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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Process of Elimination™ Diet Plan (Part 2)

Robert Manni - Friday, July 20, 2018


Would your losing ten percent of your bodyweight in six months considered a successful diet program for you?

Six months is real time. This is not a short-term fix or a yo-yo diet where you lose fifteen pounds before slowly gaining every pound back and more. This is the Guys’ Guy’s Process of Elimination Diet Plan. It’s how I’ve steadily dropped eighteen pounds during the first half of 2018. The results have come slowly but steadily, and there are still six months to go. I’ve learned a lot by eliminating one item of food from my diet every week since the beginning of the year.

Let’s take a look back at the process, the challenges when giving up certain foods and some of the surprises I’ve encountered during the first half of the year.

  1. If you are into self-improvement and you enjoy challenging yourself, the POE is actually fun. You might ask, “Hey, Guy’s Guy, how can taking away a food you love every week bring any sense of joy?” Good question. Coming up with a new food to eliminate by the end of each week was a fun task for me. To succeed, I had to make this a game. Yes, it is a crazy game that is not for everyone, but if you have a spirit of adventure and self-discovery, and you like achieving real results that you feel inside and see in the mirror, it can definitely be fun. The game necessitates your deploying a personal strategy and long-term vision and can quickly yield visible, energetic, and emotional results.
  2. You’ll be surprised how quickly you lose your cravings for the foods you’ve given up. I discovered that dropping a new food every week shortened any cravings for the food I gave up the previous week. Why? Well, for one thing, you will only have seven days to fret about the food you gave up on Sunday. By the time the next weekend rolls around you’ll need to pick another food to eliminate and focus on that the next week. As a result, by the following Monday you will probably have forgotten the food you gave up the previous week, even though you will not be eating it for the remainder of the year. This may sound totally crazy, but it really works. For me, the key was dropping a true favorite the first week. That’s why I gave up alcohol for the entire year on January 1st. I’m a social drinker, and although I don’t pound the same way I did during my roaring twenties, I know enough about beer, wine and spirits to also know how important it is to drink only the good stuff and very little of the sweet stuff. I love sipping top shelf tequila, a buttery Chardonnay, an organic IPA, or the occasional imported vodka.
  3. After a slow start, the pounds suddenly drop off and your body shape improves. I must admit that suddenly giving up all alcohol made January an even colder month. But I am glad I started the program with my biggest challenge. It kept my head in the game and made me determined not to slide or simply throw in the cards by downing a few shots of tequila. I followed giving up alcohol by eliminating candy, another sweet. Most people replace one sweet craving with another. So, I gave up cookies the second week of January. I followed this by giving up candy and finally cake. That made January a tough month, but a very fruitful one. I had cleared my system of lots of sugar and began noticing changes in my body when I worked out or went for a long run. I felt lighter, and there was less stress on my joints, so I knew I was on the right track. When I stepped on the scale at the end of January I had only dropped five pounds, but they were five important pounds. These set the tone for my success and faster weight losses over the next few months.
  4. Coming up with foods to eliminate was a task, but again, a fun one. As mentioned, I was determined to be the first person to go through the POE advanced program of giving up one food every week for a year. By the time Fridays rolled around, I’d already conquered my cravings for that week’s drop and was thinking of something that felt right for the next and following weeks. Some weeks I had an idea by Tuesday. During other weeks, I took me until Saturday night to come up with the next item to wipe from my plate. I took it easy on myself during February, giving up pie, croissants, muffins, and cream cheese. Or so I thought. I soon learned that some of the foods I dropped were not as easy to erase as I’d predicted.
  5. There are surprises along the way. Of course, giving up all wine, spirits, and beer for a year has been trying at times, especially during the hot summer months when I witness friends drinking chilled margaritas in front of me. That sucks, but I remind myself about how disciplined I am, how great I’m doing, and how much better I feel having lost eighteen pounds. I also never realized that out of all the things I’ve already given up, I’d miss eating cream cheese as one of the tougher foods to drop. I also learned that eliminating rice and potatoes as starches in meals made a big difference in my waistline and how I felt after meals. I wasn’t sure if this would be the case, but I was clearly less bloated when I replaced rice or potatoes with salad. Another thing I learned is that I doubt I will be eating most of the foods I’ve given up in the future. Sure, I will have a sip of tequila or a glass of wine, and maybe some chocolate, but for the vast majority of foods I’ve eliminated it has been out of sight, out of mind. My eating palette has definitely changed for the better.
  6. You will feel great. Since I was committed to not drinking for a year, I thought it would also be a good time to work on myself. I upped my meditative practice and invited more metaphysical authors and healers to my GUY’S GUY RADIO podcast. I joined a spiritual enfoldment group that meets every week for a channeling session with a very loving group of Guides who enter our spiritual circle for ninety minutes. All of this has truly helped my development as a person. The first time I hit the beach this year I did the energy work I always do by the ocean and the results were amazing. My energy and frequency has not felt this light since I was a kid. And, my long runs along the boardwalk have been exhilarating like they were years ago when I trained for three marathons.

The bottom line is I feel great, in fact as good as I have ever felt. I’ve also reduced my media intake to a bare minimum and have made it a point to love myself and forgive all the people in my life who need forgiveness, if you know what I mean. I’m not sure if this is related to the diet, but maybe the discipline required has re-energized my passion for self-love and improvement. My clothes fit, I look fresher, I sleep better, and my energy is through the roof. And, I am not craving alcohol, ice cream, or chocolate. Tell me that isn’t not fun! And I still have close to six months to go. I’ll be back at the end of the year with my final results and I hope you will join me. In the meantime, I wonder what I’ll give up next week…

Here is the list of foods I’ve given up to date by week.

  1. Alcohol
  2. Cookies
  3. Candy
  4. Cake
  5. Pie
  6. Croissants
  7. Muffins
  8. Cream cheese
  9. Soda (except club soda or seltzer)
  10. Ice cream
  11. Potato chips
  12. White rice
  13. Brown rice
  14. Chocolate bars
  15. Cream/Half and half
  16. Scones
  17. Doughnuts
  18. Adding sugar to anything
  19. Honey
  20. Chocolate nibs for cooking
  21. Adding butter
  22. Ice cream products on a stick
  23. Frozen yogurt
  24. Potato puffs
  25. Rice pudding
  26. French fries
  27. Spaghetti
  28. Bagels

The Guys' Guy's Process of Elimination™ Diet Plan (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Friday, July 13, 2018


If you are like me, you love your food. But for indulgent diners, maintaining your fighting weight becomes a never-ending battle.

You like to eat, you eat well and you think you’re making good choices. And you work out, but the pounds continue creeping onto your waistline. What’s a Guy’s Guy or a Gal’s Gal supposed to do to stay trim in the face of our questionable food supply and the plethora of tasty, global cuisines invading our shores?

Anthony Bourdain may be gone, but his legacy of introducing Americans to the delights of world food and cultures lives on. With the sampling of new foods comes new cravings and opportunities to pack on pounds. Is it possible to enjoy life and eat well without ballooning into a Thanksgiving Day float when cruising along Central Park West? I’ve put this notion to the test and the answer is a resounding yes. But it requires some circumspection as to what enjoying life means to you and how you can find bliss without succumbing to the daily food cravings that flood our consciousness.

