Manfluencers and Masculinity

Being a "real man" is not what you hear on the internet.

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Look good, feel good

  • The eat-sleep relationship

  • Makeup flex

  • Get up, stand up

Arnold’s Podcast

Motivation every day. Want Arnold to help you start your day? Each morning, we post a new podcast with tips you’ll find in the daily email and bonus stories, wisdom, and motivation from Arnold. Listen to Arnold's Pump Club podcast. It's like the daily newsletter but with additional narration and thoughts from Arnold. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Lift Up The World

We sold through nearly half of the shirts we created in just one day! I was amazed when Daniel and Adam shared the news. You — the village — were the first to know about this limited run of shirts. But I’ll share with everyone else today, so take action before they are all gone.

I can’t wait for you to receive your shirts and share them with me on social media. You can check out the three shirts here. I hope you love them all as much as I do.

Three new limited edition shirts.

The Sleep-Diet Relationship

Yesterday, we told you how what you eat affects how you sleep. If you needed another reason to prioritize your sleep, consider this your reminder.

Research repeatedly suggests that poor sleep can make you hungrier, increase cravings, and push you towards the sugar and fat-loaded foods you want to limit.

When the participants reduced their sleep to just 5.5 hours, they consumed an additional 385 calories per day, most of which came from snacks. This increase in calorie intake represents a 55 percent rise compared to their usual intake during normal sleep.

The scientists found that these additional calories mainly came from carbohydrates, particularly at night. When sleep-deprived, the participants consumed more sweet and salty snacks, such as cookies, chips, and candy, indicating a potential link between sleep deprivation and the brain's reward center.

Additional studies have shown that when men don’t sleep enough, it increases the hormone that controls hunger (ghrelin). When women don’t get enough sleep, it reduces a hormone that helps with fullness (GLP-1, the same hormone targeted by Ozempic).

If you want to eat better, then start by improving your sleep. It might be the first domino that helps make your life a little easier and prevents your brain from having intense cravings.

Ketch’s Corner

Last week was my dad’s birthday. I learned most of my early lessons about how to be a man from him, so I thought I’d share a little bit about where my thinking about masculinity comes from.

You hear a lot about the importance of role models in raising strong, positive men, so knowing where I come from might help you understand where I’ll go in this column as it evolves.

My dad works in farming. He drives a truck and wears boots for utility, not for vanity. When I was young, he always changed his own oil, rotated his own tires, and trimmed his own trees. He’s slowly accepted that his time is worth enough that he can pay other people to do things, but he still helps me anytime he visits and something at home needs fixing.

He coached my baseball teams, played catch with me, oversaw our Boy Scout camping trips, taught us to shoot (after making us take a gun safety course), showed me my first exercises, and did everything you’d expect a manly dad to do.

At the same time, because my mom was a teacher and then a principal, and he had a more flexible schedule during the day, he was my “class mom” more than once. Yes, in the ‘90s, it was so rare for a dad to be the one bringing all the kids cupcakes for class birthdays that the title was actually “class mom,” and he didn’t complain about it; he just laughed about it. My mom made a mean manicotti and Basque soup and taught us a million lessons on her own, but when she was busy educating kids or doing back-to-school nights or school concerts, my dad was always ready to cook our dinners. I’ve watched him change all of his grandkids’ diapers like a pro.

So when I see these manfluencer and “trad” (apparently this is the internet way to say traditional) accounts post things about a man should never change a diaper or cook a meal for his family or clean because it’s emasculating, I realize they didn’t have positive male role models like my dad.

I know I’m lucky. I want all men and boys who read this crap to realize that being afraid to change a diaper or cook for your family is the opposite of being masculine.

The most traditional definitions of masculinity involve being a provider and a protector.

You might think providing means you need to be the only or the biggest salary, but that’s a narrow view. If you’re making sure food is on the table, then you’re providing. You might think protecting means puffing up your chest and sitting on your porch to scare people off. This isn’t the Wild West. Expand your definitions. Changing that diaper protects your kid from an infection.

Basically, anybody so soft they’re afraid of baby poop should lecture anybody else on being manly.

I’m lucky my dad showed me the way so that my version of masculinity can be a mix of lifting 500 pounds, walking miles with a heavy ruck on my back, being the cook for my family, changing a lot of diapers, and having pretend tea parties. I learned from him that doing any of these things and more is the opposite of emasculating — because real men do what needs to be done without asking if it is manly.

I’m also lucky because I’ll be totally honest: until we started this newsletter and I read Richard Reeves’ book and dug into these manfluencer circles, I didn’t think about my masculinity at all.

When it comes down to it, that’s what my dad really taught me. Masculinity isn’t some puffed-up, showboating thing you must prove every second of every day. The manliest guys will never tell you how masculine they are.

Real masculinity is confidence. It’s strength. It’s nurturing. It’s positive.

You don’t hear about it as much on the internet because real masculinity is also quiet. But it is out there.

So, for those boys looking for how to be a man, my advice is to beware of the loudest voices. Skip past the talkers and find the doers. They might be closer to home than you think.

Recipe of the Week

When you want dessert, make sure you eat dessert. As Arnold reminds us daily, becoming healthier requires hard work and sacrifice, but it’s important to celebrate and not stress about everything you enjoy. That’s how you create true balance.

If you like having treats more often, there are many ways to create the taste of something you love while improving the nutritional profile. This recipe (from You Can’t Screw This Up) captures the goodness of a chocolate peanut butter cup but does it with a little less sugar and more protein.


Makes 12 servings

Prep time: 30 minutes

Chocolate Shell Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder

  • 2 tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed coconut oil

  • Dash ground cinnamon

  • Pinch of salt

Peanut Butter Filling Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter powder

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk

  • 1/3 cup all-natural creamy peanut butter

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 scoop whey or plant protein powder of your choice (chocolate flavor works best)


1. Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin liners.

2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate-shell ingredients. Microwave for one minute. Stir until the chocolate chips are fully melted, and the mixture is smooth.

3. Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon of the melted chocolate mixture into each muffin cup, just enough to cover the bottom with a thin layer. After filling the cups, carefully tip the pan so the chocolate spreads halfway up the sides of each cup.

4. Freeze the cups for 10 to 15 minutes until the chocolate hardens.

5. In another medium bowl, combine the peanut butter powder and 1 tablespoon of almond milk. The peanut butter powder will thicken into a creamy peanut butter consistency. Mix in the natural peanut butter (you may need to microwave the mixture for 30 seconds to soften it for stirring). Add the honey and vanilla and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the protein powder and the remaining one tablespoon of almond milk. Stir to a smooth consistency.

6. Remove the muffin pan from the freezer. Add a 2-teaspoon dollop of the peanut butter mixture to each muffin cup. Smooth it out, but leave a little chocolate border around the edges.

7. Pour another 1/2 tablespoon of melted chocolate (microwave to soften, if needed) into each cup, fully encasing the peanut butter mixture.

8. Freeze for about 15 minutes until the chocolate shell fully hardens. Store in the freezer until ready to eat. Warning: The chocolate melts easily and can get a little messy. Worst-case scenario, you can lick the chocolate off your fingers.

Give it a try and enjoy!

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell