What I learned from 5,000 online dating profiles.
I looked at them all. I mean every website you can think of. There is a dating site for black and white, cougars, random hookups and people with almost any fetish you can imagine.
I’ll never be the same after some of the weird and disturbing things I saw in the name of SCIENCE.
I scoured thousands of profiles, I mean it, THOUSANDS. I analyzed, took notes and interviewed HUNDREDS of women who were currently using online dating to meet men.
They all wanted something different, but that doesn’t answer the questions all of us guys seem to have.
“What do women REALLY want?”
Well, there really is no definitive answer to that. You see women are far more complex than we men are and it would be impossible for me to tell you exactly what to say, write or do to get a woman. And anyone who tells you otherwise is probably just trying to make a quick buck before you figure out he is full of shit.
But I can tell you this. Almost every single woman we talked to wanted a few “basics” in a man. These women were Black, Asian, White, young, mature, successful, smart and every color of the spectrum you can think of. They ALL said the same things.
Here they are:
1.) Fitness: Women we talked to all wanted a man who takes care of himself. This wasn't about looking like a fitness model, she just wants to know you are not a fat slob that she is going to have to take care of.
2.) Finances: This one throws most men but trust me, this NOT about being a “Gold Digger” this is about her needing to know she is not going to have pay for every date or even worse make your car payment. She wants a MAN and men handle their money.
3.) Mate: All of our interviewees wanted men that knew what they wanted in a woman. Need proof? How many dates have you been on where a woman asked you what your “type” is. Women want to know they fit your idea of what you want in a mate so that you are not always out trolling the bars like a douche looking for “the next best thing”.
Be like water…
The problem I have with most “forms” is rigidity. It doesn’t matter if it is martial arts, exercise, art, science, religion or cooking. Forms are meant to be our framework to expand from.
We cannot possibly expect or accept that all that there is to learn has been learned.
The intricacies of the human body cannot have been fully expressed. We cannot accept that we have stopped growing or evolving physically, spiritually or mentally. And if we have not finished growing or evolving, how can we accept that we are done learning how to squat or run or jump.
We cannot just sit back and say there is nothing left to explore. No idea left for “me” to contribute.
Religion says that God is done talking to us. That what is written in the ancient texts is all that the creator of Heaven and Earth ever said and ever will say. Really?!?! If God is done talking to us, if God has said all he has to say, then tell me without a doubt that there is not another “giant squid” left to discover at the depths of the ocean. Tell me there is not another galaxy or life supporting planet left in the cosmos. Tell me that the voice you hear when you are “still” is silent. That it is not saying to you “dream, do , be live, love, explore”.
We must not let this be the end all be all answer to life, love, happiness and discovery. We must continue to grow. We must continue to flow, to crash to move through and around resistance never getting “stuck” in a myopic paradigm of completeness.
We must as, Bruce Lee said…”Be like water, my friend.”
I deal with this day in and day out.
Someone is trying to change their life and thinks they are going to change EVERYTHING in one day! Well here is the truth. No. You. Are. Not!
Why? Because your habits say other wise. There is no magic diet or magic pill or special "food combining" super secret of the trainers to the stars (I was a trainer to the stars, remember?)
No there is a simple answer to why you are fat.
You eat like SHIT!
You are an adult. EAT LIKE ONE! Put away the Hot Pockets and microwave meals. Learn to make some eggs, grill a steak, roast a chicken. You are not fat because of genetics. You are fat because you eat like a 12 year old.
P.S. It also wouldn't kill you to do some turn off the t.v. stand up and walk around the block a few times...but what do I know; I just wrote the book on the subject.
Reverse Planning System:
When we undertake any task we must make a plan. It does not matter if we are taking on a new fitness regimen or if we are trying to create a new circle of friends we must make a plan.
Behavioral expert Bobby Cappuccio once said to me that planning serves to “crystalize” our goals in our minds. That planning makes it real and allows us to have a measuring stick of our success.
What is RPS?
I tell everyone I know to “start with the end in mind”. There are really only 2 things we need to know when we plan. Where we are now and where we want to be at the end. Now it is quite hard for us as humans to honestly assess where we are and who we are. However we can use our goals and dreams to compare and contrast who and what we are. This will give us an idea of where we are. Then all we need to do is fill in the blanks.
