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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Conquering Anxiety

Robert Manni - Thursday, July 13, 2017


Unless you’re entering an actual lion’s den, fear is a fleeting emotion created in the mind. But in these uncertain times of fear-based news and media, many folks live with an omnipresent feeling of anxiety.

Even the word “anxiety” sounds uncomfortable. Wikipedia defines it as an emotion characterized by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behavior, like pacing back and forth, somatic complaints, and rumination. Shit, I feel nervous already. So how can we manage our nervous pangs and the feelings of dread that can creep into our consciousness? Let me tell you a story…

I recently had a bout with anxiety that had been triggered years ago when I was trapped alone in an office elevator for close to an hour. Before this occurred, I had never had any thoughts of discomfort about tight spaces. But after that incident, I realized that the mind could play tricks and allow fear to grab hold of our consciousness. In most cases, the old adage “there is nothing to fear except fear itself” rings true, but we all have triggers that cause mental and physical discomfort, and waves of anxiety. It might be a fear of heights, tight spaces, spiders, snakes, clowns, or situations like losing a job, money, or your lover. Today, your Guy’s Guy is drawing on his personal experiences and bouts of anxiety to serve up a few tips that may help you deal with that nasty stuff in your head. Here goes…

Ever since I was trapped alone in an elevator for close to an hour, my mind has played games on me when I’m faced with really tight spaces. Being a certified advanced clinical hypnotist, after the elevator incident, I made sure I practiced what I preached and got help from one of my teachers. It made a huge difference, but like all hypnosis, the patient needs to take an active role in overcoming his issues.

Although hypnosis wiped away most of the residual claustrophobia, I did a double take the first time I saw an MRI machine online. I was due for back-to-back robotic surgeries and needed MRI’s prior to and after both operations. After that, I would need annual MRI’s for the next five years. The first time I saw that tube on my computer I was hit with a wave of anxiety. Requiring two robotic surgeries on my kidneys was stressful enough without adding multiple stints in the MRI tube. None of this had ever been in my purview. My world had been turned upside down when I was diagnosed. I needed to get a grip on my mental, physical, and spiritual facilities, pronto.

I thought I had moved past any discomfort with tight spaces—I took the subway almost every day—but the thought of sliding into that tube was troubling. I was expecting to be in there for about five minutes, but I was wrong. The first time I was in the tube it would be for forty-five minutes.

Inside the tube, I laid with my eyes closed listening to the distant voice of the technician telling me to breathe in, hold my breath, and breathe out while disturbingly loud noises from the machine clanged through my head. It was awful and it was just the beginning. What could I do?

I looked inside myself and I asked for help. I had to get a handle on this quick and take charge of my emotions. So, after the first session, I reviewed the details of my entrance form and realized I had foolishly agreed to take part in a research study. I said, sure, without inquiring what this entailed, only to discover that my participation in the test required me to spend twice the amount of time in the tube. Even though I had checked the box for claustrophobia on my form, I let myself be convinced to be part of a study to help other patients.

So I called the test center, raised hell, and got out of the test. Based on my claustrophobia, they never should have asked me to participate in the first place. But, I learned that as a patient, you have to fully participate in the process and all of the decisions you make concerning your care. Fortunately, the next test was only twenty minutes. And I was better mentally prepared for the series of MRI’s that were in my immediate future.

How did I handle my anxiety? I asked myself what else I could do and then realized that I’d done my best. What I needed most at this juncture was to stay alert and trust the process. Six weeks and two robotic surgeries later, I set out to heal and learn from the experience. And I really did. I had faced the abyss, not even knowing the fate of my right kidney when I went under the anesthesia, and came out fine. What I learned from my fear and anxiety had ultimately made me stronger.

A year went by and I forgot about the MRI until about a month before it was time to slide back in the tube again. I was caught off guard by new pangs of anxiety, but this time I felt more prepared. I placed a call to the center and made sure I had been eliminated from the test study. But the day of the test, when I saw the tube, I took a step back. It looked way smaller than the tube used the previous year. I took a deep breath and slid in dutifully. I choose classical music for my earphones, kept my eyes closed, and repeated The Violet Flame Invocation— “ I am a being of violet fire. I am the purity God desires” as I listened to the tech’s directions. Although in my mind the tube felt tight, I was handling it okay until the machine malfunctioned. I didn’t know what was going on, but it felt like something wasn’t right. I called out to the technician, but no answer. Waves of anxiety poured enveloped me. I squeezed the ball they gave me to signal the techs to slide me out of the machine. At first, even that did not work. Then, finally I was moving.

Once out of the tube, I was told the machine had malfunctioned and I’d have to wait outside until another machine became available. WTF!? I sat waiting nervously in my gown and socks for the next half hour. I was totally off my game when they summoned me the second time. This time, the machine looked bigger. (Later I found out that it actually was.) I lay down, did my best to get into my zone, and got through it. Afterwards, I let out a sigh of relief and headed home. Fortunately my results were once again clear and I was free for another year.

Fast-forward to 2017. I had only three more MRI’s to go before shifting to an annual ultrasound. For some reason, about a month before my test, I began having anxiety about my upcoming procedure. I needed to get my shit together and get ahead of the game. I recalled what had occurred the prior two years and wondered what screw-ups and dread awaited me this time. I went through my mental checklist and made the necessary adjustments. This time I would wear boxer shorts because they were more comfortable in the tube. Check. I also got my blood test and results ahead of time. Check. Then, remembering what seemed to me to be varying sizes of the MRI tubes, I called the center and asked if I was scheduled for the larger tube I had the previous year, following the first tube’s malfunction. The administrator informed me that I was scheduled for the small tube again.