After achieving short-term successes with a myriad of yo-yo diets, and giving up meat a decade ago, I noticed I was still packing on the pounds. Even after factoring my dedication to fitness and all those long runs and hours on the elliptical trainer, when I stepped on the scales last December I saw an unfamiliar number of pounds and told myself enough was enough. Even with what I considered a reasonably healthy diet combined with hours of cardio, I kept gaining weight. Maybe you’ve been there, too. For a 5’10 Boomer, any weight under two hundred is not considered all that bad. But, I’m a Guy’s Guy. And as the person who began this movement¾where men and women can be at their best so everyone wins, “not bad” simply was not good enough.

I decided to develop a program, determined to create a fresh new diet regime that did not require purchasing prepared special meals, fasting, or monthly cleanses.

I knew that another short-term diet plan could only yield short-term results. And I know that the older you get the more challenging it is to peel off those pounds. That meant my program needed to deliver long-terms results that enhanced wellness and potentially inspired permanent lifestyle changes and resulting food choices. In other words, I wanted to build a diet plan that functioned as a stepping stone to a healthier lifestyle. I wanted to help men and women be at their best and win, Guy’s Guy style. After a few weeks of mulling this around, I had an epiphany. 

Eating, and eating well comes down to making choices.

At every meal you choose to consume this or that¾ the tuna or the lamb chops, the beer or the club soda, the bacon cheeseburger or the salad. Over time, the results of those choices¾the bad and good, come to fruition. I asked myself, “what if, a little at a time, I eliminated all my bad choices, or at least as many as possible while still enjoying what I was eating?” What if I eliminated one bad choice per week? Heck, over the course of a year, I could slowly but steadily delete more than fifty bad choices. Spreading out the program across a year would avoid the shock to the system of the familiar short-term diet “fixes” that produced short-term results through pain instead of persistence. I had an idea to potentially achieve significant long-term, life-changing results while allowing my body to slowly and steadily adjust to the changes from making better choices.

I call it The Guys’ Guy’s Process of Elimination Diet Plan. I’ve been doing it since the first week of January 2018. More about that later, but first; here’s how it works. Over the course of the year, you eliminate foods from your diet that you know are not good for you. The POE program has two levels¾monthly and advanced. Let’s begin with the monthly, which is doable for anyone with a little willpower and drive.

Add one new food to cut out from your diet every month.

For example, in January you give up ice cream. That means no ice cream for the entire year. Maybe that isn’t so easy, but you want long-term results. In February, you give up something else for the entire year. Let’s say, bacon. You can’t eat ice cream or bacon for the remainder of the year. When March rolls around you’ll need to choose something else, and so on. By the end of the year you will have given up a dirty dozen of foods you know intuitively are not good for you, your waistline and your health. You make the choices you need to make that are right for you. If you give up something like chewing gum, you’re only kidding yourself. You need to commit yourself emotionally and make those tough choices. That’s it.

I believed that over time, the process of eliminating a different “bad” food from your menu of choices would yield positive results beyond shedding a few pounds.

If you eliminate fattening, processed foods with empty calories and little nutrition you will lose weight. But more importantly, over the long haul, I believed that your slimmer body and positive self-image would also reduce its cravings for the non-healthy foods that caused both physical and emotional distress. You will feel and look better. My theory was that the end of twelve months you probably would not be as interested in digging into a bowl of chocolate swirl ice cream. At least that’s the theory.

To provide empirical evidence for my hypothesis, someone had to put this to test. That's where I came in. However, I wanted to raise the stakes—it needed to be done on a weekly basis. To prove my theory, I needed to complete the advanced program that entailed giving something new up every week of the year. By the end of those fifty-two long weeks, I will have given up fifty-two foods I crave, but know are probably not good for me. This could be a monumental challenge. I didn’t know, but I was determined to find out.

I’m past the halfway mark approaching twenty-eight weeks. And I can honestly report that the program is working exactly as I planned. I’ve lost weight through eliminating twenty-eight foods from my diet, and in almost every case, I have fewer cravings, and if things keeping going well, I am not planning on eating them again, or at least not with the same frequency, zeal and passion as in the past.

On January 1st I weighed 196 pounds. As mentioned, I work out regularly, so there has been no change in that area. I will continue to work out because it’s something I enjoy and believe will enhance the results of the program exponentially mostly because I have more energy and am slowly, but steadily shedding weight.

I started my weekly “advanced” POE diet program by eliminating alcohol on week one. Yikes! This was a tough decision, but I mentally braced myself for this sacrifice during the last weeks of December. As a result, I did consumed a bit of tequila and sparkling wine during those final days of 2017. There is no magic to starting the program at the beginning of the year, beyond it being a twelve-month commitment. Like all New Year’s resolutions, you start at the beginning, although most resolutions are left in the dust after a month or two.

And so it began. Let’s take a break here. I will continue next time with a list of the foods I’ve given up and the results of following the POE program to date. I’ll give you one hint. It’s been wild and worth it. Until next time, amigos…

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying Fit at Any Age

Robert Manni - Saturday, March 10, 2018


When the temps are in the twenties for the fourth month in a row, who wants to wake up, climb out of bed and hit the gym before 7am?

If your answer is, “Not me”, you are not alone. The more we age the more challenging it is to do the work necessary to maintain our fitness. I’m a boomer with too many friends taking multiple meds, having hip replacements, are overweight, diabetic, and flat out looking and feeling old. It’s understandable. Modern life is stressful. It takes something more than motivation to stay fit. It takes willpower. Motivation comes and goes. Our will is constant, but only if we call on it.

Assuming you have the will required to get into shape, you need a way to get started. That’s where your Guy’s Guy comes into play. And the word “play” is our first lesson. Working out to stay fit needs to be driven by both your will and a sense of “play”. You have to enjoy working out and its benefits to stick with any fitness program. I’m writing this post in mid-March and can honestly state that I know very few peeps that have stuck to their New Year’s fitness resolution. There are too many distractions, work deadlines, bad weather, and excuses available to stray from the course, unless you have that will power to succeed. Although you can call me a douche for crowing about it, I have stuck to my guns, am putting in the work, and it is paying off. And that’s why I’m writing about this. But let’s talk about you and what you can do when you are ready to get back into shape and stay there.

With that I present, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Staying Fit at Any Age.

1. Have a goal – Although you can simply begin working out whenever, it helps to put in some thought beforehand to what you are trying to accomplish. For many it’s weight loss, for others it could be toning up. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, but it helps when you keep that goal etched into your subconscious when you are kicking off your program and when you hit that first plateau. Without a goal it becomes far too easy to find excuses to skip a day or have that scoop of chocolate chip mocha gelato. Having a goal helps you abide.

2. Start slowly – If you have not learned this by now, let me remind you that life is a marathon, not a sprint. When instituting any new fitness program, especially in the dead of winter, the key is to start slowing and build up steadily but slowly. Think about your program as a lifestyle change, not temporary punishment. You also don’t want to hurt yourself by pulling a muscle from trying to do it all in a week or two. Take your time, amigo. It’s a marathon.

3. Be Consistent – If you keep your goal in mind and begin your routine slowly while re-introducing that mind-body connection, you’re off to a good start and ready for your next challenge. That means hitting your workouts consistently. As mentioned, I cannot emphasize enough how often you will be tempted to skip days when you’re getting started. If your body can handle the changes, keep your appointment with yourself and your goal. And, you don’t have to be a slave to the regime. That’s the wrong mindset. Get into a frame of mind where you look forward to your next workout. How can you do that when it’s six in the morning and you look in the mirror and still see blubber hanging over your waist? That’s actually the point. Instead of giving up, this is the time to hunker down and remind yourself this is how championships are won. Yeah! (fist pump). Keep going and think of the payoff. You’re getting trimmer and fit and your partner is going to love it.

