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How to Build a Stronger Core

Inside the World of Trail-Running Shady Supplements Essentials

MARCH 2017 Vol. 26, No. 2






Breitling reinvents the connected watch firmly geared towards performance. Every inch an instrument of the future, the Exospace B55 multifunction electronic chronograph pushes the boundaries of comfort, ergonomics and efficiency. The titanium case of this compendium of innovations houses an exclusive SuperQuartzTM caliber chronometer-certified by the COSC and featuring a range of original functions tailor-made for pilots and men of action. Welcome to the world of precision, feats and high-tech sophistication. Welcome to the vanguard of instruments for professionals.


In Dubai

THE THRILLS don’t end at the city limits

DON’T JUST VISIT, LIVE IT. From dune bashing to skydiving over The Palm Islands, every kind of adventure awaits you in Dubai. Book your flight today at

Hello Tomorrow




REAL STRENGTH BEGINS WITH THE CORE Stay in shape for life: Our annual fitness special shows you how. page 37

Find It First We all crave the next perfect beach. Here, 15 unspoiled spots — from Greece and Nicaragua to the Arabian Peninsula — that won’t be a secret for long. page 48

Jacked Inside the shadowy and illicit world of musclebuilding supplements, and the gym-rat chemists who are making a killing. BY GORDY MEGROZ page 56

Trigger Man No one trains more cops than self-described “killologist” Dave Grossman. But is he sending the right message to America’s police? BY JOSH EELLS page 62

p h o t o g r a p h by K A R A N K A P O O R

MARCH 2017




28 Great flasks and cocktails to fill them

26 The Giulia Quadrifoglio, a true stallion

Notebook 16 Travel & Adventure An inside look at one of the wildest motocross races in the world. 18 Record Book What it took to break America’s coast-to-coast running record. 24 Style Socks that make a statement.


30 Dispatch Is Bureau of Land Management director the toughest job in government?

How filmmakers pulled off the incredible shots in Planet Earth II

Health & Fitness 45 Grooming The newest trend in skin care: cleaning your face and body with charcoal. 46 Health News How to treat an ankle sprain, the upshot of heart disease, and more updates.

Gear Lab 68 Trail Running Everything you need to take your run off-road. 70 Batteries Stay juiced wherever you roam. 71 Backpacks Five bags that carry it all. 72 Cameras The essentials for an epic action video. 74 Cycling Bike tools to fix it yourself. 75 Performance Apparel The vest, spring’s perfect layer. CLOCK WISE FROM TOP LEFT: NICOLE FR ANZEN; COURTESY OF ALFA ROMEO; ELIZABETH WHITE; COURTESY OF MTNLOGIC

76 Home Appliances Healthy fried food? Air fryers almost make it possible.

The Last Word 78 Carlos Ghosn The CEO of Nissan and Renault on competing with Tesla, the key to living like a Brazilian, and the most prized car in his garage.

20 Putting new mountain gear to the test

ON THE COVER: Le Guanahani, St. Bart’s. Photographed by Noe Dewitt. Le Guanahani is a French-Caribbean resort on an 18-acre private peninsula.



MARCH 2017



Jason Fine EDITOR


David Schlow Jennifer Santana Larry Kanter Greg Emmanuel Ryan Krogh Marissa Stephenson EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Shawn McCreesh

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Dr. Bob Arnot, Mark Binelli, Tom Brokaw, David Browne, Kitt Doucette, Daniel Duane, Josh Eells, Kevin Gray, Laird Hamilton, Erik Hedegaard, Joseph Hooper, Walter Kirn, Dr. Robert Mordkin, Seamus Mullen, Stephen Rodrick, Paul Solotaroff, Matt Taibbi, Jesse Will, Sean Woods CO PY & R E S E A R C H



Justin Long David Carr Sandford Griffin Mark Hewko






Rugged Watch Review

Tyghe Trimble Mike Conklin Max Plenke John Lonsdale Nicholas Hegel McClelland Adam Milt


Jay Gallagher Tudor’s Pelagos LHD diver’s watch is the kind Jacques Cousteau would have worn, were he left-handed. New luminescent markings, waterproofing that goes to 1,640 feet, and a helium escape valve for saturation dives cap the new release.


Robert Weinstein Adam Bracco Danika Parente Whitney Man Timothy J. Murray

1290 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS, NEW YORK, NY 10104 212-484-1616

SOUTHEAST Gary D. Dennis


MIDWEST Lindsay Clark



What We’re Testing

5700 WILSHIRE BOULEVARD, SUITE 345, LOS ANGELES, CA 90036 323-930-3336

TEXAS Adam Knippa

Specialized S-Works Fatboy ($7,000)

BEER, IN SPIRIT Shoulder seasons demand a drink that bends beyond the winter, spring, or summer staples — like the Tom Mix Wash, a tasty beer cocktail from Brooklyn’s Quarter Bar.

DETROIT & PACIFIC NORTHWEST Lori Friesner 248-743-1022 CALIFORNIA & UTAH Tiffany Keele Grana

LEWIS STAFFORD CO., 5000 QUORUM DRIVE, SUITE 545, DALLAS, TX 75254 972-960-2889


The S-Works is both fat and, at 23 pounds, light, so it’s an equally solid choice in mud or gravel and even on a city commute, making short work of a snow day.

Antoinette Enriquez Kerry Ryan A N A LY T I C S & R E S E A R C H Katie O’Mealia (DIR.) Caryn Nash (ASSOC. DIR.) PUBLICITY

Kathryn Brenner

• 1 oz rye whiskey (like Old Overholt) • 1 oz spicy ginger beer • 8 oz pilsner beer (we suggest Victory’s crisp Prima Pils) Stir whiskey and ginger beer over ice; strain and top with pilsner beer. Garnish with mint leaves.




Linda Greenblatt, Elyse Kossin (DIRS.), Amy Fisher

Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy snapped one epic selfie on his first trip to the International Space Station (right). He’s one of three people joining the ISS crew in May, when he plans to spacewalk one more time.



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MARCH 2017

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Jann S. Wenner VICE PRESIDENTS Victoria Lasdon Rose,

Timothy Walsh, Jane Wenner


333 NORTH MICHIGAN AVENUE, SUITE 1105, CHICAGO, IL 60601 312-782-2366


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Letters “You never know what the Simpson Desert will throw at you. We’ve seen flood, fire, sandstorms, and everything in between. But it’s a beautiful place that you can’t fully appreciate from an air-conditioned 4WD.” IS FOOTBALL FOR KIDS? In sports, as in life, risk is inevitable no matter what you’re doing. But after reading “Game Over?” [by Daniel Duane], I have to wonder why more parents aren’t choosing an alternative to football, where devastating neurological injuries, like what happened to young Brogan in this story, are far too common. When even pros like Brett Favre and Troy Aikman are hesitant to sign up their own kids for fear of head trauma, you’ve got to ask yourself if the risk is worth it. ANDERS GEIPEL NEW YORK CITY

While I understand DeAndre Levy’s views on the health impact of playing football, I’m a little taken aback and sad to see him state that he wouldn’t let his own children do it [“The Most Interesting Man in the NFL,” by Mike Rubin]. As

someone who was involved in youth football for more than 25 years, both playing and coaching, I’ve learned so much from the game — teamwork, respect, and discipline. If it wasn’t for football, Levy may not have had the opportunities he’s been given. Does he think that the wing walking and skinny-dipping he does in the Amazon aren’t things that pose possible health risks?

Challenging addicts mentally and physically with new adventures helps wean their minds off drug-related thoughts and habits. Once someone is inspired to do something great, there is no turning back. I think Burke’s story proves that.





ATHLETES KICK OPIOIDS Ryan Burke’s passion for assisting people who struggle with addiction, along with the unorthodox method he uses, is nextlevel [“A Climber’s Cure for Addiction,” by Gordy Megroz]. By summiting the Tetons’ 50 highest peaks in just seven days, he shows how beneficial channeling pent-up energy into a healthy activity can be.

THE OUTBACK, ON FOOT I’ve been going to the Simpson Desert for over 30 years, and I could draw many similarities between my bike rides and the crossing of Mark and Sebastian [“Across a Thousand Dunes,” by Sebastian Copeland], right down to the shining beacon that is the Birdsville Hotel. You never know what the desert will throw at you; we’ve seen flood, fire, drought, headwinds, sandstorms, and everything in between. Those guys were nuts for dragging that much water by cart, but what an adventure.

It’s a beautiful place that you can’t fully appreciate from an air-conditioned 4WD. BRONWYN STEPHENS PRESIDENT, SIMPSON DESERT BIKE CHALLENGE

BEST SUPPORTING ROLE After reading Elizabeth Weil’s article [“Is Bill Our New Model Husband?”], I must admit I feel sorry for couples who are still having these issues in 2016. I’ve been married to my wife for 38 years, and we started child-rearing on an equal footing, so I can’t understand men who seem to be clueless when it comes to raising kids. Really? Still? When my kids were young, I had peers who were proud of the fact that they’d never changed a diaper. They seem to be the type of husband this article was about. I guess not much has changed in the last 38 years. ERNIE VAUPEL VIA THE INTERNET

CONTACT US TWITTER @mensjournal FACEBOOK MensJournal INSTAGRAM @mensjournal EMAIL SEND LETTERS to MEN’S JOURNAL, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104



MARCH 2017

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p h o t o g r a p h by JA R N O S C H U R G E R S

Dutch Sandstorm FOR JUST ONE DAY each

November, the sweeping shores of the Hague, in the Netherlands, transform into the world’s wildest racetrack, with tabletop jumps, a minefield of ditches, and a thousand pro and amateur motocross riders vying for a shot at glory. All at the same time. “The feeling of that many riders all getting ready to start is crazy: You get goose bumps watching it. And then the gates go down,” says Jarno Schurgers, a local photographer who snapped this photo from the relative safety of a dune near the starting line as the bikes came screaming down the beach. The Red Bull Knock Out, as it’s called, is as much an endurance race as it is a demolition derby, pitting competitors against one another in a series of three 90-minute heats. The final heat is for the top 750 riders. “People get their bikes completely dug into sand pits as riders jump over them nearly two at a time,” says Schurgers. Many thousands of people look down on the pandemonium from the iconic Scheveningen Pier, as the three-mile track loops several times down the beach, with race leaders hitting speeds of up to 90 miles per hour on the sandy straightaway. For those at the back of the pack, it’s total chaos. “The whole field is completely filled, it’s such an immense mass of riders,” says Schurgers. “It’s mayhem.” — S H AW N M c C R E E S H

MARCH 2017




FINISH New York START San Francisco



Sep. 23 Mile 775



Oct. 20–21 Mile 2,774


Sep. 12, 2016 Mile 1

Oct. 24 Mile 3,067

Oct. 11 Mile 2,187


Coast to Coast in 42 Days

ran across the U.S. in 46 days. Since then, dozens have tried and failed to beat that record — three attempts in 2016 alone. Then came 29-year-old Nebraskan Pete Kostelnick, who decided to take a data-fueled approach. Using Google Maps, he devised the shortest route that would avoid most high mountain passes. Once on the road, he and his crew carried GPS trackers to make sure they were on the correct route. His sister even drove ahead to scope out potential hazards. “We had our routine down in the second week,” says Kostelnick. “A lot of people are less consistent when they do runs and not as scientific as we were.” Here’s how he topped a record that once seemed unbeatable.


How a 29-year-old financial analyst broke one of America’s oldest running records. by DAV I D B R OW N E

2 | SNOWFALL Kostelnick had a strict regimen: wake up at 3 AM, eat breakfast, run 40 miles, take a lunch break, then run another 30 to 35 miles. He ended around 5:30 PM to get a full night’s sleep. But delays were inevitable, including a storm in Utah that forced him to walk for miles in up to four inches of powder.

3 | ROAD RAGING One constant danger was narrow or nonexistent road shoulders. “You’re basically swimming with sharks,” he says. “Thousands and thousands of cars were driving by, and it would take only one person to be distracted. Sometimes there was nowhere to run but into a ditch.”



MARCH 2017

4 | RUNNING IN THE RAIN Three vehicles followed Kostelnick, including the RV in which he slept and got nightly massages. But the car roof over his head couldn’t stop him from being pelted with two days of precipitation while running across Pennsylvania. “Constant heavy rain,” he says. “That was the worst.”

A QUIVER OF SHOES Eight pairs of Hoka Clifton running shoes (and the same number of socks), which Kostelnick alternated throughout. “Most were straight out of the box, and I’d break them in and rotate them, especially on a rainy day. Also I wanted to make sure I wasn’t getting any overuse injuries by wearing the same pair.”

5 | NEW YORK By day 43, Kostelnick had suffered through a swollen knee, aching hips, hamstring issues, and tendinitis (which flared up in Yosemite, forcing him to stop for a day). But his reception in New York made up for it. “We were running through Times Square, and people were cheering me on,” he says.


1 | PREP AND LAUNCH Kostelnick trained by running 30 miles every day for three months. Upon setting out, he immediately realized he hadn’t counted on one thing: Bay Area congestion, which held up his support crew and created a series of dicey situations. “I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere the first day,” he says.

A RECORD DIET Breakfast was instant oatmeal, toast, and a banana, often followed by a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich — no coffee but lots of V8 and the occasional Diet Coke. During his runs, Kostelnick threw back trail mix and Gatorade. In his RV at night, his team prepared homemade meals, especially red meat to stave off anemia. He consumed 10,000 to 14,000 calories daily.

You use 650 muscles to keep moving. But who’s counting?

MORE VITAMIN D3 THAN ANY OTHER GUMMY † With daily support for your muscles,4 plus a full spectrum of RWKHUEHQHnjWV z4



These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

B-Vitamins help support heart health, brain health, energy and metabolism. Vitamins A, C, E and zinc help support normal immune function and healthy eyes. Calcium and vitamin D help support bone health. Vitamins D and B6 support muscle function.4 Adequate calcium and vitamin D are necessary for bone health. Centrum MultiGummies [Men/Adult] do not contain calcium. Take with a calcium-rich diet. †Among leading gummy multivitamins. ©2016 Pfizer Inc. •


Peter Whittaker, here on Mount Rainier, and his guides have logged more than a million vertical feet to test his new line of gear, including the jacket below.

A Mountaineer’s Gear Gamble How the scion of the first family of American climbing is risking it all on a line of guide-designed apparel. by T I M N E V I L L E


T ’ S S H O R T LY B E F O R E midnight, at

“Are you stoked?” Whittaker booms. “I’m stoked! Let’s finish this thing off in style!” The 58-year-old has every reason to be amped. This is the first time he’s had both of his children clipped into the same rope with him. Kristian, 19, is a freshman at the University of Colorado Boulder and has never climbed Rainier. Whittaker’s 18-year-old daughter, Gabriella, has been up the mountain twice, as well as up Kilimanjaro once. “Hope you’re OK with being on the Whittaker rope,” Whittaker says to me. I am, of course, and I clip in, falling in line behind America’s first family of mountaineering as we spool off into the night. Whittaker’s stoke also hinges on the fact that this climb puts him one step closer to the launch of his outdoor-apparel company, MtnLogic Global, which he believes will produce a level of designed-in-the-field expertise not seen in years. Tonight’s climb is one of



MARCH 2017

the last of hundreds of ascents that Whittaker and his 60-odd guides have made to test and tweak the prototypes for the line of climbing jackets, pants, and shirts — a staggering 1.2 million vertical feet of evaluating. They filled out hundreds of surveys and created massive spreadsheets to track data. No decision, from a simple seam placement to a cuff length, was even considered before the garment had gone through at least 100,000 vertical feet of testing. “We are doing 10 times the testing that any other company is doing,” says Whittaker.


around 10,000 feet on Mount Rainier, when a shooting star rips across the sky so close you can almost hear it sizzle. Groggy climbers are fidgeting with headlamps and harnesses on the edge of Cowlitz Glacier. Above us, 4,000 vertical feet of steep, icy terrain separates the huts at this way station, Camp Muir, from the 14,411-foot summit of Washington’s highest peak — and Peter Whittaker, co-owner of the guiding service Rainier Mountaineering Inc. (RMI), knows every inch of them. The son of mountaineer Lou Whittaker, who formed RMI in 1969 (and nephew of Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Mount Everest, in 1963), Peter Whittaker has been climbing this peak since his father dragged him up it in a frigid whiteout when he was 12. He’s been guiding it since he was 16. Tonight will mark his 249th ascent.

I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with “S.” Who knows what you’ll see in the backup camera1 of your new 2017 Corolla, but that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? That’s why it comes standard, along with Toyota Safety Sense™ P.2 Because, even though you might see almost anything, one thing we think you should definitely see is safety. How many things can you spy that start with the letter “S”?