“What is wrong with these people?” I thought. After all, the previous year I had again checked the box for claustrophobia. I had assumed that people are mindful about their jobs. Nope. Finally management switched me to one of the big tubes. I knew which one to request in subsequent years. Check. The morning of the test I asked myself what the hell I was so concerned about. After all, there was really no way I could be harmed during the test. There were aides and technicians everywhere, and I had the signal ball to squeeze if I was freaking out and needed to come out of the tube for a break. Although I may have had reason for my mental anguish, I realized that my anxiety self-induced and all in my head. As soon as I got through to my subconscious, I was ready to go.

This time the test went as smooth as silk. I repeated my violet flame affirmation, but I also asked my guides and angels to be there with me. In fact, I could feel their presence and felt light and protected as a cool breeze from the machine blew up my boxer shorts. The twenty minutes flew by, and the results were all clear. I also picked up one more trick—instead of using the cumbersome headphones next time I’ll ask for the ear buds during the test because they’re lighter and less restricting. So now I know that, too.

Okay, this has been a long story, and thanks for hanging in there. The point is that there are ways to deal with anxiety. Want proof? Here I am, alive, healed, and stronger than ever. In fact, I’m running my usual 6.2-mile loop of Central Park in the same time as I did prior to my surgeries three years ago. I’m sure you will have your own challenges to face, but when you do, consider these steps to power through the situation and come up better than ever.

1. Be prepared – The more you learn about and know the practical aspects about what you’re facing, the less uncertainty there is and the better off you’ll be. Putting the randomness of human error aside, at least you’ll know you did what you could to address your fears and the scenarios you’re facing.

2. Ask what’s the worst that can happen? – If you’re really freaked out, take a few deep breaths, calm down and ask your higher self, what’s the worst scenario you might be facing. Then consider the best possible outcome. I’ll bet that the worst outcome is highly unlikely and in many cases not that probable, or that awful. Keeping a positive frame of mind helps create a positive outcome. When we think about only the bad stuff, that’s what happens. Manage your energy and your vibe. It matters.

3. Learn from your experience – Having a painful kidney stone, two robotic surgeries, and all the follow up procedures, including the dreaded MRI’s, has, in a crazy way, actually been a blessing. I am a different person now, and hopefully a stronger and better person. I’m not as fearful, and I now realize I have more power than I previously believed.

4. Ask for help – Despite the loneliness we all experience from time to time, we are not alone. Not only are we all connected, but we also have spiritual entities looking out for us. If you’re a believer, don’t be afraid to call on them.

5. Say WTF and go for it – After you have done your research, considered the possibilities, gotten your head together, and asked for help, the only thing left to do is to be like Nike and just do it. It’s called life, amigo, and we all have to face some shit. Believe me, adversity can make you stronger and more resilient. Believe in yourself.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Daniel. You know, the guy from the Old Testament who had his faith tested when asked to enter the lion’s den. Now that’s major anxiety. But as he demonstrated, faith and love can conquer fear.

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.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying Young

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 25, 2017


I usually agree with Mick Jagger, but not when he sings, “What a drag it is getting old,” in Mother’s Little Helper.

Aging is something we all face, but it doesn’t have to be a drag. Genes play a role in how we age, but we can’t let that be an excuse for inactivity and not fighting the good fight versus Father Time. We all know Gen-Xers who look like overweight, fading boomers, and we all know boomers who run marathons and look great. It comes down to life-altering decisions about how we deal with getting older.

Science has proven that the human body replaces all its cells on a regular basis, so you’re not the same person you were five years ago—all of your cells have been replaced. Wounds heal, we gain weight, and some of us keep the hair on our heads. Studies have proven that regardless of your family’s history of a certain disease, it does not necessarily mean you will get it. But, your chances for contracting an illness skyrockets if you allow your subconscious to believe you’re destined to get sick. The point is, when it comes to aging, you can’t leave it up to your genes or family history. Your health and quality of life often comes down to your attitude, beliefs and the choices you make in how you live each day.

With this in mind, I offer you The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Staying Young. Listen, I’m just a Guy’s Guy. I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one of television. But I’m a survivor, and have experienced health scares that forced me to look into the abyss. I’ve done my research, practiced what I’ve learned on my own body, mind and spirit, and have lived to tell. And, I’m better than ever. So let’s get started. Here are a handful of ways to age like a Guy’s Guy.

1. Diet – You are what you eat, amigo. And if you want to age well, look younger than your years, and stay in shape, you need to give that old single-guy diet an overhaul by the time you reach forty. Otherwise, as the years roll on, you’ll have a much tougher time changing your eating habits and making the right choices for your health around the dinner table. It’s not that hard. Simply put, at every meal you make a series of choices to eat either this or that. Start making more of the right choices, and I promise you the process will get easier and pay off in spades in the long run. Start by eliminating or cutting way back on sugar, meat, processed foods, GMO-based foods, dairy, and table salt. Unfortunately, that means staying away from the bacon, too. Of course, go easy on the alcohol, and no smoking. Although most guys like myself considered themselves to be indestructible when we were in our twenties, by the time we hit forty our metabolisms change and it starts taking more time to bounce back. And if we keep abusing our bodies the way we did in college, we pay via expanded waistlines, toxic organs including fatty livers and heavy hearts, and a decline in life force energy.

2. Exercise – I ran my first marathon at age forty. And fortunately I did it the right way. Instead of diving into an intensive three months of training and long runs, I began laying the groundwork on the road a full year before the race. And I’m glad I did. I cruised through the finish line of my first NYC Marathon feeling elated. After a shower I met my friends for a festive Mexican meal and a few shots of good tequila. I should have counted my blessings and taken some time off and healed my body. But, no, I decided to run another marathon a few months later and paid a stiff price. I hit the wall hard in that second race and avoided long runs for a few years. Four years later I ran my third and final marathon. I was in the best shape of my life, but ran the worst race. Maybe it was due to my advanced age. I’m not sure. But I listened to my body during that grueling race when it told me in no uncertain terms that this was our final marathon. I might run a half marathon, but I’m done with the 26.2 miler. 

