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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

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 Beating the Blues

Robert Manni - Friday, October 02, 2015


Face it, amigos. Life is tough, and even a Guy’s Guy catches a case of the blues every now and then.

Maybe your girlfriend dumped you via Facebook, your job interviewer was late, rude or just a plain douche, or you forgot to play the right QB in your fantasy football team. It’s okay, amigo. Like the song says, the sun really does come out tomorrow.

Your Guy’s Guy is offering a few tips to get your mind out of the gutter and your sights set on the heavens. It’s not that difficult if you approach each day with an open mind and a sense of humor.

Life has ups and downs, and like a professional athlete, some days we’re just not feeling it. Every now and then we wake up uninspired. That’s to be expected. If your life is anything like mine, you are probably smack dab in the middle of a roller coaster ride and don’t know what’s waiting for you around the next bend. Take heed. You are not the only one who has caught the blues. In fact, there is an entire musical genre dedicated entirely to it. I’m not referring to clinical depression here. I’m talking about the malaise that accompanies our media-driven culture and the negativity and feelings of lack it eschews.

It’s easy to get down on yourself. But when shit happens or when we’re just not in the mood for the nonsense, it’s okay to kick back, lick your wounds and learn from our experiences. That doesn't mean wallowing in sorrow over why things haven't worked out as planned or on your timetable. The Universe is on your side amigo, but it’s not on your schedule. So be patient and not too hard on yourself. Remember, Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team. So the next time you hit a bump in the road, even one that knocks you off your high horse, be cool. Dust yourself off, take a deep breath and never, ever stop believing in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will.

Here is my GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO BEATING THE BLUES:

1. Cut back on media- It’s never a good idea to watch too much television, especially when you have a case of the blahs. Television is built on an advertising or subscription-based model. Content is secondary and it’s really there to sell us stuff we don’t need. At the same time, the news selectively hits us over the head with a few select topics of the week, usually built around fear. The ads sell us everything we “lack” or that we need to counter our feelings of helplessness, futility and impeding doom. In fact there were many blog posts or articles about a series of cataclysmic events that were supposed to happen in September. But nothing happened, did it?

It’s a vicious cycle and to top it off, most of the shows are either very dark or about dysfunctional people and families. It’s enough to make you sick, so watch out for what you watch and how much time you send starting at a screen.

2. Get outside – We’ve got lot of creature comforts and it would be easy to shutter ourselves behind locked doors plinking away at your laptop or binge-watching shows or sports. I suggest making sure you get your butt outside every day, even if you are not working and feeling down in the dumps. Go for a walk, a run, meet a friend for lunch, anything that gets you out in the fresh air and your blood flowing. I assure you your mood will perk up. Circulate, amigo, circulate.

3. Shake it off - I know that depending on the circumstances, this can be easier said than done. But, it’s important that we put things into perspective and focus the big picture. You lost your gig? Well now you have time to create. You’re low of fund-age? Now you can feel compassion for those less fortunate and learn how to stretch a dollar. Okay, this isn't something you want to do on a long-term basis, but the point is you can learn from every experience and improve yourself as a person if you keep an open mind and maintain your sense of humor.

4. Meditate – When things are not going well, staying focused can be challenging. So it’s critical to keep a relaxed mindset at all times. I have found that sitting quietly with my eyes closed and following a steady meditative practice for fifteen minutes a day works wonders for my mental outlook, productivity, and interpersonal relationships. There are myriad ways to meditate. Find one that suits you and be diligent in your practice. It really pays off.

5. Do something you like – When I’m feeling blue I occasionally treat myself to a movie, ballgame, a long run, a good book, some rocking sex, or even a short nap. It’s important to not allow our monkey chattering conscious mind to get the best of us. Remember, the E-G-O likes to whisper negative, fearful things into our ears. Now and then it’s healthy to tell your conscious mind to f--k off and go hit a pail of balls. If that’s what it takes to change your mood. No worries, pal. It’s going to be all right.

6. Believe – That’s right, amigo. Things will work themselves out if you believe that they will and you believe in yourself. It’s really that simple, but even now you are probably allowing your monkey mind to dredge up fear and doubt about what you’ve just read. That’s up to you, friend. Take it from a Guy’s Guy who has had his share of ups and downs. Life is what we make it and a lot of it happens right between the ears and in your heart.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Pope Francis. His openness, tolerance, and love really made a difference in the energy of New York. I felt it while running in Central Park the morning after his short swing through the park. Hopefully his message and vibe will help our planet and people ascend. He certainly did not have the blues…

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.  

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Self Love

Robert Manni - Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Loving is never easy. We live in a culture and time where we are made to feel separate. Religion, money, politics and race have all been leveraged to keep us apart and dissatisfied and unloved. And let’s face it; life is tough. So anything we can do to validate our self-worth and connect us through love is a good thing. But it has to start with loving ourselves.