Toyota Safety Sense™ Standard

RMI guides assessing snowpack, and their gear, slopeside. Below left: sketches for a new jacket. Below: Whittaker.

cuts were clean and lean w it h arms and waists tailored to a reaching body. Hoods fit hats and helmets equally well. The line they created won 14 industry awards, and in four years it was raking in $45 million in annual sales. While nothing went to market without his approval, Whittaker says the process left him wanting to make something free from cost concerns — a guide’s dream getup. “It’s really easy to make a $3,000 jacket,” says Scott Trepanier, director of public relations at Columbia Sportswear, “but what’s really hard is making a $500 jacket that competes with that $3,000 jacket.” MtnLogic is essentially Whittaker’s First Ascent 2.0, but this time he can do whatever he pleases, prices be damned. Polartec is footing the bill for a year’s worth of design help, but Whittaker is using his own money to make the products, so the company’s success (or failure) rides entirely on his shoulders. For the past few months, Whittaker and his guides have sometimes actually lived in their prototypes while working. One guide, Jess Matthews, spent 250 hours straight on Denali, wearing a sun hoodie made of Power Dry, a synthetic weave. “I didn’t stink! Or, rather, the shirt didn’t stink,” she says. Other guides overwhelmingly preferred Power Wool, a blend of merino and synthetic fibers, for its ability to keep them cool, so that’s what Whittaker will



MARCH 2017

use, even though it’s 40 to 60 times more expensive. What g uides liked and didn’t like was rarely unanimous, but they did “align,” as Whittaker says. As a result, jackets will have none of those wind flaps. To reduce bulk, pockets and seams on outer layers won’t st ack atop pocket s and seams on inner layers. If a zipper couldn’t be zipped in three seconds or less, Whittaker redesigned it. And snaps: “They have no business being on anything you plan to take above tree line, because they’re impossible to use with gloves,” he says. What is less certain than the quality is whether consumers will be willing to shell out a premium for the clothing. Nothing in the 19-item line is cheap. T-shirts with Power Wool start at $80. Jackets with NeoShell, a breathable windproof fabric, will go for $500. For now at least, Whittaker’s plan is to keep things small and rely on his in–house distribution channel: More than 3,000 people climb with RMI every year, and 70 percent of them have never been in crampons. Whittaker intends to stock his clothing-rental program with MtnLogic, and his clients will see his guides wearing the same stuff. “If you’re going to trust us with your lives, you’re probably going to trust us when it comes to gear,” he says. “We can’t take away the suffering, but we can reduce it.” As for the Whittaker clan and I, we make the summit after five hours of what proves to be the least amount of suffering I’ve ever had on this mountain. We take pictures. We hug. Kristian does just fine. In a few months, Gabriella will request to climb it all over again. But we can’t linger, not with 9,000 feet back to the car, so we rope up and head down. The sun is out, and the views of the toothy valleys and plains below are even more spectacular in the searing light, but it’s the joy of exertion in an extremely beautiful place that makes us glow. And that feeling, of course, is what the best gear is for. Q


“Our decisions, the process, have to come 100 percent from being in the mountains.” For Whittaker, MtnLogic — whose products are made almost entirely from Polartec fabrics — is a way to finally resolve all the niggling apparel problems he’s encountered over a lifetime of mountaineering. Whittaker can cite countless examples of clients shivering at 13,000 feet because the zippers on their puffy jackets snagged on bulky materials. He’s tired of poorly placed seams. Sleeves that are too tight to pull over his altimeter watch ma ke him seethe. “Why have we b e en put t i ng up with this shit?” he says. “We’re like pilots, constantly monitoring our elevation and time, and you can’t even get to your watch? How is this happening?” Whittaker is an ox on t he mountain, but he keeps the pace mellow as we push our way up Disappointment Cleaver, a fin of rock not far from where he watched an ice wall collapse and crush 10 of his clients (plus one guide) to death in 1981. He and two other guides had unclipped from the rope to assess avalanche conditions above. As they scouted, the glacier fractured, releasing thousands of pounds of ice and entombing their crew. It remains the worst mountaineering accident in American history. “The bodies are still there, but they’ll all melt out in my lifetime,” Whittaker says. “When they do, they’ll find a rope with a knot in it that was meant for me.” In 1984, at 25, he had a shot at becoming the youngest American to climb Everest, but his father, now 88, took him off the summit team: Two years earlier, a friend and mentor of Peter’s, Marty Hoey, had fallen 6,000 feet to her death on the same peak, and it spooked Lou. “I was pissed he took me off the team at the time,” Whittaker says. “Today I understand. I’m a father now, too.” Despite never having been to college, Whittaker has a keen business sense. When Eddie Bauer wanted to return to more-hardcore apparel in 2008, the company partnered with Whittaker to help launch its mountaineering line, First Ascent. He assembled a team of some of the best climbers on the planet, including Everest legends Dave Hahn and Melissa Arnot, to design and test the gear. The







Sock and Awe when striped socks were considered bold, even frivolous. But as pant cuffs get higher and higher, upstart companies — even some online-only brands — are responding with a kaleidoscope of sharp looks. The fresh takes go beyond just color: Performance fabrics and fit-conscious construction mean they’re more comfortable and sweat-wicking, too.



4 1



Pair of Thieves

Richer Poorer

Nice Laundry

PoT’s do-it-all socks work with Air Jordans or Bruno Maglis. Fashion-forward looks meet a moisturewicking fabric mixed with comfy cotton.

This SoCal brand features a more laid-back aesthetic and lots of varieties. A lightweight wool blend is our choice for thick-soled ankle boots.

Ready for a sock-drawer makeover? Mix and match a custom box from over 100 designs — and then send your ratty tubes back to be recycled.



MARCH 2017





This official NBA sock company has collabs with everyone from Dwyane Wade to Mickey Mouse, but it also has some real high-quality socks made with Japanese silk.

With colorful but elegant designs in organic cotton, Zkanos are produced in Fort Payne, Alabama, by Gina Locklear, who reinvigorated her family’s factory.

p h o t o g r a p h by S H A N A N OVA K


That space between your cuff and shoe is the new fashion plate. by J A S O N C H E N


The Italian Hero

Italian Soul Alfa Romeo’s parent company is auto giant Fiat Chrysler, so you might expect a modest project like the Giulia to borrow a powerplant from one of its other brands. But mille grazie to the suits in Turin for letting Alfa develop its own. The top-tier Quadrifoglio model ($72,000) packs an all-aluminum, 505-horsepower, 2.9-liter bi-turbo V6. The lower-specced Ti model ($39,995) gets a two-liter turbo-four that yields 280 horsepower. Both have an eight-speed automatic that could make you forgive them for not offering a manual.

Bored with Beemers? Got Mercedes malaise? The antidote to Euro-sedan ennui is the stunningly fast and uncommonly lively Giulia Quadrifoglio, the first Alfa Romeo sedan sold in the U.S. in 20 years. by J E S S E W I L L

Quick Reactions Perhaps the most energizing, responsive four-door on the road. In comparison with its German competition, the Giulia feels more reactive and direct, the result of its race-carlike steering ratio (11.8:1). Even micromovements at the wheel alter the car’s course. Also invigorating? Its rigid chassis and torque-vectoring rear differential both seem to shrink the car around you, making handling extremely predictable and responsive. As a result, you feel comfortable taking the next turn a bit more quickly.

High-Tech Backbone The Giulia features plenty of smarts. Its multi-material body, designed by Ferrari engineers, includes weight-saving carbon fiber in the hood, splitter, spoiler, and driveshaft. An aero front splitter on the Quadrifoglio moves up and down to improve stability at high speeds. And despite the Giulia’s tack-sharp focus on driving at the limit, there are accommodations for the real-world commute: The top-tier model can run on three cylinders to save fuel, and an optional dynamic cruise control can slow the car to a stop in traffic.

FASHIONABLY FAST You don’t have to go full Batmobile, but on the inside, the Giulia Quadrifoglio features as much carbon fiber as you’d want to option for — and it makes for a sharp cockpit. Get the Sparco racing seats (left) to save weight and keep you and your shotgun passenger’s butt planted. More important, their sculpted shells look hot, and because the rear seats don’t offer much legroom, your friends will need something to look at for distraction. Another interior highlight: the meaty, Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel (and its massive red ignition button) and a triumvirate of digital panels beyond, including a seven-inch color display. The Giulia’s old-school leanings end at the dash, apparently. Its particular brand of exuberance isn’t reserved for what’s under the hood: The car’s sheet metal features plenty of flair, too. Up front, the pronounced triangular grille (Alfa calls it the “Trilobo”) punctuates the long hood like a bright scarf paired with a well-tailored Milanese suit.



MARCH 2017


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Pocket Cocktails There are few accessories as sly and sociable as a smart flask. But who says you have to fill it with straight whiskey. by S T. J O H N F R I Z E L L O T M A N Y O B J E C T S generate immediate goodwill the way a f lask does. It’s sort of a handshake in liquid form, one that’s both neighborly and conspiratorial. Pull a hip f lask out of your pocket and offer it to someone — a friend, an enemy, a complete stranger — and together you’re breaking a taboo against drinking in public. Perhaps that’s the beauty of a particularly fetching flask: In addition to its being a refined accoutrement for a fishing trip, a backcountry ski tour, or even a concert, it’s also a thoughtful offering that creates an unspoken bond. It’s a boozy pact to have a little fun together. And sure, you can fill your flask with some mellow single-malt scotch or a small-batch bourbon. But spirit-forward cocktails are a far more heartwarming, novel offering. The key is to make them simple: Use no more than three ingredients, and stay away from anything with


citrus juice, which can damage a flask’s lining. Just premix and funnel in. These two f lask-fillers pack a punch, just like a good conspiracy should. Q

Wentworth 6 oz $45; wentworth

Ferrari 4 oz Fernet-Branca (or other amaro) 4 oz Campari This started out as a mixologist’s shot, a liquid tête-à-tête between two of the spirit world’s strongest personalities. The cocktail is a little fussy for a flask, but it’s bracing and finishes gracefully — just the way a shot should.

Smathers & Branson $65; smathersand

Diamondback 3 oz rye whiskey 1½ oz Laird’s bonded apple brandy (or applejack) 1½ oz yellow Chartreuse 2 oz water

Filson $80; filson .com

Stanley $20;

UncommonGoods $40; uncommon

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MARCH 2017

p h o t o g r a p h by N I C O L E F R A N Z E N


A jewel of a cocktail that dates from a midcentury Baltimore hotel bar. It’s named for Maryland’s diamondback terrapin, but it bites like a snake.



Kornze, left, at Nevada’s Red Rocks, was tested repeatedly by the Bundy crew, above, after their showdown at the family’s ranch in Gold Butte.

Public Lands Czar The Bureau of Land Management is an afterthought for most Americans. But few people have had more sway over how we play outside than its outgoing director, Neil Kornze. by A B E S T R E E P


cattle, and Bundy’s camo-clad supporters were growing increasingly antagonistic. Kornze, then 35, the eloquent son of a gold miner, received a startling phone call from one of his agents in the field. The deputy said, essentially, We’re surrounded. Bundy’s crew confronted BLM workers at a corral holding the cattle, and from a highway overpass, men aimed rifles at the agents. Kornze conferred with his boss, Interior Secretary Sally Jewel, and told his deputy to do whatever necessary to avoid bloodshed. The agents walked away, and Bundys’ supporters released the cattle. “We sent them packing,” Bundy’s son Ammon



MARCH 2017

p h o t o g r a p h by T O M F OW L K S


A L K A B O U T A TO U G H first week on the job. In 2014, just hours after Neil Kornze was sworn in as the youngest director in the history of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the federal agency that manages one-tenth of the nation’s surface area, he found himself facing a volatile standoff in his home state of Nevada. Militia members in support of rancher Cliven Bundy were threatening BLM agents tasked with rounding up and removing Bundy’s cattle from public land, where the government contended they were illegally grazing. The agents had conf iscated hundreds of

gloated soon afterward. He added, “The war has just begun.” Less than two years later, Ammon and his brother Ryan would lead the armed takeover of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, escalating an ongoing battle over the fate of America’s public lands — one that’s primed to take center stage under the incoming Trump administration. Now on his way out of office (he resigned at the end of Obama’s presidency), Kornze would still rather not talk about the most contentious event of his three-year tenure. In November 2016, after hiking with him at Colorado’s Browns Canyon National Monument — one of nine protected areas created on BLM-managed land during his directorship, I brought up the Bundys. Kornze, now 38, paused behind the driver’s seat of a rental car. His normally restrained cadence tightened even further as he spoke about lessons learned: The BLM needs to tell “our own story” before others portray the agency’s work as federal overreach. That way, he says, “when we have difficult moments, it’s not the first time or the only time the public hears about their public lands.” He seems frustrated to be reminded of the standoff, which is natural. For three years the guy ushered in a significant shift on 245 million acres of public land, an area that is larger than Germany and includes Utah’s Grand Staircase Escalante Monument, Washington’s San Juan Islands, and Browns Canyon, a rafting and hiking paradise just outside the adventure hub of Salida, Colorado. Few people have wielded as much power over the way Americans recreate and consume energy as Kornze has, and directing the BLM is exciting as far as government work goes. (Kornze once ate reindeer with a Siberian Yupik tribe in the Bering Sea.) But the job is also somewhat akin to presiding over an endless divorce case. The BLM serves ranchers and oilmen, environmentalists and raft guides, loggers and coal miners:

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President Barack Obama created nine BLM-managed national monuments during Kornze’s tenure.

ulation in terms of waste prevention, noting that enough methane is squandered to power “two Denvers.” And to the delight of the $600 billion outdoor-recreation industry, Kornze is the f irst BLM director to acknowledge what mountain bikers, climbers, hunters, and anglers have long known: Many of the nation’s greatest playgrounds exist on BLMand Forest Service–managed lands. In 2013, the BLM turned a largely forgotten parcel of land on Oregon’s Mount Hood into a worldclass mountain-bike destination that receives 100,000 visitors a year. While riding there,

Kornze recalls, “I almost ended up rearranging my face.” More significantly, he oversaw a monumental 10-state effort to create a conservation plan for the greater western sage grouse, thereby preventing an endangered species listing that could have hindered economic development in the West. “He was able to bridge some seemingly unbridgeable gaps between Congress and the Obama administration,” says former BLM director Pat Shea. To steer through that gridlock was a feat; those familiar with Kornze, a Democrat who previously served as an adviser to former

See deer, elk, moose, bear, porcupine, and yeti as you drive into your adventure.



MARCH 2017

p h o t o g r a p h by N A M E H E R E


a diverse constituency that doesn’t often agree about the direction of America’s vast public estate. Ask public-land advocates about his record, and you’ll hear a version of the same refrain: Kornze drastically improved an agency that has been derogatorily called the “Bureau of Livestock and Mining.” According to Nada Culver, the director of the BLM action center at the Wilderness Society, Kornze has led “the transformation of what the agency stands for. It’s no longer just there to approve permits to drill. It’s also there to protect wilderness and be a primo recreation destination across the West.” In just three years, Kornze led an ambitious effort to create a renewable-energy program, facilitating the nation’s largest solar project (in California) and wind farm (in Wyoming). At the same time, he vastly expanded oil and gas production. “We have more than two years of drilling permits that are approved and ready to go,” he says. Yet the BLM also passed a landmark regulation requiring all oil and gas operators to capture the methane (a greenhouse gas some 25 times more damaging than carbon dioxide) normally lost to venting and f laring. Methane is also a large component of natural gas, used across the country for home heating, and Kornze is careful to speak about the reg-

Senate minority leader Harry Reid, cite his centrist political skills. To him, the oil- and gas-industry groups that regularly blast and sue the BLM are just “folks” who are “having their voices heard.” That Kornze grew up in a family beholden to western extractive industries in the gold-mining boomtown

is a critical one, no less than a proxy fight for the fate of America’s public lands, given that the younger Bundys were shockingly acquitted for their role in the Malheur takeover. In recent years, a group of Republican lawmakers has led a call to “take back” America’s vast public estate and transfer it to the states — an eventuality that would likely lead to massive sell-offs. The Bundys represent the most fringe element of the take-it-back movement, but the issue has recently gained a remarkable level of mainstream acceptance. Suffice it to say, this is not an eventuality Kornze would welcome, but he doesn’t think privatization is a clear and present danger. “I spend a lot of time in the West and a lot of time with community leaders, and I just don’t hear that rhetoric on a personal level,” he says. Still, he acknowledges that all the messages can have an effect. “If the airwaves are filled with discourse about privatizing, that should raise real questions for folks who love public lands,” he says. “One of the terms I cringe at is when people say ‘Forest Service land’ or ‘BLM land.’ We’re not the owners. We’re the managers. The American citizens are all public-land owners. I only wish that more Americans had the opportunity to get out and see and experience and be awed by what they own.” Q



Kornze, here in Moab, is an avid mountain biker.

of Elko, Nevada, also helped. He spent his youth hunting sage grouse and riding ATVs and mountain bikes in Nevada’s high desert. “I could get to the edge of town in five minutes,” he says, “and have the entire world to explore.” That world was public land. No one knows the Trump administration’s plans for those lands, but there’s reason for concern, especially when it comes to the BLM’s recent work on renewable energy. Trump’s prospective interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, has said that climate change is “not a hoax, but it’s not proven science, either,” and is bullish on fossil-fuel development. Kornze’s cherished methane rule will likely be targeted by oil-friendly Republican lawmakers. Still, Kornze is circumspect about the new regime. At one point, over pizza, he says, “I’m not excited to comment on the next administration.” He reveals little about his plans beyond a desire to spend time with his wife, a First Amendment attorney, and their one-year-old son. “I just hope I have enough time,” Kornze says, “to show my son all the amazing things that our country has.” The Trump administration has now inherited the awkwardness that is the Bundy trial — Cliven and Ammon are both scheduled to face felony charges for the Gold Butte episode. Close observers say the case

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The incredibly rare snow leopard returns in a most unusual way in Planet Earth II.

Return to Earth How an all-star film crew pulled off the most epic nature documentary of all time. by DAV I D B R OW N E


N YO N E W H O ’ S E V E R T R I E D

filming his dog catching a Frisbee knows how tricky it can be to get decent animal footage. But few know this better than Justin Anderson, one of the segment producers of Planet Earth II, the highly anticipated sequel to the BBC’s blockbuster series of nature docs. Anderson, a part-time mountaineer, had been one of the crew who, 10 years ago in the mountains of Pakistan, captured on video a snow leopard hunting — the first ever footage of its kind — for the first Planet Earth. For the sequel, he was expected to pull it off again, this time tracking down those rarest of central Asian predators in the mountains of Ladakh in India. “It was such a big character [in the first Planet Earth], and we knew we’d have to do something different.” So early each morning, Anderson and his crew would sit, shivering, at a base camp 13,300 feet up, awaiting word from local spotters who had ventured into the mountains in search of a

sign that the animal was near. If and when the spotter made a discovery, the film crew would rush up a slope with the hope of a quick glimpse, a process that resulted in cases of bad altitude sickness that sent Anderson down and off the mountain at least once. “It wasn’t life-threatening,” he says, “but it took me out of the field for a while. It was frustrating.” It would require several visits to the remote Ladakh mountains — one monthlong trip each year for three years — to nab the footage they needed. In this case, the footage was unprecedented images of a mother snow leopard offering herself up sexually to two intruding males so that her young cub could escape unharmed. (Male snow leopards kill cubs who aren’t their own.) Hysterical articles in the U.K. (where the first episode drew 12.3 million viewers, more than the first series) referred to it as the “rape” scene, which left some, like Anderson, scratching their heads. “Saying it was rape, in some of those clickbait headlines, was a little



MARCH 2017

A cameraman inserts himself in possibly the largest locust swarm ever caught on film.