How do you use RPS?
Simply sit down and write out 3 goals. Any 3. The most popular ones are fitness, finances and dating. Write down exactly what you want your life to look like in each of those areas 6 months from today. On the next sheet of paper write down exactly where you are in those 3 areas right now.
Then simply write a plan to get there.
Examples of a (simple) plan.
Goal= lose 10 pounds
Current state= I feel “fat”
Plan= Go to the gym 4 days per week. Only eat dessert on Saturday night.
That’s how simple changing your life can be.
Give it a shot.
You’re going to love the results!
Joe, The Habitual Man
I struggled for years. I failed more times than I can count. I was a soldier but that career ended because of an injury I got while fighting in Iraq. I was a musician but couldn't really seem to ever get my "big break". It really wasn't until I became a personal trainer that I got any real success. I climbed my way to the top slowly and steadily. it didn't seem like I would ever "get there" but eventually I was standing on the gym floor in front of a Victorias Secret model and then a pro golfer and a whole host of celebrities and multi millionaires and I was making more money than I ever thought possible. So this gave me an idea "let's take a whole new direction" I thought. You see even though I was making money and living a dream life it wasn't enough. I wanted more. I wanted freedom! I wanted to be the guy in charge of my life, my time, my everything. So I entered the world of information marketing. I had a product that could help millions of men live remarkable lives! I would use all the training the Army and so many successful men taught me and I would teach them to other men. We would be the new elite! The new rich the new leaders of a great nation. I was struggling with getting the word out though, so I sat through webinar after webinar and read book after book on how to get the word out. That was until I decided to jump start my social media page with
Could this be the missing ingredient? Could this be the one thing that will swing my results in the right direction?
Stay tuned and I'll keep you posted...
I love when guys come to me all broken hearted because of some woman and ask me
"What has he go that I don't?"
He's got his shit together that's what!
You live in your parents’ basement, you have a part time job, you have no money and a busted up piece of shit car. You aren’t EVEN TRYING! You sit around smoking pot and playing video games all day!
Ok. So maybe that was bit graphic but it was to make a point and if some of those hit home then, yes, I was talking to you. Now I’m not saying you have to drive a BMW or live in a high rise in NYC. But seriously at least have a plan to get better. I have yet to meet the woman who wants her man to flail about wildly with no direction. You should be adaptable to various situations but have a plan that is going to at least make progress daily. Oh and make it your plan. Don’t ask people (ESPECIALLY HER) what they think you should do. If you need help brainstorming and call up a friend or two and meet over coffee that is one thing. But at the end of the day it is your life and if your biggest dream is to be a world famous writer or motivational speaker or a rock star, well that is your path and your work. Decide. It’s up to you.
3 best online dating tips.
I get asked a ton of questions about the best “pick-up lines” as if there were some magical string of words out there that I could give guy to ensure that he “Gets the Girl”. If this were the case I would be moving next door to Bill Gates and parking my private jet next to Trumps. But the truth is there is no magic formula, sure there may be a series of routines you can find on the internet that will give you something to say at least, but the truth is those things don’t work and they kind of make you a creep. So what is the answer? Well if you have tried it all but your nerves get the better of you or you are just tired of the bar scene and all of the horror that goes along with it, get online. There are literally hundreds of dating sites out there and you can search out the perfect woman.
Even with this innovation however it can still seem a bit daunting so I spent months reading profiles and interviewing women who have been online to meet a mate so that I could put together a few tips to help you secure your success.
1. Keep your shirt on: I mean this one literally! I interviewed 112 women and read over 1000 profiles and this was more than just a common theme, it was what 87% of women complained about. They don’t want to see you half naked, posing in your bathroom mirror. It is an instant turn off for them because “it makes him seem self-centered and a little feminine.” To quote many of the interviewees.
2. Be original: Don’t just copy and paste emails that you blast out to hundreds of women. Read her profile and have something to say about her and her interests. But before you ever send out that first email, decide on what is important to you, I mean everything from eye color to education to religious values. Sure, you will have significantly less women in your pool to choose from but your chances for success and happiness will go through the roof!
3. Don’t be a jerk: Some guys get all freaked out about rejection and send nasty follow up emails. This will never work! If she says no or does not respond at all chances are she just isn’t attracted to you. Just like you are not attracted to every woman in the world, she is not attracted to every man in the world. Take it on the chin, grow a pair and move on.
