will make a huge difference in your results.

So, in no particular order, here are your Guys’ Guy’s five favorite diets, fasts and cleanses. I’ve tried each of them more than once, so although this is not based on detailed empirical research, your Guy’s Guy has put them all to the test with positive results across the board.

1. ORGANIC JUICE CLEANSE – I’ve dedicated an earlier blog to this one, so you know this is something I believe in. You’ll need a juicer that separates the fiber from the fruit or vegetable. I use the Solo Star II. You can buy it online. It extracts the pure juice for consumption while eliminating the fiber. You’ll want to juice with organic fruits and vegetables. It also helps if you keep the inherent sugar content low, so monitor the intake of sugar-laden fruits and veggies like apples, carrots and beets. In fact, I suggest avoiding all fruits besides green apples and go strictly veggie for maximum results. Prior to this program you may want to clean yourself out by drinking a half-gallon of salt water and then…well you know what happens after that.

There are lots of veggies to choose from including kale, spinach, chard, cilantro, dandelion (does not taste good), ginger, lemon, and celery basically anything green and organic. You will get results after a week. I did this a few times for two weeks and lost more than ten pounds both times. If you use this cleanse to begin a healthier way of eating, you’ll be pleased with this new lifestyle.

2. MASTER CLEANSE – You also start this one with the prerequisite salt-water ritual. After that you consume only pure, filtered water with a scoop of Master Cleanse powder mixed in. I used the Vibrant Cleanse brand which can be purchased online or at any health store. The powder is a combination of lemon juice, grade B maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. It tastes better than it sounds and I assure you, the weight will peel off your body within a few days if you can adapt to not eating solid foods. You can consume as much of the solution as you like, but that’s all you’ll consume during this fast/cleanse. That could be anywhere from one day to a month based on your preference and goals. It really works. I’ve tried it three cleanses now and lost about 13 pounds in 8-10 days each time.

3. SMASH FAT DIET – This diet was made famous by Dr. Ian K. Smith M.D.’s book from nine years ago. It’s a ninety-day program broken into four phases with an objective of re-wiring your body and its relationship with food to one of moderation and balance. That said, for the first nine days, you focus your diet on predominately fruits and veggies with the exception of white potatoes and avocados. You can eat 4-5 meals a day, but the choices are in my opinion, limited. No peanut butter, meat, fish, cheese, bread, alcohol and most of the sugary stuff that tastes so good. After the initial phase, the subsequent phases allow more items into your choices in small portions. With each phase, the foods and portion sizes increase. The key is getting through the first nine days. I completed the program and it worked—I lost over ten pounds and felt great after completing all four phases, which lasted about six weeks, and I kept the weight off. The book is available everywhere and it includes a lot of tasty recipes. It’s worth a try.

4. INTERMEDIATE FASTING – This is a relatively new concept and it’s easy. The concept is to limit your food intake to an eight-hour period every day. Then you fast for the remaining 16 hours. If you have fasted in the past, it’s not that challenging. But you need to make sure you don’t gorge yourself during those eight hours allotted to eating. Many athletes are doing various versions of this so there is a lot of information available online concerning the different ways of attacking this fast and eat paradigm.

At the very least you will eliminate a meal each day, which can be a good thing given the state of our food supply. I’ve tried intermittent fasting a few times and it worked to a point. I had trouble not pigging out during my noon to 8pm feeding time. I’m more of an all or nothing dieter, so this was easy to execute, but I found disciplining myself without pigging out difficult. The good news is you can set your eating times as you wish, provided you limit it to eight hours. You can also do this by fasting one day and eating the next day. It’s all under the umbrella of what is referred to as “mini-fasting”.

5. SUGAR AND GLUTEN FREE DIET – I’ve just completed this one and it was a bitch. However, it yielded the best results by far. The concept is to eliminate all the bad stuff from your diet while detoxing your body from potential hidden parasites and funguses, sugar-related candida overgrowth and gluten intolerance from the western diet. Sounds gross, but the fact is many people have candida overgrowth, and microtoxins lurking in their bodies in the form of funguses and parasites. To counter this you eliminate sugar (that includes foods with hidden sugar, which includes almost everything), gluten, breads, pasta, potatoes, cereal, grain, peanuts, mushrooms, pizza, cheese, rice, oats, meat, booze, soda, cake, candy, pies, cookies, fruits except green apples, sugary veggies (beets and carrots), etc. I can go on and on, but anything with simple carbs that can turn into sugar and also condiments like ketchup. For the past month I’ve existed on water, organic plain yogurt, salads with organic olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing, eggs, broiled fish, pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds, and herbal tea. Eeek! But, it works and I feel great.