The world’s largest penguin colony, near Antarctica


Drones were used to film a series of new sequences.


difficult,” he says. “They’re no more capable of that than a bobcat is capable of murder. I’m well versed in the natural world, but I guess some people are surprised by what they see.” F I R S T B R OA D CA S T I N 2 0 0 6 , the original Planet Earth, narrated by David Attenborough in the U.K. and Sigourney Weaver in the States, upped the cinematic ante on nature photography, adding to the genre dramatic story lines (animals as characters) — whether a fight between a polar bear and a walrus colony, or grizzly bear cubs emerging from their den for the first time. Broadcast in hundreds of countries since, the series naturally called for a sequel, and hence Planet Earth II (the show premiered in early February). Featuring about 60 animal species, from pygmy sloths to spider monkeys, the show became an unearthly undertaking: Sixty cameramen shot in 40 countries for a total of 2,089 days, making for 400 terabytes of footage. As with the original, the sequel devotes episodes to specific topics: deserts, mountains, islands, grasslands, jungles, and cities. But rather than repeat the approach of much of the original, which focused on panoramic, bigpicture nature footage, the producers of the new series decided to dive deeper into the lives of creatures tucked away in various corners of

A paraglider was employed to film golden eagles swooping.

the planet. “We wanted to tell this from the animals’ perspective,” says executive producer Mike Gunton. “Here are the animals and the landscapes, and how do they deal with those habitats?” This animal’s-eye view of the world was possible in part to updated technology: camera-adorned drones; night-vision cameras, for moles and leopards that come out only after dark; and cameras that were smaller, more portable, and had much sharper resolution than the more cumbersome tripods of a decade ago. To capture what could be the largest locust swarm on film, cameramen in Madagascar placed themselves inside the swarm, ending up with footage that makes viewers feel as though they’re f lying alongside the bugs after they lift off. “The cameraman was able to run like a lunatic across the land with the locusts, so you feel like you’re in the heart of this plague of locusts,” recalls Gunton. “It’s like a Peter Jackson production.” For additional footage of a golden eagle in the Alps, an animal that can swoop at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour, a world-champion

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paraglider was hired to film from behind; during one attempt, he crash-landed in snow (without injury, thankfully). Among their achievements is rare footage from Kazakhstan of the saiga antelope, a species that has the snout of an alien and dates back millions of years but is now largely extinct. Recruiting a retired boatman, another crew ventured to the remote island of Zavodovski, near Antarctica, to shoot the world’s largest penguin colony. “There’s nowhere to land for a helicopter, and you’re on the island with no support, an active volcano, and a million penguins,” says Gunton. “It was one of the toughest trips.” A crew in West African grasslands wound up pushing their boats barefoot through weed-infested waters in an attempt to film lions searching for food. They were initially reluctant to take off their shoes, until they were told why. “You need to be able to feel the crocodiles before they feel you and take a chunk out of you,” says Gunton. Changes in technology notwithstanding, the makers of Planet Earth II adhered to the same approach as the first series: not to interfere with animals’ often nasty and shocking life-and-death struggles. With one exception — rescuing a sea turtle that had flipped onto its back on the beach, thereby saving it from a slow, painful demise — the crews had to sit back and watch as hawks (their claws looking Godzilla-like in close-ups) swooped in on adorable ground squirrels, or snakes swarmed around a panicked iguana. “We don’t shy away from the realities of nature,” Gunton says. “They’re on their own, and this is the life they lead. It can be shockingly brutal at times.” Gunton believes Planet Earth II has returned at the right time, with climate change even more prevalent and disturbing. “Not unlike in the first program, the wheel of the zeitgeist has turned, and it feels like there is again a sense of the fragility of the planet,” he says. “People want a sense to look out again and understand our place.” Q




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Real Strength Begins With the Core One of the most overused terms in fitness — the core — also happens to be the key to getting into great shape. by DANIEL DUANE

N O T S O L O N G AG O , the nearest a personal trainer would come to talking about the core was telling clients to beef up their six-packs with an ab-numbing series of crunches. Nowadays, if they gave out awards for the most repeated exercise jargon, core training would take gold. Whether you’re in a CrossFit, Pilates, or random “core focus” class, you’ve probably heard the C-word ad nauseam. But though it might permeate pop fitness culture, do you really know what core training is?

p h o t o g r a p h s by K A R A N K A P O O R


Think you know which muscles make up the core? Turn the page.

Health &Fitness


TEST YOUR CORE STRENGTH There’s a simple way to know if you have a rock-solid trunk: Get into a pushup position with a PVC pipe or a broomstick resting on your back, so that you have contact at your head, between your shoulder blades, and on your butt. Perform a pushup with back and hips aligned until chest hits floor. “To keep the stick in place, you need every core muscle to engage,” says Equinox Tier X coach Michael Ryan. Your goal: five perfect reps. If the stick wobbles or falls off, you’ve got work to do.


includes the skeletal scaffolding of your spine, shoulder blades, pelvis, and hip joints, plus all the muscles that support and move that scaffolding. Which means that your butt, your back, and even the muscles at the top of your shoulders are all part of your core. These muscles fall into two categories: stabilizers, which hold your spine and pelvis in healthy and comfortable alignment and allow you to brace and stay steady when, say, you catch a heavy medicine ball or hold a plank. And mobilizers, which get your torso twisting, turning, flexing, and folding. If any of those muscles become weak, tight, or out of balance with the other core muscles — pretty much guaranteed if you spend all day between a car and a desk and a dinner table and a couch — the entire system can fall out of alignment. Keep those muscles talking and working together, though, and you get a trifecta of benefits.

Instant workout gains “Every bit of force you generate — I don’t care if that’s pushing off the f loor to jump for a basketball or lifting a barbell overhead — has to get transferred through the core,” explains Ryan. “Think of the core as a transductor of force, a conduit.” So each time you plant a foot during a jog, muscles in your foot and leg push at the ground to create a force that travels up your leg and through your hip joint into your pelvis and spine. If that force encounters a pelvis and spine held tight in good alignment by strong core muscles, the energy does what it’s supposed to: propel you forward. But if that force encounters bones left wobbly by weak, soft core muscles, much of that energy dissipates. And the result? You’re slower. (A 2009 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research conf irmed this by putting a group of healthy adults through a core-stability training regimen. After six weeks, the runners had sliced 47 seconds off their 5K times.) This same concept applies to strength training, too. Build a stronger, more stable core and you’ll squat, push, pull, and row more weight, more efficiently.

Fewer injuries If you’ve ever had to quit running because of knee pain, take a few weeks off tennis because your back hurt, or abandon the bench press thanks to an aching shoulder, you’ve already



MARCH 2017

experienced the downside of a weak, imbalanced core. Knee pain often has less to do with pounding the pavement than with weak abdominals — not just the six-pack, either, but the deep, thick ab muscles like the transverse abdominis — which let the pelvis tilt forward, and which cause your leg bones to rotate inward, putting a twisting force on the knees. Back pain from tennis can be a simple matter of lower-back, glute, and hamstring muscles weakened by sitting all day. And the benchpress issue — or any example of abandoning an upper-body exercise because of shoulder pain — is a classic case of weak upper-back muscles allowing the shoulder blades to drift out of position, making your shoulder joint vulnerable. Good posture and a strong core cure all these ills and more, which is the reason FIFA, the international soccer federation, designed and implemented a basic core-training program that a 2014 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found reduced injury risk by 35 percent in players all over the world.

Life gets easier Upper-back tension from staring too long at a computer or knee pain from squatting to play with a kid — these stem from bad everyday posture and not knowing how to fire the core muscles that support the right positions. “The positions you put yourself in dictate your core function, and that dictates the way you feel in your body,” says Ryan, who recommends learning what he calls core awareness: the conscious ability to maintain good, healthy posture by firing the right core muscles. For example, when sitting at your computer, consciously remind yourself to pull your chin back so your head is stacked directly above your spine (which might eliminate any headaches you’ve been having) and to pull your shoulder blades down and squeeze them together to eliminate a slouch. Or when you’re standing in line or walking up stairs, concentrate on contracting your glutes and tightening your abs to put your pelvis in a neutral alignment; this takes pressure off your lower back and keeps your glutes firing properly. All these simple adjustments make it clear why, when Reavy has a client ask what he can do to keep his body healthy, his reply is always, “Start by focusing on your core.”


“The core has been misinterpreted for 30 years as being all about aesthetics,” says Michael Ryan, a certified master instructor at Equinox gym in New York City. “Now we’re learning that you really can’t achieve serious functional fitness if you don’t train the core properly.” That’s because the muscles of the core form a dynamic link between your legs and arms, making them key to athletic performance, resistance to injury, and an aligned posture that allows you to move through your day without a tweaked neck or aching knee. That’s not just trainer-speak, either. A 2012 study in the journal PLOS ONE found that targeted core training produced quick relief from back pain. And a 2013 Japanese study showed substantial gains in vertical jump among soccer players who performed a basic core workout three times a week. And while you can find dozens of different (and conf licting) methods to help you put on more muscle or run a faster marathon, when it comes to strengthening the trunk, there’s one clear road map. Top strength coaches and physical therapists alike now tend to agree on the most effective exercises to build the core you need. And you can get that job done without doing a single crunch. But first you’ll need to know what it is you’re actually working. “Think of the core as your entire torso,” says physical therapist David Reavy, who works with NFL and NBA stars at his Chicago clinic, React. That


THE POSTURE REGULATOR “The trapezius muscle connects your spine to your shoulder blades,” says Chicago physical therapist David Reavy. “It stabilizes the upper body for everything from good posture to a powerful bench press.”

It ain’t just abs. The core makes up nearly half the body and includes all muscles that attach to the pelvis and spine. Run, jump, twist, bend, or brace and those muscles must fire in concert.

THE REINFORCEMENTS Running along the spine from your glutes to your head, the spinal erectors allow you to stand up straight and rotate, and they work with the glutes to power upward-pulling motions like a dead lift or a kettlebell swing.

THE BODY’S STABILIZER The ability to do any downward pulling movement, like a tennis serve or a pullup, comes from the latissimus dorsi, or lats. This muscle also links the shoulder blades, upper arms, spine, and pelvis, which makes it a critical stabilizer for the core — and the entire body.

THE CORE’S CORE What we think of as the core muscles — the rectus abdominis, or six-pack, and the obliques, which span the entire side of your torso — are essential for bending and twisting. Even more crucial for a solid center is the transversus abdominis. Buried under the other abdominals, this thick muscle wraps around your torso and acts like a girdle, keeping your core tight and aligned.

THE BACK PROTECTOR Located in your lower back, the quadratus lumborum is a muscle most of us don’t even know we have — until we neglect it so long that it goes into spasm and causes that familiar back pain and tightness.

THE SUPPORT SYSTEM Hip adductors attach to the inside of your pelvis, and they’re what keep you stable and aligned when you walk or run (which also makes them saviors for your knees). Sit all day and these thin muscles can shorten and tighten, pull your pelvis forward, and make your hamstrings seize up.

THE POWERHOUSE The strength to sprint or squat comes via the gluteus maximus, one of the body’s largest muscles, and the ability to balance on one leg from the gluteus medius. Both connect to the pelvis, which means that as with the adductors, if you’re sitting all day in the same position, these muscles stop firing properly.

A connected chain of muscles, the core is only as strong as its weakest link. i l l u s t r a t i o n by M I C H E L E G R A H A M

Health &Fitness

YOUR CORE CURRICULUM The chain of core muscles may be complex, but strengthening them doesn’t have to be. This trunk-focused routine, created by Equinox coach Michael Ryan, covers essential functional movements — push, pull, squat, hinge, and walk — in just six exercises that keep your entire torso engaged. The beauty? Do it right and you’ll build every muscle in the body. The bonus: You’ll need only one kettlebell.

HOW TO DO IT First, take two minutes to foam-roll your legs, glutes, and back. Then do this dynamic warm-up twice through: 30 seconds each of air squats, walking lunges, pushups, and bear crawls. Finally, perform the six moves below in any order, no rests. It’ll take about 30 minutes. Do the workout three times a week as a stand-alone routine, or twice a week if supplementing with other strength work.

SIDE PLANK Get into a side plank position: forearm down with hand in a fist, elbow directly under shoulder, feet stacked, and hips lifted to create a straight line from head to ankles. With control, lift your top leg as high as you can; hold for a beat, then lower leg back to start. Repeat for 12 reps, then switch sides. Do three sets.

SINGLE-ARM STRICT PRESS Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, a kettlebell racked at right shoulder, left arm extended at side; shoulders should be down and back, abs and glutes tight. Press kettlebell straight overhead, elbow to ear. (As you press, push feet into the floor, squeeze glutes, and engage abs as though defending a punch; your torso should be rigid, with no swaying to one side or the other.) Hold for a beat and return to start. Repeat for 12 reps, then switch sides. Do three sets.



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Hold a heavy kettlebell by the horns at chest, elbows tight to body (picture holding a towel in place between your ribs and arms), shoulders pulled down and back. Keep this exact form and walk forward. Continue for 30 seconds. Put the kettlebell down for 30 seconds. Repeat six times total. (Your goal: Work up to carrying the bell for 90 seconds.)

Lie faceup with knees bent, feet planted on floor near butt, arms out to sides on floor with palms up. Press through heels to lift hips up as high as possible, then extend left leg; drive hips up, and squeeze inner thighs together. Hold this position for three beats, then lower back down to start. Repeat on opposite side. Do three sets of 15 reps.

Have access to more than one kettlebell? Go heavier for the goblet squat and carry.

STAGGER-STANCE SINGLE-ARM ROW Start with feet staggered, right foot in front of left, with a kettlebell on the floor on left side. Hinge forward from the waist, pushing hips back, and pick up kettlebell in left hand. Raise it to rib cage on left side, driving elbow up toward ceiling while simultaneously extending right arm at right side. As you lower the weight back to floor, drive right elbow toward sky. Repeat (hinging and reaching down to grab weight) for 12 reps, then switch sides. Do three sets.

GOBLET SQUAT Hold a kettlebell by the horns at chest, elbows tight to body, shoulders pulled down and back, feet hip-width apart with toes slightly turned out. Squat, pushing hips back to sit deep while maintaining a long spine and lifted chest; lower as far down as possible while keeping good form. Push through middle of foot to rise up to start; repeat. Do three sets of 12 reps.

MARCH 2017



Health &Fitness

questioned the color of my panties. So be it.) “We’re not annihilating, we’re stimulating,” says Mike. “The workout takes you to a threshold, but you’re walking away when you feel like you could keep going. We want something you can sustain for the rest of your life.” This means basic, compound movements that never isolate one specific muscle. Training the core means targeting a whole chain of muscles that work together: A strict overhead press is a chance to stabilize my torso and press my feet into the floor to push the barbell up. A carry (no matter how I do it, and I do a lot of them — with a kettlebell by my side, overhead, at my chest) is just a walking plank, a chance to lock in my postural stability. Pullups are powered more by my pelvic floor and lats than brute arm strength. While I move, Mike ticks off a laundry list of the planes of human motion and multijoint actions that I’m working through — horizontal push and pull, vertical push and pull, keeping my trunk tight to resist lateral movement — but it’s easier to say that now I can move weight powerfully in every direction a human body should be able to, and stay stable doing so. All that without a single reverse biceps curl. After these sessions, I feel mildly spent and invigorated, relaxed and recharged. And The best thing about my new exercise routine? Learning that it because I’m not pummeling my body, I’m needn’t be punishing to be rewarding. by MARK HEALY never so sore I have to skip the next workout, either. The aesthetic results aren’t as startling as the photo you see here (though obviously curls and f lyes, the singularly focused form T O DAY I S N O T a legs day, a chest he’s found the time to hit the core). I’m not of strength training that worships at the altar day, or an arms-and-back day. busting out of my sweater or ripped and ropy of size and targets vanity first. But then Mike And it’s def initely not an abs like an MMA fighter starving down a weight saved me from all that. Mike Ryan is what day. In fact, it’s never an abs day. class, but there is muscle amassing and makEquinox gyms call a Tier X coach, a seriously Today, like every day I go to the gym, is for a ing itself known. And the gains I’ve made are qualified and knowledgeable instructor who workout with no isolated target and no easthe kind you can imagine lasting a while: I walks like a martial artist and talks like a phyily discernible goal. These days the question put on five pounds of lean mass while losing sician. Mike has me on a regimen that is use“What do you do at the gym?” requires an four pounds of fat, bringing my quite typical ful to anyone envisioning a future in which explanation so complex that it’s simple: “I’m body fat percenthe’ll want to walk, climb just working on my core.” Sure, my shoulders age from 16.3 to stairs, put on pants, and and forearms, chest, and legs flourish in the 14.5. And that bathe himself, and also process, but my target is the core — that cruIT’S INVINCIBILITY improved ratio squat and lift and do the cial chain of muscles that runs from the hip I’M GUNNING FOR: is just enough to occasional box jump. All adductors deep inside the inner thighs to the NO WOBBLING. hack my metaboof which are easier with trapezius that climbs the upper back and neck. lism, helping my a beast of a core. Core training is the key to a strong, durable NO IMBALANCES. body to process Mike mandates that body. Or so I’m told, which is why I’ve devoted NO INJURIES. sugar more effiwe start every workout three days a week for the past three months to ciently (which with foam-rolling the doing a version of the workout you see on the may be why I’m trunk — hamstrings, previous page. But why stop at durability? It’s eating more than quads, glutes, lats. (The invincibility I’m gunning for: No wobbling. I probably should and remaining relatively case for this is well-documented and ironclad, No imbalances. No injuries. And for a long, lean). I’ve built something solid in there, and so trust me: A muscle that’s loose and ready long time to come. I can feel its worth on the pullup bar, where to fire is a muscle that’s going to get stronger, Rest assured, I didn’t come up with this my reps have doubled, and at the kettlebell faster.) Then we do a light dynamic warm-up myself. In the not-so-distant past I labored, station. But also in smaller, less remarkable — pushups, lunges, bear crawls — to get musas maybe you have, on bench presses and moments — while easily scrambling down a cles talking to one another and ready to work. rocky trail, balancing on ice skates, or hauling The routine itself is more intelligent than Get More Core Intel Find additional overloaded grocery bags in a double-suitcase it is macho. I never “crush” anything or push torso-building workouts and advice at carry with my chest open, glutes engaged, and myself to total failure. (At least three of you abs, naturally, fired. It is a core day, after all. Q just tossed this magazine in the trash and




MARCH 2017


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Health &Fitness

Black Magic The newest (and most unlikely) grooming trend: Using soot to remove dirt from skin. b y

Think of charcoal and you may picture briquettes in your Weber. But pump oxygen into those same black lumps and you have the porous substance — activated charcoal — that’s now in a slew of skin-

care products. “Activated charcoal has little holes and picks things up like a sponge,” explains New York dermatologist Whitney Bowe. Use a soap or shampoo that contains the stuff and the charcoal particles will


pull dirt and bacteria out of the pores of your skin or scalp before getting rinsed away. (Just don’t go overboard; using multiple products a day can strip oils from skin.) Here are four products that do the dirty work.