4. Rest – Now that you’ve turned your workouts into a scheduled routine and you’ve begun to amp up the resistance, it’s time to listen to your body and reward it with the rest it needs. That does not mean taking a week off. It might mean sleeping in on your off day or switching out weights for cardio when your body and mind are asking for a break from the iron. Rest is always good if you deploy and not exploit it. When you listen to your body and know when to give it a break or a change you’ll run like a finely tuned machine.

5. Use your food for fuel – The best fitness advice I ever received was “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.” If you don’t believe it, ask any bodybuilder or fitness competitor. You are what you eat and even if you work out like a dog, if you are filling up your body with bad fuel, you will have problems reaching and maintaining your goals. If you have committed yourself to a fitness regime, do yourself a favor and be careful with your intake of booze, simple carbs, and sugar. I also suggest avoiding processed and fried foods if you want to lose weight. Any boomer will tell you how hard it is to get back in shape and shed the pounds after you fall out of shape.

6. Shake up your routine – If you’re like me you probably create a routine and keep doing the same thing workout after workout. I’ve been fighting this tendency for years. It prevents me from maximizing the work I’m putting in at the gym. It’s critical to mix things up now and then. I recently discovered Dan Millman’s Peaceful Warrior Four Minute Workout and I love it. It’s a combination of 15 movements that you do in order to unlock energy and unleash your power. You can find it online. I recently begun to include it before my workouts, and if I have a rest day I put in the four minutes to run through this routine of stretches and twists. It really helps. Other ways you can break up the monotony are running outdoors instead of using the elliptical or taking a class or doing a high intensity workout now and then instead of pumping iron. The more variety of muscles you include on your workouts the fitter you become.

7. Win the mental game – It’s easy to give up when the results are not coming as fast as you’d like them to. But, don’t give up. Never give up. It’s too damn easy to quit and you’ll kick yourself when you pack it in and order that bacon cheeseburger and a couple of beers. If you want the results, you’ll need to maintain some discipline and keep up the fight even on the days you don’t feel like it. That’s how championships are won. You can do it if you want it bad enough. That’s’ up to you, amigo, but I have faith in you.

This week’s Guy’s Guy (Gal) of the Week is Harlem’s own Ida Keeling, who is 102 years old. She recently set a new world’s record fo0r the 60-yard dash event in the 100-104 age group at the Imperial Dade Track Classic in Manhattan.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Aging Part 4: Aging Gracefully

Robert Manni - Sunday, January 21, 2018


In our youth-oriented culture, the greatest challenge for many is recognizing and accepting the cold hard facts about aging. Regardless of how the botox, tummy tucks, hair restoration procedures, and teeth whiteners temporarily hold back Father Time, the clock keeps ticking.

We’ve all seen those attractive cougars pumping away at the gym or photos of them on social media in their bikinis on tropical vacations, and their male counterparts showing off their cars, guns, or trophy wives. I get it. We all want to stay relevant.

But as we age we need to come to terms with the reality that God-willing, we will all grow old. The party is not going to last forever. So what’s a Guy’s Guy to do when his hair is streaked with gray and his scrotum sags? You can plumb up your ball sack and hope for the best or you can take a deep breath and tell yourself, “Hell yeah! I’m a man of experience. Don’t mess with me.” I suggest the latter, and that’s my inspiration for this week’s post. I want to help us guys step into their unknown future with pride and élan. Heck, we’ve made it this far, so let’s show some class as we when approach the third semester of our lives.

1. Learn to adapt – I’ve got news for you. If you continue eating and drinking the same way you did in your twenties, unless you have Jagger’s metabolism, you’ll pack on the pounds by the time you hit forty. The real problems arise, though, after you gain the weight when you are not really aware of it and continue your indulgent habits. By the time you enter your fifties, your body will probably respond to the abuse with adverse reactions and begin its long descent of breaking down systematically.

There is some good news though. The world changes and you do, too. Your body replaces all of its cells every few years, so you are constantly regenerating and evolving. That means it’s important to step back every so often and take stock in how you eat, sleep, drink, how much you work, and how you either love or loathe the person you’ve become. Your cells are changing and so can you. So, get with the program, consider your life and lifestyle and what it is doing to you and make the necessary changes.

2. Stay fit. Eat well. – If you’ve been following my blog, by now you know how much importance I place in maintaining a healthy diet and physical fitness. Your diet comes down to choosing this or that during every meal. It’s that simple. Of course you don’t want to eat before bedtime, but beyond that, a healthy diet is built on choice. Beware of longevity’s enemies like sugar, alcohol, processed foods, and meat. Yes, meat. The average American consumes 212 pounds of meat every year. I stopped eating meat ten years ago. That means I’ve avoided eating more than one ton of meat over the past decade. I’m sure that has saved an immense amount of wear and tear on my internal organs and systems that have to break down all the burgers, steaks, chops, and bacon strips. If you are concerned about a lack of protein from going to a plant-based diet, don’t. Beans have way more protein and far less fat than meat.

I stay in shape, no matter what else is going on in my life. It has been a lifelong commitment that has always served me well. I do basically the same workouts as I did twenty years ago and maintain the same weight. It’s a fun challenge and a point of pride for me to keep my body clicking on all cylinders. And it helps buffer the ravages of aging. Cardio health and bone density are important markers for a strong and fit body. If you stay in shape, when something goes wrong, as things do, know that you’re doing all you can to stay fit. Following back-to-back robotic surgeries three years ago, my doctors continue praising me for how well I bounced back and maintained my body. That’s beyond looking fit, which I admit I like. It’s tending to and taking care of the totality of my body, mind and spirit. This is what keeps your Guys’ Guy’s engine running smoothly. If I sound cocky, forgive me. The thing is, I put a lot of work and I’m glad I have.

3. Accept the truth – Let’s face it. We’re getting older each and every day. There is no escape. So what’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Embrace it. Own it. Love your life and make the most of each day. Treat yourself well. Forgive yourself and others. Ignore the haters. Keep moving. You, and only you, chart the course for your life. Might as well do what you like and take those shots when they present themselves.

Forget about your chronological age. New opportunities arise every damn day. If you take care of yourself and make solid choices there is no reason you can’t keep rolling and rolling. Don’t fret about screwing up in the past. It’s over. Karma happens quickly so don’t worry about what was. If you stay positive, your energy and attitude will show. You’ll be a beacon to others. Love them, but don’t think just because your friends or family members have certain health issues that you will, too. Your body consists of ninety percent microbes. There are trillions of them inside of you. They are constantly at work killing off bad stuff. Thank them, support them, and tell them you love them. I promise you will feel a difference. You don’t have to succumb to disease. Stay positive. Your microbes are listening.

