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May 18, 2020

Self-care for men with Garrett Munce

Men don't always do the necessary self-care until there is a problem. In his book, Self-Care for Men: How to Look Good and Feel Great, Garrett Munce shows us how we can look and feel years younger.

This episode of 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Let's Get Checked. Use code Allan20 and get 20% Off!

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Allan (01:06):
Garrett, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Garrett (01:08):
Hey, how are you?

Allan (01:09):
Doing all right. I'm doing all right. Getting by, I guess sad. I'll just, I'll just put that out there. You know, your book is called Self Care for Men, How to Look Good and Feel Great. And you know, as we've kind of gone through this last, bit of time, the virus and locking ourselves away and not interacting as much. I find that I'm not shaving as often. I'm not doing a lot of things as often. And yeah, so this is a good time for this book to be coming out for me. I mean, it's just something I hadn't really spent much time thinking about until your book brought it to my attention. So I'm glad we're going to have this opportunity to talk about your book.

Garrett (01:49):
Me too. Thank you for having me.

Allan (01:51):
Now the first question and you know, I have my own opinions on some of this, but why, why do we find it so hard as men to do some of these self care things?

Garrett (02:02):
Well, I think ultimately it comes down to a lot of generations of marketing. I mean, you know, so many of the things that we think about when we, when the word self care comes up are we've been told for many, many years that these are feminine things to do, right? Like so I'm talking about things like taking a bath, going to a spa, you know, interacting with skincare, all of that kind of stuff has for some reason been kind of skewed throughout the years as feminine pursuits. But I think that it also has to do with the fact that men are kind of raised oftentimes to be, you know, to, you know, not show emotion, not admit that they have emotion. And you know, it goes back to that kind of strong silent type kind of stereotype. And I think the reality is that men have feelings, men have emotions they need, they have stress and things that kind of fall under the self care umbrella can really help with that. And ultimately it doesn't, you know, I think self care in itself is a very misleading term because so much of that kind of the wellness machine has adopted self care as kind of a blanket term for a lot of “relapsing” things. But self care is really anything that can make you feel better. Right. So I think men in many ways are already doing things that can be considered self care, but they might not even know it yet.

Allan (03:45):
Yeah. And you know me, as I kind of looked at it, I thought, you know, I tend to not solve a problem until I know there's a problem. So like if you know, I don't take care of my feet, wintertime comes along, they get dry, invariably they crack and so there's pain and so then I'll, I'll, I'll deal with that pain. But it's not something that I consciously would think about caring for my feet on a day to day basis.

Garrett (04:09):
Yeah. I think that, you know, one of the differences between women and men is that I think women have grown up kind of understanding the importance of prevention. And you know, it goes into a lot of things that goes into health. It goes into aging, it goes into skincare, it goes into grooming. And I think a lot of men are like you and I, you know, like they start doing something when they first see the problem, right? So they might start noticing wrinkles around their eyes and that's when they start using eye cream. Or like you said, the, you know, your feet, when they start hurting then you start doing something about it. But you know, I think that a lot of self care is not, you know, that's what kind of what I was kind of saying before about how you know, you might already be doing some things but you, but men can oftentimes benefit from reframing how they think about stuff. So like, you know, the, I think one of the big things about self care, especially when it comes to things like, you know, skincare or grooming specifically is, you know, you're not doing it to solve a problem per se. You're doing it for the benefit that you get from the process and less of like, you know, pursuing like an end goal.

Allan (05:28):
Yeah. I kind of equate it, you even said this in the book a little bit. We do, we do these things. We lift weights or we go running. We try to lose a little bit of weight before we get to the summertime. So we look better with a shirt off. We're doing things, we're just not as proactive as women tend to be with some of these things.

Garrett (05:49):
Yeah. And you know, I think that like what, you know, what you said, you had, you said something completely correct, which is like, you know, one of the things that men are already doing oftentimes is exercising. Right. But most men are doing that because, Oh, I want to look good. I want to, you know, have some muscles. I want to look great on the beach this summer. All of that kind of stuff. And that's part of it. Of course, you know, exercise does make you look better. But you know, I think coming up something like exercise from a self care perspective is all about kind of switching your mentality. So it's like I'm exercising because of how it makes me feel. I feel better, I have more energy, I sleep better, I am a little bit happier. All of all of those, you know, reasons are great self care reasons to do things like exercise. And they're, you know, they're real. It's, it's been proven that, you know, when you do exercise, you, you release endorphins, you sleep better you know, all of that kind of stuff. So it's not, it's not necessarily, that's kind of going back to the whole like end goal thing. I mean ideally we would exercise because we want to right, not because we feel like we have to. And I think that's an important shift that we can make from a self care perspective.