FOR A DEEP CLEANSE Spread a blob of Beau Brummell The Gentlemen’s Facial Mask all over your face and leave it for 10 minutes. The charcoal will sop up dead skin cells and dirt, and leave your face looking brighter and healthier. To ensure your skin doesn’t get dry, use just once a week, and skip any other cleansing that day. ($26;

FOR HEALTHIER HAIR Think dandruff comes from a dry scalp? Nope. It happens when your scalp overproduces oil, clogging the pores, and that creates flakes, says Bowe. Which is why an oil-sucking charcoal shampoo is genius. Plus, she says, the shampoo can pull out particles of pollution that collect on your scalp and may stall hair growth. Our pick: Apotheke Charcoal Shampoo. ($24;


FOR A DAILY FACE WASH This Brickell Purifying Charcoal Face Wash uses natural moisturizers like olive oil to hydrate skin while the charcoal purges, which makes the formula a good day-to-day cleanser. Just be sure to skip scrubs, exfoliants, and rough washcloths when you use it, so you don’t strip good oils from your skin along with the bad, says Bowe. ($25;

FOR A FULL-BODY BAR In colder months, skin becomes dry and the body overproduces oil to compensate; this can gunk up pores on your chest, back, and arms and cause acne and body odor. Use the Yes to Natural Man Charcoal Bar Soap to draw away the excess oil. Tip: Step out of the water while you lather up so the charcoal can get into the skin and actually cleanse before it’s rinsed off. ($5;


WHAT TO AVOID: Charcoal toothpastes These powder-based pastes aren’t worth the trouble, says New York City dentist Gregg Lituchy. “They don’t contain fluoride, they can wear away enamel, and if you accidentally ingest some, it can interfere with medication or digestive bacteria,” he says. You’ll also have to deal with a mouthful of messy black suds.

p h o t o g r a p h by S H A N A N OVA K

MARCH 2017



Health &Fitness b y M E L A I NA J U N T T I

Health News

For Heart Disease, Genetics Aren’t Destiny, Researchers Say That’s the takeaway from a new study of more than 55,000 adults published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers found that if you’re genetically predisposed to coronary heart disease — the most common type, which often results in heart attacks — and you don’t exercise, eat poorly, and are overweight, your heart attack risk over the next 10 years hovers at 11 percent. “If you have a high genetic risk and a favorable lifestyle, the risk is only 5 percent,” says lead researcher Dr. Sekar Kathiresan. (With no genetic risk and a good lifestyle, that number goes down even further.) “This shows you really do have control over your health.” Below, a snapshot of what you’re up against — and the simple lifestyle changes that this study found will make a big difference.

The month’s most important discoveries, updates, and advice.



Percentage of deaths caused by heart disease in the U.S. each year

Can Vegetarians Be as Strong as Meat Eaters? According to an Arizona State University study of 70 endurance athletes, eating animals isn’t required to fuel fitness gains. Vegetarians actually had higher VO2 max scores (a measure of cardiovascular endurance) and equivalent muscle strength compared to meat eaters. The vegetarians ate more carbs per day — which researchers say may benefit training — and both groups consumed about the same total calories and protein. “People often think they need meat to get big and strong,” says lead author Heidi Lynch. “This suggests you can get adequate protein from a plant-based diet.” The best options: lentils, legumes, tofu, beans.




MARCH 2017

The number of Americans genetically predisposed to heart disease


Share of people who have one of three key risk factors: high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, smoking


1 DAY a week

+ Keep BMI below

30 +

Eat a clean diet: more veggies, fish, and nuts; fewer processed meats, refined grains, and sugar



The potential drop in heart disease risk, even if you’re genetically predisposed

Ankle sprains require physical therapy. FALSE For a sprained ankle, save your money F I C T I O N and rehab at home, suggests a new study published in the British Medical Journal. Researchers looked at more than 500 patients who had stretched or partially torn an ankle ligament; everyone was instructed to rest, ice, elevate, apply compression, and restrict weight-bearing activities. Additionally, half the patients received physical therapy. At one, three, and six months, the researchers assessed both groups’ recovery. At no time were those getting physical therapy faring any better than those who did self-care alone. Everyone’s ankle functionality, on average, progressed about equally. FACT OR


Sleep is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. BELIEVE YOU SLEEP WELL AND, RESEARCH SHOWS, YOUR COGNITIVE AND PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE WILL REFLECT HAVING GOTTEN SLEEP, no matter how much you really slept. Believe you’re a bad sleeper, and that colors how you feel the next day — not how much you actually slept.”

1 IN 5


With the help of our pharmacists’ trusted advice, you’ll find the heart-healthy support you need and the great deals you want. So you can feel good every day. For support, visit

Use as directed. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases.


We all crave the next sweet spot, that unspoiled getaway that no one else knows about. Here are 15 beaches where you’ll be one step ahead of everyone else. At least for now.

Playa Kenepa Chiki, Curaçao


CARIBBEAN’S BEST-KEPT SECRET I H E A R D I T B E F O R E I saw it, the thunder of the sea pounding the jagged shore. Shete Boka, “Seven Inlets” in Curaçao’s creole language of Papiamento, is inaccurately named. The waves have carved out way more than seven in this national park on the island’s northern coast. I made my way down a narrow path to a hidden cave, the slick footing threatening to send me headlong into a sharp coral wall. It was a forbidding place and not exactly what one expects on a Caribbean vacation. But Curaçao is full of surprises. Part of the “ABC” islands in the former Netherlands Antilles, Curaçao splits the difference between glitzier Aruba and more spartan Bonaire. Its charm is best described by a versatile word in Papiamento: dushi, which means many things but most often “sweet” or “beautiful.” After my heart-pounding hike at Shete Boka, I made a detour to Playa Kenepa Chiki, a crescent of secluded sand and turquoise water thought by some to be the most beautiful beach in the Caribbean. I could have lounged there all day, but cold Heinekens and live jazz were waiting back at the island’s capital, Willemstad. While wandering through the city’s historic Pietermaai District — designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its collection of brightly hued 18th-century Dutch buildings — you could almost imagine you were in Amsterdam, albeit with steamy weather, scurrying geckos, and plaintive birdcalls. Curaçao boasts some of the Caribbean’s clearest waters, so the scuba diving is worldclass. At Director’s Bay, you can swim through the remains of a shark-proof fence erected years ago so, it is said, the Dutch queen Juliana would feel safe while swimming. On days when there are no cruise ships in port, it’s possible to dive the wreck of the Superior Producer. It sank in 1978, overloaded with cargo bound for Venezuela, and was quickly plundered. Today it’s a fascinating dive, with a massive fantail where schools of barracuda and huge tarpon hover in the shadows. After 40 minutes of exploring the wreck, I surfaced, ecstatic. My dive guide asked me how I liked it. I smiled as I peeled off my wetsuit: “Dushi,” I told him. “Dushi.” —JA S O N H E AT O N



Escape From Sydney

Sunset at San Pancho

MEXICO’S NEXT BOHO HAVEN to call the Mexican beach enclave of Sayulita overdeveloped, but there’s no question that it’s been discovered: The funky Pacific coast village north of Puerto Vallarta remains a respite from reality, but its cafes, surf shops, and public beach now crawl with faux-hippie tourists. Our advice: When you get to Say ulita, keep driving. Just three miles farther north along the Riviera Nayarit you’ll find San Francisco — or as it’s known by locals, San Pancho — which is a pretty good approxi-


1 50

mation of what Sayulita was like when it was first discovered by surfers back in the 1960s. In other words, there’s not much there: Kick back in a hammock, eat really well, do battle with some rough waves (the surf is stronger here than down the coast), or simply wander on a gorgeous and virtually empty wide sandy beach where horses gather to drink from a freshwater lagoon. Pretty much the only gringos you’ll meet are the artist or musician types who came for a week and never got around to leaving. You can f ind tiny boutique hotels like Casa San Pancho or Cielo Rojo, but there are no resorts here. Instead, the lush jungle serves as a backdrop for local homes for rent, some with pools, most with balconies. Buy fresh produce — cucumbers, tomatoes, g iant white onions — of f a farmer’s truck and prepare meals at your house, or head to the small beachside village for delicious carne asada, coconut shrimp, or chilaquiles at La Ola Rica and Maria’s. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a jungle hike to an even better beach, or get a local fisherman to take you out to watch whales breach. Of course, it may just be a matter of time before San Pancho begins to resemble its neighbor down the coast. So enjoy it now. And when you return, just drive a little farther north. — A R I B E N DA R S K Y

Garie Beach




Nearly 20 percent of Australians — some 5 million people — live in Sydney. And at the city’s iconic beaches and surf breaks, it can feel like they’re all there with you. Far better to head 18 miles south, to Royal National Park, a 39,500-acre swath of coastal cliffs and deep river valleys crisscrossed by miles of eucalyptus-lined walking paths leading to some of the dreamiest beaches in New South Wales. It’s spartan and off the grid, so pack your essentials: surfboard, cooler of Victoria Bitter, some prawn-and-fennel sammies, fishing gear. Garie Beach, a half-mile stretch of sand fringed by spiky kangaroo grass along the park’s coastal road, offers the convenience of showers and a parking lot. Consistent swells make Garie a board- and bodysurfer’s playground, while surf casters hook bream and kingfish right off the beach. If you’re feeling adventurous, hike in from the park’s Bundeena entrance, a 12-mile trek that winds past dramatic coastal crags, cool swimming holes, and waterfalls. The panorama from Garie North Head affords one of the best vistas of the coastline — from there it’s all downhill to the beach. Local tip: Reserve a permit ( .au) and pitch a tent at North Era campsite. Limited facilities mean you’ll be full-on Aussie bush camping, but come first light you’ll have the place almost entirely to yourself. —JEN MURPHY

Cruising down Haleakala volcano


DO HAWAII LIKE A HAWAIIAN Puka Puka, a Paia store and gallery


Kaihalulu Beach, near Hana


O N T H E N O R T H S H O R E O F M AU I , you won’t find family-friendly resorts or mega-hotels with golf courses or bronzed beachboys teaching surf lessons. What you will find, especially in and around the artsy little town of Paia, is a remarkably high concentration of people who treat health, f itness, outdoor sports, and the tropical good life like a religion. Tow-in surfing was practically invented around Paia, at the nearby legendary break Peahi, a.k.a. Jaws. Paddle-in surfers and windsurfers flock to Ho’okipa Beach Park, and the endurance cycling and running crowd comes for the seemingly endless road from the ocean clear up to the summit of the 10,000-foot volcano called Haleakala. Of course, you don’t have to be an Ironman to enjoy Paia. “It’s just a very free and earthy town,” says Makenzie Berg of the Paia Bay Coffee Company, where locals head for a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and mintlemon mayo. Haleakala National Park sustains a miraculous high-altitude wilderness in the tropical sky where you can stroll around a crater that resembles Mordor. Private van services like Haleakala Bike will drive you up there for the sunrise and let you coast more than 5,000 feet back down — along 25 miles of smooth asphalt — on a rented bike. Accommodations are modest — it’s a choice between the Nalu Kai Lodge, the Mangolani Inn, or, even better, an Airbnb, which means you’ll be hitting the local market for organic groceries and fresh fish. Baldwin Beach Park, at the edge of town, doesn’t look like much until you walk out onto the soft white sand lapped by warm blue water and realize that it’s the perfect place for a lazy swim. And if you get an itch to see more country, all you have to do is head east out of town onto the 65-mile Road to Hana, which will take you to the red-sand beaches of Kaihalulu, past innumerable waterfalls in dense rain forest, with every turn offering a glimpse down some mountainside to yet another secluded beach that may or may not have a name. — DA N I E L D UA N E





always seem to be several steps ahead of other travelers, their constant search for empty waves leading them to special, unspoiled places. Shay O’Brien is one of those surfers, and Playa Aserradores is one of those places. Back in 1999, O’Brien stumbled upon this lonely stretch of sand on the Pacific coast of northern Nicaragua. Sure, the beach was beautiful and empty, but it was a hollow, barreling wave they dubbed “the Boom” that kept O’Brien coming back for years. In 2003, he made it permanent — he purchased a 27-acre oceanfront farm right on his favorite break and built the Chancletas Beach Resort, where he lives with his family. “If we had shown up that day back in 1999 and the waves weren’t perfect, who knows where I would’ve ended up,” he says. And you don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy it here: There is great fishing and paddleboarding and about two hours inland is Cosigüina, an inactive volcano with a mile-wide crater lake. O’Brien cringes when he hears someone describing his adopted country as “the next Costa Rica.” But the description is pretty accurate. While the beaches in southern Nicaragua have been found out, those near Aserradores remain pure, with untapped potential. In November, I took a last-minute trip to the town and was welcomed with a strong, clean south swell, friendly locals, and a little taste of what makes northern Nicaragua a must-visit spot. — M A R K A N D E R S



The area’s five-mile-long coastline has a wide variety of waves, including the quick and hollow barrels of the Boom, a peeling left-hand point break, as well as a small bay with a reeling A-frame wave and more mellow, beginner-friendly surf on the inside.

2 | Explore the Shore The Boom and other nearby surf spots tend to be tide-sensitive: When the tide goes out, the waves shut down. I shed the low-tide blues by using an SUP to explore the town’s tiny fishing port and mangrove swamps, where I spied exotic birds and turtles, which nest on the sandy banks.





1 | Surfcentric



or maybe the world, better defines the low-key luxe beach experience than Chris Blackwell’s GoldenEye. It has the pedigree of being Ian Fleming’s estate (where all 14 Bond books were written). Then there’s the unmistakable rhythm of a rock-soaked life from Blackwell himself, the founder of Island Records who signed Bob Marley and U2, among others. GoldenEye is the kind of place where an almost-famous bass player might sleep it off at the palm-ringed infinity pool as a rebel heiress mixes a dark and stormy with a fat spliff at the bar. To Blackwell, the right type of guests “enhance the property with their very presence.” If the Caribbean were a high school cafeteria, GoldenEye would be the table where you most wanted to be: barefoot opulence



3 | The Locals Are Stoked Traditionally, people in this town of 1,200 earned their living by working in nearby sugarcane and peanut fields, raising cattle, or fishing for red snapper. Then, in 2000, Shay O’Brien gave a handful of old boards to local fishermen and began teaching village kids how to surf. Today there’s a healthy crew of surfers, and tourism (especially from visiting surfers) has become an important part of the town’s economy. “Before surfing, there was no fun in this place,” says Oscar Moises, a fishing-boat captain and one of Aserradores’ first surfers. “Now everybody enjoys surfing, and it changed a lot of people’s lives because there’s more money and a lot of people are working just for surfing.”