4. Be mindful of what you wear – If you’re like me, you like feeling young. That means I, like other boomers, need to be careful what we wear. That does not mean we have to wear beige khakis and a yellow polo shirt all the time. You can let your style evolve as you age. Pick jeans that fit well and look good. I dig raw selvedge so I spend a few extra bucks and wear them repeatedly. I never wash them either. Depending on your body shape and size, slim fit is fine if you can swing it. Say no to skinny jeans. Once you hit forty, rethink hockey jerseys, Zubaz pants, tank tops, and wearing your Yankees cap backwards. Keep the bling simple, buy a good watch, and ditch the cropped pants. If you really feel a need to wear a rock band t-shirt, keep it simple. Nothing wrong with the Stones logo, but dudes in their sixties don’t look totally awesome in Duran Duran, Star Wars, or WuTang Clan t shirts and caps. As you age, update your closet and give your choice in clothes some thought. Only wear what feels right for you. And ladies, if you are in your fifties, you probably don’t need to still let your hair grown down to your ass. And while you’re combing through your closet, think about giving that ocelot print mini skirt to your daughter.

5. Know yourself. Manage your emotions.  – It certainly feels like we live in an angry world these days— a function of our dysfunctional collective consciousness. I’m a Guy’s Guy, but I get angry, too. My pet peeve is people saying and doing stupid shit. That has occasionally made things kind of tough for me. So, I continue investing in extra time working on managing my thoughts and emotions. We are all works in progress, so even if I still blow my stack now and then, I do my research and I’m usually right about the issues that push my buttons. But at times I need to do a better job of softening my delivery of the truth.  Over the years I have come to know my behavioral triggers and flaws. Self-awareness, living one’s truth, and reducing anger can help us live longer. The truth absolutely sets us free. The question frequently is, can we handle the truth about ourselves? Life is a school. Learn your lessons well, amigos.

The week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Jeanne Louise Clament, the longest living person on record. She died in 1997 at the ripe old age of 122. I’ll bet she knew herself well, maintained her optimism, and managed her anger all those years. Stay classy… 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Aging Part 3: Longevity

Robert Manni - Friday, January 12, 2018


For the first time, the average lifespan of Americans has gone down.

Can you believe it? Who doesn’t want to live a long, healthy, purposeful, life? Who doesn’t want to look and feel like they did five, ten, or even twenty years ago? It can be done, but you can’t trust Big Pharma, Big Agra or the government to do the work for you. WE need to do it ourselves and that takes education, and making the right choices every day. Time waits for no one and there is no better time to begin than right now. The good news is that you can build the foundation for rich, ripe and rewarding golden years if you make the right choices. Randomness aside, if you live right, you can play a major role in determining when “old age” begins.

Ever get those reminders from Facebook that looks like a recent, familiar photo with a friend? You look at the image thinking, wow, that was last year. You look closer and realize that the post was from five years ago.

Time is relentless. It never lets up and as we age it seems to go faster. If we want to stay on point as the years flash by, we need to treat our mind, body, and spirit with respect. With that in mind, I offer you my latest tips for living a long fruitful life, Guy’s Guy style.

1. Hydration – The leading cause of death for old people is lack of hydration. Simply put, two thirds of the human body is made up of water. Leave a glass of water on the windowsill for a week and what happens? It evaporates. That’s precisely what happens to our bodies as we age and fail to replenish the liquids. Take a look at senior citizens—some look great, but too many are hunched over and shriveled up with faces and bodies fraught with wrinkles. A big cause for that is a lack of water. Sure, aging plays a role, but the lack of hydration drives the process. Studies show that 80% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Drink, amigo. Drink lots and lots of filtered water. I use the ZERO brand water filters, but there are many to choose from. It’s worth it. Water is life.

2. Claim your health – This morning someone asked me what year I was born. I almost never think about my chronological age because I don’t believe it is the main factor in how old our bodies and minds really are. If you focus on the number, you’ll compare yourself to folks the same age, which can be misleading and downright depressing. I still have friends from high school, many of whom are overweight. Some have hip replacements or back problems, and more and more are no longer with us.

Of course anyone can fall victim to disease or an accident, but we can all participate in prevention and recovery. Three years ago, I experienced back-to-back robotic surgeries on my kidneys. I was stunned, but decided to take the necessary steps to reclaim my health. I researched the cause of the disease, not the effects, with the goal of reconfiguring my internal system so it would no longer accommodate the disease.  Robotic surgery probably saved my life, but Western medicine is primarily focused on reacting to problems rather than preventing them. That’s just the way it is, so it’s up to us to learn everything we can about caring for our bodies. This takes time, and the choices required are not always easy, but it can be done. My check ups have been great. I feel better and better. And my workouts are the same as prior to my surgeries. I never look back on what happened or what could have happened. It’s about the now, and my ability to keep learning and making the best decisions about how I live. I am confident I will continue improving, and I know a positive attitude makes a difference. We are what we think. We create our lives through how we manage our thoughts. Claim your health.

3. Feed your mind – Here are some fun facts—according to the Jenkins Group, eighty percent of families did not buy or read a book last year. Forty-two percent of college grads have never read a book after college. Seventy percent of American adults have not been in a bookstore in the past five years. People are hooked on TV, their computers, and devices, and as a result they don’t find time to read. You can argue that a lot of the time spent on our devices and computer is actually reading, but a good portion of what we consume is TV shows, music, and mind-numbing ads, little of which nourish our minds. Make an effort to read books. It will keep your mind sharp and nimble.

4. Feed your body - I could devote multiple posts to the importance of diet to longevity. With respect to your time, let’s simply explore the view from thirty thousand feet. By now we’re all aware of the crisis in our food supply. GMO’s, pesticides, nutrient-lacking processed foods, sugar, and factory meats are factors to consider when managing your diet for longevity. Are organic foods better for us? Yes. Is supplementation important? Because so much of our food lacks nutrition, yes. Is sugar hidden in our foods under other names? Yes. Are GMOs good for us? Nope. Do your research. Read the labels. If the label does not say non-GMO, it has GMOs. If it doesn’t say organic, it’s not organic. Choose wisely at every meal, and bon appetite.

5. Get outside- Stomping around the big city with rubber soled shoes on concrete while being pulverized by wifi, radiation, and noise pollution is not a healthy way to live. But, like pounding too many beers, we do it anyway. It’s a means to an end, but unfortunately we blind ourselves to the fact that these toxins can contribute to the end of us. Fortunately, nature has some antidotes. We live in an electric universe. The sky is positively charged while the ground carries a negative charge. When we walk barefoot on the grass or even lie down in a meadow (you can do both in Central or Prospect Park) your body is grounded, and grounding is good for you. Studies have shown that earthing or “grounding” improves blood viscosity, heart rate variability, reduces inflammation, helps us sleep, and reduces the effects of stress. We spend a disproportionate amount of time sitting indoors at work and home, and we need nature to help us rebalance. Get one with nature whenever possible.

6. Exercise – While you’re outside, consider the benefits of sunshine and cardiovascular activities. Whether you’re walking, running, golfing, playing tennis, sailing or swimming, exercise is a key building block of your foundation for longevity. Of course you can enjoy working out indoors, but wouldn’t you prefer a yoga class on the beach rather than a cramped, sweaty room in Midtown? Over the years, many of us develop issues with our joints and skeletal system, which curtails our ability to run distances, play tennis, or golf. If we are determined enough, we can always find alternative avenues for getting in a workout.

One thing I’ve picked up over the years is learning to listen to my body and adjust my workouts based on what it is telling me. I stay in good condition and listen, so I avoid pushing myself into a “no pain, no gain” mentality. That’s for your twenties and thirties. Like the greats who have enjoyed long careers, (think: Nolan Ryan, Tom Brady, Derek Jeter), we can still maintain our fitness and competitive edge if we listen to what our bodies are telling us.