So there you have it. Following just these basic rules can drastically improve your success ratio and make online dating what it should be FUN. So enjoy.
P.S. I get asked a lot about which online dating site is “the best” and if I had to pick just I would suggest Match.com they have really put in the hours and designed a user friendly website with a ton of great tools like their dating magazine Happen and Stir Events . Check them out!
Come back often and check out my blog for my helpful hints on how to
Be the Man. Be the Boss. Get the Girl.
In my life I have been given some great advice. I think, as men, it is or duty to pass that advice on to others. So here are 10 rules every man should know.
Rules every grown man should know:
1.) You are an adult now. Cereal is not an acceptable meal.
2.) Put the seat AND the lid down.
3.) If your watch costs more than your car, you are wrong!
4.) Never wait in line for basketball shoes, concert tickets or anything else for that matter.
5.) If it is your first dinner together make reservations.
6.) Never buy generic ketchup, dish soap or mac and cheese.
7.) If you got so drunk you can't remember anything, go to a meeting.
8.) If you are embarrassed by your actions, so are we.
9.) Never go to bar where they need to stamp your hand.
10.) DO NOT send any picture that reveals any part of your body unclothed!
Until next time
Be the Man. Be the Boss. Get the Girl.
I stood there, heart racing eyes filled with tears. It wasn't because I was crying it was because my nose was broken and bright red, warm blood was pooling at my feet. He hit hard. He wasn't very big at least not in a muscular sense. But he was long and lean. His hands were bone hard and he had a reach at least 2-3 inches more than I did. I just stood there though staring him down almost silently saying him to “move, I dare you”. He had sucker punched me, I was trying to rein I'm my buddy who had started the whole brawl when out of nowhere this tall blonde fucker catches me in the left cheek and smashed my nose sideways. When I stumbled back I feel into the pool table and, without his knowledge I palmed the 7 ball. Now I was just waiting for him to try and hit me while I planned my move. "He’ll probably throw that right hook” I thought "when he does I'll block and smash his jaw with the ball in my right hand" he swung and I ducked to dodge his blow and struck the outside of his knee hard work the pool ball. When he buckled I stood and threw an elbow to his head. He fell back onto the bar room floor. Suddenly I noticed that our three man battle had turned into a full scale bar room brawl. I looked across the room and saw this chick wailing on some poor guy with her bar stool. He could only lay there in the fetal position trying to block the beating she was giving him. Luckily for us I knew one of the bartenders and he ran up to screaming "Joe! Joe! Get your boys and get out man half of the damn police department is on their way. “I just shot him a quick "thanks brother" grabbed my friends and headed out the back door. We were making our way down the street outside of the bar almost crawling on our hands and knees the entire way, we were using parked cars and garbage cans for cover. We finally made it to Ricks car and waited for what we hoped was the last of at least a dozen cop cars to speed by and then tore out of there like our assess were on fire. The pain from the shot I took was starting to set in now as the adrenaline and alcohol wore off and it hurt, I mean it hurt like hell. But I wasn’t going to show it, not in front of my friends anyway. I just wiped away the blood and smiled saying something like "he hit like a bitch". When I got home I put an ice pack on my battered face and passed out on my couch. Tomorrow would be a better day… I hoped.
6 things I learned in 2013
1. It’s never as bad as you think it is:
Sometimes it may seem like all hope is lost. The loss of a job or a breakup can really weigh you down. But I learned one really great trick for dealing with it. I say to myself I have lived 38 years before this event and I will live another 38 after this event. There is nothing I can do about what happened so, carry on.
2. If you wait…you lose.
I was at a financial education workshop a few months ago and the presenter was teaching us Foreign Exchange (currency) trading. At one point the presenter held up a book and software program worth about $500 dollars and asked “who wants this?” and we all raised our hands. However one guy in the fifth or sixth row just jumped out of his seat and grabbed it from the presenter. The lesson here if you wait…you lose.
3. All actions produce results:
I know this one seems a bit self-explanatory but it’s one I am constantly asked about. If you want something to happen start taking actions towards getting it. If you don’t get what you want it’s because you are doing something incorrectly. Don’t change your goal change your actions.