Allan (07:17):
Yeah. Now, one of the core reasons I think a lot of people do get into this and you mentioned a little bit was we start to, we start to see our age, particularly on our face but pretty much everywhere. But the face tends to be kind of one of us first things you wake up in the morning and start noticing, you know, wrinkle here, something there. What can men do to look and feel younger?

Garrett (07:38):
I mean, when it comes to your face specifically, I mean I think that when guys start to see wrinkles, that's when they start thinking about anti-aging. But one thing that I've noticed lately is a lot of, you know, men are starting to interact with this younger and younger. And the thing is that it's basically impossible to completely reverse wrinkles just from products. But some of the things that are really beneficial are, you know, wearing sunscreen every single day. That's a huge thing for men of all of every age. I mean, sunscreen is not only the most important anti-aging product we could possibly use, but it also prevents, you know, skin cancer and sun damage. So that's a really important thing. I think every single dermatologist would recommend daily sunscreen, no matter if you're going outside or not. You know, things like vitamin C can be really good because they're antioxidants and they have been shown to really prevent aging, using eye creams are really great.

Garrett (08:48):
A lot of times most men notice the first signs of aging around their eyes. So using eye cream at night, you know, maybe in the morning can really help kind of prevent further for their wrinkles. And you know, honestly just like using a, you know, daily moisturizer, those are really when when your skin is dry, it looks older and it has a harder time kind of rebuilding itself. So I think a lot of men, especially older men, don't necessarily think about wearing something like a moisturizer every day, but they really should.

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Allan (11:47):
Now a lot of the things that we would do for self care, like you had said earlier, we are doing them, we just haven't really put them in the category of self care. And one that was really important, I'm glad you covered in the book is improving our sleep. If someone wanted to go through a practice and start doing some things to improve their sleep, what would you recommend?

Garrett (12:06):
I mean that's the sleep is a really, really important thing and I'm not going to say that I am like the best sleeper. I think we all have issues around sleep. And I do notice, I think you're right. Sleep is a really important thing, not just for from a self care but from a health and wellness perspective. I mean one of the biggest buzzwords right now is sleep hygiene. And I just think that has to do a lot with how you kind of set yourself up for success when it comes to sleep. You kind of think about it as kind of like your, your nighttime routine, just like you would, you know, brush your teeth, wash your face, you would start kind of setting yourself up for success when it comes to sleep. So some of the things mentioned in the book that are kind of blanket things that you can do.

Garrett (12:57):
You can kind of tweak these based on what you kind of find works for you. But some of the classic things are, you know, shutting off your phone about two hours before bedtime. Blue screen light from screens, has been shown to kind of stimulate your brain more. So people that are on their phones or like watching TV right up to bedtime tend to have a harder time falling asleep. Other things like, you know, stopping caffeine earlier in the day. I just read something recently that said up to nine hours before bedtime. I don't know how true that is, but I, you know, I find that if I have caffeine later in the afternoon, I have a really hard time sleeping. So I've been making a conscious effort to do that. You know, one of the biggest things is light.

Garrett (13:49):
I think people underestimate how much light pollution impacts their kind of sleep cycle. I know a lot of people use kind of blackout curtains. They'll do their best to kind of block out all of the natural light. Especially if like you live in a city where it never really gets truly dark. I'm in Brooklyn right now and it's really hard to really find a like truly dark place. But you know, that's a really important thing. And then also keeping your bedroom cool. I mean I know that a lot of people like to kind of be cozy and you know, have a warmer room, but you know when you're sleeping, your body temperature lowers. And so some, you know, studies have shown that if you kind of keep your room cooler, it helps your body cool down and reach those kinds of deeper levels of sleep quicker.

Allan (14:48):
Now, a lot of the things that you talk about in the book far as self care, baths, skincare, you know working with your face and things like that, these are things that we can build into that sleep hygiene or our evening ritual as you will, to kind of get our body ready to go to sleep. So kind of a double hit in some cases with these if you pair them together and can work them right.

Garrett (15:12):
Definitely. I mean, I think there's a few studies out there more from a psychological standpoint that if you kind of cultivate you know, nighttime routine, not just from a sleep hygiene standpoint, but you know, if, you know, for instance, if you brought in, you know, you brush your teeth, you wash your face, you use like a specific, nighttime moisturizer, you might do, you know, put something in like your hair overnight. You kind of start training your mind to know that once you start those steps, you're leading up to sleep. And so one of the things too is if you kind of cultivate this nighttime skincare grooming regimen, it can actually, subconsciously start winding your body down. And also, you know, those things feel good. They really relaxe you. Like putting a lotion on at night that it just, it's just straight up feels good. So it's gonna start chilling you out. It's going to start relaxing you slightly. And then that just kind of primes your brain for great sleep at night.