One of GoldenEye’s new, lowerpriced beach huts

with no questions asked, a beach resort for people too cool for resorts. And now that may even include you. Last spring, the 52-acre property (located in Oracabessa, less than two blessedly inconvenient hours from Montego Bay) added a cluster of wooden huts around its Snorkler’s Cove. And while the huts share the rest of GoldenEye’s louche-luxe appeal, with prices starting at $425 a night they’re more affordable than the main cottages (which start at $660). Not that you’ll feel like a roadie among guitar gods. Blackwell himself lives in a hut that served as the prototype. “You really feel like you’re living outdoors,” he says of them. And of course they got the details right. The huts are open, breezy octagonals, some with a bamboo-enclosed outdoor bath and shower and Smeg refrigerators. None of them have AC, which Blackwell says would drown out tropical night noises that “make you really feel like you’re in nature.” The duplexes are perfect for families; imagine your sandblasted kids snoring away upstairs as you unwind on the veranda. (“Unwind from what?” you might ask. “Snorkeling? Playing backgammon at the bar?”) And somehow, the expansion hasn’t been a buzzkill to the GoldenEye vibe: There’s still the original beach and lagoon-side bungalows, the famed Bizot Bar, and the walking bridge to the reading room, where you can pore over a stack of the hippest coffee-table books in the Caribbean. The two worlds mingle — you and them. And if you’re worried about your kids waking up the bass player by the pool? Send them off to the new wooden jungle gym just off the beach bar on the lagoon side. They thought of that, too. — M A R K H E A LY

The beach at Muscat’s Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah resort

Catch of the day: fresh mahimahi


A C O U N T R Y W E D G E D B E T W E E N Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iran is not an obvious vacation spot. But Oman is something of a Switzerland among the region’s political powder kegs — serene and topographically gifted, with the vast deserts you’d expect to find but also with stunning, transparent waters and dramatic fjords. The locals, meantime, are

red-rock ravines just offshore, towering over streams of cool springwater. A local favorite, Wadi Shab, provides the chance to climb a rope-line rock course and then plunge some 60 feet into a crystal-clear freshwater pool. Other wave junkies bring their boards about 100 miles inland to surf the giant dunes of Wahiba Sands. From Sur, head back through Muscat to Musandam, a jaw-droppingly verdant peninsula known as the Norway of Arabia for its beautiful khors — steep, rocky inlets formed where the Al Hajar Mountains plummet into the Persian Gulf; think of them as the Middle Eastern cousins of Norwegian fjords. The peninsula, separated from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates, juts into the Strait of Hormuz, just miles from Iran, and the adventure options there are considerable: Paraglide a thousand feet off a mountain onto the powdery beach of Zighy Bay. Or plunge underwater to explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with turtles, rays, and eels. You’ll almost forget that the Arabian sands are right next door. — AY E S H A K H A N

Desert surfers at Wahiba Sands

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eager to go out of their way for newcomers. Visiting the villages that dot Oman’s coastline feels like taking a giant step back in time. But getting to the country is simple enough, with short daily f lights from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha to the capital city of Muscat. Swanky resorts and chic boutique hotels line the city’s waterfront, yet Muscat retains an authentic vibe that’s been largely paved over in its Gulf state neighbors. But what you really want to do is head about two hours south, to Sur. A cluster of fishing towns on a rugged, sandy shore, Sur is an ancient Arabian Sea port probably best known as one of the last remaining shipyards for building dhows, the traditional wooden sailing ships; a local fisherman will be happy to take you for a cruise. More recently, Sur has been discovered by surfers. “There are some great swells along Aseelah beach,” says Amro Othman, a Dubai-based kitesurfer. “I love walking there late at night, when all you see is the blue-green waves glowing with the phosphorescence of the plankton.” When the winds are not blowing, Othman can be found exploring the wadis — dry,


Cuba As It Should Be Finding the ideal beach in Cuba is a lot harder than you’d think. At one end of the spectrum are the overpriced, overdeveloped, all-inclusive resorts of Varadero and Cayo Coco, with their swarms of wintering Germans and watered-down mojitos. At the other are the countless unspoiled small beaches that dot the country’s 3,500-mile coastline — which, unfortunately, are so remote and inaccessible that enjoying them can feel more like an ordeal than an escape. For the sweet middle ground, rent a car in Havana and make the four-hour drive on the Autopista Nacional (six lanes, no traffic) to the charming city of Trinidad, a cobblestoned colonial gem on the island’s south coast. That’s where you’ll find Playa Ancón — possibly Cuba’s prettiest beach. A two-mile ribbon of white sand 10 minutes from the city (30 if you bike), Ancón offers diving and kayaking in crystal-blue waters, fresh-caught lobster under thatched-roof cabanas, and some truly stellar sunsets. The great thing is that when the sun goes down, you’re still in Trinidad, one of Cuba’s best cities. Try dinner at La Redacción, an inventive Cuban spot that wouldn’t feel out of place in Brooklyn or Portland, Oregon. And when you tire of the sun and sand, find time for a day hike at Topes de Collantes, a stunning nature preserve featuring the 200-foot Salto del Caburní waterfall. When you’re ready to cool off afterward, the beach will be right there. —JOSH EELLS


Playa Ancón

Sunset at Taverna Mira


THE SECRET CHIC GREEK ISLAND A M O N G T H E G R E E K I S L A N D S , Páros is something of an outlier: It’s the one that somehow managed to avoid the marauding DJ set from London, Paris, and Berlin that’s overrun nearly all its neighbors. “Nobody cares who you are here,” says restaurateur and Páros native Petros Tsounakis, raising a shot glass of his home-brewed souma, the ouzo-like concoction that’s the island’s allday spirit of choice. “At one table could be an Oscar winner; another, a model or pro


athlete. But everyone is the same barefoot.” Located about 30 miles south of Mykonos, Páros is just 75 square miles, and it basks in its refined, pretension-free charms. “We have our parties, too,” says Tsounakis. “But we aren’t Mykonos.” Páros wakes earlier than its wild-child sister, thanks largely to kitesurfers drawn by the strong winds. Kites can be seen flying offshore from dawn to sundown, giving the otherwise cosmopolitan spot a distinct surfer-chic vibe. Páros has something else other islands lack: actual beaches. Unlike its craggier neighbors, Páros is encircled by sand, and around every bend, it seems, there is a dirt road leading to a cove worthy of a movie set. As it is throughout the Aegean, the best ones are hard to find — expect to abandon your car for a daunting walk down or around a cliff. Once you’re in the water, the clarity of the sea is endless. Don’t expect to see many people as you drive the unmarked road to Laggeri, a Caribbean-worthy beach usually devoid of tourists. But do expect your rental car to get a few nicks from the thick bush along the way. “Did you find the beach?” your rental agency will ask, prompting you to nod, and then an immediate “Yes? Bravo!” will follow. Translation: “Don’t worry about the car — I am happy that you found the beach.” — A N D R I A M I T S A KO S






Photo for illustrative purposes only





Gordy Megroz is a writer based in Jackson, Wyoming.

Braun, left, and Singerman turned Blackstone Labs into a powerhouse earning more than $20 million a year.

this a mischaracterization: “We have always tried to produce nothing but cutting-edge and compliant products. As soon as we have any direction from the FDA on an issue it has not spoken on before, for better or worse, we respect its statement and adjust our products accordingly.”) Blackstone has grown by 100 percent every year since opening shop five years ago. Its sales now top $20 million annually, and it’s featured in Inc. magazine’s list of 500 fastest-growing companies. And Braun and Singerman are far from done. “I am not even fucking close to satisfied with Blackstone Labs,” Braun boasted in a video posted to Facebook last year. “I want to be the biggest company in the world.” Boca Nutrition & Smoothie Bar is their newest venture, a retail store that serves up various protein-packed shakes and sells Blackstone’s full line of supplements. The sleek space, with shelves full of oversize bottles and racks of workout gear, is like a Whole Foods for gym rats. They opened the first store seven months ago in West Boca. Today is the grand opening of their second location, and devotees have shown up for discounted supplements and to meet a handful of celebrity bodybuilders flown in for the occasion, including Kai Greene, the most famous weightlifter since Arnold Schwarzenegger. But among this crowd, Braun and Singerman are the real stars. They pose for photos and hype their cars, a Corvette and a Ferrari, both black and parked prominently out front. One of the fanboys is a 24-year-old named MEN’S JOURNAL


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Brett, who drove four hours to attend the event. “I couldn’t help but show my support for PJ and Aaron,” he says. A personal trainer from Palm Coast, Florida, Brett has used a wide variety of Blackstone products, including one called Ostapure, a supplement that contained steroid-like drugs called SARMs (selective androgen receptor modulators). The unlicensed drugs were developed by pharmaceutical giant Merck as a potential treatment for muscle wasting in cancer patients. But it was the drugs’ muscle-massbuilding properties that made them a big hit among weightlifters like Brett. Blackstone recently stopped selling Ostapure after being sued by another supplements maker hoping to clean up the industry. “The strongest product of theirs,” Brett says a bit wistfully. Inside the store, Braun shows me one of his latest creations, muscle-building pills inside a black bottle labeled BRUTAL 4CE in blocky letters that drip with blue icicles. “It’ll make you a lot stronger and more aggressive in the gym,” he says. “Let’s say you’re 35, 40 years old and your testosterone isn’t as high as it used to be. This will keep your testosterone so high that you’ll be like an 18-year-old!” When I ask Braun how, he launches into a chemistry lecture. “Your body converts it into 4-andro [a testosterone booster], so it’ll bulk you up,” he says, noting that Brutal 4ce has the side effect of creating estrogen, which could give you what bodybuilders call “bitch tits.” This can be countered, however, by taking an estrogen blocker. “Most of our


AT T H E FA R E N D O F A PA L M - L I N E D strip mall in Boca Raton, Florida, a crowd waits in line for a miracle. Roughly 300 people — mostly men, from high-school jocks to potbellied dads — know just what they’re here for: more muscle, more energy, more libido. “I want to get really vascular,” says a guy in his thirties, referencing the pipelike veins coursing beneath the skin of pro bodybuilders. He has short brown hair, hairless arms, and a T-shirt that reads, I MAY LOOK ALONE, BUT REALLY I’M JUST THAT FAR AHEAD. An older, balding man next to him says he just wants to feel younger. Working the line is a bouncy brunette pouring plastic shot glasses full of Windexblue liquid. Most of the guys grab one and toss it back, no questions asked. “It’s a preworkout,” she says, “and it’s $35 inside.” By “preworkout” she means it’s designed to give you a jolt of energy before the gym. Exactly how it does this isn’t a question anyone seems to be asking. Inside the store, Boca Nutrition & Smoothie Bar, are pills and powders that claim to do everything from boost sex drive to increase muscle mass and dissolve fat. Boca Nutrition’s owners, PJ Braun and Aaron Singerman, are greeting customers like old friends, with bear hugs and handshakes. Both men are absurdly muscular. Singerman, 36, is 6-foot-2 with slicked-back brown hair. He has a goatee and narrowrimmed glasses, and his bulky frame fills out his blue T-shirt like an overstuffed bag. Braun, 35, who has black hair gelled into short spikes, is shorter and bulkier. Stretch marks scar his arms. In addition to Boca Nutrition, the pair owns the supplements manufacturer Blackstone Labs, which they started in 2012. Since then the company has hawked tens of millions of dollars’ worth of products promising to make men stronger, bigger, last longer in the sack, and even gain a mental edge. For the most part, their over-the-counter powders do exactly what they claim to do, in part because they sometimes include compounds not approved or even banned by the FDA. It’s a legally dubious but common practice — and an easy way to make a killing while giving people the results they want. (Braun calls


customers are pretty knowledgeable,” he says, “so they know they need to do that.” As the festivities wind down, I grab a $46.99 bottle of Cobra 6 Extreme, an amped-up version of their top-selling Cobra 6, a preworkout supplement formulated with various stimulants. At the checkout, a slim guy in his twenties, part smoothie barista, part pharmacist, looks at what I’m buying and asks me if I’ve tried it before. No, I say. “So you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into?” “What do you mean?” I ask. “If you’re not used to taking a lot of stimulants, you should start with the regular Cobra 6. You might not like the way this makes you feel.” I N T H E U . S . , dietary supplements are a $38-billion-a-year industry. Sixty-five percent of men in America take one, whether to lose weight, grow hair, gain muscle, or keep an erection long into the night. There’s a wide range of products, and most veer toward opposite ends of a spectrum. On one side are the homeopathic cures and the herbal remedies like echinacea, products that may not do much of anything besides drain your bank account. On the opposite end are the products that work precisely because they rely on pharmaceutical ingredients, many not listed anywhere on the label. In 2014, for example, the FDA recalled several weight-loss supplements with names like Super Fat Burner because they contained the prescription drug sibutramine, as well as phenolphthalein, a banned laxative linked to genetic mutations — but not before a rash of hospitalizations. It’s the supplements laced with prescription drugs that are more troubling. They result in 23,000 emergency room visits every year, and more than 2,000 hospitalizations. The supplements are often sold under names like Lean FX and Stiff Nights, and the ingredients are a list of acronyms only a chemist could decipher: DMAA, 17b-hydroxy 2a, or

17b-dimethyl 5a-androstan 3-one azine. “We’re talking about experimental compounds never tested in humans,” says Dr. Pieter Cohen, a Harvard professor who published a 2015 study that found two-thirds of over-the-counter supplements contained one or more pharmaceutical adulterants, making them illegal. “The more likely it helps your workout,” Cohen says, “the more likely it’s going to adversely affect your health.” The FDA oversees the industry, but it’s woefully outmatched. For starters, it employs only around 25 people in its dietary-supplement division, which is responsible for policing thousands of companies, many of which don’t bother abiding by the few rules currently governing the market. Making matters worse is a confusing web of overlapping companies: One brand will buy its ingredients from another company, which in turn buys its raw ingredients overseas. Manufacturers are supposed to register their ingredients with the FDA, but there’s effectively no punishment if they don’t. And the murky production chain provides a layer of deniability. The FDA sends out warning letters threatening to prosecute companies selling products with pharmaceuticals, but the agency rarely acts on them. Several companies, including Blackstone, stay ahead of the FDA simply by creating new supplements with altered formulas or even launching a new company to proffer the same old ingredients. (“Blackstone continues to innovate by researching new products and new ingredients,” says Braun. “If anything, we would welcome clearer guidance from the FDA so we don’t have to discontinue any products.”) “It’s the Wild West,” says Dan Fabricant, who was the FDA’s director of the Division of Dietary Supplement Programs from 2011 to 2014. “In weight loss, sexual enhancement, and bodybuilding categories, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”


Beauty & Braun, which covers the daily lives of the couple, from gym sessions to discussions about breast implants. Until recently he also hosted a daily question-and-answer session on Periscope called “Cardio Q&A,” featuring Braun on a treadmill, chugging orange Pedialyte and answering a wide range of queries from Blackstone users. One time he doled out advice (“No matter how mature you think they are, it’s not good to settle down with a 19-year-old girl”), but usually he just hyped his products. During one appearance, Braun announced the “dick pills” Blackstone was working on weren’t coming along the way he wanted. “I’ve been working on that for a long time,” he said. “But they will eventually come out.” the Boca Nutrition opening, I visit Braun and Singerman at Blackstone HQ, an unbranded, 8,000-square-foot warehouse in Boca Raton. The office walls are covered in photos and framed bodybuilding-magazine covers, several of which feature Braun in full flex. On Singerman’s desk is a bronze statue of a seminude Adonis-like man holding a barbell. It’s a first-place trophy from the Mr. Olympia contest, which Singerman got at auction. “You hate to see that, because it means the guy who sold it was struggling financially and was forced to sell it,” Singerman says. “But I love it.” Braun and Singerman each have a long history in bodybuilding. Singerman, from New Orleans, started hitting the g ym when he was 13 and kept working out, even through a cocaine and heroin habit he picked up after dropping out of high school. At 27 he witnessed a friend overdose and die, so he got clean and doubled down at the gym. In 2005, he got a job as a personal trainer and started writing thousands of posts on bodybuilding message boards and eventually became marketing director for Ironmag Labs, a sup-



Blackstone, according to its critics, has exploited this system better than most, and exactly how it does this is a case study in how to game a failing regulatory system. For one, Braun and Singerman aren’t shy about marketing their legally ambiguous products: They often advertise the active ingredients right on the label and promote them with ads full of young women who could moonlight in beer commercials. They’re also constantly active online. Blackstone has some 25,000 Instagram followers; Braun has over 100,000. His account is littered with shirtless selfies and videos of him driving his Ferrari or pimped-out Jeep. He’s also the star of a weekly YouTube show with his wife, the former pro wrestler Celeste Bonin, titled MARCH 2017




plements company owned by businessman Robert Dimaggio, who had become notorious for selling sketchy supplements. Singerman convinced Dimaggio to bring on Braun, whom he’d met at a bodybuilding competition, as the company’s top sponsored athlete. Braun, who grew up in Connecticut, had taken to the gym in order to try to impress his absentee father. “My father wouldn’t be proud or say, ‘Good job,’ ” says Braun. “He would just say, ‘Oh, you know, there’s always somebody better. You can do better.’” Braun went to the University of Connecticut but dropped out to become a personal trainer. Then he took up professional bodybuilding. Blackstone’s genesis was in 2012, when Braun helped Singerman sell 7,000 units of

something called Super DMZ. The product contained two designer steroid-like ingredients, dymethazine and methylstenbolone, that few outside bodybuilding circles knew much about. Braun and Singerman, however, recognized that these prohormones, as they’re called, were groundbreaking at helping gym rats get ripped. Their boss, Dimaggio, had helped create Super DMZ but turned it over to Braun and Singerman to hawk. “We were able to sell those 7,000 units in five weeks,” Singerman explained in an online interview. “We gave Robert his money back and each made $75,000.” But prohormones hadn’t yet been banned, so the pair ordered more and continued selling under the name Blackstone Labs. In just 10 months they made hundreds of thousands of dollars and moved operations from a makeshift office in Braun’s townhouse into their current warehouse. “We bought more of the Super DMZ, sold it, and created a second product, third product, fourth product, fifth product, etc.,” Singerman says in the same video. By the time prohormones were finally banned, in 2014, Blackstone was up and running with a full line of supplements, from postworkout muscle builders to meal-replacement formulas. “We’ve been fortunate enough to be the hot company,” says Braun. In their office, Singerman points to a small photo of the two men leaning against brown shipping boxes piled up to their armpits. “That’s all Super DMZ,” Singerman says proudly. “This was our original shipment.” The reason Super DMZ and prohormones finally became illegal has something to do with Blackstone’s supplier. The product was being manufactured by a New York company called Mira Health Products. In 2013, at least 29 people developed varying levels of liver disease after taking a vitamin called B-50 sold by the company. After investigating, the FDA discovered B-50 and many of Mira’s other products included high levels of pro-


B A C K I N T H E I R warehouse, Braun and Singerman lead me up a f light of stairs to an open space with a long brown table and black swivel chairs. Here they’re formulating the “next best thing.” Another musclebound man, this one with a pink Mohawk and a lip ring, is scribbling symbols and numbers on a whiteboard. “This is our chemist, Bryan,” says Singerman. “We’re doing some really cool stuff with Bryan.” Bryan Moskowitz joined Blackstone in early 2015. Before that, Braun and Singerman formulated all the company’s supplements. Neither of them has any formal education, so they hired Moskowitz, who has a master’s degree in organic biochemistry from Georgia Tech and calls himself the “Guerilla Chemist.” Moskowitz counts among his role models Patrick Arnold, who’s infamous for creating three hard-to-detect steroids, two of which were distributed by BALCO, the lab linked to disgraced athletes Jose Canseco and Marion Jones — and whose founder, Victor Conte, was sentenced to four months in prison. Moskowitz looks up to Arnold enough that he even posted an Instagram photo of his and Arnold’s faces Photoshopped onto an image of Breaking Bad’s Walter White and Jesse Pinkman in hazmat suits, having just finished cooking a batch of crystal meth. Arnold is also credited with introducing the powerful stimulant DMAA to the supplements market. Eli Lilly created the drug in 1944 as a nasal decongestant but removed it from the market in 1983 because it caused headaches, tremors, and increased blood pressure. Arnold reintroduced it years later, in 2006, as a way for its users to get a jolt of energy before the gym. In one month alone, in 2013, the FDA received 70 reports of liver disease and one death caused by OxyElite Pro, a popular supplement with DMAA. In the boardroom, Braun explains that Moskowitz helped design the company’s lat-


hormones, which were not listed anywhere on the label. The FDA forced Mira to recall all those pills and officially banned prohormones, including the ones in Super DMZ — which Blackstone listed on the bottle. None of that stopped Blackstone from continuing to sell them. In fact, at nearly the same time, the company released a new product called Metha-Quad Extreme, which contained prohormones. It wasn’t until September 2014 that Blackstone stopped selling prohormones altogether to abide by FDA regulations. “We lost 30 percent of our total revenue,” Singerman says. “But the following month we went back up, because the truth is that people always want the next best thing.”