4. You can never be too kind:
Be kind. Always! I know that there are times that we look at people around us and think “I would love to throat punch some of you idiots” but the truth is we don’t know what is going on in the lives of others. Take a minute breathe and be kind. Don’t put up with stupid bull shit but be kind.
5. You can never be too steadfast:
This shouldn’t be confused with being bullheaded or stubborn. This is about knowing what you stand for and sticking to your guns. Before I do anything I ask myself one question “will this hurt or will this help?”
6. Pray; constantly:
Give thanks. Ask for good things. Say you are sorry. Just pray. It will set you on the path of doing something for the greater good. It will get you to always think of Gods plan (you know stuff like love thy neighbor, don’t murder etc…) first and help you decide if your actions are in line with that plan.
Hope this helps you live a better 2014. Good luck!
I’ve got your six…
It’s a term we use in the Army to tell your buddy you have his back. Being in the Army is the closest I have ever come to really living my boyhood dream. You see I used to sit and dream for hours about being a super spy. Much like James Bond only with a slight Southern drawl instead of the British accent.
I would dream of all the cool stuff I was going to do. My fantasies were fueled by James Bond movies so of course my day dreams usually involved Russian super villains. I knew even then that this dream world didn’t exist but it never kept me from having those dreams. I wanted nothing more than to be an adult so that I could be the hero. I would rescue the girl defeat the onslaught of henchmen then capture and/or kill their evil leader.
But again, life of course doesn’t work this way. Sure there are villains in the world; there are many people who set out to do evil onto others. There’s no shortage of super villains who need to be captured. (There is a shortage, however, of laser wielding Rolexes and Aston Martins with machine guns so if you know where I can find either of these please email me). So what options are we left with? What do we do about corrupt politicians? How do we deal with education systems that set us up for failure or the Big 3 automotive bailouts, Enron scandals, oil spills and the Bernie Madoffs of the world?
It’s simple really. We take over the world! (I said simple not easy…)We seem to all still be waiting around for someone to something, someday. Well someone is us. Something is take charge and take responsibility and someday is now. We are the “now”. We are the ones tasked with running the world. In the wake of the death of Mandela it has been made clear to me that we think ourselves to be average. We think ourselves to be incapable of changing things. We sit back and play video games for hours and watch television until we pass out. We then get up the next day and spend most of it slaving away to give most our money to the Government and the elite few that run this world. Well, while some sit back and say how great Mandela was or how powerful and rich others are I say this: “They are but mere men!” That’s right. There is NO difference between Nelson Mandela and me or you. He was born in the same way. He breathed the same air. He required the same vital nutrients. There is no difference between us and any other man that walks this Earth! If one man can do it another can do it. So stand up and take control. Take charge of yourself. Take charge of your life. Take charge of your family and lead us all into greatness. We are no longer boys daydreaming about what we would do if only given the chance. We are men tasked with creating the history of the world.
So, go make it a story you would be proud of.
I’ve got your six!
I had many chances over the years. I had a chance to be a great older brother. The pressure got to me. I had a chance to be a husband. I couldn’t take it. I had a chance to be a stepfather. I screwed that up too.
I want to tell you it wasn’t my fault. I want to tell you that I was a bad brother because I my family sucked. I want to tell you I was bad brother because my Dad ran off. I want to tell you it was because my Mom became distant and disconnected. I want the reason to be because I was so fucked up by the way I was treated that I had no choice.
I want to tell you that I was a bad husband because my ex-wife was lazy. I want the reason I was a bad husband to be because she took me for granted. I want the reason to be because no matter how hard I tried it was never good enough. I want the reason to be because no matter how many 80 hour weeks I put in there was never enough money. I want it to be those reasons.
I want the reason I was a bad stepfather to be because the kids misbehaved. I want the reason to be because I got no support from my ex-wife. I want the reason I was a terrible stepfather to be because no one ever taught me to be a good father. I want the reason to be because I worked my fingers to the bone and was exhausted all the time. I want the reason to be because of this.
These are not the reasons. The reasons I want them to be are not the reasons my life went the way it did and turned out the way it turned out. Sure I can sit here like everyone else does and say “it made me the man I am today” but the truth is I have always been this man. No. There is only one reason my life went the way it did.