I’d loved and lost many times when I finally realized what had been missing. Before I could truly love another person, I needed to learn how to love myself. And, for most of us, that’s no easy task. I’m not referring to narcissism or ego. There is too much of that in our world already. I mean loving yourself as our all being a part of oneness, universal consciousness, or God.

For years, no matter how much I tried or wanted it to be so, the world did not feel like a loving place. My relationships with family, friends and lovers felt forced or lacking in some way. Years went by. The clock kept ticking. Something had to change. Guy’s Guys are seekers, so I decided to delve into the concept of love and see if I could figure out how I could be a more loving individual and make my world a more loving place.

After digesting piles of spiritual books, interviewing and working with metaphysical authors, healers and spiritual personalities, I had an epiphany. I realized that I’d spent my life looking for love in all the wrong places. Whether it was the love of a woman, a friend or my family, I was looking externally. Whether this was a cry for respect or validation, my focus was pointed in the wrong direction. I realized that if I wanted to change, I needed to start by looking inside. And I am glad I did. Over the past few years, my life has changed for the better. Although I still have a long road to travel, at least I’ve made the first step on a more righteous path. Now I truly love myself, and it has made a tremendous difference in how I see the world and my fellow men and women. So allow me to share with you, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Self Love.

1. Forgive yourself. If you decide to stop reading here, but take this notion to heart, you will be ahead of the game. The world is a tough place and our media is always pointing out our shortcomings and how lacking we are as individuals. Of course we can’t always be right. We screw up. We fail. That’s okay, amigo. We are all on a journey and each one of us is exactly where we need to be to learn what is necessary to raise our individual frequency. Messing up is part of how we learn.

If you have a hard time forgiving yourself, how can you forgive others? If you don’t love yourself, how can you really love anyone else?

2. Be grateful. I’ve mentioned this in a number of previous blog posts, but it’s so important and so easy to do. It makes a major difference in how you view yourself and the world. This morning I was holding my young son on a shelf next to a window. It was raining hard and the droplets dotted and dripped down the pane. My son pointed at them. He pointed to the window frame, and then to the rubber seal that held the window in place. I told him what each thing was and I found myself feeling very appreciative that we were safe and sound in a warm dry condo building while a torrential rain poured outside. In many parts of the world, people still don’t have proper shelter. They still scramble to avoid the elements and find a place where it is warm and dry. Seems like a small thing, but it’s not a small thing for some less fortunate souls. So, count your many blessings, no matter how small they may be or how easy they are to overlook. It makes a big difference in how you see your world. Being grateful helps us become more loving of ourselves and our surroundings. I’m not exactly sure how the math works, but it does work out this way when you are appreciative.

3. Release fear. Many spiritual seers and pundits claim that our lives boil down to one choice. It’s the choice between love and fear. I’ve chosen fear a lot, and I am sure other people do also. Now I’m slowly, but surely shifting my frequency more based on love than fear, and it is making a major difference on my life. Again I’m not sure how it works, but choosing love really works for me.

When I choose a path of love, I also choose to love and respect myself. Next time you are challenged and need to take action ask yourself if your actions are coming from a place of love or fear. Then see how you feel in your heart after you make your decision, regardless of which path you choose.

4. Let things go. Control, fear and anger make a deadly trio that can poison our minds. Think about where you were five or ten years ago and all of the things that seemed so important. How many of them are still mission critical? That job, that girl, that race you ran. They’re all in the past now, replaced by a new list of things to keep you needy and on edge. My advice? Do your thing the best you can and then let go. Each night when I plunk my head on the pillow, I state my gratitude for all the good things in my life. Then I mentally compile all of the challenges that are on my mind. I offer it all to the universe, knowing that I am loved and that everything will work out in a way that is best for me. This nightly process has taken a great weight of my shoulders. I sleep better and feel calmer inside. I’ve heard this is called, “let go and let God”. Well-stated.

5. Acknowledge your self-worth. As simple as this sounds, many folks do not feel that they deserve to have blessings bestowed on them. They feel guilty or have been told that they are not worthy. We all came here carrying a bit of that divine spark, so we are all equally deserving of good will and love. And that means EVERYBODY. So, the best way to begin is to acknowledge yourself as part of God and deserving of love.

Maybe I’ve gotten a tad spiritual this week, but I have a responsibility. A Guy’s Guy believes that in a world where men and women are at their best, everyone wins. Learn to love yourself.

This week’s Guy’s Guys of the Week are all of my 130 guests on Guy’s Guy Radio. Each person has shared a passion, lesson or journey to help others. Thanks to all. And please check out the weekly podcasts on Blog Talk Radio and iTunes.


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