est product, Brutal 4ce. The steroid that powers it, DHEA, is banned or prescription-only in just about every country except the United States. When I ask Oliver Catlin, the president of the Anti-Doping Sciences Institute and the Banned Substances Control Group, why it’s still legal, he simply says, “I don’t know. Ask Orrin Hatch.” Orrin Hatch is the powerful seven-term senator from Utah who pushed through a 1994 law in Congress called the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). The bill defines what a dietary supplement is: a vitamin, mineral, herb, or amino acid (basically, anything found in nature). And while it explicitly states that it can’t be a MEN’S JOURNAL


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drug, the law also prevents the government from prescreening and preapproving supplements. So supplements don’t require FDA approval the way, say, a cancer drug might, even though they may have the same active ingredient. Utah is one of the major producers of supplements. In fact, it is the state’s third-largest industry, earning $10 billion per year. Back when the law was written, the industry was mostly homeopathic products, but it has since boomed, and the law created cover for aggressive manufacturers willing to flaunt the regulations. Also written into DSHEA are a series of loopholes that allow steroids sold prior to the law’s passing to be grandfathered in, like the DHEA in Blackstone’s Brutal 4ce — even though it’ll get you banned by nearly every sporting league on the planet, including MLB, the NFL, and the NCAA. “That’s one of those things,” says Singerman about sports testing. “When a high school athlete asks if it’s OK to take [Blackstone’s] Dust V2, I go, ‘No, probably not.’” Braun and Singerman are similarly unfazed about SARMs, the unapproved cancer drugs in Ostapure. “If you look at the actual literature,” says Singerman, “it’s all positive. I’ve used it plenty of times, and I like putting out products that I actually use.” When I ask them whether they’re worried about the potential side effects of their products, Singerman is quick with a scripted answer. “We go through the available literature and studies,” he says. But when I press him, his next response seems more honest. “I am a libertarian,” Singerman says. “I believe that it’s the person’s decision. As long as they’re an adult.” But they have no way of knowing how different people might react. “One person could be fine, and another person could have a heart attack,” says Dr. Armand Dorian, an ER physician in Los Angeles who often treats patients injured by dietary supplements. “It’s rolling the dice.” Take Jesse Woods. In 2009, the 28-yearold went online and ordered a bottle of M-Drol pills from a Texas-based company called TFSupplements. Woods, who weighed 150 pounds, was looking to add muscle. “I’m a small-framed guy,” he says, “so I was trying to bulk up.” He did. In just four weeks, he’d packed on 20 pounds of muscle. “I got big for a minute,” he says. “Then I got sick.” Five weeks into taking M-Drol, Woods left work early because his stomach was bothering him. When his wife came home, she noticed his eyes were yellow. “I’m taking you to the emergency room,” she said. Doctors performed a battery of tests, ultimately determining that Woods was experiencing liver failure. What Woods didn’t know is that M-Drol contained the steroid-like prohormone Superdrol. Woods spent 32 days in the hospital. He threw up nearly every meal he ate, lost 30 pounds, and developed a pungent odor, a common side effect of liver disease. “I never felt old until after that,” says Woods, who’s

How easy is it to create your own illegal, dangerous preworkout juice? We had an anti-doping expert give us a sure-toget-you-ripped recipe, then we went shopping to find out. It took only a few emails with a Chinese lab to purchase the illegal stimulant DMAA. The rest we picked up at a few name-brand grocery and supplement stores on a two-hour shopping spree. Drinker beware.


—Keith Bearden


now 35. “Now I feel sluggish. I just feel like I aged. My liver has scar tissue on it. Doctors can’t say how long I’ll live.” When he was released from the hospital, Woods sued both TFSupplements and its supplier, Competitive Edge Labs, settling for an undisclosed amount. But the lawsuit didn’t stop companies from selling Superdrol. Blackstone has yet to be sued by any of its customers, and the FDA has generally left the company alone. “We haven’t really had problems with the FDA,” says Braun. But that may be simply because the agency is backlogged. It’s also far more effective to go after the companies supplying the illegal ingredients than the ones marketing the final product. It’s the former that are dealing with the overseas suppliers that produce the untested or illegal drugs. Singerman admits to purchasing Chinese ingredients but says it’s something that’s taken care of by the plants that manufacture Blackstone’s products. I ask him who they are. “Well, Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals is one.” H I -T E C H P H A R M A C E U T I C A L S I S the best example of a duplicitous company thriving in a broken system. Its founder, Jared Wheat, has a history of hawking high-demand substances. In the early ’90s, he ran a high school ecstasy ring in Alabama and served 32 months in prison for it. He started Hi-Tech in 1998, and by 2003 the FDA had already warned the company about its dietary supplements, some of which contained an unlicensed drug similar to the one used in Cialis. But that didn’t stop Wheat. By 2005 he was selling supplements that contained the banned stimulant ephedra. In early 2006 government officials raided his offices and

seized 200 cases of supplements valued at $3 million, and in 2008 Wheat pleaded guilty to selling adulterated supplements and committing mail and wire fraud. He was sentenced to 50 months in prison, but he continued to operate Hi-Tech from his cell. When I ask Pieter Cohen how Hi-Tech continues to conduct business in such a manner, he says that allowing any company to regularly sell synthetic ingredients as supplements is due to a major failure on the part of the government. “They’re not doing their job,” he says. For their part, Braun and Singerman maintain that everything in their supplements appears right on the label. To test that claim, I sent the Cobra 6 Extreme I purchased at Boca Nutrition to Oliver Catlin’s Banned Substances Control Group. When I received the test results, it turns out Braun is right: The product is now devoid of the banned DMBA, a stimulant very similar to DMAA, that powered it. “So is it safe to take?” I ask. “Not necessarily,” says Catlin. The readings revealed a powerful mix of new stimulants. That could be due to a combination of the ingredients listed on the label — a formula that includes caffeine and theobromine (an alkaloid of the cacao plant that can be deadly in large doses). “Or it could be something else,” he says. “We target drugs we are concerned about, like DMBA, when we screen products like these. But sometimes there are new, unknown compounds present that we can’t see.” visit to Blackstone Labs, and after four years of working together, Braun and Singerman are at war. SingerSOON AFTER MY

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STIMULANTS 1. DMAA, 50mg SIDE EFFECTS Increased blood pressure, cerebral hemorrhage, heart attack, stroke. 2. Powdered Caffeine, 300mg SIDE EFFECTS Anxiety, sleep disruption, overdose. 3. Yohimbe, 300mg SIDE EFFECTS Stomach upset, tremor, anxiety, high blood pressure, dizziness. 4. Vitamin B12 SIDE EFFECTS None. AMINO ACIDS 1. Beta-Alanine, 4g A nonessential element that helps buffer acid in muscles. SIDE EFFECTS Tingling in body when taken in large doses.

2. L-Citrulline, 3g An amino acid that draws water into muscles, increasing volume. SIDE EFFECTS Headaches, but generally regarded as safe. 3. Creatine, 4g A natural body chemical thought to improve muscle function in the short term. SIDE EFFECTS Muscle cramping, nausea, diarrhea. 4. Silica, 700mg Boosts nitrous oxide in the body and is a possible bone strengthener. SIDE EFFECTS Can lead to dehydration without water intake. FILLERS Niacin and Sugar-Free Flavor.

man leaves Blackstone to pursue other projects. “But he still owns half the company,” Braun explains, insinuating that the split is amicable. But the tone of their relationship quickly changes. “When the companies first split, I hoped we’d be friends again,” Braun says during one of his online Q&A sessions. “But he did too many things.” Braun has since divested himself of Boca Nutrition, and Singerman has gone on to start a supplements company called RedCon 1. He is also rebranding another, Prime Nutrition, with none other than Hi-Tech’s Jared Wheat, who was released from prison in 2011. Braun has taken over day-to-day control of Blackstone, and despite the schism, the company is thriving. Blackstone has moved into a much larger, 14,000-square-foot space, and Braun has introduced several new products, including a long-awaited libido booster called Entice. But the most surprising of his new releases is Dust Extreme, a preworkout supplement with DMAA, the infamous, banned stimulant popularized by chemist Patrick Arnold. It’s a curious decision to sell the illegal ingredient, but Braun justifies it in a long video on Facebook. “I believe that people should be allowed to take what they want to take,” he says. “Are you completely safe if you have health conditions? No. If your blood pressure is high, should you be taking a product like this? Probably not. But these are things you should look at yourself. I believe we should all have the choice to put what we want in our body. You can go and buy cigarettes at any fucking gas station and they’re guaranteed to kill you. You will die. So how dare the FDA come in and take away ingredients from us that give us awesome workouts?” MJ



O N E M O R N I N G IN Octo-


ber 2016, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman was in a Red Lion Hotel conference room in Sacramento, California, preparing to speak to a group of st ate t roopers about what it’s like to kill. Grossman, 60, is a former West Point psychology professor who’s spent much of his career studying killology — his term for the psychology of taking a life. Among the military and law enforcement, he’s a revered figure. His first book, On Killing, is part of the curriculum at the FBI academy and on the Marine Corps Commandant’s Professional Reading List. Its follow-up, On Combat, is probably best known for his assertion that people can be divided into three groups — sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs — and it’s the sheepdogs, “blessed with the gift of aggression,” who

Contributing editor Josh Eells wrote about Liam Neeson in the January/ February issue.

Grossman speaks to law enforcement at a prayer breakfast in San Diego.

We’re trained to protect and serve. We don’t train to just kill people.” In the aftermath of the shooting, Greg leaned heavily on Grossman’s On Combat. “It really helped him understand his mental state and how to deal with the anxiety he was going through,” Andra said. “Had he not read the book, he would have thought something wa s t r u ly w rong w it h him.” “God bless you,” Grossman said, putting a hand on her shoulder. Andra gave him a hug. “Thank you for everything you do.” In America’s current debate over policing, many observers have expressed concerns about the “militarization” of cops — their evolution from a traditional, defensive “guardian” model to an aggressive, “warrior”-style one. Grossman is not one of them. With increased dangers at home and the Posse Comitatus Act preventing the military from operating on U.S. soil, he says, cops need to act more like soldiers. “We are at war,” Grossman likes to tell the people he trains. “And our cops are the frontline troops in that war. You are the Delta Force. You are the Green Berets. It’s your job to put a piece of steel in your fist and kill those sons of bitches when they come to kill our kids.” “Cops fight violence,” Grossman often says. “What do they fight it with? Superior violence. Righteous violence.” At a time when a growing number of police officials believe cops should be less eager to embrace the use of force, Grossman is teaching the opposite. Which prompts a few questions: Is an expert in “killology” the best person to be training domestic police right now? How MEN’S JOURNAL


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A West Point cadet with Grossman’s 1996 book, On Killing

did Grossman become so sought-after in the first place? And if our cops are really at war, as he believes, then whom, exactly, are they at war with? vaulted onto the Red Lion stage. He wore his standard uniform: black long-sleeved button-down; Levi’s with ink-stained pockets (due to the permanent markers he keeps stuffed in them when he teaches). His high-andtight haircut was combed just right, and he prowled the stage with a marksman’s squint. Grossman tailors his classes to his audience, so today’s — which he calls “Bulletproof Mind” — would focus largely on threats to law enforcement. He spent the first few hours laying out a frighteningly dark vision of the world, from elementaryschool massacres in Israel and schoolgirl beheadings in Indonesia to our own tragedies in Orlando and San Bernardino, California. He warned of potential threats everywhere: a nuclear bomb in a boat off the coast of San Diego, Ebola-infected

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are responsible for protecting the sheep from the wolves. The analogy has been adopted by various military and gun-rights groups; in Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, the father of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle gives a (fictional) dinner-table speech about sheepdogs taken directly from Grossman’s writings. Much of Grossman’s work draws on his study of killing in combat — specifically, the psychological and physiological effects a person experiences upon taking a life. Since retiring from the Army 19 years ago, he has worked with hundreds of agencies, including the FBI, the DEA, ATF, the Secret Service, the Diplomatic Security Service, the U.S. Marshals, and U.S. Special Forces. But these days Grossman’s real bread and butter is local police. Over the past two years, he has spoken to more than 100 departments around the country. There’s probably no one in America who trains more cops; there’s almost certainly no one who trains cops who is better known. The Sacramento event was for the California Highway Patrol, part of an annual three-day conference for “peer-support” officers, who help others after traumatic events such as shootings and mass casualties. “There are some big challenges facing law enforcement,” CHP Capt. John Arrabit said. “There’s a lot of negative press. Dave reminds us that the vast majority of the public supports law enforcement personnel. His message is: ‘What you’re doing is making a difference. It’s noble and vital. Be proud of who you are and what you do.’” There were 200 or so CHP employees in attendance, from undercover investigators with grizzled, meth-dealer beards to sweetlooking dispatchers who might never hold a weapon. As they sipped free Starbucks and waited for the day to start, dozens lined up to get books signed by Grossman, who sat at a table offering merch for sale, including a children’s book ($15) and a SheepDogbranded knife ($240). Between autographs, Grossman introduced me to a trooper named Andra Eddy. Andra’s husband, Greg, is also a trooper, assigned to a canine unit in the Bay Area. In the fall of 2012, Greg took Grossman’s class, and a few months later, he and a partner shot and killed a suspected car thief who’d aimed a gun at them. “The guy was loaded, one in the chamber, pointed at my husband — the whole nine yards,” Andra said. “Had things not lined up properly, he would have died.” Greg, his wife told me, had spent eight years in the Army before joining the CHP and served in the Balkans in the mid-’90s. “He was deployed to really shitty circumstances, and he killed quite a few people,” she said.’ “But this was totally different. In the military you’re trained to do whatever you have to do to protect the United States. Here we are not trained to do that.

“suicide bio-bombers” sneaking across the Mexican border. He spent more than 10 minutes on the Beslan school massacre, a 2004 Russian terror attack in which more than 330 innocents were killed, 189 of them children. “They believe 49 terrorists were neutralized . . . and 12 escaped,” Grossman said. “You can make a very good argument that they will be the cell leaders for an attack on America.” Next came the internal threats, specifically in America’s urban centers. “The level of day-to-day violence in our cities has never been a fraction of what it is today,” he said. And then he turned to what he describes as an even more urgent crisis: the so-called war on cops. “The number of cops murdered in the line of duty has skyrocketed,” he told the troopers. “The systematic murder, ambush, and execution of cops has become the norm.” He blamed “cop-haters” like civil-rights protestors and the news media, as well as “sick” TV shows such as Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy for breeding “a generation of gangbangers who sincerely believe cops are the bad guys.” Grossman, it must be said, has a penchant for hyperbolic sound bites and stats that don’t quite stand up to fact-checking. That Russian terror attack? According to the Russian government’s official report, there were 32 terrorists, of whom 31 were killed and one was captured. The exploding murder rate? According to the FBI, the number of homicides did indeed rise dramatically in a handful of cities in 2015 — but nationwide it’s still roughly half of what it was for much of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Violent crime is also historically low. As for the systematic murder of police, according to the FBI, 2015 was one of the safer years for cops in recent memory, with 41 officers “feloniously killed” in the line of duty — under the 10-year average of 48.8 and well below the 35-year average of 64. The 2016 numbers, which won’t be released until later this year, will almost certainly show an increase — in part because of ambush attacks on cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana — but the total will still be in line with the statistical norm. Seth Stoughton, a professor of criminal law at the University of South Carolina, acknowledges that targeted assassinations of police officers, such as those that happened in Texas and Louisiana, have increased. “But the increase isn’t huge in terms of pure numbers — it’s like from five to 10,” Stoughton said. “In a population of more than 300 million, with more than 700,000 state and local officers, that doesn’t look like a war to me. It looks troubling. It looks scary. But let’s not blow it out of proportion.” Yet Grossman sees those ambushes as a chilling sign of things to come. “When you hear about the f irst American cop being beheaded,” he told the CHP, “say, ‘Grossman said that was coming.’” Stoughton, who spent five years as an

officer with the Tallahassee Police Department, calls the emphasis on threats and fear in police training “scaremongering.” “The idea that the world is under siege from the forces of evil and you are the only thing standing in the way — that’s an awfully attractive message, and it makes an audience feel good,” he said. “But it also happens to be bullshit, and potentially destructive bullshit. It increases the risks that officers and civilians face.” Filmmaker Craig Atkinson agrees. Atkinson is the director of Do Not Resist, a new documentary about police militarization. He spent three years filming 18 differ-

“Cops fight violence. What do they fight it with? Superior violence. Righteous violence.”