Partially through proper fitness, I have been fortunate enough to preserve my joints, tendons and knees over the years. So, I’ve kept to a steady regime of running, elliptical training, push-ups, and intervals of weight training to keep me toned. I walk everywhere and almost always take the stairs. Maybe I’m lucky, but I’d argue that I’m somewhat responsible for creating my health through my choices and a lifelong investment in maintaining my body.

Anyone can get in shape at any age. But the longer you wait, the tougher it gets. I suggest starting slow, and staying consistent. Even if you get an injury, try not to let yourself fall too far out of shape. It gets harder and harder to make your way back as the years roll by.

3. Rest and stay positive - You work hard. You play hard. Your body, mind, and spirit need rest. And as you age you’ll need more time to recuperate from working out, a long night out, or a whole lotta love. Sleep is a gift. Your body will thank you. And when life knocks you down, don’t take it personally. We’re here to learn and you can bounce back. A positive outlook goes a long way in your preservation.

4. Meds – When my check ups and tests don’t go as well as I’d like, I do my research I read, talk to people—many in the holistic field, and try various natural remedies before succumbing to meds. Case in point: after a very high cholesterol reading, my doctor suggested that I either go on a vegan diet or take a statin drug. I told him I would see him in a year before making a final decision. I stopped eating meat and cut back on fried foods and foods with high cholesterol for a year, while also working out consistently. Happily, when we tested the following year, my number dropped 90 points and then dropped another 35 the following year. Of course there are times we need meds, but ultimately you need to consult your physician, consider your options and do what you feel is right for you. Keep and open mind and consider trying out natural remedies. You’ll be surprised at what Mother Nature provides us.

5. Never stop learning - Keeping your mind sharp as you age is as important as staying in shape. Throughout our lives, humans only scratch the surface in tapping less than 10 % of our brains’ potential. For many, especially, many of the boomer guys I know, reading is defined as working on the computer as day, scrolling through their phone, or a quick pass through A.M. New York while riding the subway to the office. What ever happened to reading books?  Nurturing and feeding your mind through reading helps expand our horizons and keeps our minds sharp.

Quick story. I exchange texts with an old friend who is a big fan of our current president. His texts read like a rehash of whatever some Fox News host griped about the previous night. I routinely rip him a new one because my pal leads with his chin and does not show a trace of discernment about any issues. Everything comes down to bad versus good, us versus them, and black versus white. People who read know our world is complicated. When a television show needs big blocks of text to support the host’s point of view it shows a lack of depth or an open mind on the subject. It’s called brainwashing and unfortunately, it works on lazy minds.

6. Choose love over fear – When it’s all said and done, do you want to face your final days having lived a life based on making important choices based on fear or love? Choosing love keeps you young. It empowers you to the possibilities that come your way each and every day. Having an open mind is critical to keeping a youthful attitude and a spiritually grounded perspective, especially when we face life’s inevitable challenges. Choose love, amigos. It will keep you young.

7. Enjoy sex – When you’ve been married a long time and have kids and pressure and all the rest of the stuff that eats up our time, it’s easy to forego sex. Often, we pass out on the couch in front of the television before sleepwalking into the bedroom and crashing. Sex is important, amigos. If it gets overlooked for too long, relationships sour, bitterness ensues, and our body rebels when it’s not getting its fair share of intimate pleasure. Folks, please find a way to keep your love alive and the sexual fires burning. A good romp in the sack is good for the heart and the soul and if you ask me, it’s life affirming.

I could go on and on, but I think we’ve covered a number of simply practices that will keep you feeling, looking and being young for many, many years. Life can be a long, beautiful trip. All you have to do is strap in, make positive decisions, and enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts. I hope yours lasts a long, long time.

This week's This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Jack LaLanne, the man who opened America’s first fitness gyms. Jack’s long running television show in the sixties was built around wellness and staying young. And as a show of his commitment to his message, each year Jack would conduct a physical feat far exceeding the expectations of someone his age. At age 54, he defeated a 21-year old Arnold Schwarzenegger in a fitness contest. Jack lived 96 healthy years. You can do it, too.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying Sane

Robert Manni - Thursday, April 06, 2017


Can you recall a crazier time in our lives than right now? Probably not.

Between every excruciating day of chaos ushered in by our new president, global terror, rising health care costs, homelessness, weekend subway service in NYC, an endless winter, GMO’s infesting our food, drone-like jobs with longer hours and less pay, it’s a tough time to be alive. People are stressed out, tired, unfocused, hyper, and stretched to the human limits. This is not how things are supposed to be, amigos. I’m actually surprised our society hasn’t completely melted down.

More and more I read about disclosure and how our planet is on the verge of a major change for the better. But when you are under a constant assault of fear by the media and the powers that be, no one would blame you for feeling life is uninspiring and becoming a long, slow downward spiral.

What’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Lots. With the hope of contributing to your mental, physical and spiritual wellness, I’ve pulled together a punch list of ten things you can do when your world appears to have gone absolutely bonkers. I call it, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Staying Sane. Here’s my list in no particular order.

Drum roll, please…

1. Breathe – That’s right. Breathe. When you are on edge, even the smallest slight can trigger you into overreacting and regretting things later. If your latest Facebook post puts you on the receiving end of the social media trolls or your boss is sabotaging you because you can do her job better than she can, don’t take the bait. Take a few slow breaths, hold, and release. Breathe and repeat. Try this slow breathing when riding the subway or the bus and within a few minutes your mind will calm down. It’s a good start.