I made choices that guided my life. I knew in my heart and gut that I should stand up for my brothers and sister all those years ago but I chose to let fear guide my choice.
I knew that marrying the woman I did was a mistake but I let fear of being alone and fear of letting those kids down guide my choice and ended up with a bruise on my heart and soul.
There are things I had no control over. My dad running off. My mom disassociating. My lung collapse. The price of rent in NYC. I can’t control those things. I can control my choices.
I can choose to educate myself. I can choose to be resilient. I can choose to find a way to make more money. I can choose to be happy.
I can choose. I do choose. Every day I choose the way I feel and I choose the way that my life will work out. No matter what comes my way I choose. Because the moment I give up my choice I give up control. The moment I give up my choice I give up my freedom. So today and every day I choose.
It’s bigger than you…
I spent my youth as most young men I guess. I went out in search of love and adventure. I wanted excitement and danger and to live a life that would make others envious. I thought there must be a buried treasure somewhere or an island that awaited my discovery. That of course meant I must leave my family behind. But who cared really? We weren’t close. My father had taken off with a younger woman. My mother was living in denial. I had some sort of pseudo-relationship with my brothers and sister and there were a gaggle of family members I hadn’t spoken to in years. So really I couldn’t see that I was walking away from much.
I was destined to be a soldier. I was going to see the world and fight for freedom. I would win the fight of a lifetime battling great foes and ride off into the sunset with the beautiful maiden. Of this I was certain. Life didn’t see it that way however. I would instead get my first collapsed lung at 17 and be sidelined from the military for about the next 5 years.
In the meantime I would become homeless. I would spend time in jail and become an addict. I would meet the woman I was to call my wife and work jobs that would break most men. I worked construction, shoveled shit at a waste water treatment plant and drilled water wells in the cold Green Bay winters. It was a miserable life and I would do anything to save myself from more of this misery life had yet again cast upon me.
I finally did get my dream. I served honorably with the US Army 101st Airborne division in Iraq. I would suffer my second collapsed lung there. Lose my new bride to another man and come home to more of that same old misery.
I woke up one day and realized something. It was bigger than me. There was a greater good I must fight for. I must fight and work harder than any job or war or horrible employer I had ever encountered would demand of me. The pay off. A better world. A world where I didn’t have to be afraid. A world where my nieces had a chance at success and happiness even though they got a nut case for a father. A world where I didn’t have to worry that my sister, who I am now very close with, would call me crying again because yet another man would break her heart. A world where my nephews would be able to hold their heads up and work hard at the kinds of things that made the world a better place for everyone instead of shoveling shit in the South Mississippi summer heat. A world where my family would finally get the leader they so desperately needed. Most importantly a world where the next generation had a fighting chance. They could and would have a chance to make their lives and lives of everyone they encounter better. I realized I had been given the chance to create a legacy. I have been given the chance to make the world better long after I am gone from it. This is not unique to me. This is something we can all do and all must do together.
Because we are much stronger together than we will ever be alone.
We spend so much time and energy these days on ourselves. We tell ourselves that all our families and friends want is for us to be happy. We say all they want is for us to be happy and then we live this life in a way where all we do is worry. We worry about money and sickness and time we have wasted. I have had people say to me that they would die for their families. Really? You would die? What does that take but 3 seconds of bravery or stupidity? And how often is one put in the position that they must make this choice. I have been around the world and have known thousands of people and not one has ever told me a story like this. If we love them, if we really love them, I ask you; what better way to show them than to have the courage to live for them? To do the hard thing day after day month after month year after year. Any idiot can jump in front of a bullet. But what kind of man must it take to sacrifice his heart and soul for his loved ones? What kind of man would make every step he takes in life a purposeful step on the path that leads his family and friends to greatness. What kind of man must that be?
It’s a miracle really. Everyone keeps telling me I should be nuts but somehow I still manage to maintain.
Sure, I can come across like a real asshole sometimes. It’s just that I am so tired of the bullshit. I didn’t start out this way though. I was really a pretty sensitive kid. I remember when I was in third grade and our family dog died. I was devastated for days over it. I couldn’t stop crying. Maybe it was the fact that it was the last link to my family as a whole. The family I knew before my dad took off on us. Maybe I was just a sensitive kid. Either way I didn’t think I would ever get over it.