I’ve ran three marathons. I could probably squeeze out another, but during my most recent race I distinctly recall my body advising me very strongly not to run another twenty-six miler in this lifetime. I was in my best condition ever for a marathon, but I ran my worst race. I bonked way too early and had a rough time rebalancing my blood sugar afterwards. So, I listened. I still log in eight, nine, and ten-mile runs without any issues, but I doubt I will ever want to run another marathon.

Listen to your body and then find alternative avenues for working out. Yoga, stretching, Pilates, stationary bike, elliptical, whatever. Find your way and just do it, amigo.

I think you get the picture. If you want to live a long, healthy life hydrate, eat well, read, maintain a positive attitude, get outside, and keep moving.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Mick Jagger. At seventy-four he still sings, dances and gyrates with the same élan he and the Stones have entertained us with for the past fifty-five years. Jagger is a great grandfather yet is constantly creating, while maintaining his fitness and a positive attitude.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Longevity

Robert Manni - Friday, October 06, 2017


I met up with an old friend last night for a couple of beers. We spent half the time watching the Yankees game and the other half discussing our surgeries. This is what happens when boomers age.

We’re all aging and in the toxic environment we live in, shit can happen to us at any time. That’s why we need to be mindful of our choices while we’re aging. Sometimes random bad things happen, like getting hit by a bus, but uncontrollable events aside, we can get a firm grip on how we live and our destiny. Think about the folks you know who are approaching, or are already over fifty. Some look amazing and some look like your parents. Part of this is due to genes, but a lot of it has to do with their lifestyle choices and how they relate to their mind, body and spirit.

I married at fifty and become a father a few years later. As a result I quickly became increasingly mindful about how I was taking care of myself. I want to enjoy as many years as possible with my wife, who is sixteen years younger than me, and my son. And, I have no doubt that I can accomplish this if I do my research and adjust my lifestyle choices going forward. But it’s never that simple. Shit happens. Since I married and became a dad, I’ve had two robotic surgeries on my kidneys and contracted pneumonia. The good news is I have been deemed all clear on the kidney front, and through a deep Ayurvedic medical protocol I also reduced my body’s toxicity by one hundred percent. That means the chances of a recurrence are now even more miniscule than what my western doctors told me. Because of my research and introduction to eastern Ayurvedic medicine I made some changes. Among other things, I take lots of supplements, and overall I’ve gotten into better alignment with my mind, body, spirit, and my truth. Of course I’ll need to stay consistent and remain on this positive lifestyle path, but the benefits so far have been substantial and I feel great. Regardless of my chronological age, I’m a happy, healthy guy.

So what have I learned about aging better that can I share with the world of Guy’s Guys to help them live their very best life? I’ve done my homework, experienced a lot, and even stared into the abyss, so I’m confident I can add value to you if you consider some of the tips in what I’m calling The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Longevity. Here they are in no particular order. Drum roll please…

1. Manage your anger – This is a tough one, especially for me. I’m not the kind of Guy’s Guy who suffers fools lightly. The advertising industry where I worked for decades is filled with very intelligent and creative people, but it can also be a snake pit filled unnecessarily selfish, ego-driven behavior. Many people who work in advertising spend way too much of their time plotting to get ahead at any expense. On the creative side, you’ve got lots of brilliant people who come up with some incredible ideas, and most of them are fun to work with. But as in any business, you’ve also got to work with some major asswipes who, due to their fear-based behavior, act like they are far more talented than they really are. And because the entire industry is predicated on the production and sale of actual products, it’s all too easy for people to fly off the handle when they get frustrated or angry. There’s a lot of stress, and over time it takes its toll. All of the uncertainty about losing an account, which always happens, makes it a highly stressful industry that can chew people up and spit them out quickly. That’s one of the reasons that advertising remains a young-skewing business.

I’ve always believed in focusing on helping clients position and sell their products. That’s it. I become president of one agency and my motto was that as long as the work gets done, there was no reason to sweat. If it sells it sells. If not, we all get canned. So fortunately I didn’t let the business age me too quickly. As my mother says, “this too shall pass” and no truer words were ever stated about the ad business. People come and go all the time so there is no reason to get too pissed off. When someone you work with or a client becomes impossible to deal with, remember that the worm can turn very quickly in this industry.

Taking the issue of anger beyond just work and the ad business, there are still constant challenges that quickly fill our daily anger quotient. In a city like New York, we experience the very best and worst of people almost every day. Since it’s such a fast-paced city, it’s easy to let our emotions get away from us. So when we’re stuck in a crowded subway car filled with manspreading, loud music, dancing kids doing Showtime, or simply rude behavior. It’s important not to let it get to you. If we snap, we may find ourselves in a conflict with a stranger that can turn out badly.

All of the stress from work and simply living in a big city accelerates our aging. So when the going gets shitty and people behave badly, we need to do our best to shake it off and keep moving. But, we can’t keep all our negative emotions bottled up inside. That’s just one more thing that shortens our lifespan. So we have to find ways of letting off steam.

I don’t like carrying around bitterness and anger. I am authentic, honest, and possess keen bullshit radar detection abilities. So people who know me usually pause before bullshitting or lying to me—they know I will call them on it. Is this the right technique for you? You have to find your own way of dealing with the nonsense so you don’t burn up inside. I know I have a temper, so I remain mindful of it at all times. Although I call bullshit, I fly off the hook less and less these days because I know that stress kills.

2. Get your rest – As we get older, we need more rest. Duh. But that’s cool because rest is a good thing, amigos. Over the past decade when possible, I’ve added naps to my daily routine and I’ve found them to be tremendously refreshing. I also try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. It’s not that hard to do. If you hit the sack at midnight and get up at seven you’ve got your seven hours. Who needs to watch James Corden anyway? Yoga, tai chi, meditation, hypnosis, and reiki are also good practices that allow us to go inside and slow down our thinking, internal monkey chatter, and breathing. All these practices help to support longevity.

3. Hydrate - Ever wonder why many old people look so wrinkly? Studies have shown that eighty percent of Americans are dehydrated. Then compound that with an aging process that also dries us out when our internal liquids evaporate without proper replenishment. I keep a sixty-four ounce container of water on my table every day and make it my goal to finish it. When I do that, I feel great. I also filter the water with a Zero Water jug, take two to four Dr. Patrick Flanagan’s Mega Hydrate capsules, and add Crystal Energy drops for longevity. The capsules hydrate the cells and release hydrogen ions that chase down the millions of free radicals roaming in our bodies. The drops add to the PH level of the water, making it wetter, healthier, and more hydrating. Google Dr. Patrick Flanagan and you’ll get a real eye-opener of information on his under-the-radar anti-aging technology. The bottom line is hydration grows in importance as we age. Stay lubricated, amigos.

4. Reconfigure your diet – I know it’s not easy to become a vegan or go totally organic, but you will surely reap the benefits if you can align your diet to these tenants as much as possible. I’m a long-term pescatarian, but I consume less and less fish as the years go by and my body craves it less and less as a result. I also no longer eat sushi due to a concern about parasites. I’ve eliminated meat and as much dairy, fried foods, caffeine, and sugar as possible and have a lot more energy now. Dropping meat was the big one. I cut out beef, lamb, and pork while weaning myself off of poultry over two years. My body thanks me and I’ve never looked back. After years of eating fake bacon, sausage, etc., I’ve totally dismissed the possibility of consuming meat ever again. I know that does not work for everyone, but if you can eliminate meat and as much sugar and dairy as possible, you’ll feel a major difference within a few short weeks and will probably add a few years to a healthy life.