2. Ease up on social media – I don’t know about you, but my feed features a polarizing gamut of spiritual articles and memes, sports and culture, and partisan political posts. After asking myself why do I care what my grammar schoolmates post about Trump, I began unfollowing, and at times unfriending and blocking those I found annoying. I feel better. It’s a start to regaining my sanity. I’ve found that endlessly scrolling Facebook and Twitter makes us anxious, like we’re all on pins and needles waiting for that post or tweet that’s going to make everything better in our lives. It’s making people crazy. Sure, I enjoy videos of the kitty that scared off the alligator and the kid with no arms who sank a 3-point shot. But there’s too much weird activity on Earth to keep up with while trying to be productive. So get a grip, amigo, holster that phone, and push away from your computer screen. Live your life offline.

3. Turn off the news – Whether it’s online or on your television, there’s an endless feed of news and propaganda spewed at us all day. Have you ever wondered why you see the same stories on most of the networks? It’s because a handful of organizations own the news outlets. They decide what stories are worthy and how long to pound them into our consciousness. Right now it’s all about Russia, Trump, the latest global terror strikes and other stories that instill fear. Those topics have legs, while other topics like fixing our environment and safeguarding our food supply are ignored. I’m not suggesting we turn a blind eye to what’s happening in the world, but we need to remind ourselves that there is an agenda. We’re served what they want to feed us. So it’s important to our mental health to consume news in moderate, manageable doses or else risk depression. After all, you still need to submit that updated Excel sheet with the Q3 projections by close of business tomorrow.

4. Get outside – Nothing brings me more sanity than getting out of my crib. When it’s cold and dreary, it’s tough to push yourself out the door. But, when you stay inside there are too many temptations to flip on the TV or laptop. A walk in the fresh air brings a new perspective and is very helpful for calming down.

5. Exercise – When the world seems to be going crazy, a workout or a run in the park provide a hard to beat mental, physical, and spiritual respite from all the stress. I prefer a long run to clear my head. Others like yoga or spin classes, stretching, cardio or free weights to decompress. Whatever you choose is fine. Like they say, just do it. Sex is a good exercise also.

6. Meditate – Meditation has many benefits. Besides relaxing and clearing the mind, meditation gives the physical body an opportunity to heal from the duress of modern life. And of course, it also allows us to get in touch with our inner consciousness and higher self. Even if you can only spare a few minutes a day, find time to meditate. You’ll see a difference in how you view the world.

7. Appreciate art – Thank God for artists. They reflect our world in so many ways while allowing our minds to process life through a fresh lens. It doesn’t matter if you are reading a novel, wandering through a museum, watching an indie film, or listening to jazz. Taking time to appreciate the arts always provides a needed mental break from the craziness and helps us see our world and plight with a different perspective.

8. Create something  Putting your focus into personal expression keeps the cray cray away. Writing, singing, painting, sewing, chanting, or even sculpting your body are wonderful outlets to let off steam and express how you feel about what’s gong on in the world and your personal experience. These all take a concentration and getting into a zone where you’re focused on building something instead of simply processing information. Creativity is a safe haven from a messed up world.

9. Engage with other people – Deep conversations with a friend, laughter, hugging it out, and sex are proven ways to de-stress and stay sane. And they’re usually fun.

10. Service – Extending oneself to others, even in small ways has a ripple effect. Doing good makes the world a better place, and a less crazy place. Sharing your knowledge, being a mentor, volunteering, or even giving accordion players a buck all helps make the world a better place.

These are just a few ways we can keep our sanity in an increasingly dysfunctional culture. The media and the powers that be want us to live in fear and see one another as separate. The truth is that underneath the surface everyone is connected and we have a lot of collective power. Stay positive and control your thoughts. You are not crazy.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is the Dalai Lama. Throughout his life he has managed to maintain wisdom, calm, and equilibrium in the face of the endless challenges that have been thrown his way.

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.    

Five Great Ways to Start Your Day

Robert Manni - Thursday, October 27, 2016


Do you wake up feeling tired, uninspired, and sometimes even dreading the new day? Do you wake up in a cranky mood and locked into the all-too-familiar, “I gotta have my coffee first” syndrome” before you can deal with other people or face the responsibilities of the day? If the answer is yes, you are not alone. If you look around the subway at the sea of solemn faces, doesn’t it seem like a lot of people are feeling kind of blue in the morning.  In fact, the CDC reports that up to 9% of Americans suffer from symptoms of depression.

Guy’s Guys are constantly seeking new ways to improve their lives and make this a better world. We create change from within then express it through our actions. With this in mind, I’d like to share a few ideas that help me climb out of bed every day and head out the door feeling great. It starts with rituals and routines. I realize the terms “routine” and “ritual” come with boring connotations, but the results of sticking to an early morning regime can deliver results that are far from boring. Over the years I’ve experimented with a number of techniques and pared them down to a manageable number. I hope they serve to spark your own ideas that help you to get up and get rolling. I’m not suggesting that one size fits all or that everything is right for you. We’re all different. But, for me at least, starting the day with a routine puts me in position to hit the ground running and win the day. So, in order, here is my list of rituals, routines, and regimes that have get me off to a good start each day and enhance the quality of my life.

Drum roll, please…

1. Alignment, Affirmations, and Meditations – I begin as soon as I wake up. Even before opening my eyes I get in touch with our Divine Source by focusing on aligning myself to Truth. I simply say, “I AM aligning myself to Truth.” This affirmation helps me eliminate anything in my purview that is not in my highest good. It sounds a bit metaphysical, but it’s very powerful. And, if I do nothing else spiritually the entire day, at least I have made a proclamation to be in frequency with Truth.

I then spend about ten minutes, either in bed or around my apartment, reciting a list of affirmations that have meaning to me. This includes blessings for all of the people and situations in my life— the good and the bad. And I do it every day. By the time I’m finished, I am already feeling good about life and the new day.