My waistline is down at least three inches, I lost thirteen pounds during the first two weeks and have remained stable at my new weight. And, I’m lean. I lost some muscle and bulk, but my clothes fit better and my mental clarity is razor-sharp. I do indoor cardio, but without the carbs I don't have the strength for my nine-mile runs or free weights. Besides the obvious benefits of weight loss and eliminating microtoxins and candida, I am also reprogramming my lifestyle and relationship with food. And that’s really the key to losing and maintaining the proper weight. I’m pretty happy with how this has gone and I doubt I will go back to my former overindulgent ways. I’m not going to exist on pumpkin seeds and yogurt all the time, but I will be mindful of what I eat and I will monitor my sugar intake very carefully.

So, there is some food for thought for all of you guys and gal looking for efficient ways of losing weight and improving your health. As mentioned, you get lots more info on all of these methods online. The most important thing is to find something that works for you and incorporate its foundation into your lifestyle. And, most of all, cut out the sugar.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Plotinus, who back in the early 200’s A.D. suggested to one of his students with gout to eat every other day for better health. The student followed this direction and regained his health so I guess we could argue that Plotinus was the father of intermittent fasting.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Vacation

Robert Manni - Thursday, July 10, 2014


It’s defined as a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually for rest, recreation or travel. But vacations can be stressful.

If you want to know who is ultimately responsible for any vacation-related tension, take a look in the mirror. So nowadays people have a hard time enjoying themselves during their precious week off. Back in the day, we’d accrue an annual vacation and actually use the allotted days. But with all the tech and connectivity in our lives, at times it feels like there is no escape. How many times have you or one of your colleagues taken more than a week off at a time or used up all of your vacation time? Not very often. Whether you’re headed to Brazil for the World Cup, the Jersey Shore, or a quiet staycation in the city, you need to plan your invaluable time off wisely. Enter, Guy’s Guy, with a few pointers for making the most of your time off this summer and beyond.

1. Level Set at Work – Face it. No one cares about your new pair of chartreuse board shorts or your upcoming week off in Belmar, New Jersey with your crew. All they care about is that your work gets done without it being dumped it on their lap when you’re out of the office. You still have your cell, iPad or laptop so they can and will find you. That’s why it’s important to sew up all the loose ends on your projects the week prior to your departure. I suggest leaving your boss and colleagues a project status that includes next steps that if necessary can be addressed in your absence. If not, they will email, text or call you. If you are so paranoid that you think you’ll be fired the day you return to the office, you have no one to blame but yourself. Cover your ass and then let go.

2. Unplug – My brother had a great idea when a group of couples vacationed together to Anguilla. After we were settled in, had a quick swim and cracked open that first bottle of rum, he placed a bowl in the center of the dining room table and dropped his wristwatch into it. We all followed and it worked as a reminder that in terms of time, all that mattered that week was either the sun was out or the Caribbean night was lit up with stars. It was a great step for detaching from the grind. Listening to the local reggae station on the jeep radio was about as techie as we got that week, and it made for a great trip. I know that it’s challenging to break the FB, Instagram and email addiction, but if you can do it, you will be a happy camper.

3. Explore – Since you are supposedly off the grid for a week, consider going local and trying some new things. This could include water skiing, snorkeling, drinking the local beer or rum, or just checking out a different type of cuisine than you eat at home— and not a chain, even if the local Mickey D’s offers a specialty burger featuring local flavors and toppings. No chains!

4. Take Stock – Congrats! You made it halfway through another year. While sipping that Planter’s Punch poolside, take a deep breath and think about the good things in your life and how you are probably better off than eighty percent of the people in this crazy world. Think about your dreams and aspirations, and what you’re doing to manifest them. For starters, if you are healthy, you’re way ahead of the game.

5. Read – They don’t call them beach reads for nothing. Summer travel and reading go hand in hand. You can read on the plane, on the beach, on a deck with a cocktail, or in your room. Reading nurtures the mind and it’s a great way to mentally escape and let your imagination take over. If you’re looking for a fun, frothy summer read about love, sex, power and money, consider my first novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE.