Allan (16:24):
Now, another area that you went into in the book, and I'm glad you did, is about getting outside and doing things like forest bathing or earthing. Could you spend a little bit of time talking about those?

Garrett (16:35):
Yeah. You know, that's something that I really love too, and it's, it's hard for me to do myself because of where I live. But, you know, there are, you know, forest bathing and boasting and all of those things. There've been kind of buzzy in the wellness world for some, some years now. But there is actual science behind it. I mean, people think that, Oh, it's, you know, it's just getting outside. I, I already do that. I'm always outside when I'm, you know, walking the dog or I'm doing this thing. But it is different because it basically depends, I mean, these Japanese studies about forest bathing are so, are so cool because they basically show that plants and trees produce these things called fights inside, which is basically protective oils that plants use to kind of protect themselves from infection, disease and all that.

Garrett (17:34):
But they actually have a very measurable effect on our immune system and brain. They're kind of emitted in the air. So these molecules, when you're walking around plants and in the forest they were like breathing them. And so one of the comments of forest bathing is kind of going into nature with no intention oftentimes where, you know, we're hiking, we're walking, we're running, we're doing all this stuff, which is great, but we're kind of doing, we're outside with another purpose. So one of the things about forest bathing that I find so cool is that you're going there just to be, right? So you're going out in the forest, or the park or wherever you are, and you're really just spending time there. You're not like trying to get to the next point. You're not trying to reach the top of the mountain. You're not trying to run 15 miles. Like you're just there. Right. And that's really where you've got most of the benefits of, you know, something like forest bathing because you're, you're slowing your body down, you're letting it kind of interact with all of the things around you, like these flights, insides and all that stuff. So you're really getting more benefit from it if you're kind of going there with the intention of actually just, you know, walking or sitting or with just, you know, just to be there in general.

Allan (19:11):
Now could you talk a little bit about earthing, cause that's a slightly different topic. It's similar but it's a little bit different.

Garrett (19:18):
Yeah, I think earthing is cool. I mean it's really, it's hard for me to do in a city setting, right? But I think if anyone has like a backyard or somewhere that they can just take, you know, take their shoes off and walk around with bare feet or just stand with their feet. It's been shown it has kind of like a, you know, how electrical current or circuits need grounding to, you know, for them to work. It has a very similar effect on our bodies because our bodies have, you know, electricity, they have circuits, they have things. We have constant things, you know, running through our, our nerves in our body. And so energetically it will kind of ground everything and it kind of creates this connection to the earth that as modern humans, we don't typically have because were I was wearing shoes where, you know, we may not even wear, you know, we may not even have like a bare feet in our own homes. And so that can be a very kind of important connection to make every so often with, with the, you know, the ground with nature and it's really just, you know, you could go out to your backyard and take, you know, take your shoes off and just stand there. You don't have to, you know, be in this special place that can, it's just a matter of getting that direct skin to earth connection.

Allan (20:49):
Yeah. When I was growing up, one of the things that hit me fairly, fairly early in my adult life was a receding hairline. And by receding, I mean just going away. So I went with it. I just said, okay, if that's the direction we're going, then I'm just going to go with it. And fortunately I look okay. I think I look okay. With a shaved head. I started shaving my head before it was really all that popular. In fact, I don't know that I saw many bald headed men under the age of 60 back when I started shaving my head. But you have a section of book, you kind of get into hair loss and some things we can do if we don't want to go that route or we don't feel like we have the head to have a shaved head. Can you talk about hair loss, and some things we can do to, to keep that from happening?

Garrett (21:35):
Definitely. I mean within grooming men being a men's grooming, hair loss is the number one concern for all men. I mean basically think about it, if you're losing your hair, you're not really sure what's happening. It's really stressful. And so that's why something like hair loss can really benefit from like a, you know, self like targeted self care practice because it can not only help actually reduce the hair loss itself, but it can also like, you know, make it less stressful. So I mean ultimately we know that most male hair loss, which happens to almost two thirds of, of men by the time that they're 35 is, you know, it is genetic. So there's not a whole lot you can do to change your genetics. I mean, listen, that's the golden, the golden rule would be like you didn't have to go with it, right?

Garrett (22:32):
But I think that understanding what's happening on as soon as it starts to happen can really make a huge difference. I mean like, like you said, one of the options certainly to just shave it all off and just go with that, which I really applaud you for doing that. Because that's not easy for lots of, of, of guys to do, right? We're so attached to our hair, we really put lots of stock and how our hair looks and how full it is and all that stuff. So taking that leap is definitely one of the more extreme things that you can do. But other than that, you know, I think the number one thing that I would always say is to always ask someone, you know a professional because they have options that you might not have access to and they're really experienced in understanding what is causing your hair loss.