2. Swishing With Coconut Oil - Organic coconut oil is anti-viral that can do wonderful things for the human body. Swishing the raw oil around the mouth for twenty minutes kills many oral bacteria and helps ease inflammation within other parts of the body. According to my dental hygienist, my gums and overall oral health have never been better in the decade since I started swishing. And, since I started swishing, a sensitive growth on the bottom of my foot has not only been significantly reduced in size, but it’s also not sensitive anymore. After swishing, I spit the now viscous oil into the garbage (not the sink). Then I rinse mouth with salt water to get rid of the residual bacteria.

More info on Coconut Oil:

3. Bentonite Clay or Apple Cider Vinegar – Following all that swishing, rinsing, and spitting it’s time for something to drink. I begin my consumption of liquids on an empty stomach with a glass of filtered water mixed with either a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or a teaspoon of either bentonite or pascalite clay. The merits of both include removing toxins, cleaning the intestinal walls, and balancing the body’s alkaline.

I brush my teeth after this and wait about fifteen minutes before consuming anything else. I’ll usually do some push-ups followed by a shower before having a quick, but fulfilling breakfast.

More info on Apple Cider Vinegar benefits:

More info on Bentonite Clay:

4. Exercise – As mentioned, on most mornings before I hit the shower, I’ll drop down and pump out 65 push-ups. Then I hold the plank position for a count of two hundred before grinding out another five push-ups. After a quick stretch, it’s off to the shower. The affirmations, swishing, drinking and the push-ups have only taken 30 minutes.

5. Shake – By now I’m pretty hungry so I throw my favorite ingredients into a blender and power up a shake. I mix almond/coconut milk, a half banana, Green Vibrance powder (a plant-based super food), gojiberries, banana, organic strawberries or raspberries, maca powder, raw cocoa, organic wheat germ, a few ice cubes, and a little coconut water. I also take the following raw vitamins and organic supplements with my shake: turmeric, vitamin D, Raw One vitamins for men supplement (multi-vitamin), vitamin C, flax oil, and probiotics (saccharomyces boulardi and MOS), arginine and pine bark.

It sounds like this is a lot to do first thing in the morning, but it takes less than an hour and it works for me. If beginning your day with morning rituals feel like something of interest to you, I urge you to give it a try. Experiment with different things that feel right for you. In any case, I’m sure you’ll find your way. Good luck. Me? I am getting better and better.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Emil Couie, the French psychiatrist and pharmacist who introduced the phrase, “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Aging - Part 2 (The Good News)

Robert Manni - Sunday, September 18, 2016


Life can change at any second. That’s right, amigos. Every new day brings an opportunity.

But to make change, we must be open-minded and try new ways of doing things. This is one of the keys to adapting as we age.

Remember when you attended your high school reunion? Quite an eye-opener. Some of your classmates still look fantastic and full of life while others appeared much older than their age. What happened? With each subsequent reunion the differences in how people we know age grows. For some, it’s a reflection of an individual’s life-experiences or genetic makeup. But in most cases, it’s indicative in how these folks have taken care of themselves. So it’s critical to approach each new day as a fresh start and take stock in how we are treating our mind, body and soul. In my last post I focused on all of the inevitable bad news and challenges we’ll face as we age. But, like I stated, it doesn’t have to be all bad news. Sure, we’ll all get old eventually, and faster than we expected, but there are steps we can take along the way to ease our path as we approach our senior years. Here are a few tricks your Guy’s Guy has learned along the way.

1. Pace yourself.

I’m a runner, and although I’ve completed three marathons, I still struggle with my weekly treks around the outer loop of Central Park. That run never seems to get easier, and running is hard on the body. Many runners switch to another form of cardio as they get older due to the pounding and the nagging injuries that often occur. And as we get older, those tweaks take longer and longer to fully heal. So what’s the answer? First, make a decision about running or any intense fitness activity you are involved in. Is your body still up to the challenges and pounding or is it time to find a replacement workout? Maybe add yoga, but at least incorporate stretching into your routine.

Everybody is different, so each one of us needs to take an honest stock of themselves and ask if running or whatever your most intense workout is can remain part of your regime. If the answer is yes, like it was for me, be smart and take it easy on yourself. Sure, I can still do those log runs, but now I take the time to recover between these runs and make sure I stretch after every run. When I get a tweak in your hammy or meniscus, I back off and hop on the elliptical trainer for a few weeks before hitting the pavement again.

I pulled a hammy this summer and wisely made the switch to the elliptical for a month. I also stretched every day and massaged my hammy until it was back to normal before running on it again. Ten years ago, I might have foolishly continued running and risked really hurting myself. It’s about being smart, amigos. You can do most of the same things, but as you age, you need to be smarter about how you work out.

2. Watch your weight.

Let’s face it. The food in our supermarkets is mostly processed and loaded with hidden sugars and GMOs. It wasn’t always that way, but it is now, so we need to use our noodle when choosing what foods we eat and how much of it we consume. I used to think that as long I kept running I could eat whatever I wanted in the same portion sizes as I consumed in my twenties. Twenty pounds later I began to take note of how quickly the pounds were sticking to my frame. And once us guys get that roll of abdominal fat around our waists, it becomes more and more difficult to shed it completely.

Over the years I’ve slowly, but consistently, adapted my diet to fit my aging body and lifestyle. I’ve always started my day with a set of at least fifty push-ups, but there have been times when I have skipped the gym for a few months and stop running outside when the roads were iced over during our northeast winters. What I ate became the X-factor in how I managed my waistline and health, so I had to make some changes.

I decided to stop eating meat eight years ago. At first it was hard, but now I don’t even think about it. I quit smoking over twenty-five years ago and still regret ever taking that first puff. Thankfully, I didn’t gain any weight when I stopped smoking, probably because I exercised more. I switched to a cleaner diet that has over the years evolved to predominantly green vegetables, fish, pasture raised eggs, and green smoothies, while avoiding sugars and simple carbs including breads, pizza, and pasta as much as possible. Another consideration is when I eat. Eating meals earlier in the day is better for our health and waistline.  I try not to eat after 8pm so I do not go to sleep with a full stomach. Has it been a challenge? Sure, but I like how I feel weighing twenty pounds less than I did twenty years ago. I have more energy and my clothes fit better, too. I’m happy with my choices and healthier as a result.

