The Gentlemen’s Curb
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4 Straightforward Ways For Guys To Look Their Best
In ancient times, many of the toughest men around were also known for paying a lot of attention to their physical appearance.
The ancient Egyptians routinely wore eyeshadow, plucked their body hair, and practiced other male grooming rituals. The ancient Babylonians are known for having taken immense pride in their beards and would bead and cultivate them until they almost touched the ground. The ancient Vikings would spend a lot of time combing their hair out, acquiring precious metal jewelry, and getting tattooed.
Later in history, cultural norms shifted somewhat, so that paying attention to physical appearance was deemed an “unmanly” trait. More recently, though, many men have begun to take pride in their appearance once again, without desiring to shed the conventional masculine ideas of ruggedness, toughness, and strength.
Plenty of articles, and products have been produced for this purpose, including the following personal presentation guides for men: how to get rid of dark circles and under-eye bags, how to maintain a beard line that perfectly accentuates your jawline, and how to pick a shirt that shows off your physique.
If you’re a guy who’s interested in straightforward ways to look your best, here are some suggestions.
Take Cold Showers On A Semi-Regular Basis
Unless it’s the middle of summer, and you’ve just been spending a good deal of time outside, playing sports, cold showers suck. That’s pretty much all that has to be said on that topic.
The only thing is, cold showers have been growing in popularity recently for various reasons. For one, they do not dry out and compromise the health of the skin in the same way that hot showers do. In fact, bathing with cold water seems to be one of the best overall ways of maintaining good skin and hair quality.
For another thing, there are some anecdotes and some research out there to suggest that cold water exposure may help to improve mood, make the body more resilient to stress, reduce body fat, and more.
On top of that, many men are now on board the cold shower train, specifically because beginning each day with a cold shower is a test of determination, discipline, and willpower, and helps to develop a certain level of “grit.”
While you should be thoughtful about how you take your call showers – for example, if you take ice cold showers, every day, in the middle of winter, even when you’ve got the early signs of a cold, you can expect to get pretty sick – taking cold showers on a semi-regular basis may do a lot of good for your looks, and your masculine traits.
There’s even the example of the Dutch “Ice Man” Wim Hof, who has performed feats such as climbing up Everest in nothing but a pair of shorts, and who credits regular cold exposure and breathing exercises for his superhuman abilities.
Go For Short, High-Intensity Training Sessions
There are as many different ways to train as there are stars in the night sky. Some people opt for a “Grease the Groove” approach, which involves training very regularly, but without ever going to failure, in order to develop neuromuscular connections.
Then again, some people like to train with lighter weights, for as many reps as possible, while other people like to churn out a couple of reps with the heaviest weight they can manage.
If you take the book “Body By Science” to heart, however, there are some real benefits for doing hyper-intense, ultra-slow, one-set training routines, to absolute failure.
According to the authors of the book – one of which is a medical doctor – training in this way helps to stimulate the metabolic apparatus of the body in order to effectively clear waste products, optimise muscle mass, stimulate fat loss, and also optimise hormone levels, simultaneously reducing the risk of repetitive strain injuries that often come with more frequent training.
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to make these kinds of training sessions the entirety of your workout regimen. But, if you want to look your best and be your healthiest, there are some good reasons to think you should squeeze in at least one of these intense training sessions a week.
Get Comfortable With Hunger – Try Intermittent Fasting, And Nutrient Timing
Intermittent fasting has taken off as a major trend in the last few years, probably beginning with books such as Ori Hofmekler’s “The Warrior Diet,” which advised people to eat only once per day.
Now, eating only one meal per day is probably not going to be ideal for the majority of people – not least of all because it might mean dramatically undereating, and suffering the very real negative physiological effects of getting too few calories in your diet.
All the same, tons of research has been coming out in the last few years to back up the benefits of occasional fasting. It turns out, for example, that when you fast occasionally, your blood sugar levels improve, your insulin sensitivity improves (which means you’re less likely to develop diabetes), you burn more fat, and you may even have a better hormone profile for building muscle.
Maybe most impressively, though, fasting kickstarts a process known as “autophagy”, where your body breaks down and “recycles” damaged cellular tissue.
Autophagy is thought to play a vital role in a healthy immune system, not to mention also having potential anti-aging benefits.
Skipping breakfast, or going for a full 24-hour period once per week without food – as Brad Pilon recommends in his book “Eat, Stop, Eat” – may do a lot for your appearance, not to mention your health and fitness. It’s also bound to toughen you up a bit, too.
There’s also some evidence that nutrient timing strategies such as John Kiefer’s “Carb Backloading” system, which involves eating all your carbs in the late afternoon and evening after a workout, can have some of the same benefits.
Stand Up, Move Around, And Be More Physically Active During The Day
Unless you’ve got a physical, blue-collar job, the odds are pretty high that you spend far too much of your day sitting around. The thing is, sedentary living – in other words, being too comfortable, and not moving around enough – is well known to cause all kinds of health problems, to cause you to gain weight, and to prevent you from looking and feeling your best.
In the last few years, there have been plenty of headlines carrying the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.”
The reason for the popularity of this particular headline is that some research seems to show spending too much of your day sitting down causes damage that even a daily gym session can’t compensate for.
The solution? You’ve got to move around more during the day, at regular intervals.
Of course, no one really feels strong, in control, or full of health and vigor, if they spend the better part of every day glued to a chair, lounging around on the sofa, or sprawled out in bed playing games on their phone.
By finding ways to move around more during the day, you will feel more in control of your life, and you’re also likely to be plenty healthier. Of course, this also means that you’re likely to look a good deal better.
If you work a desk job and can’t avoid spending most of your day in front of a screen, consider looking into solutions such as standing desks. This lets you alternate between working seated and working standing up.
Then, also squeeze in regular strolls around the office whenever you can manage it.
Of course, during your free time, you should be spending time physically active – working on DIY projects around the home, playing sports outside, gardening, and so on.