ent departments, going on ride-alongs and SWAT raids, where he often heard Grossman’s name. “He was always billed to us as one of the number one trainers in all of law enforcement,” Atkinson said. Then he filmed one of Grossman’s workshops. “We were absolutely shocked to hear the messaging of violence going out,” he said. Atkinson also questioned Grossman’s use of data. “A lot of police officers aren’t coming from a scientific background,” he said. “So when Grossman — a professor — presents something as fact, they take it as fact. But when you really drill down into any of it, it’s basically a small bit of reality blown up to justify his thinking. He’s cherry-picking ideas to illustrate his point.” After a lunch break, Grossman spent the second half of the day on coping strategies, in the unfortunate event that the troopers were someday forced to “embrace a dirty word: kill.” He spoke about phenomena they might experience in a gunfight, such as “auditory exclusion,” in which they don’t hear their own gunshots, and the urge to MARCH 2017



defecate — what Grossman calls “taking a battle crap.” There were more dangerous physical side-effects, too, such as the loss of complex motor skills, and the possibility of seeing things that aren’t there. Grossman also provided tools for staying calm in an emergency, such as drinking a sip of water or taking deep breaths. The troopers listened intently, many nodding their heads in agreement. In some ways it’s helpful to think of Grossman not so much as a professor but as a motivational speaker. He dispenses lots of facts and figures, perhaps not all of them accurate, but mostly he is paid to encourage cops to feel good about what they do. “You man the ramparts of civilization at a desperate and violent time,” he told the CHP. In an age when many police feel criticized and underappreciated, Grossman provides some welcome moral support. As it neared 5 PM, Grossman f inished the day by reminding the officers of their fundamental mission. “Our goal is never to kill,” he said. “Our goal is to save lives. Our strength comes from that. Our purity comes from that.” At the same time, he countered, they shouldn’t err too far in the other direction. Not pulling the trigger when you’re legally justified, he said, could be just as bad as shooting when you’re not: “Fail to take action when you should — what do they call that? Cowardice. Negligence. Dereliction of duty.” “Don’t be afraid of getting sued — it’s just a chance for overtime,” he said. “Be afraid of getting successfully sued.” Grossman and I went for dinner at a nearby sports bar, where he told me about his life. He lives with his wife, Jeanne — his high school sweetheart — and their two dogs in a small town outside St. Louis, Missouri (as it happens, 45 minutes from Ferguson). He spends almost 300 days a year on the road, usually coming home one night a week for what he jokingly calls “a conjugal visit and clean underwear” before heading out again. His oldest son, Jon, runs a family-owned gunsmithing company; his youngest, Joe, helps manage the speaking business. His middle son, Eric, is an Air Force combat controller with nine combat tours and three Bronze Stars. “The military was all I ever wanted to do,” Grossman said between sips of beer. The son of a cop from Cheyenne, Wyoming, he left school at 17 to work in the Nebraska oil fields and enlisted in the Army a year later. He graduated from Ranger School in 1978 and became an infantry platoon leader, eventually working his way up to company commander with the 7th (Light) Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California. But he never had the opportunity to serve in a Ranger regiment, and though he literally wrote the book on combat, he never got to see action himself. The first Gulf War started just after he arrived at West Point. Grossman had 14 years in the Army A F T E R H I S TA L K ,

when he applied to teach at West Point and got selected to teach psychology. He’d never had any training in psychology: “What West Point does is it selects people as professors, then sends them to grad school en route,” he explained. “I would have studied underwater basket weaving if it got me to West Point.” He earned his master’s in education psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and spent a year interning as a counselor at a local middle school. He taught at West Point from 1990 to 1993; the rest of his professorial experience came at Arkansas State, where he spent four years teaching military science and overseeing the ROTC program. It was at Arkansas State that Grossman published On Killing, in 1995, to much acclaim. The Washington Post called it “an illuminating account of how soldiers learn to kill and how they live with the experience of having killed”; the New York Times called it “powerfully argued” and “full of arresting observations and insights.” The book even made fans in Hollywood: While promoting his World War II movie Fury a few years back, Brad Pitt told an interviewer, “If you want to better understand the accumulative psychic trauma incurred by our soldiers, read On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman.” Though Grossman calls himself a behavioral scientist, he is not a researcher in the traditional academic sense. He wrote On Combat, a study on how soldiers and police off icers cope with the stress associated with deadly conf lict, using what he calls an “interactive feedback loop” — gathering stories from combat veterans, then presenting the information to people he trains. He’s more of a Malcolm Gladwell type, compiling anecdotes and fashioning them into a digestible narrative. As his chief qualifications, Grossman cites the “body of information I’ve crafted over the years” and his ability to “speak from the heart.” “I truly am one of the best people on the planet in a couple of areas,” he told me. “Whether it’s preparation for a life-or-death event or walking the sheepdog path, I really feel like I’m the preeminent authority.” Since leaving the Army, Grossman frequently introduces himself as a reserve cop. (He’s a reserve deputy coroner for St. Clair County, Illinois.) “I think a lot more like a cop today than I do like a soldier,” he said. As such, he tends to take a ref lexive stance against anyone he sees as harming cops. He likens protest groups such as the Black Lives Matter movement to “treason” and says “it has blood on its hands” for emboldening killers of police. He calls the media “dirtbags” and “bastards” for their coverage of Ferguson, and he accuses the Obama administration and other politicians of “pandering” to the police-reform movement. He also cites the so-called Ferguson effect — the hypothesis that cops aren’t doing their jobs for fear of being prosecuted


Grossman has struck a chord with his idea that people can be divided into three groups — sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. Here’s how he breaks it down in his 2004 book, On Combat.

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: “Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident... • “Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.” • Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial. • “Then there are sheepdogs,” he went on, “and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.” • If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

or sued — for what he sees as the surging homicide rate. “The mayor of Chicago said cops are in the fetal position — well, you put ’em there,” Grossman said. “That’s the price we pay for cutting the legs off our cops.” In his famous sheepdog essay, Grossman talked about how sheepdogs can sometimes accidentally scare the sheep. The sheepdog “looks a lot like the wolf,” he wrote. “He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot, and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.” The system, in other words, depends on zero tolerance and accountability. Which, it could be argued, is exactly what’s missing nearly every time a cop kills an innocent citizen without repercussions. In 2015, 991 people were fatally shot by police officers, according to the Washington Post; 94 of them were unarmed. Yet only 18 officers were charged in fatal on-duty shootings. Of all the recent high-profile police killings, Grossman sees almost none that he believes were unjustified. Take Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died after an illegal choke hold from the NYPD and whose last words were “I can’t breathe.” “If you can talk, you can breathe,” Grossman said. “The guy had a heart condition. The lesson is, don’t fight cops when you have a heart condition.” Or take Tamir Rice, the 12-yearold Cleveland boy who was fatally shot in a park while playing with a toy Airsoft gun. “If you had a gun pointed at you...” Grossman says, sympathizing with the cop — who, for the record, did not have a gun pointed at MEN’S JOURNAL


MARCH 2017

him. “That one’s borderline. I’m not giving you that one.” When it comes to improving policing, Grossman strongly disagrees with prevailing theories, such as that cops who shoot unarmed black citizens may be falling prey to “implicit bias.” “I don’t think there’s much of that,” he said. “The far greater bias in our society today is a bias against cops. In 10,000 TV shows and 500 movies, black people are almost never the bad guys. Name me one cop movie in the last 30 years that didn’t have a bad cop.” Grossman does admit there’s one area of law enforcement that could be improved. “When people tell you law enforcement is broken, they’re right,” he said. “And what’s broken is sleep.” He believes when cops shoot wrongly, it’s not because they’re biased or scared or in need of better training. It’s because they’re physically and mentally exhausted. Long shifts and overtime lead to tired cops, and sleep deprivation, he said, “is the number one predictor of judgment errors, ethical problems, and use-offorce problems. If I could change one thing in the world right now to make law enforcement better,” Grossman added, “it would be mandating sleep.” Frankly, I’m a little surprised by this. Grossman has spent two decades training law enforcement personnel and has published four books on the psychology of killing. Surely he has more insight into police shootings than this. But over and over again, in several conversations, he returned to this answer. “In every case I’ve been able to look at, we keep coming back to sleep deprivation,” Grossman said. “This

is a moment that’s ripe for change — and if you want to make a difference right now, the place to aim for is sleep.” G R O S S M A N A L S O H A S written extensively about video games and the role they play in contributing to mass shootings. In his new book, Assassination Generation, he argues that first-person games like Grand Theft Auto — which he calls “a cop-killing murder simulator” — have trained millions of American children to be ruthless killers. “We have raised the most vicious generation the world has ever seen,” Grossman said in his lecture to the CHP. “Thousands of Americans see video of ISIS cutting heads off and say, ‘I want a piece of that.’ ” Assassination Generation revisits ground Grossman originally covered in his 1998 book Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill, in which he first laid out his ideas about media violence. Many of his claims were litigated 18 years ago, when America had this debate in the wake of Columbine. But Grossman is more adamant than ever. At one point he writes that experts who deny the link between video games and adolescent violence will someday “be viewed as the moral equivalent of Holocaust deniers.” Near the end of the book, Grossman highlights some practical steps parents can take to battle video-game-inspired violence: more sleep, less screen time, more family meals, more time in nature. But nowhere in his list of solutions does he mention the word guns. One anecdote is particularly telling: Grossman writes about a 16-year-old in Cleveland whose parents took away his copy of Halo 3 because they thought it was too violent. His father locked the game in a lockbox, which also held a 9mm handgun. The boy stole the key, took the game and the gun, and shot both his parents in the head. Grossman blames video games for the murder; he says nothing about the pistol. Grossman grew up around guns and nowadays fully embraces gun rights. He’s a popular speaker on the NRA circuit and last year spoke at the organization’s national meeting: “All three days. Standing-room only every day.” A big proponent of the goodguy-with-a-gun theory of crime prevention, he calls the right to concealed carry “the greatest grassroots issue of our time” and says its implementation is a matter of urgent national security. He wants America to have more gun owners, with effective background checks and rigorous training. He’d also like to see some kind of mandatory national service, as in Switzerland or Israel. “I want us to be a nation of marksmen,” Grossman said. “As long as we’re an armed nation, we’ll be a free nation. Israel has found the only possible answer: armed people everywhere.”

Grossman was at Wild Card West, a boxing gym in Santa Monica. The gym’s co-owner, the movie direc-


tor Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day), was trying to start a new guest-speaker series — his version of TED Talks — and Grossman was his f irst speaker. A few dozen guests mingled around the boxing ring, sipping beer and wine and nibbling on catered hors d’oeuvres. Berg’s frequent collaborator Mark Wahlberg was there, in a Red Sox cap and a T-shirt that showed off his biceps, as was Berg’s agent, Ari Emanuel — the brother of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and one of Hollywood’s most powerful executives. Berg climbed into the ring and told the

In 2015, 991 people were fatally shot by police, while 41 cops were “feloniously killed” in the line of duty.

crowd about how he f irst came across Grossman’s writing. While preparing to shoot Lone Survivor, he’d embedded with a SEAL team in Iraq, and all the SEALs had copies of Grossman’s books. (Standing in the back, several large, bearded men nodded in agreement.) Then Berg introduced Grossman, whom he mistakenly referred to as “Dr.” “Thanks, folks,” Grossman said to applause. “One thing right up front — appreciate the intro, Pete, but I’m not a doctor, I always try to correct that. Reasonable assumption.” For the next hour or so, Grossman delivered an abridged version of his lecture, touching such greatest hits as “Israeli school massacres,” “you are the frontline troops,” “left-wing blogs,” and, of course, “sheepdogs.” He cited one of his favorite statistics — that 15 percent of divorces are caused by video games — and the crowd laughed before realizing he wasn’t joking. “Google it,” Grossman said. “ ‘Video games, MARCH 2017



divorce’ — it comes right up.” After finishing he said he’d take a few questions, which he normally does not do. “We’ll see how it goes,” he said uncertainly. The second question came from Ari Emanuel. “Since we’re in the political season right now,” he asked, “I was wondering what your opinion is on gun control.” Grossman nodded. It was clear he didn’t know who Emanuel was. “Folks, I’m a behavioral scientist,” he began. “I try to stick with the science. I’ve got a lot of conservative friends who are global-warming skeptics, and it’s embarrassing. What you’ve got is called confirmation bias. The data is overwhelming. They see one study that shows some doubt, they twist the data, they twist the application. But when it comes to the gun issue, it’s almost the other way around. I’ve got left-wing antigun people, and it’s kind of embarrassing.” He went on to say that more than 90 percent of cops favor gun rights, and that 42 states had instituted loose concealed-carry laws, “and every time, crime is down.” But this crowd was somewhat more skeptical than Grossman’s usual audience. “There is research,” Emanuel countered. “In countries that don’t have guns, there is less violence, less murders. . . .” “The seven most violent nations on the planet are all in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Grossman said, “and every one of them has those gun laws.” “But you could make the other side of that argument, too,” argued Emanuel. “We can go to Israel. They don’t permit guns — only the military.” “Oh, no.” Grossman shook his head. “That’s not accurate.” “That is accurate,” said Emanuel. Grossman chuckled sarcastically. “Yeah. Do some research on that one.” “I have,” Emanuel said. Another man raised his hand. “Where can I find the studies on those 42 states?” “The 42 states?” said Grossman. “The NRA — I think there’s some good info there.” Berg stepped in. “Why don’t we take two more. . . .” Grossman answered two more questions, one about veteran suicide (his solution: more sleep) and one from a woman asking advice about being married to a sheepdog. Emanuel cut out early, raising a skeptical eyebrow at Berg as he left. Grossman wrapped up to applause, and the audience stood to leave. At some point in the evening, two uniformed cops from Santa Monica PD had drifted in. They were young, probably midto late twenties, one white, one Hispanic. They watched Grossman’s talk from the door, hanging back as if not to intrude. After Grossman worked his way to the lobby, shaking hands and saying thank-yous, he set up a table to autograph some books. The two cops were the first in line. MJ

G E A R L A B Ditch the Pavement


Tired of running the same carclogged roads? Hitting the trails lets you commune with nature while adding juice to your daily jog. But unpredictable weather and terrain mean you’ll need versatile new gear.


We love trail running because it gives us a little peace and a chance to enjoy the beauty of the woods. Well, it turns out that trail running can make you a better runner, too. “Your body is forced to learn how to stabilize itself, enhance balance, and quickly change on the fly,” says Steve Magness, running coach and author of The Science of Running. But the key to switching from road to trail successfully is the right kit — including shades to protect your eyes from sun and debris, and a watch that can guide you home.








MARCH 2017

p h o t o g r a p h by E M B RY R U C K E R


1 I The Protective Lid Lose the visor or that camo Tough Mudder headband and replace it with a GoCap from Montreal-based Ciele Athletics. The five-panel cap is made of a powerful wicking fabric, has UPF 40 sun protection, and brings a touch of streetwear to the trail. We especially like the way the flashy colors stand out in a crowd and the pliable brim that always bounces back after we stuff it in our race bag. $40;

2 I The Barely-There Jacket The freakishly light Patagonia Airshed Pullover weighs just four ounces, so you’ll hardly notice it over a base layer. What you will notice is the extra warmth and weather protection that the DWR-coated, stretchy soft-shell fabric provides when you’re cruising along a ridgeline or bombing down a fire road. On sweaty technical ascents, we packed the Airshed into its pocket and attached it with the carabiner clip-in loop to our shorts. $119;

3 I The Navigating Watch Designed for multisport athletes, the Suunto Spartan Ultra tracks barometric altitude, has GPS route navigation, and offers sportspecific metrics for trail running. Heading to a new city on business? Connect to Suunto’s Movescount online platform for local trail info that you can download to the watch. $749;

4 I The WeatherRepelling Shorts Without a liner, the Adidas Outdoor

TIPS TO TA C K L E TRAILS Professional ultramarathoner Dylan Bowman explains how a road warrior gets ready for the woods.

Trail Taming Gear

Terrex Agravic Shorts are a perfect layer over tights. The fabric is light and fast-drying, a bonus when those unexpected clouds roll in. A zippered rear pocket is ideal for stashing keys and an ID. And the stretchy waist stays tight without confining — the shorts never budged when we had to make a few unplanned leaps over fallen trees. $109;

Roka Kona The Kona looks Hollywood but is packed with features that perform on the trail: an ultralight and durable nylon frame, everythingproof Zeiss lenses, resilient spring hinges, and sticky Geko pads to keep them in place when you sweat. $190;

Osprey Duro 1.5 With a 1. 5-liter reservoir, two chest pockets for soft flasks, and multiple nooks for gels and snacks, the Duro is ideal for a run far from civilization. We love the trim silhouette, which allows you to snake tight singletrack without catching branches. $90;

5 I The Leg Warmers Forget everything you think you know about capri pants: The stitchless North Face Flight Series Warp Capris provide support with no restrictive feeling, thanks to a warp-knit fabric with strategically placed venting. We like that they offer protection on narrow trails with sharp brush without sacrificing ventilation; if things really heat up, we just fold them up over the knee. $120;

On Cloudventure Designed for the Alps, this shoe deflects mud nicely, owing to a uniquely designed tread that closes on impact with the ground. The artfully constructed dual-layer upper offers comfortable support and is great for wider feet. $150;

6 I The Ultimate Pair of Socks Smartwool’s newest innovation — also found in a custom mountaineering sock for Conrad Anker — is a layering of merino, nylon, and elastane. In the PhD Run Ultra Light Logo Crew, it creates a super-durable, comfortable, and breathable sock. The new colors look good, too. $20;

Tracksmith Mission Top Loader Bag This retro-style bag has a separate pocket for your dirty shoes and tons of space inside for gear. Plus, the waxed canvas and leather bottom can handle being stashed in the bushes at the trailhead. $168;

7 I The Sturdy, Lightweight Shoe

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra

Hoka One One dialed back its thick insole for the Speed Instinct. But even with a more traditional profile, this shoe still packs in the cushioning via materials that balance absorption and bounce. The multidirectional lugs are shallow enough to go from road to trail. $130;

GET VERTICAL “The biggest challenge for runners transitioning from roads to trails is becoming accustomed to hillier terrain. Most trail races have a lot more vertical gain and loss than races on the road. This requires different muscle groups, which take time to develop. The best thing to do is run hillier routes a few times per week. If it’s flat where you live, seek out a treadmill and do workouts on an incline.”