The key to success in managing your diet is to try a few different routines, including fasting (if you can hack it), put in the necessary time to get real results, and then make lifestyle changes based on what you’ve learned and what works for you. Do I enjoy a glass of wine or top shelf tequila now and then? Sure, but I’m doing my best to avoid the boomer habit of drinking my way into old age.

3. Consider natural solutions.

The last time I had a check up, the medical assistant administering the tests asked what meds I take. I told her, “Nothing”. She asked me the same question two more times. Same answer. I’m not suggesting that you do not take medication your physician prescribes, but in some cases, you have a choice of forgoing the meds by changing in your lifestyle and dietary choices. For example, two years ago, my doctor told me my cholesterol was on the high side. He suggested a statin pill. I said, “No, thanks”. He suggested that I return in six months. If my numbers were unchanged he wanted me to take the prescription. I asked if there was anything I could do to lower my numbers. He suggested a vegan diet. I told him I’d see him in a year. I quit eating meat and drastically improved my dietary choices by avoiding processed and acidic foods.

When I returned a year later, my numbers had dropped by ninety points. After two more years my cholesterol numbers are bordering on low.  Why? I looked for a natural path to wellness and stuck to the program so my body could heal itself. I also reduced my blood pressure significantly through diet and exercise. The point is; if you take charge of your choices, you can make positive changes to your health and well-being. Your doctor will let you know when things are going wrong, but they rarely tell you how to stay healthy. Do your own research and take charge of your health as best you can. And, make sure you don’t miss your check ups.

4. Mediate

Let’s face it. The endless onslaught of negativity spewed at us by the media, movies, and advertising can lead to an overload of mental monkey chatter that turns our lives into an endless loop of reacting instead of having vision that we act on. Starting the day or finding time for 15-20 minutes for quiet meditation connects us to our higher selves. This connection with the divine is there for all, but it’s up to each one of us to make the time to forge a connection to consciousness. Your higher self, sometimes coming through as that little voice inside of your head or heart, knows all about who we are, what we are, and how we serve. It’s there to help us. But again, it’s up to us to take advantage of our connection with divinity. 

Ultimately, no matter what diet or physical programs you incorporate the key to aging well is through love— self-love, love for your neighbor, love for humanity, and a love for the God that’s in each one of us. If you want to age gracefully, make smart choices and seek consciousness. Love and a connection to your divinity can help your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being while bringing you joy, gratitude, and peace.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Jack La Lanne. This true Guy’s Guy was a humanitarian who helped create today’s fitness revolution and healthy lifestyle. During his show he also shared much wisdom about keeping the spirit and mind strong and positive while training the body.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Aging - Part 1 (The Bad News)

Robert Manni - Saturday, August 27, 2016


A seventy-three year-old Mick Jagger once sang, “Time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me.” Although he was correct, he’s still vital, in great shape and killing it in concert.

If we play the cards we’re dealt the best way we can, it’s possible to extend our time here on Earth and age with vigor, class, and élan. But, in order to live long and prosper there are some rules to follow. Aging impacts everyone¾ millennials through boomers. So in an effort to cover as much ground as succinctly as possible, I’ll break down the bad news on aging here before returning next week with the good news, including the steps we can take to ease our path into a healthy future.

The Bad News

After we reach the age of twenty-five, we begin to notice things starting to slow down. I’m sure many of you have woken up with a hangover while in your mid-twenties and noticed that for the first time the effects of the previous night took a larger toll on your well being than usual. A feeling like your head was hit with tiny ball peen hammers, aches and pains in new places, and your needing an extra day or two to get back to feeling one hundred percent again. Amigos, that’s the first step in what can be a long, uncomfortable slide into middle age if we are not mindful about our body and our lifestyle. Make no mistake about it. Once we hit twenty-five, our metabolism slows down and continues its slow descent for the rest of our lives.

From that point, it takes longer to manage our health and recover from partying, sex, sports injuries, illness, increased mental monkey chatter, and energetic blockages. Compounding all of this is the disturbing fact that too many Americans live reactive lives driven by fear, pessimism, and the current news cycle and propaganda spewed by our media. The majority of the media and advertising is focused on creating a mindset based on feeling of lack and what we don’t have. You need this. You could lose that and if you do, you’re screwed. Unless, of course, you buy this and do as you’re told. As we age, the burden of carrying around all this made-up nonsense becomes more burdensome until the dam bursts and we succumb to chronic illness.

And, along the way, we gain weight. When I was a kid, there were a handful of “chubby” kids in school. And, being cruel, we’d call them names. But now that we’re older, who isn’t waging their own personal battle of the bulge? If you take a stroll through any shopping mall, you’ll see a lot of obese kids and adults. It’s usually due to the food they eat, sedentary lifestyles, meds, and stress. As we gain weight, we slow down. And as we slow down, if we are not mindful about our diet and lifestyle, we’ll keep gaining weight. Then, we’ll get sick and slow down even more when we start taking meds for this, for that, and to combat the side effects from the first meds we took. This easily becomes a vicious downward cycle.

 

Want some more bad news about aging? As we get older, we can’t do all the things we have been doing for so many years, like eating the same foods in the same quantities, having sex three times a night, or working out as intensely and often as we did when we were in our early twenties. That does not mean we can’t take steps to combat all these limitations, but it’s not easy to change life-long habits and it requires discipline. Unfortunately, not a lot of people wake up and make the necessary choices to evolve their life-long habits until it’s too late.