I’m still pretty soft hearted now despite my rough demeanor. I’m the guy that is always looking to help someone. I love the way I feel when I give something that is immeasurable. Giving of your self is truly remarkable and it always makes me feel truly accomplished.
There was a time of course when this wasn’t the case. A time when all that life had saddled me with was weighing me down. I felt like a pack mule that had been overloaded and struggled to take each step on its way down an impassable canyon. I prayed for peace and was sent to war. I prayed for love and was taught to hate. I wanted acceptance and was exiled. It seemed like no matter what I did life just kept knocking me down.
I finally had enough. I stopped being angry and instead got mad. I got mad at myself, my family at God. I just got mad. I shook off all of those burdens and used the scars that life had left me with as armor to stand against anything else life would throw my way. I figured I had already been beaten, abandoned and abused so many times that no matter how hard life hit next it would seem like a glancing blow.
Sure it’s been tough since then. I have loved deeply and lost that love. I have made a small fortune and pissed it away. I even had a job most people would think only existed in their dreams and walked out to chase a dream of my own. The key is to keep going no matter what. No matter what they say. No matter how hard you get hit. No matter how much you want to quit. Just keep going. There is no end just a better right now.
I was sitting at Thanksgiving dinner last night with a bunch of people I have never met before. My girlfriend invited me to a party that was being hosted by a friend of hers and as her guest I made sure to introduce myself and “make the rounds”. I met some incredibly interesting characters from a holistic doctor to a traditional psychotherapist and a web developer. Each had great stories of what they do for work or for fun. There was a stay at home mom who was more than happy to tell me about her sons’ white water rafting excursions and the father of the hostess was sharing some insights about adventures about his world travels.
One person in particular stood out more than the rest. Beatrice. We were there to celebrate Thanksgiving but it could not be overlooked that it was Beatrices 80th birthday. A few years ago I got into the habit of asking anyone who is older than me one question on their birthday, “what do you know now that you wish you knew at my age?” I of course saw a great opportunity to learn something amazing and when I posed this question to Beatrice she had two answers
1. Don’t be afraid of anything! She was adamant about this. She said so many times in her life she had let fear stop her and hold her back from achieving something great and those moments were the ones she regrets now. She made sure I understood that the moments that she cast fear aside and “went for it” she realized those fears were unfounded.
2. Don’t worry so much. Beatrice told me how she spent so much time worrying about what others would think or say. It’s not that you should go out and purposely make an ass of yourself we live in society and there a societal norms that we should use to make sure that we are being good to the tribe. Just don’t let the opinions of others stop you from being great. Don’t let someone else's judgment of a perceived failure or a concern that if you miss the mark that people will “laugh at you” stop you from being great.
That’s about it. I have asked this question dozens of times now and it gets the same response from virtually everyone. Sure there are some people who say things like I wish I would have traveled more or that they wish they would have spent more time with family and friends but over and over it is the above response. It seems that so many people have let fear hold them back. It seems that so many people have let worry about what others will think and say keep them from greatness. So today put fear in its place. Because you will always be afraid. Let go of worry because others only want to tell you that you can’t do something because they know they are too afraid to try. Maybe you’ll fail. Maybe you’ll go broke. Maybe they’ll all say I told you so…maybe you’ll change the world.