5. Don’t smoke, cut back on alcohol – I don’t think it’s necessary for me to go into why smoking is not conducive to aging in general. If you still feel a need to smoke weed for recreational purposes, source the cleanest product available if it’s legal in your state, and use a vape or a bong. And, imbibe in moderation. I still enjoy the occasional glass of wine, a craft beer, or a few sips of high-end tequila, but I know drinking alcohol is not a great habit and it certainly does nothing for your longevity. Yeah, yeah, we’ve all read the claims about some study claiming that a glass of red wine every day is great for you or about that crusty one hundred year old guy who claims drinking whiskey has been his key to longevity. But do you believe it? Your best path is to arm yourself with scientific facts and make your choices base on what feels right for you. Cheers.

6. Keep moving – Over the years, life takes its toll on our bodies and many of us break down from overuse or abuse. How many people do you know who are over fifty years old that are still pounding the pavement on long runs, or take classes at Barry’s Boot Camp? I’ve found that being consistent with my fitness, which means never really falling out of shape, has allowed me to continue enjoying some rigorous workouts and long runs into my fifties and beyond. Am I lucky? Yes. But I’ve also made some of my own luck by taking care of my body, mind and spirit over all these decades. I began doing push-ups every morning during my teens and I still pound out between fifty and seventy-five almost day. Am I bragging? Maybe a little bit, but so what? The point is that with a little luck we can keep rolling with the same fitness routines if we take care of our bodies during our twenties, thirties and forties.

7. Keep on the sunny side of life – You’ve got your anger under control, you’re eating well, getting your rest, meditating, hydrating, exercising, and not smoking, drinking or eating meat. Congratulations! I’m sure you’re feeling pretty darn good. But, the true catalyst to enhance and maximize the wellness factor in the aging process is maintaining a positive attitude. Of course this isn’t always easy in our highly dysfunctional culture. But it’s possible. And you can do it if you put in the effort. Start by adding meditation to your daily routine and periodically unplug from the Internet, the media, and the waves of toxic negativity that permeate our collective consciousness. Remember this. The only thing that truly matters is right now. You are alive. You are reading this post. You are doing a lot better than you give yourself credit for. Relax, amigo. It’s going to be okay. Play your cards right and you can live a long healthy life. Salud!

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is yogi Kazim Gurbuz who is 95 years old now and looks like a fifty-year old. He claims through proper nutrition and yoga practices we can live to 130. Maybe he’s right.  Would you settle for 100? I’ll see you there. 

What I've Learned Walking with Pneumonia

Robert Manni - Thursday, September 14, 2017


I was working on post about losing ten pounds in ten days naturally when I realized there was a problem.

I was finishing up my weekly eight-mile run when I tripped and fell headfirst on the boardwalk in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. This was unlike me. I rarely lose my balance, but it was the second time in a month that I fell down at the end of my run. I thought about it as I walked along the beach towards my cooling off dip in the ocean. For some reason today the water and breeze was cold. After my swim I did a little energy work while standing on the shoreline. I breathed slowly as I ran energy into my left hand, throughout my body and finally out my right hand into my crown. I felt chilled as I walked to my beach house, now recalling how my runs had been shorter than usual over the past month and how rare it was for me to trip and fall twice during that time. Something was wrong.

That afternoon the cough I had been experiencing over the past week became more persistent. And that night I felt cold as I hacked while propped up in bed like Doc Holliday. I woke up in the middle of the night cold, yet drenched in sweat and feeling awful. Yep, something was wrong. We stayed at the beach for one more day, but I felt like crap, experiencing more coughs, a hot forehead and loss of appetite. Over the past few weeks I’d begun cleaning up my diet and stopped drinking alcohol. I was steadily losing weight and assumed my body was going through machinations of a detoxification program. But, this was something more. I paid close attention to my body. It told me to get back to New York. So I did, but I was still not well. No matter how much I took it easy I maintained a fever, a now brutal and persistent cough that gave a vicious headache. It was so severe I felt like I was in the NFL concussion protocol. Whatever was happening to me was far more than a few side effects from a detox. I was sick and now I unsure if I could work my way through whatever it was that had taken hold of me.

When we returned to the city I spent the next few days climbing in and out of bed with the same, now escalating, symptoms. I foolishly maintained hope that I could regain my health this way, but my symptoms continued getting worse. Finally I contacted my doctor, but had to wait two endless days for an appointment. The afternoon I headed off to the doctor’s office I was a mess. I stumbled along the streets of Manhattan, couching and wheezing uncontrollably. After discussing the situation with my doctor, he checked me out, took my temperature (I had a fever) and ordered a chest x-ray. A few hours later to my surprise I found out that I had a case of walking pneumonia. WTF!

Thankfully, now I knew what I was facing. Armed with prescriptions for two antibiotics, I began taking the meds immediately. Pneumonia is a bacterial infection of the lungs. It’s not something that your body can easily seek and destroy. In this case meds were necessary. It’s been close to a week now since I was diagnosed and started the meds and each day I have experienced a major improvement. I did not stay in bed all day. I cut back on my schedule and did a modified version of my usual routine and activities at a slower pace. Nothing matters when you are really sick except getting well. It really puts your priorities in order. So, I had no booze, no exercise, no big meals, etc. I began sleeping better and after five days stopped waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat on cool damp sheets. I dialed things down and kept it simple and as a result am slowly, but steadily getting better. I’ll finish the meds in another few days and go for a follow up x-ray next month. Things are looking good so I thought I would share what I have learned from the experience, Guy’s Guy style.

1. Don’t be a hero - If you are like me and live a holistic lifestyle, you make good choices in your diet, and for your mental and spiritual well being. That keeps me healthy naturally and aids life extension. But, random things happen and you can get sick at any time. My surprise bout with walking pneumonia is a prime example of how no matter how well we take care of ourselves, shit can still happen. I live in a big dirty city and I take the filthy subway almost every day. Maybe some random person coughed in my direction or sneezed on the subway car handle I was holding. Airborne bacteria is everywhere in this dirty town. I was very healthy yet I contracted pneumonia.

While I was feeling like death that week I asked my guides for help and I got it. I realized I needed to see a doctor and get some good old western medicine and drugs. I waited too long, but eventually I came around and got checked out before thing got worse. Now I am on the mend. Regardless of my steadfast belief in prevention as the best defense against illness, I made the right decision to see the doctor and take the meds. There’s a reason that people died at thirty-five a hundred years ago.

 

2. Take time to heal – After I fell on the boardwalk for the second time I knew something was wrong. Upon circumspection it registered in my mind that my daily ritual of 75 push-ups, my runs and my cardio workouts had been tougher than usual during August. I chalked it up to age, but now I know it was something else. Once that reality kicked in, I shut down all physical activities until I get back to my usual robust health. I have been working out consistently for decades so the break will do me good. When I return to them hard work I will be recharged and I’ll take it slow until I reach my usual peak level of boomer fitness. One step at a time. amigo.