Garrett (23:31):
I mean, obviously genetics are really, are a huge factor, but there are other things like diet, stress, sleep can even, you know, lack of sleep can even cause it. Lifestyle choices, pollution, there's a whole plethora of things that can contribute to hair loss. I mean, and then they might recommend kind of treatment plan that has various elements to it. One of the classics is obviously Rogaine and Propecia, which are, they've been kind of the most scientifically proven. However, a lot of guys now are really kind of not into those two medicines because they do have lots of possible side effects, one of which is, like lower libido. So a lot of times younger guys don't necessarily want to start on that super early. And then, you know, there's more natural supplements these days. There's one called anyway,anyway.

Allan (24:37):
You talked about biotin in the book.

Garrett (24:39):
Yeah. Oh yeah. So biotin is like a naturally occurring substance that actually makes up part of what hair is made from. So things like biotin has been shown they won't really regrow hair. I mean, it is impossible. Once hair follicles die, it's impossible to bring them back to life, but they're, you know, it will strengthen your existing hair and kind of make it stronger and build up those follicles and you know, hair shocks so that they're slightly stronger. And some people say that they're less likely to fall out if they're, you know, rooted better in that, in that skin. Some other things too, I mean, diet is obviously a huge part of it. I mean, a lot of guys don't want to hear about things like diet and sleep because they want something that will fix it pretty quick and things, you know, changing your diet and your kind of lifestyle habits can take a really long time.

Garrett (25:43):
You know, there are some really cool kind of newer scientific treatments, one of which is PRP. Which stands for platelet rich plasma. That's not something that you can do yourself, but certain providers, certain doctors will be able to do that. And people in the hair loss world are really excited by the results that they're seeing. Basically what it is is they draw blood, they spin it in a machine that will extract the like plasma from your own blood and that's, it's basically like growth factors, right? So then they'll take that plasma and they'll re inject it in to your scalp. And what that does is if you think of your scalp as the garden and you think of your hair as the plants, the PRP is kind of like fertilizer. So it will help kind of stimulate growth in those dormant hair follicles that might not be producing hair at the moment but haven't completely died off yet. And you know the numbers and the studies coming out are really positive so that, you know, that's a more extreme example of something that you could do. But for men that are really concerned with it, it's definitely worth looking into.

Allan (27:13):
Garrett, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fitest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Garrett (27:21):
I think that one of the things that everyone can do is slow down. And whether that means, you know, trying to get a little bit more sleep, trying to start a meditation practice, trying to, you know, change your diet and eat slower and eat healthier, I mean, we're living in this world that really prizes constant momentum and constant work and you know, more, more and more and more. Right? But I think to really kind of attack stress from a self care angle, you need to have at least some time during the day that you slow down. You know, given the current, the last few months here, it's like we're all kind of being forced to do that, which I think is not necessarily a bad thing. And it's about learning how to kind of have some time to yourself and just be without any sort of distraction.

Garrett (28:26):
I think another one would be to talk about your, you know, to think about what you're doing for your physical body. I'm not just talking about internally, but I'm thinking externally too. I think we really, you know, men specifically tend to neglect our bodies in a pretty major way. So I think a lot of those things could be, you know, starting like an exercise practice if you don't have one. It could be changing what you do to exercise and do something that is more focused on self care then losing weight or getting muscle, you know it could be, you know, stretching. It could be yoga, it could be all, you know, anything like that. The other thing too is I'm a big fan of skincare and haircare and all of those things for the sake of it and not, like I said earlier to so you know, to reverse wrinkles or make myself look better. You know, I get a lot of pleasure personally from, you know, doing face masks or taking a bath or going to a spa or things like that. And I think to really think about self care as a, I'm doing this for the benefit of just doing it, right.? So I think starting some sort of skin care routine or starting some sort of like regular hair care regimen could be really beneficial for a lot of guys who don't already have that in their lives.

Allan (30:00):
Yeah, we're you know, we're in probably one of the most stressful toxic worlds I could possibly imagine at this point. And this is just a good time I think for people to really take a step back and look for ways that they can care for themselves better, particularly men. And so the book is very timely, Self Care for Men, because you have a lot of ideas in there. Some of them don't necessarily attach to self-care straight off the bat getting a tattoo or as you said, like taking a bath. But in the end it is, it is all about looking and feeling our best.

Garrett if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book. Where would you like me to send them?

Garrett (30:43):
My Instagram is probably the best way to reach me. My Instagram is just Garrett Munce. And there's links there to my website, which is garrettmunce.com the book is available on Amazon and Barnes and noble and target and a few other retailers across the country. You can find all of that and so on my Instagram.

Allan (31:09):
okay, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/434 and I'll be sure to have links there. So Garrett, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Garrett (31:19):
Thank you so much for having me. This was awesome.



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