I have an unfair advantage in the kitchen. I know. But in all fairness it’s not like I just walked in the doors of Le Cordon Bleu and learned to cook. Sure I went to culinary school. Yeah, I was a private chef. But long before those thoughts even entered my mind I was in the kitchen. When my parents divorced I didn’t take up sports, probably because there was no one to teach me or influence me in that direction. No, I learned, among other things, to cook. My Grandfather taught me how to make a few things really well. He taught me how to smoke chicken and grill a steak all at the ripe old age of 6. He also gave me power tools and lawn equipment and taught me to work with my hands but I blame those decisions on the fact that he drank about a half-gallon of cheap vodka every day. We had moved in with my mom’s parents after my dad left us and her dad taught me a few things about being a man. The one lesson I took from him more than any other was that a man should be self-sufficient. You, as a man, should not only be able to kill your dinner (remember he drank a lot) but you should also be able to cook it. I took those skills with me through life. Once my mom remarried she helped hone a few more skills and in the days before Food Network I would watch cooking shows on PBS and do my best to replicate whatever I saw on the show that day. As I got older those skills paid off in dividends. When I couldn’t find work doing construction or when cash was short I could always count on finding a job in a kitchen somewhere, even If I was flipping burgers or making eggs at the local diner. As I honed my skills further I learned that not only was it great to be able to feed myself I also found I loved feeding others. It was a great way to bond with friends and loved ones and truth be told, it didn’t hurt that women thought it was really sexy that I could hold my own in the kitchen. During my time in Arizona I would enroll in Scottsdale Culinary Institute and be part of the first ever Le Cordon Bleu culinary program outside of Europe. It was an honor to take part in this event and I had the privilege of being instructed by some of the best chefs in the country. Most of which were men. They were men like me. They were former soldiers and construction workers. We had similar stories and shared interests and like me they loved to eat and they loved to feed people. Cooking for us is a creative outlet, it may follow some basic rules in the process but the options and outcomes are limitless. When I got into the fitness industry cooking really hit home for me though. I had been diagnosed with a lung and liver disease a few years earlier and took up fitness as a way to take care of myself. As I immersed myself in magazines and books I realized that so much of what the fitness industry would have us believe about the way we should eat in order to be healthy was just flat out wrong. They were less concerned about helping us and more concerned about making sales. Though there are some great articles and useful advice most of the information just isn’t true.
So what is the truth? The truth is that for centuries now and all over the world people just eat food. Real food. Mostly unprocessed chemical free food. They don’t suffer from an obesity epidemic because they eat the whole egg and not just the white. They don’t die of massive heart attacks by eating the skin of the chicken and they don’t have high blood pressure running rampant because they had a steak. How do they do it? Well, first is they cook. In most of the world eating out is a pricey and time consuming process. There are no or few drive thrus and minimal fast food. Two is they eat, as my dad used to say, “Human sized portions” when I was in the Ukraine I met huge Russian athletes that would marvel at the amount of food I could eat in one sitting (I’m 6’1” and 170lbs). We as Americans have been lead to believe that we need way more food than we actually should eat. We have been taught that sugar is bad and artificial sweetener is good and that fake foods will make us happy and healthy or my personal favorite that if we feel hungry we are somehow going to get fat.
Look, I could go into a bunch of scientific data about micro and macro nutrients or how hormones are released and used when we eat but the truth is the science doesn’t matter. If you are looking to be a world class athlete then you should probably already know about this stuff or at least know where to find the information. If, however, you just want to be in really great shape. If you want to take your shirt off at the beach and not feel embarrassed or you want to have the confidence to leave the lights on when you are about to get in bed with a woman. Here is the answer. Workout. Take a look at my blog The Fitness Truth where I give an easy to follow recipe for success in the gym. When it comes to diet, eat human sized portions (about 2000-2300) calories a day (you can calculate how many calories you need more accurately HERE) stay away from junk food, sugar and anything with an ingredients label. Eat lean protein. Listen to your mom and eat your vegetables and eat like a grown man. That’s about it. I know it sounds too simple; right? Well, that’s because it is, remember I’m not selling you a fitness magazine subscription. I just want to help you succeed.
10 things I have learned the hard way…
I have been homeless. I went to jail with the State penitentiary in my sights. I served in Kuwait and Iraq in a God forsaken war. I have loved and lost. I have been cheated on, abandoned and abused. These were all just Gods way of teaching me to be the man I am today. It is because of these lessons that I am able to teach others. Here are a few things I have learned the hard way and I hope they help keep you from having to learn them the way that I did.
1. That thing you think is important isn’t.
2. You only get today make it a good day.
3. If you love them, tell them.
4. If you don’t love them, tell them…
5. Take care of your body it’s the only one you get.
6. Take care of your soul it’s the only one you get.
7. Be nice.
8. Don’t put up with any ones bullshit
9. Don’t give any one any of your bullshit.
10. Violence is a terrible, horrible thing…it is necessary, use it sparingly
Hope this helps...please share any of the lessons you have learned the hard way in the comments below.
