Renaissance Man

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Five Aspects of the Well-Rounded STL Guy


The term Renaissance Man refers to someone with a broad array of interests, a man accomplished in many areas. It has its genesis in the Renaissance period, when the arts and sciences flourished, and engaging in multiple fields of study was considered the most honorable of pursuits. To truly be worthy of the term in the new millennium, though, men have to be a lot more rounded than their 15th century counterparts, possessing knowledge of things undreamt of by their ancestors — which is why we compiled this compendium of advice, recommendations and guidance for those ready to embark on the quest to become the modern Renaissance Man.


Cultivating a fine physique and an appreciation of the physical is imperative for the true man of the world.


MOTOACTV GPS Tracker lets you keep tabs on just about everything about your workout and then some. This cutting-edge gadget is a heart rate monitor, calorie counter, MP3 player and GPS that gives details like speed, elevation and distance. You can even use it to keep tabs on social media between sets.


The Art of Manliness This blog, which has spawned a website as well as a book, is dedicated to “the lost art of being a man,” with tips on everything from what to wear to how to fix an errand windshield wiper (


Cyclocross is the latest two-wheeled fitness trend to hit St. Louis. The bikes are part road bike, part mountain bike, and the courses feature short laps over a variety of terrains. Riders frequently have to dismount and carry their bikes over obstacles. Think you have what it takes to compete? Big Shark Bicycle Co.( hosts the Bubba Cyclocross Racing Series each fall. Here’s the race schedule for November: Nov. 6 St. Vincent Park / Nov. 12th Concordia Seminary / Nov. 13 Creve Coeur Park Nov. 20 Mt. Pleasant Winery / Nov. 27 Jefferson Barracks.


FENCING Be honest, we’ve all wanted to parry and thrust at one time or another. Get in touch with your inner Erroll Flynn and give fencing a go. The St. Louis Fencers Club ( can get you started with tips on what gear to buy and where, plus places around town to practice.

BASIC THRUST Step 1: Point front foot toward opponent with rear foot perpendicular, crouch and bent weapon arm at elbow with hand at chest level. Curl other hand up behind back. Step 2: Extend arm forward toward opponent’s chest, drive back foot forward and bend knee, coming into a lunge. Extend non-weapon arm back behind back to channel momentum. Step 3: Draw back, returning to basic stance.


Fall is football season, and that means tailgating. Here are some upcoming home games that offer prime opportunities for breaking out the grill and the throwback jerseys: St. Louis Rams vs New York Jets, Nov. 18, Edward Jones Dome / Missouri Tigers vs Syracuse Orangemen, Nov. 17, Faurot Field / University of Illinois Fighting Illini vs Minnesota Golden Gophers, Nov. 10, Memorial Stadium / University of Illinois Fighting Illini vs Purdue Boilermakers, Nov. 17, Memorial Stadium.


For those who want to raise their game, here are some options for bumping your workout up a notch or two:
For The Outdoorsman
There’s an abundance of free clinics around town to keep your woodsy skills sharp. The Alpine Shop features everything from a class on Basic Map & Compass Skills to a tutorial on Hiking The Appalachian Trail. Check out REI’s free classes on topics like Backpacking Basics and Cold Weather Camping. For The Do-Gooder Looking to give back while also getting fit? The annual Cranksgiving bike ride combines a choice of several cycling routes with a food drive. For the Die-Hard The TRX workout at Rock Workout ( gets you to use your own body weight and good ol’ gravity to build up strength, endurance and balance. Hey, it’s good enough for the Navy Seals.


HOW TO TRAIN LIKE A BOXER Undefeated light heavyweight boxing champ, STL’s Ryan Coyne, or “The Irish Outlaw” knows a thing or two about fitness. But you don’t have to be a pro fighter to train like one —just incorporate these elements of his workout into your own routine.
From sprints to intermediate and long distances, it’s the most important weapon in the boxer’s workout arsenal. Legs and lungs win fights.
Strength training Coyne recommends moving around light weights, just a pound or two, to increase endurance and strength. Try lateral raises, or holding the weight in front of your body in an iron cross position for five to 10 minutes. It’ll give you an idea of what it’s like to hold up a pair boxing gloves round after round.
Jumping rope
Not only good for working on rhythm, timing and focus, it’s a crazy cardio bump. Hitting the bag. Be it the speed bag or body bag, throwing punches is a great way to develop strength and speed.
Actually stepping into the ring and slapping some leather with an opponent, as long as you’re supervised by a professional, is sure to get your blood pumping.


It’s not enough to just be a fine physical specimen. The modern Renaissance man must cultivate the muscle of the mind as well.



“There’s no better description of a chess player than ‘Renaissance Man,'” says Tony Rich, executive director of Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. The game, he says, develops skills that touch on every aspect of a man’s life, things like intuition, the ability to make good choices based on incomplete info, problem solving and prioritizing. Chess is all about breaking complex problems down into manageable bits and maintaining focus in the midst of chaos—skills that can be utilized in a man’s professional and personal life in equal measure. It also teaches the value in analyzing victories and failures in order to grow, a tough lesson every man can take to heart.


Get together and compare notes with some like-minded individuals.
For entrepreneurs Tiny Business Mighty Profits (
For history buffs
Meetup at the History Museum (
For creative types Arnold Creative Thinking Project (


The plugged-in man needs the best device to navigate the Net. Here are a trio of top tablets to check out, according to ChicGeek blogger Jen Reiger:

iPad 5 The big daddy of tablet tech, the iPad 5 features a five megapixel camera and 4G LTE speed.

Google Nexus 7 More than 600,000 apps and games are available for this device, and the namesake seven-inch display is easy on the eyes.

Amazon Kindle Fire Offers free unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content. A new 1.2 GHz processor and 1GB of RAM make this Kindle 40 percent faster than the previous version.


These timeless classics should be on every man’s reading list.

From Alex Weir, Subterranean Books:

Lincoln’s SpeechesPenguin Civic Classic series. Revel in the inspiring words of one of America’s greatest orators.

Deliverance by James Dickey. If all you know is the movie, you’re missing the whole story, as well as some finely crafted prose.

From Nikki Furrer, Puddnhead Books:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This Jazz Age saga of love, greed and ambition still remains relevant in the 21st century.

On The Road by Jack Kerouac. Tune in, drop out and hit the bricks with this Beat lit classic.

Anything by Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse 5, Breakfast of Champions, etc). Vonnegut’s biting, insightful social commentary will always be in style.


Make CAM ( your go-to place for following everything 2012 election–including the Nov. 6 election night watch party (free, with a food truck onsite). Stay engaged by visiting Beyond November, a collaboration of trusted public media, including Nine Network of Public Media, the St. Louis Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio.


Broaden both your skill set and your horizons.

For The Orator Toastmasters offers the opportunity to hone your communications skills on a regular basis in a no-pressure atmosphere. (

For The Bookworm The Gay Men’s Reading Club at Left Bank Books ( meets on the fourth Thursday of the month and is open to all.

For The Writer Check out the St. Louis Writers Workshop ( or pursue a certificate in writing from UMSL (

For The Entrepreneur The Great Game of Business is offering a seminar Nov. 14 on High Involvement Financial Planning, part of its ongoing monthly seminar series.



Motoactv GPS Tracker



Ryan Coyne


Tony Rich

“Chess is all about breaking complex problems down into manageable bits.” Tony Rich, Chess Club & Scholastic Center of St. Louis




Brian Smith and Michael Pagel

Brian Smith and Michael Pagel of Moris Fashions


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