Couple this with what was once your perfect vision weakening, bouts of insomnia, anxiety over work, getting up to pee three times an night, money anxiety, job loss, worrying about things we can’t control, and yearning for “the good old days”. And there’s more. Death, taxes, childcare costs, a shaky economy, Donald Trump being a step away from the presidency, and climate change. If we fall prey to the hype and swallow the swill served us in the form of GMO foods, fear-based media, ultra-violent entertainment, aging parents with chronic illnesses, loneliness, and a diminished quality of life, life can look bleak.

BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!

For every question there is an answer and for the biggest questions in life the answer is always based in love. At our source we come from and are created with love. With love for ourselves in mind, next time I will review each one of the troubling aspect of aging and offer concrete ways of addressing the issue of aging gracefully and purposely, while living a fulfilling life deep the our senior years. 

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is spiritual teacher Tony Robbins, who said, “People overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, and underestimate what they can accomplish over a decade.”

 

Here’s to a pledge for decades of good health and well being for you.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to the Common Cold

Robert Manni - Friday, May 27, 2016


I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on television. I’m a Guy’s Guy.

But like all men and women, I occasionally come down with that nagging virus known as he common cold. It takes various forms and brings with it a multitude of symptoms, usually led by a runny nose, a scratchy throat, low energy, and an overall feeling of not being your usual perky self. Over the years I’ve tried a number of ways to shake off these symptoms and get back to being one hundred percent as quickly as possible. Along the way, I’ve had some success and learned a few things about taking care of myself when that nasty bug barges into my world. In fact, I’m just coming out of a weeklong bout contracted from my mother-in-law who picked up a random germy thing while vacationing in Europe. I’m feeling better now and my findings are as fresh as Donald Trump’s latest insult.

Here are my top ways of managing your mind, body, and spirit when a nasty common cold decides to stop into your world for a week to ten-day visit.

1. Sleep – When you aren’t feeling well, your body needs rest. It’s that simple. The more time you devote to sleeping, the faster your body will combat an attacking virus and restore itself to perfect health, which, by the way, is our natural state of being. This past week, I gave up my space in bed to my mother-in-law and decided to opt for sleeping on a mat on the floor rather than sinking into a big old comfy couch. It was a bit hard to get used to, but in the end I slept much better on the mat. I also made sure to grab extra winks whenever the opportunity presented itself. And, man, it really helped my body regenerate. Hey, sleep is always a good thing, even when you aren’t under the weather.

2. Natural anti-viral supplements – I eschew the plethora of Big Pharma products we find on the shelf and the over-the-counter remedies available to mask our aches, pains and runny noses. Of course there are times when you’re really sick and need a doctor’s prescription, but Mother Nature offers many natural herbs and ingredients that I’ve found to be really helpful when battling the common cold. My number one, go-to item is organic ginger. Ginger has anti-viral properties that kill viruses. The trick is putting the ginger directly in contact with where the virus lives. First I peel and slice the ginger. Then I toss the pieces into a small pot of water and boil it for about twenty minutes. I keep a lid on the heated liquid. This creates a steam that I carefully inhale when lifting the lid just enough to allow me to take the vapor into my nasal passages. I do this for a few minutes. Then I pour the remaining liquid into a cup and drink the ginger tea with honey and lemon. It tastes great and I get results right away.  However, buy enough ginger so you can repeat the process for at least two days. This past week I made the mistake of using up my stash and not replenishing it because I thought I’d stamped out every trace of the virus. I hadn’t and the cold came back.

My other go-to item is drinking organic clay mixed in water. My favorite is pascalite clay, which comes from Wyoming. The clay has powerful anti-viral properties; it collects and kills viruses or any bug you may have picked up that are living in your gut or intestines.  Though not everyone buys into detoxification, clay is actually heralded as a great detoxifying agent. Whenever I drink my clay my sore throat symptoms disappear almost immediately. Again, I’ve found it best to continue drinking the clay and water mixture throughout the week. I also load up on multivitamins, vitamin D, high doses of vitamin C, flax, probiotics, and turmeric. Once again, I choose natural and organic supplements whenever possible. And again, I’m a Guy’s Guy, not a doctor. I’m only sharing what has worked for me.

3. Fluids – Most Americans are dehydrated. We simply don’t consume enough fluids. And when you have a nasty cold, you need to eliminate that bad stuff out of your body as quickly as possible. Drink, drink, drink, amigos. And if you still insist on those cold beers when you’re under the weather, drink even more water. You may pee a lot, but you’ll eliminate toxins, too. So, drink up.

4. Sweat it out – Depending on how good or bad you feel; you may want to consider including light exercise as part of your routine for recovery. The old adage is that it’s okay to work out if your symptoms stay above the neck. I agree. I find that working up a sweat through cardio is a great way to eliminate toxins. This past week in New York, the weather turned beautiful. But although it was eighty degrees in Central Park, I opted to spend an hour inside on the elliptical trainer versus my usual six-mile run around the outer loop. And I’m glad I did—I simply felt too weak to push myself up and down all those hills. I also gave up my beloved push-ups for the week. I’ve been a push up freak since I was thirteen, so I figured that a week off would not have an adverse effect. Of course, I also left the iron alone during this time.

5. Adjust your schedule – Although we do our best to be flexible, there are some things we can’t avoid, even when we are not feeling one hundred percent. Champions show up, right? That said, in those areas where we can adjust our schedules and responsibilities, it’s wise to dial it back when you are on the mend. You can always replace that lost time by catching up on your reading or getting more rest.

Of course these five pointers won’t prevent you from catching those pesky common colds, but all of the above have helped me on the road to a rapid recovery.  Do what works for you, but be open-minded.  You can benefit from supplements and anything that promotes a healthy lifestyle and consistent recovery regime. Hey, I’m ready for a long overdue a six-mile run.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Edgar Cayce, a clairvoyant and widely considered as the father of holistic healing.    