Veterans; we come in all shapes and sizes. We are black and white. We are young and old. We are rich and poor. We come from all walks of life and from all over the Globe. We share one common bond, however. We never stop fighting. We are taught from the time we step off the bus at Fort Knox or Fort Jackson or whatever Post we end up in to start basic training, that the first skill is never give up! Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are not the only ones who served. We are not the only ones who suffered. We should look at our brothers and sisters before us and celebrate those, who in spite of great tragedy, became leaders, became legends and became heroes. It is up to us now more than ever to remember we are all hurting. I have yet to meet a Veteran who is not in some sort of pain. Maybe it’s a bad knee from a forced ruck march that continues to make you limp and becomes oppressive and demoralizing at times. Maybe it’s thoughts of I.E.Ds that haunt you as you drive through your neighborhood. Maybe it’s the nightmares that seem to never end and the fact that every time you step outside you do a Sniper check. Whatever your wound it is crucial to remember that we are all wounded. It is up to those of us that have the ability to keep fighting to fight in the place of the ones who have been taken out of the fight by injury. So before you say “I can’t” remember that we made a promise. Remember that we took an oath “No man left behind.”
Oliver Stone: This Oscar-winning filmmaker began his first novel while at Yale, a project that eventually caused him to fail out of school. This would turn out to be a poor decision as the text was rejected by publishers and was not published until 1998, at which time it was not well-received. After dropping out of school, Stone moved to Vietnam to teach English, later enlisting in the Army and fighting in the war, a battle that earned him two Purple Hearts and helped him find the inspiration for his later works that often center around war.
Damn it! I half shouted through the pain. Damn it! It was all I could muster. I just sat down on the ground clutching the right side of my chest with my left hand, my M4 rifle across my lap. I looked up, sort of helplessly and said “I need a medic”.
I was in northern Iraq serving with the 101st Airborne 10 years ago today. We had invaded the country many months earlier and it had been one hell of a ride. For months we didn’t have enough food, we had to survive on 1 MRE a day for weeks at a time. We didn’t have enough water, we were rationed less than 3 liters per day and a shower; forget about it! I hadn’t had proper shower in weeks. But finally we had stopped somewhere just south of Mosul and had taken over an old Republican Guard Air Base. It had been bombed to hell and there were giant craters in the runways and most of the buildings were reduced to piles of rubble. But we finally had hot food and a warm shower and a tent so it was an improvement at least. We were living the good life. We were doing our job and all of our birds (I was in an aviation regiment as a turbine engine tech) were operational when and if we could get the supplies we needed to fix them. We would sit around and tell tales of back home, reminiscing about lovers and beer and the days of running water and air conditioning.
It was early in the morning and I was sitting at a small desk doing paperwork and thinking about chow when it happened. It wasn’t the first time so I knew immediately what it was. My right lung had just collapsed. It had happened once before on the opposite side 10 years prior. I just stood up, walked outside and plopped down on the ground. I felt slightly defeated and I was in a great deal of pain. For the next few minutes every breath seemed like an act of pure will. The air didn’t and wouldn’t come easily. It took thought and effort to try and fill my good lung. It hurt. I was tired. I just wanted to lie down and let God take me.
As my squad leader helped me to my feet I clutched my M4 tightly. I held onto it like a child does his Teddy Bear and I climbed into the truck. As we entered the medic station I walked straight up to this older man, a Colonel, and said “Excuse me, Sir. My right lung has just collapsed and I need help.” He looked at me, shocked that I was so specific and sat me on an exam table. The next thing I knew I was on a MEDEVAC Blackhawk on my way to Mosul, there was a hospital there.
I made my way into a tent that made up the hospital and I just lay there on the operating table awaiting the tube they would insert through my rib cage to inflate my lung. People were rushing by me. They were shouting and frantic. They carried a young Private in on a litter and I saw him bleeding from what seemed like every part of his body. The sedatives were taking over now and I was having a half lucid dream of them taking my M4 away back at that Medic Sation. As I slipped into the darkness of sedation I wondered, “Will I ever see that rifle again?”
That was then. Today I am here in NYC, sipping champagne and feasting on Lobster Mac and Cheese. There is a great view of Central Park from here and as I pose for yet another “impromptu” picture I am filled with the thoughts of that day.
Every moment of our life has the ability to shape us. Some are like the hands of sculptors molding soft clay and others; well they are like a construction worker from Brooklyn wielding a jack hammer. You’ll get scars in life. You will limp. You will move a little slower and maybe you’ll learn something. Just keep going. Stand up. Move forward. Carry on.