What do you get when you combine two of the fitness industrys brightest minds with promotional advice from Tim Ferriss, business insight from Mark Cuban, and a foreword from Arnold Schwarzenegger himself?
The years most important fitness book, complete with workout plans, pop culture references, and more than a few F-bombs.
Released last week, Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha is the passion project of John Romaniello and Adam Bornstein and the first of two books in a seven-figure publishing deal. The book takes on all things man: Tips for boosting energy, workouts for leaner bodies, and advice for better sex for a generation saddled under what Bornstein calls modern societys biggest health issue. 
We have a serious health problem for men, and we dont realize the damage that were doing with our daily behaviors, and a lot of that damage is hormonal. Most men dont realize that when they sleep less than 6 hours a night for two weeks, their testosterone can drop 15%. Lack of sleep is making them hungrier, its worsening their training. Modern life is messing with our hormones.
(Read an exclusive excerpt from Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha on Greatist.com.)
Of course, telling men the problem is one thing; getting them to act is a whole different ballgame. So when it came time to write, the authors faced a dilemma: Should they release a traditional fitness book and receive industry nods, or create a resource with sass that could make serious waves but risk alienating more timid readers? For Bornstein, who penned several Mens Health anthologies during his stint with the magazine, the choice was clear.
We are writing for the vast majority, and we have a serious problem at hand, and if us shooting off a flare into the air is going to get 80 or 90% of people to pay attention as opposed to 10%, then thats worth it. Anywhere where we use profanity, its meant to punctuate a point, not cheapen it.
The books most attention-grabbing bit is its first chapter, The Fitness Industry Is Completely F@cked Up (censorship added). Bornstein says a huge problem with the fitness industry is the fear of being wrong, a worry so pervasive outlets will spread inaccurate information because theyre afraid to go back on what they previously stood by. We have this mentality that we dont want to go back against our word. But health and fitness is so fluid, sometimes we have to say things that contradict something we said five years ago, he says. We have more trouble debunking myths in health and fitness than in any other walk of life.
Thats a big reason Engineering the Alpha doesnt read like a pure checklist of hardcore Dos and Donts. Instead, the narrative guides readers through a personalized heros journey in which a big takeaway is that theres no singular path to health and wellness. The authors tested the books workouts and lifestyle advice on over 300 men from all walks of life, taking into account vast differences in behavior and preferences from one guy to the next.
While writing, Bornstein and Romaniello had narrowed the problems they wanted to address, a step billionaire investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban impressed upon Bornstein during his time with Mens Health. But even before the writing process wound down, the authors faced an altogether different challenge. How were they going to craft a bestseller in a space dominated by E-books and six pack abs in 3 days gimics?
Fortunately, they had friends in high places. Borrowing from friend and advisor Tim Ferriss, the author pair built their release into the must-see event of the season (at least for fitness fanboys). That included giveaways, a Reddit AMA, social media chats, bonuses for bulk buys, and a trailer to rival most independent films for production value (an increasingly common tool for large releases). By creating greater awareness for the health and wellness space in general, the authors were promoting more opportunities for everyone looking to market better solutions to fitness woes, says Bornstein.
And as personalities like Bornstein and Romaniello a self-described Dungeons and Dragons-playing fitness nerd work to make caring about fitness cool, others are taking advantage of that changing mindset. Alex Lewis, co-founder of supplement subscription service JackedPack, says thats a dramatic shift from even a decade ago. People enjoy the weightlifting lifestyle and make more health conscious decisions, but they arent trying to become competitive bodybuilders. This is a huge shift from just 10-15 years ago when anybody who took protein powder would be labeled a meathead.
Ultimately, Bornstein hopes this new world of fitness acceptance also coincides with a shift in terminology. Today, the purely male often comes with a downside. We wanted to take back the meaning of alpha where its no longer about a comparative nature.
For Bornstein, other fitness authors, and countless people in and around the fitness industry, that means a new brand of masculinity where men can champion a mutual cause: becoming the best version of yourself.
Sound off below, follow the author on Twitter @d_tao, and learn more about what Greatist and other outlets are doing to improve the quality of fitness information online.
- ^ Mark Cuban (www.forbes.com)
- ^ Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha (www.amazon.com)
- ^ seven-figure publishing deal (www.fourhourworkweek.com)
- ^ Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha on Greatist.com (greatist.com)
- ^ JackedPack (www.jackedpack.com)
- ^ @d_tao (twitter.com)
- ^ improve the quality of fitness information online (greatist.com)
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