To Drink or Not to Drink...

Robert Manni - Friday, April 01, 2016

When you’re not drinking have you ever noticed the people around you who’ve had too much to drink? Pretty sloppy, huh? At times like these I wonder why I drink. So I stopped, for a while at least.

By doing so, I learned a lot about how drinking impacts our behavior, fitness, and overall health. I spent over two decades in the marketing and advertising industries working on many the world’s most popular spirits brands. I’ve also been known to enjoy a cocktail or two or even three on occasion. But, I’ve also easily pushed alcohol aside for months at a time.

With that in mind, I’m sharing my Guys’ Guy’s perspective on the art of drinking, its benefits, and consequences. I’ll do my very best to avoid judgments or preaching. Let me begin by stating that fortunately, I’ve never had a problem with alcohol. Although I enjoy the taste of aged dark rum, a fine sipping tequila, a buttery Chardonnay, or a complex Pinot Noir, I’ve never physically or mentally needed a drink. I can hold my liquor, and only on rare occasions have I been inebriated. And, if I do drink too much, I go home and fall asleep. I’m not a mean, violent, or even a funny drunk. But, that’s me. Everyone experiences booze differently.

In today’s culture, and particularly when working hard, alcohol becomes a go-to outlet for letting off steam, venting, and bonding. So the phrase, “let’s meet for a drink” is de rigueur. We do it all the time. It’s become who we are. So, how does that work when we’re not drinking alcohol? A few nights ago I was out with friends. I had given up drinking for the past month matched my buddies beer rounds with club soda. When you are in a bar, this becomes tedious quickly, especially when your squad is matching you with rounds of ice-cold IPA’s.

I put my blinders on and focus on the conversation, but I can’t help but notice when someone in my group or standing close by has had a few too many cocktails. They get loud and bolder than usual, and many times they start repeating things. The other night, I was on the receiving end of a lecture complete with Tony Robbins quotes from a close friend who showed up after meeting his colleagues for a few hours of drinks. He’s a great friend, but he already had one or two too many by the time he arrived. And for some reason I became the object of his attention. He shared pearls like, “I’m an assassin. I’m a killer. I close deals. There is no long term, only today. What is your six-month plan?” Some of what he said was correct…mostly for him, but he meant well. That said, whenever I attempted to get a word in edgewise, he raised his voice and talked over me. I’ve been there before so it was nothing more than a mild annoyance. And although his intention was to be helpful, the alcohol obscured his message. Sometimes that’s what happens when the beers gets ahead of us.

Let’s take a quick look at drinking from three perspectives: as a marketer, as a drinker, and as someone abstemious.

Working in the booze business – The spirits business is comprised of a mixed bag of marketers, salespeople, and entrepreneurial thinkers. It’s a fun, social business where a lot of time is spent observing the market at the on-premise establishments. And, unlike the packaged goods, financial services, or pharma sectors, liquor is a category where you can seed a great idea, create an image, and in short order witness a brand taking off. I worked in the vodka category in the 90’s during the flavor explosion. It was exhilarating. Ten years later the magic was gone. Where do you go after vodka tastes like breakfast cereal, candy bars or cupcakes?   Fortunately, there are many types of spirits and tastes change every decade. Nowadays, although vodka still accounts for $.35 out of every dollar spent on spirits, it’s no longer the hot spot. Millenials want their own drinks, and there has been a migration to brown goods (bourbon, whiskey, and rye). Beer has also blossomed into a multilayered category. Back in the day you either drank Bud or Miller. Now every state, county and metropolis produces beer and most of them are better than the mass-produced brands. It’s happening with spirits also. It’s fascinating how the spirits industry continues changing as each generation shifts their tastes to reflect their values versus what their older siblings and parents drank.

Drinking as a team sport- Who doesn’t like to meet up with their mates after hours to throw back a few cold ones and watch the game? It’s part of our culture, and in most cases people are pretty cool and know how to pace themselves. But not everyone handles themselves well after a drinking for a few hours.

There has been a proliferation of binge drinking, especially by gen-Xers and millenials over the past two decades. Shots, followed by drinks, beers, and more shots is standard fair that comes with a downside. People get drunk quickly. Then they act stupid. Also, drinking has been an expensive habit, especially when frequenting bars, clubs, and restaurants on a regular basis.

And there is more bad news. Today’s cocktail culture is built around sweet mixed drinks laden with sugar. These tasty sugary concoctions make us crave salty bar bites like wings, nuts, pizzas, and assorted cheesy bar snacks. If you go to bars a lot you need to be mindful. It’s easy to gain weight, seed Type 2 diabetes, and spend a lot of money. Plus, if you get pulled over when driving with a buzz, it’s usually a disaster.

Not drinking- As mentioned, I’ve stopped drinking for months at a time on numerous occasions. For me, the challenge is breaking the habit, so after a few days I forget all about my post-work cocktail or wine with dinner. It’s not that big of a deal. The good news is I always lose a few pounds, sleep better, and have more energy in the morning. I spring out of bed and get right into my day. As a result I am usually more productive. Additionally, alcohol is a depressant, so if I’m experiencing personal or career challenges or taking things too seriously, giving booze a rest is beneficial to my mood and attitude and health. I usually stay positive, I’m consuming less sugar and empty calories, and I lose weight around my midsection as long as I don’t replace the liquor with other sweets like chocolate and ice cream. I’m not suggesting that this is for everyone, but it works for me. And I think that one of these breaks will become a lifestyle. We’ll see. How about you? Think you can stop drinking for a month? Try it if you can and keep track of what changes take place. Then decide what you get out alcohol and if you need it in your life. Maybe. Maybe not. No judgments. It’s up to you.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Robert Downey Jr. who after years of substance abuse went clean in 2003 and became one of the most bankable movie stars in the world. Nice work, Iron Man.



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