 

3. Consider the spiritual meaning of your illness - Believe it or not, there is a strong connection between your spiritual and emotional states and your health. The root of sickness transcends the physical body. Each time I’ve contracted a serious illness I’ve checked out a few websites and books that explain the connection between specific issues and their manifestations in the physical body.  Apparently pneumonia is a result of unresolved emotional issues and some underlying feelings of desperation. I have been working diligently to raise my frequency, and it is no easy task in our crazy world, especially since I’ve taken the leap and pointed my career in an entirely new direction after decades on the corporate track with well-paying jobs. I have a wife and a kid now too, so at times the pressure feels stifling. Nevertheless, I will persevere and create the life of service that I have chosen to experience.

 

4. Use your down time to make changes – I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick, I’m not that hungry. My usual daily intake consists of homemade soups and lots of water and organic tea. After a week of this diet, I hopped on the scale and had lost five pounds. Yay! I cut out junk, booze, pizza and ice cream and am sticking with fresh fruits, organic smoothies and maybe some fish or a light snack for dinner. Pretty soon I had lost twelve unwanted pounds. So, instead sitting back and taking it on the chin all day and night, I found a way to be creative and get something out of being sick. It’s not always easy when you fell like shit, but it can be done.

 

5. Ask for help. Show gratitude – The day after my diagnosis, I knew I had to acknowledge, thank and love my pneumonia before asking it to leave me. It might sound crazy, but love works better than engaging in battling an illness. Illnesses are signals from your body and spirit that something is wrong and it needs to be addressed.  I’m not suggesting that you allow an autoimmune illness eat away your body. What I am suggesting is to recognize that something is wrong, showing love for the illness (yes, I now it sounds crazy but it works), and then thank it and ask it to leave.

This is one of the most important lessons I have ever learned about health and it has always worked for me. And it’s a practice that ninety-nine percent of people ignore. We are trained to “fight” our enemies instead of loving and learning from them before releasing them. If you consider yourself spiritual or a follower of a major religion, love is a core component of their foundation, and that includes love for your enemy. It does not mean that you don’t defend yourself. No, it means you recognize the divinity in every person and everything your encounter in this life. Only then you can release it from your realm and send it back to God or the Universe or whatever you believe is out there. Love your sickness, look for the teaching, and ask it to leave.

Am I one hundred percent better now? Not yet, but I’m on a steady path back to health. I no longer have a fever, night sweats, chills, and that ceaseless hacking cough. And I am breathing a lot better. Who gets the opportunity to appreciate something as easy to overlook as breathing? I did, and now I’m more thankful than ever for each and every breath I take.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is yours truly. Looking beyond the fevers, chills, unbearable bouts of coughing, intense headaches, and shortness of breath, I’ve learned so much from my bout with walking pneumonia. I learned about my body, my faith and spiritual developmental needs, and how to blend an eastern-based preventive lifestyle with the technology of western medicine as necessary. I am on the fast track to recovery and thankfully my family has been supportive and thankfully they have remained healthy. Who would have thought I could learn so much from a random bout of pneumonia?

Six Hacks to Beat the Heat

Robert Manni - Friday, August 25, 2017


It was ninety degrees in New York City as I sat naked at my writing station. And it felt great.

But here’s the catch—even when it’s hot as hell outside I stay cool the old school way by just keeping the windows open. No AC, not even a ceiling fan humming. Yes, I sweat, amigos, but I feel alive. As you can tell, I dig the heat, but I also like staying cool. I also believe thinking out of the box and using contrarian techniques when fighting those dog days of summer. With that in mind, here are your Guys’ Guy’s hacks to beating the heat.  Some may seem obvious, while others may make you scratch your head. But these have been deployed with success by yours truly so let’s get to them right now before I need to take another shower.

1. Hydrate – Studies show that almost 80% of Americans are dehydrated. And, aging is directly connected to dehydration. So if you want to get older even faster than you will, don’t hydrate. You’ll get old and wrinkly before your time. There is an easy solution though. Drink lots and lots of liquids, and especially water during the summer months. I know it can be a pain in the ass, but carry a bottle of water wherever you go. Water provides a critical component of your body’s cooling system. Instead of drinking tap water, which in the vast majority of communities has been proven to hold too many carcinogens, my wife and I use a Zero filter at home. We also make “living water” by placing a pitcher of filtered H2O on a bed of ancient crystals that are billions of years old. We purchase these mini stones online and they activate the water. We also take Mega Hydrate capsules. These little capsules provide the body with negatively charged ions, they may slow aging, while increasing the absorption of hydration elements in the body. Check them out online. Hydration is rule number one in maintaining your cool and health during these hot, sticky months. Stay away from sugary drinks, soda, and even alcohol as much as possible. You don’t need the sugar and alcohol speeds up dehydration. I like a margarita or a cold beer, but it’s got to be in moderation.

2. Dress to chill – Dressing appropriately during a heat wave seems like a smart idea, but in a city like New York people have trouble switching from their black outfits to lighter colors no matter what the temperatures are outside. I still marvel at folks wearing all black, long sleeves, and heavyweight jeans when its 95 degrees outside.  It never changes. But this obsession with black is not for me in the summer. As soon as the temps pass seventy-five degrees, I ditch my dark clothes, my underwear depending on the situation, long sleeves, and long pants also depending on the situation. I remember my early days in the city in the eighties when people in advertising still wore suits every damn day. I can still feel my body dripping with sweat while I’d stand on the subway platform in my suit and tie. It was horrible, and I was drenched before I got to the agency. I’m so glad we’ve made some progress there. But guys in the banking, insurance or legal professions still have to suit up. It looks good, but what a drag. And who came up with the idea of wearing a necktie? What a douche. If you’re still wearing a jacket and tie to work, at least buy tropical weight suits. Me? Whenever I can get away with it, you’ll find me in a short-sleeved shirt, a pair of shorts, and lightweight sneakers or sandals. Since I keep my hair close cropped, I also bring along a hat to protect my noggin from the searing sun.

3. Ditch the AC – This may sound crazy, but I firmly believe in the body’s ability to adjust its internal thermostat. Sure, there are times when the temps are unbearable and you need that AC cranking. I’ve found that if I am outdoors I adjust pretty easily to the heat and when I’m indoors I feel better when I’m being cooled by a ceiling fan versus an air conditioner. When I’m home alone, even when it is really steamy outside, I forego the AC and simply go full commando in my crib, like right now. Don’t knock it unless you’ve tried it. The main point is that, for me at least, the AC plays games with my body’s thermostat. I find that I come down with random summer colds that I’m sure are related to going from an environment with blasting AC into the heat and then back again. It feels unnatural to me and my body never seems to properly adjust quickly enough to those changes in temperature. I do better when I put my body in charge of cooling itself.

4. Get a haircut – I realize that hipsters rule these days, but those big bushy haircuts and wooly beards look real hot to me. I keep my facial trimmer at level two and make sure I shave down to that point at least once a week throughout the summer.  And bacteria builds up in those hairier parts if we don’t keep ourselves cool and clean.

5. Think cooling thoughts – Don’t dismiss this one. The incidence of violent crimes escalates during the hot months. It’s because people get heated up mentally as well as physically. The mind is very powerful. There’s a reason behind the terms, “blowing your stack” or “things getting heated up.” It’s because our minds play a role in how we feel. So if your thoughts are pleasurable and chill, you’ll feel the difference in how you handle the heat and humidity. I begin each day with a series of affirmations and I do my best to meditate for thirty minutes each day and journal any spiritual thoughts and feeling that may bubble up throughout the day. This practice helps me to keep things in perspective, when the temps are soaring. Another way to cool your mind is to read a book, preferably while sitting in the shade of a tall oak tree.

6. Sweat - Here is another contrarian concept. It’s baking hot outside you go for a long run to cool down. Sounds nuts? It’s not as long as the weather is not too, too hot for any kind of physical activity, sweating is very healthy and it will keep you cooler. When it’s too hot outdoors, hit the gym and work up a good sweat. Your body has a natural way of cooling down. It’s called perspiration and it works very well. During the summer months one of my favorite activities is to get up early, before it gets too hot, and go for a long slow run around Central park or along the boardwalk if I am near the beach. After my run I’ll go for a swim in the ocean, hit the chilled waters of Lasker Pool, or head home and take a long shower to cool down. During the day, when I get hot, I drink water and jump in the shower every few hours.

These are but a few ways to stay cool when the weather heats up and the summer gets long, hot, and humid. Like right now.  What’s important to beat the heat is staying hydrated, maintaining your cool under pressure, and thinking contrarian when seeking ways to perspire and cool down. The summers in New York City are long, and hot, and sticky, but we get through it every year. In a few months we’ll be griping about the rain and the cold while counting the days until next summer. So enjoy the hot weather while you can, amigos. The summer goes by quickly.

This week’s GUYS’ GUYS OF THE WEEK are people like me who thrive in the heat and when under pressure. Some, like your Guy’s Guy, like it hot while others are shade-seeking creatures. It’s all good, so let’s give it up to all of the hot shots that are actually really cool. Peace out until next time.  

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying the Course and Pursuing Your Dreams

Robert Manni - Monday, July 24, 2017


The great Charles Bukowski once wrote, “Slavery was never abolished. It was expanded to include everyone.”

One of the toughest challenges we face is remaining steadfast in pursuit of our aspirations while living in a dysfunctional culture built on the back on the common man and his debt and servitude. Here’s a typical scenario: It’s mid-July, it’s a sunny ninety degrees outside and you’re trapped in a high-rise office toiling away as usual. You emerge from your cubicle and stare out the window down to the street below, wondering where everyone is going and why you’re chained to your desk grinding away on another post-buy analysis spreadsheet coupled with an unrealistic timetable from your boss.

Welcome to the junior-level work life in New York. You want to follow your passion and be a rock star, a writer, or an actor and create something that will hold value and have meaning, but right now it feels like the core of your existence revolves around that lengthy report on a bathroom cleaner that smells like bleach. You ask yourself, “How do I find the time to pursue my dream while I’m working like a drone in bee colony?” On top of this challenge is how easily distracted we get, especially when living in a massive city filled with…lots of distractions. So, despite how focused you are, staying the course is not always easy.

But take heart. There is good news. First, you are not alone. There are thousands of other young bucks just like you in the big bad city putting their dreams on hold while toiling away at junior level positions. But I’m hear to tell you that if you play your cards right you can find the time to stay the course and make your mark on the world.

In over three decades fighting the good fight at corporations and agencies across the city, I often felt that I did not have enough time to pursue dreams that were slowly fading away. But because of my passion and belief in my message and myself, I found time to keep that dream train rolling down the tracks no matter how much day-to-day business needed my attention.

Your Guy’s Guy wants to share a few tricks he’s learned about staying focused on one’s passions in the face of an omnipresence clock and the realities of survival in the big city. So here are my tips for staying the course, surviving and thriving while following your dreams. That’s the idea, right?

1. Become an early riser – I recently read an article about the success secrets of a number of well-known entrepreneurs and successes in business including Elon Musk and Warren Buffet. They all shared one trait. They all got up every day at 4:45am. That’s pretty early if you ask me, but these visionaries know the importance of carving out time each day to focus on their passion, dreams, and some me-time to gather their thoughts before tackling the day. I’ve found getting up earlier has become easier with each passing year and I whole-heartedly endorse this practice. I use these early hours for affirmations, creatively, and to map out the day and how I’ll allocate the ensuing hours to my passions, my work, and all the usual day-to-day tasks.

2. Burn the midnight oil – If you can’t handle getting up early then consider staying up later to focus on your passions. And by your passions I don’t mean the blonde next to you in bed. My mind is clearer in the morning, but I have come up with a number of out-of-the-box ideas while burning the midnight oil. Whether you make time early or late in the day, the goal is to use these precious hours to stay on course and move your personal projects along. Write a song, map out a “what if” idea for a book or screenplay, or focus an hour or two on whatever inspires you to dream.

3. Meditate to keep your mind fresh – Speaking of keeping your mind clear and open to your creative passions, there is no better way to stay mentally and spiritually fresh than a brief meditation. I do my best to put at least fifteen minutes aside for the sole purpose of quieting my mind and allowing it to empty all my garbage thoughts and monkey chatter, like what team Kylie Irving should play for next year or when will the Rolling Stones will drop a new album. All this mental small talk chatter results in wasting valuable time that could be use to focus on what you really want to focus on.

4. Use your workouts creatively – If there was ever a reason for multitasking it’s using your workouts to think creatively and solve problems. I realize that pushing iron and playing golf require a tight focus, but cardio sessions are great for zoning out and getting in touch with your inner voice. I mapped out and mentally constructed most of my novel, The Guys Guy’s Guide to Love, during my long runs. Now I also use the time on the road to come up with ideas for blog posts, memes, book ideas, and tweaks to my screenplay and adapted TV series. I get my workout in and figure things out at the same time. That’s a win-win.

5. Find work relative to your true passion – Although my background is in marketing and brand management, I always held an interest in advertising because I wanted to be close to the creative process during my work. I choose account management because I did not want to use up all of my psychic energy coming up with ads for canned ravioli or cooking spray. But, I wanted to be surrounded by creative people and use my creativity to solve brand issues without having to write the ads. It turned out pretty well. I learned the creative process and cleared a wide path for my teams to excel. And the things I’m most proud from my advertising career are the great campaigns I’ve been part of that bolstered the sales of mega brands I worked on including Bacardi rum, Stolichnaya vodka and 1800 tequila to name a few. Of course it doesn’t hurt when you’re working on image brands. But during this time I never lost sight of my own projects and creative goals and used my free time to pursue my passions.

6. Learn to prioritize – Finding the time to stay the course for your long term goals and creative projects is a balancing act. The best way to keep all the balls in the air is by prioritizing your projects within the amount of time you can allocate for them throughout the day. Time flashes by but if you are mentally organized you can identify those tasks most important to your survival and can still set enough time aside to take care of business and your goals. Don’t forget, you almost always have the weekends to carve out some time for your personal projects.

Life is short, but there are lots of hours, days, weeks and years available to us if we take care of ourselves and stay organized. Of course, if you want to follow your dreams and you have a dismal job, make sure you keep your spirits up, think creatively, and find the time to follow your dreams. It’s up to you amigo, and I know you can do it.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is the great writer Charles Bukowski whom I mentioned in the opening of this post. Bukowski worked for years in a series of menial odd jobs before becoming a professional writer at the age of forty-nine. In fact, one of his most successful novels is Post Office a hilarious, sad and poignant chronicle about his twelve-year stint at the USPS.

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.


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