More plush than previous versions, the new Sense has the same firm midsole as the shoe that won many 100-milers, so you know it’s terrific for long distances. It has added traction for both wet and dry surfaces. $180;

BUY NEW SHOES “Though they’re often similar, trail shoes and road shoes serve different purposes. Runners transitioning from the road will probably notice a need for more foot protection due to rocks, roots, and other hazards. Trail shoes are usually made with a more durable, rubberized outsole and often feature rock-plate technology to provide better grip and prevent foot injury. I find that road shoes tend to break down more quickly.”

MARCH 2017



READ A MAP “Learn to read maps and get comfortable with navigation. Trail running can take you to some amazing but unfamiliar places. It’s important to have a resource in case you get turned around. Often there are unmarked intersections on remote trails and it’s hard to know where to go. The best thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the route the day before and then bring a small map with you on the run.”


1 I BioLite Base Lantern XL


All-Star Power Plays

A 500-lumen LED lights up a campsite for up to 78 hours, and two USB ports provide juice for that phone or speaker you can’t leave at home. $130;

Portable highcapacity batteries mean there’s no excuse for getting stuck with a dead device. Here are the best ways to stay juiced — no matter where you roam. by JESSE WILL


2 IGoal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium In lieu of a gas-powered generator that stinks and chugs along annoyingly, the silent Yeti 1400 is a 46-pound lithium-ion unit capable of firing up a flatscreen TV or even a fridge. $1,999;

To maintain the health of a battery, make sure it has some charge before storing it for an extended period of time.

6 3






3 I Mophie Power Capsule

4 I ChargeTech Portable Outlet

5 I Cobra JumPack XL

6 I Anker PowerCore Speed 10000 QC

Bluetooth earbuds have eliminated wires, but they’ve added a power dependency. This clamshell case has a built-in battery that recharges headphones on the go. $40;

Off the grid? Plug any device directly into the ChargeTech’s standard three-prong outlet, and the 27,000 mAh battery will run it for up to three times its regular charge. $185;

You don’t want to rely on a stranger appearing with cables: The JumPack fits in a glove box and stores enough power (for three months) to jump a car three times. $150;

Supersmall and superfast, the PowerCore fully restored our iPhone 7 three times. And its charging time for most phones nearly rivals plugging in at home. $36;



MARCH 2017

p h o t o g r a p h by S H A N A N OVA K




Master the Everyday Carry Packing right is essential, but you’re nowhere without the right bag. These smartly designed backpacks make it easy to lug what you need.



Thule Subterra 23L

Peak Design Everyday 20L

Here’s a bag born to minimize headaches at the airport, thanks to ultralogical organization cues like a pocket for your phone and tablet charger that helps fight first-class cord tangle. We used the bag’s pass-through pocket to attach it to the extended handle of a wheeled carry-on, consolidating all our luggage on two wheels. Also awesome: The interior is Day-Glo orange, so it’s easy to quickly ID what’s what as you’re boarding. $100;

With bombproof construction, easy-access side zips, and plenty of padded divider panels, this backpack is targeted at photographers with plenty of gear. (We comfortably fit a DSLR, along with three extra lenses.) But anyone with lots of stuff to carry will appreciate the magnetic closures and hidden exterior compression straps that let you affix odd-shaped objects. Another bonus: Rain rolls off its tough, slick nylon fabric. $260;


The Urban Bag With Wilder Leanings One look at the sturdy waxed-canvas Mountain Khakis Flat Pack and you’ll want to go bag a peak in old-school style — the cotton canvas is tough enough to fend off brush and bramble, and its back straps are comfy even on a demanding climb. But the compact, just-the-essentials 13-liter size will serve you best on quick jaunts to the coffee shop, where more folks will appreciate aesthetic details like the recycled-climbingrope handle. The 15-inch laptop sleeve is padded to protect from bumps, and is easily accessible through a side zipper. $150;




Showers Pass Transit Waterproof

5.11 Rush24 Backpack

We had trouble finding a commuter backpack that could adeptly carry two U-locks (a must for quick-release wheels) — until now. Locks fit to straps on either side of this waterproof pack, leaving plenty of room inside for a laptop, change of clothes, and even a sixer. Other bike-friendly features include a front pocket that zips out to hold a helmet, and four LED lights that slip into built-in inserts. $264;

MARCH 2017



The 5.11 was built to take abuse — the heavygauge nylon outer and burly, contoured shoulder straps practically beg you to throw it into battle. But it’s become our go-to pack for the daily grind, thanks to ample space and dedicated pockets for everything from pens to sunglasses. On more demanding missions, you can attach extra gear like a flashlight, a rope, or a two-way radio to its outer webbing via mounts (sold separately). $180;


Get a Little More Action The secret to brag-worthy footage? Knowing what to do with the video after it’s shot. by ERIK SOFGE


Everyone seems to say GoPro makes the best action cameras. Is that true?


Pretty much. The company that practically invented the category was briefly outinnovated by rivals, but its latest model, the HERO5 Black ($400;, below, dominates the competition all over again. It’s waterproof up to 33 feet without an additional case, has a color touchscreen, and responds to voice commands (such as “GoPro shoot burst”) to capture 12 megapixel stills or 4K video. In a wide range of tricky lighting conditions, the image quality remains superb. In our tests, it cut through a surprising amount of gloom during twilight, and adjusted quickly to transitions between well-lit and shaded areas while clipped onto a bike’s handlebars.


What’s the easiest way to edit my footage?


For instant movie magic, try Quik. Just choose a clip (or clips) in the free app by GoPro and it will automatically turn your footage into a mobile version of a shareable highlight reel, complete with cuts and effects, set to your choice of music. For traditional editing and more control, Apple iMovie ($5 for iOS) and CyberLink PowerDirector (free) both offer uncluttered, clean interfaces, letting you isolate and drag clips to create your own narrative.

Do I need optional mounts? Yes. We relied heavily on a mount — a $30 add-on that can also clamp onto a seat post — and you should plan to buy at least one, depending on when and where you shoot. For example, surfers should look into the $60 wrist strap or $30 floating handgrip, and a $40 dog harness can turn your pet into an unwitting director of photography. What if my budget is slightly lower? GoPro’s still got your back: The HERO5 Session costs $100 less than the Black, and its footage is only slightly less impressive. Plus, it’s a 1.5-inch cube, compact enough to mount in more places and slip into a pocket.


What if I shoot mostly underwater?


Most action cameras are waterproof (or come with a waterproof case), but the Sony FDR-X3000 ($350; sony .com) has an incredible depth rating of 196 feet — good enough for scuba divers — and its image stabilization is even better than the GoPro’s. For great underwater footage, invest in a compact floodlight, like the Knog Qudos Action Video Light ($100, It’s compatible with GoPro and Sony mounts, and it’s so bright and rugged we use it camping.


Are 360-degree cameras really worth it?


They’re starting to be: The Nikon KeyMission 360 ($500, nikonusa .com) just might be a peek at the future of action cams. With lenses on two sides, this rugged waterproof camera shoots VR-ready footage that can be watched with a simple cardboard viewer and a smartphone.

Action-cam video piles up fast. Invest in an external storage device to keep all the footage from clogging up your laptop.


p h o t o g r a p h by S H A N A N OVA K




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Bring the Bike Shop Home With a few key items you can get your ride ready for spring and keep it tuned up all year round. Here’s how. by BERNE BROUDY

Otto Tuning System You will lose a bit of air from your tires each day, so be sure to have a good pump (digital is best) and fill them up often.

If your shifting is clunky, just clip these two plastic gauges onto your derailleur and cassette, and an app can walk you through the adjustment using your iPhone’s camera. PRO TIP: If you are not shifting smoothly after using the Otto, chances are you have a bent derailleur hanger and will need a mechanic. $39; ottodesign (plus in-app purchase)

Pedro’s Essential Bike Care Kit A key part of bike maintenance is regularly cleaning and lubing; this kit from Pedro’s has some of the best products we’ve tested. Most notably, the biodegradable Green Fizz attacks dirt, but doesn’t impact the lubed parts. PRO TIP: Once a month fully clean your bike, and make sure to get between chain rings. $25;

You can remove pedals, pull your chain and cassette for cleaning, swap in new cables, true your wheels, and fix a chain with the high-quality tools in this box set. PRO TIP: If you’re new to bike repair, see if your local shop offers a basic bike maintenance course. $100;



MARCH 2017

p h o t o g r a p h by S H A N A N OVA K


Park Tool Home Mechanic Starter Kit



Performance Vests

In changing weather, the vest is the perfect layer to keep you warm where it counts. And thanks to thinner technical fabrics, it’s now great for high-intensity activity — or just hanging by a fire. by BERNE BROUDY 2 BEST FOR CHILLY HIKES

Rab Neutrino If your late-winter stroll is going to take you to

1 elevation, stash a Neutrino in your bag. The

hydrophobic 800-fill down is more than toasty, but we didn’t find it overly bulky. The elasticized armholes and a drawstring hem seal out weather and seal in warmth. And zipped pockets provide plenty of storage. $225;



Dynafit Mezzalama When you’re working up a sweat, it’s a dance

2 to figure out the perfect balance between

staying warm and staying dry. This stretchy vest has highly breathable Polartec Alpha front and back to combat the cold while also dumping heat. A hood keeps the wind off your neck. $180;


Flylow Larry With its western styling, the Larry was our go-to

3 on the mountain this year, whether we were 4

skinning on warmer days or drinking beer by the fire. It’s lined with 800-fill European goose down, then enhanced with an extra 40 grams of synthetic Spaceloft Micropuff in the shoulders for water and wear resistance. And the pockets fit our iPhone 6 Plus and a wallet. $150;


Stio Azura Insulated This highly packable Stio has just enough


4 insulation to take the chill off. And because it’s synthetic, it stays warm even when you sweat. The neck and hand-warming pockets are both fleece-lined — a small but delicious detail — and big zipper pulls are easy to operate with gloves on. $155;


p h o t o g r a p h by S H A N A N OVA K

Without arms, vests naturally offer better mobility and still manage to keep you warm where it matters — in the core.

MARCH 2017




Velocio Ultralight Vest No activity demands an extra layer like long

5 rides, but where to stash it? This ultraminimalist wind layer fits in a jersey pocket — you’ll never be chilled switchbacking down a mountain pass again. The full-zip, barely there, windproof nylon shell is waterproof, too. $125;


The New Fry Guys Healthy fried food sounds too good to be true, but these air fryers use little to no oil and promise exactly that, with less mess, too. We asked chef Jeff Mahin if it tastes as good as it sounds. by JESSE WILL RATED (1 to 10)

CRISPY THAI CHICKEN W I N GS “These are an easy attention grabber for game day,” says chef Jeff Mahin, of the four Stella Barra Pizzerias. INGREDIENTS 1 lb chicken wings

DeLonghi MultiFry Classic

Black+Decker 2L PuriFry

The MultiFry uses two heating elements and a mixing paddle (like a bread machine’s) that moves food around to help it crisp evenly. It produced consistently cooked french fries and brought an even char to brussels sprouts. “I’d recommend this one to chef friends — you can get adventurous with it,” says Mahin. One qualm: Unlike with other machines, the temperature dial on this one isn’t in degrees but in power levels, forcing you to rely on trial and error when adapting some recipes. $250;

“This was the most simplistic of the fryers,” says Mahin. Two turntable-style knobs control cooking time and temperature (from 175 to 400 degrees). Fried chicken and french fries came out a tad crunchier — and not in a good way — with a harder texture than in other units. Mahin found it to be a passable budget option and liked using it to crisp up some frozen foods. The two-liter basket has room for about eight cups of food — enough for the whole family. $150;



GoWise 10.5 Qt Turbo

Philips Avance Collection XL

The largest, most decked-out of the fryers has more buttons and presets than the others, and Mahin was intrigued by its turning basket, baking rack, and rotisserie, with which you could roast a small chicken. But “the problems come when you actually use it,” says the chef. Challenges included myriad controls and a slew of parts to keep track of. Its fries and chips were crispy, says Mahin, “but the end result was too much gadget and not enough ease of use.” $140;

A simple touchscreen thermostat and timing controls, along with a streamlined design, instantly gave the Philips machine an edge in Mahin’s kitchen. And the results were even better: The Avance consistently turned out the best chicken wings and french fries of the group — moist inside, with a crisp shatter. “I would never imagine they were anything other than deep-fried,” says Mahin. Bonus: It’s painless to clean and doesn’t take up too much counter space. $400;





MARCH 2017

Marinade: 3 tbsp fish sauce 2 tbsp sambal chili sauce 3 tbsp lemon juice 3 tbsp lime juice 1½ tsp minced garlic 1 tbsp sugar 2 tbsp chopped cilantro stems 8 tbsp peanut oil 2 tbsp sesame oil Sauce: 2 tbsp honey 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted 10 cilantro leaves 1 tbsp sliced jalapeño 1. Wash chicken under cold water and drain. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk fish and sambal sauces and lemon and lime juices. Add garlic, sugar, and cilantro stems. 3. Whisk in peanut oil, followed by sesame oil. 4. Add chicken wings to bowl and marinate, covered, for 20 minutes. 5. Preheat air fryer to 360° (or level 4 on the DeLonghi). 6. Add ¼ cup marinade and wings to fryer; cook for 20 minutes. Skin should be caramelized. 7. Remove wings, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle sesame seeds, cilantro leaves, and (if you want it hot) jalapeños.




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The Last Word You were born in Brazil and raised in Lebanon. Which culture has the right approach to life? Obviously there is not one best approach. I’m very connected to Brazil because it’s made up of people from all over the world living peacefully together — there’s a respect for other people and cultures. The Lebanese part is also important because it’s a very old country — people of different origins and beliefs, Venetians, Arabs, Jews, and Christians. It’s a place of perpetual conflicts and wars. Living there, you have a completely different view. For you, the world is not one. Diversity is a given. But when I go to Japan, I see one culture, one people, one history, a country that has never been invaded or colonized. It’s a shock. But it’s a refreshing shock.

Carlos Ghosn The man who runs three car companies on the value of sleep, the limits of recognition, and the spoils of a globe-trotting life. What does every CEO need to have? Unfortunately, to do this job there are a couple of preconditions: No matter how smart or gifted you are, you cannot do the job if you’re not able to sleep anywhere, anytime. If you can’t do that, don’t even try to be a CEO. You’re gonna have a hard time. What are the other prerequisites? You also need to be extremely organized and disciplined. People think if you’re disciplined that means you’re programmed, but no. You also have to be able to make U-turns and listen to a lot of different ideas.

You’re responsible for roughly 100 million of the cars on the road today. How do you handle that? It’s heavy, but at the same time some people have more responsibility than you. But it’s not only about how many cars are on the road. It’s also about the 450,000 people who work in your companies. You have to remember that your responsibility is to your company first and everything else after. You split your time between Paris and Tokyo, two of the world’s great culinary cities. How does that affect your diet? It’s a mixed blessing — because we are in two capitals of good food, and not only French and Japanese food but some of the best Chinese, Thai, Korean, and Italian restaurants in the world. The bad thing is, if you are used to this high standard, when you go to other countries you are always disappointed.

What’s the most prized car in your personal collection? Well, the car I’m most attached to is the 350Z because it was the first year of the new Z and it was a symbol of the revival of Nissan. We brought the Z and the GTR back again, and I have both. I also have a Leaf, which was the avant-garde of the industry. The first mass-market zero-emission car. Does Nissan get enough credit for being early on electric? No, I don’t think so. But it will happen one day. We were the first to produce a massmarket electric car, then we were followed by Tesla as a niche, premium brand, and now everyone else is coming to it. We’re very proud of that, but we’re not looking for recognition. We’re looking for competitiveness. Somebody said, “If you want recognition, get a dog.” —INTERVIEW BY MARK HEALY

Carlos Ghosn is CEO of Nissan and Renault and the chairman of Mitsubishi. He’s the first to run three Fortune 500 companies.

MEN’S JOURNAL (ISSN 1063-4651) is published monthly (except for the January and July issues, when two issues are combined and published as double issues) by Men’s Journal LLC, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104-0298. The entire contents of MEN’S JOURNAL® are copyright ©2017 by Men’s Journal LLC, and may not be reproduced in any manner, either whole or in part, without written permission. All rights are reserved. Canadian Goods and Service Tax Registration No. R134022888. The subscription price is $19.94 for one year. The Canadian subscription price is $23.97 for one year including GST, payable in advance. CANADIAN POSTMASTER: Send address changes and returns to P.O. Box 63, Malton CFC, Mississauga, ONT L4T 3B5. The foreign subscription price is $23.97 for one year, payable in advance. Periodicals postage paid at New York, New York, and additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publication Agreement No. 40683192. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to MEN’S JOURNAL Customer Service, P.O. Box 62230, Tampa, FL 33662-2230.



MARCH 2017


When was your toughest time as CEO? Probably the first three months at Nissan in Japan because I had to learn the company very fast. It was on the verge of a cash crunch, and we didn’t have much time to fix it. And I had to do it with all of Japan looking. I was the ultimate outsider: I was not Japanese. I was not part of Nissan. I was just arriving in the country, and I had three months to announce my plan. Everybody was saying,

“OK, what’s this guy gonna do? What’s gonna happen over there?”

What’s the most striking difference in lifestyle between Japan and Brazil? Punctuality. In Japan you invite people to dinner 7 to 8:30 PM , everybody’s waiting before 7. At 8:30, everybody leaves. That’s Japan. In Brazil, you invite people for 7 PM, the first guy shows up at 9, and then you have some people come at 10:30 and people leaving you at 3 o’clock in the morning. But this is expected. So you have to adapt to both.

KEEP IT SIMPLE Great Taste. Only 96 Calories.


av. analysis (12 fl. oz.): 96 cals, 3.2g carbs, <1g protein, 0g fat.

“BEAUTIFUL” - Way n e S . , J a c k s o nv i l l e , F L

T H E F I R S T- E V E R M A ZDA M X- 5 M IATA R F One word. That’s all it takes to capture the feeling evoked by the lines of the all-new MX-5 RF. The way its curved subtleties speak to one’s heart. Our obsession to redefine the world’s most iconic roadster was also driven by one word: Why. Because Driving Matters.



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