Are you ready to rock your vacation?

This week’s Guys’ Guys and Gals of the Week are all the fellas and ladies who leave their problems at the office when they check out for their week off.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Keeping the Weight Off

Robert Manni - Friday, February 28, 2014


It’s one thing to diet.  Keeping the weight off is something else. 

Like so many other determined, hopeful men, I’ve made numerous resolutions, promises and proclamations to myself about shedding a pile of unwanted pounds. And I’m usually successful. But this isn't, “Yay me”—there’s a rub. After shedding the weight, how can guys prevent those pounds from insidiously creeping back onto our manly frames? It’s a problem a lot of guys have, so let’s tackle this bloated issue together.

This year I made yet another New Year’s resolution. My goal was dropping twenty-five pounds over the course of 2014.  Almost two months in, my plan is off to a good start. As mentioned in an earlier post, I began my journey by organic juicing the first week of January. I’m not a big fan of leafy green vegetables like collard greens, the omnipresent kale, Swiss chard or the bitter bite of dandelion greens.  Granted, when juiced you can hold your breath while chugging the murky liquid and remind yourself that this is act of detoxification is also one of self-love. So I kept at it and dropped almost a dozen pounds in the first week. The new challenge was taking the process to the next phase.  Now I’m not saying I have all the answers, but I can share what has worked for me. It’s important for guys to take stock in their food and beverage intake as they age. It’s for your health and it becomes more and more difficult to lose that gut. Which brings me to my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Managing Your Weight.

Foods to avoid

Truth be told, I gave eating beef, lamb and pork six years ago. Last year I eliminated poultry and this year I’m trying a vegetarian lifestyle. This is a day-to-day challenge.  Fortunately, over the past six years I’ve discovered that you can unlearn old habits and that change is possible. Even so, after a week of juicing, I was ready to chow down. But keeping the larger goal in mind and knowing the pain of starting over if I started gorging myself, I fought the desire and made a mental list of foods that would remain off limits. Drum roll please…. No ice cream, cake, pie, candy, pizza, pasta. alcohol (sigh), white bread, processed foods while also limiting carbs and gluten. That has made a big difference. The toughest thing to give up was caffeine. That said, eschewing caffeine has provided me with deep, satisfying sleep without missing a beat in terms of mental alertness.

Keep moving

It’s a cold, icy, dismal winter in the Northeast so I’ve put my running gear aside until the temps break freezing and hunkered down on the elliptical machine on a regular basis.  After each session I add an exercise like crunches, curls, push downs, or jumping rope.

The power of choice

When you think about it, everything you eat is a matter of choice. The sour cream or the Greek yogurt, the diet soda or the glass of water, the veggie burger or the turkey burger, the beer or the club soda with lime. It’s a never-ending series of decisions. I’m like a lot of dudes who pull up a chair and wolf down whatever is put in front of me. But it’s not necessary to eat everything in one sitting. So I make another choice to eating slower and more mindfully. I take my time and enjoy each bite of just one satisfying portion. Then I push away from the table and wrap up what’s leftover for another meal. Good decision.

Timing

I start each day with a large glass of water with half an organic lemon squeezed in.  This helps your alkaline and PH balance while also keeping me hydrated.  I’ve also limited my food intake to between 8am and 8pm. No more late night snacking or sips of chilled vodka (sigh).

Consistency and perspective

Dieting needs to be viewed as something good for you, not as punishment for a life of gluttony. I remind myself of my goals every day to make as many better choices as I can. That’s really all anyone can do. And it’s okay to “cheat” once in awhile. But if you are like me, once in awhile can turn into every day so I’m really careful these days.

The results to date are promising. I’ve lost eighteen pounds and I feel fantastic. I have more energy, I look better, my clothes fit comfortably and I sleep like a baby. What’s not to like? I’ve got a long way to go to reach and maintain my goal, but my early success is encouraging.  This is how Guy’s Guys roll, so come on fellas, take stock of yourselves and get healthy. And I promise you that you’ll look and feel a heck of a lot better once you get rolling. It’ all about taking that first step and making the right choices. You can do it, amigo! You’re a Guy’s Guy!

Are you another casualty of yo-yo dieting, or do you set your course and make it happen?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia, who over the course of two years has lost forty pounds.


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