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The 18 best manly hobbies

The ultimate list of hobbies for men: 18 ideas for how to use your time to be more unique, attractive, and creative during your downtime.

Ed Latimore
Ed Latimore
Writer, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

A man isn’t defined by what he says; instead, he’s defined by his actions. If you want to be someone your friends look up to and women pay attention to, you must live a life worth noticing.

To be someone that people find interesting requires first being interested. That means devoting some of your spare time to picking up new hobbies that pique your curiosity and give you energy. Every man needs a few hobbies to provide an outlet for channeling their inner creativity and leveling up his skillset to provide more value to the world around him.

Why it’s important to have hobbies

How you spend your time ultimately defines who you become. If you spend your free time playing video games, smoking weed, and watching porn, you’re not setting yourself up to be someone that people will look up to or women will want to date.

Instead, every man needs at least 1-2 hobbies to devote some time to outside of their work and relationships. Having a few hobbies is also guaranteed to improve your confidence and creativity as you grow in competence with whatever you learn.

Best hobbies for men

Deciding which hobby to pick up is a lot like picking a career or life partner; you probably won’t know what you really like until you’ve tried experimenting with a few different things. So instead of getting hung up on finding the perfect hobby, just pick a few hobbies and get started immediately.

But if you need some inspiration or awareness of the possibilities out there, I’ve created a detailed list of some of the best manly hobbies to explore.

And remember, there’s nothing wrong with abandoning a hobby if it doesn’t seem like a good fit. Time is never wasted when actively challenging yourself to learn and build new skills. With that said, let’s dive into 18 popular hobby ideas that you could start today.

Reading books

Reading is one of the best ways to expand your knowledge and understanding of the world through the experience and perspective of others. Work on becoming more well-rounded and educated by picking up history, philosophy, and self-improvement books that will help you reflect on the past and present while helping you plan for the future.

If you haven’t picked up a book in some time, don’t worry so much about picking out the “perfect” book, but just pick anything that seems interesting. It doesn’t matter if it’s pop fiction or ancient philosophy; the best way to make reading stick is to find something you enjoy. Over time, you’ll expand your reading horizons as your curiosity grows.

If you need some inspiration, some of my favorite books that encompass history, philosophy, and self-improvement include The Art of War by Sun Tzu** **and the Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi.


Lifting weights is an excellent hobby for strengthening your body and mind while also improving your overall well-being. Weightlifting is one of the most effective ways to build strength and stay in shape without joining a sports league or finding a competitor to improve.

Weightlifting is one of the few hobbies I recommend every man try regardless of age, fitness, or experience level because it provides so many health benefits with almost no downside. There’s also no excuse for getting started since anyone can find a gym nearby or buy a few pieces of gym equipment for their basement or garage.

If you’re already a weight lifter or would like to supplement it with other physical activities, you can also supplement your lifting routine with running, playing sports, or taking fitness classes to challenge yourself and maintain your cardio.


Writing is one of the purest forms of self-expression while also examining the inner workings of your mind. I enjoy writing this blog and sharing my thoughts and experiences on Twitter to give others a glimpse into my life and perspective. I also do because it serves as a form of therapy and self-education by testing how well I know myself and the ideas I share.

Writing is a flexible hobby, so you don’t have to feel constrained to only write about a topic. You can write poetry, fiction, self-improvement blogs, or even start journaling to track your daily musings. While most writing may appear to be intended for an audience, it’s actually one of the most powerful tools for examining oneself and providing a creative release.

Combat sports

Practicing a combat sport like boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or Muay Thai is an intense yet immensely rewarding hobby for developing discipline, physical strength, and self-defense skills that most guys lack. If your self-confidence and physical presence need improvement, you can’t replace the raw experience gained from martial arts for knowing how to protect yourself against a physical threat.

I attribute a lot of my self-confidence and relentless work ethic to spending my younger years in the ring as a professional heavyweight boxer. While it’s a tough way to make a living, the experience and life lessons I received from my training were undeniable. If boxing is something that might interest you, check out my post on how to get started.

Boxing Lessons on Grit, Resilience, and Antifragility

In this e-book, I teach you 20 mindset lessons I learned from my 13-1-1 professional heavyweight boxing career.

Use these to conquer any challenges you face, in the ring or in life.

Learn how to develop the mindset of a fighter, from a fighter, so you can win the battles you face.

But now

Playing chess

Chess and other strategy-based board games can be a fun and engaging way to challenge your mind and improve critical thinking skills. Some essential life skills can be learned from playing chess, such as observation, planning, statistics, and knowing how to read your opponent.

Playing chess has also become one of my favorite hobbies for spending time with friends or alone via to flex my problem-solving skills and decision-making. I’ve even written a detailed piece about how I taught myself to improve my chess ELO rating to a peak of 1823.

Along with Chess, you can also play individual online games like solitaire. Similar to Chess, it requires you to strategically think and problem solve to properly organize cards by suit. Additionally, it’s a game of mental self improvement. Some solitaire games feature leaderboards, where you can challenge yourself to solve a shuffle in less time and less moves.

Learning a foreign language

Learning a new language or two is one of the best ways to expand your worldview and open you up to host of new experiences. If your someone that also enjoys traveling, having the ability to speak the native language also unlocks a lot more opportunities for you to make the most out of your trips.

Languages, especially European languages, like French or Spanish, are also romantic and don’t take much time to learn if taken seriously. It’s also a great hobby for impressing women and expanding your dating pool since any language barrier will no longer limit conversations.

Cooking and grilling

Every man should know how to whip up at least a few quality home-cooked meals. You don’t have to be the next Gordon Ramsay, but learning to cook at least 3-4 healthy meals will go a long way to impress others and make it easier for you to make healthy choices. It’s much easier to avoid the cost and poor nutrition of takeout and fast food when you feel confident about whipping up a solid meal in as little as 15 minutes.

Knowing how to cook and grill is also a great skill to have when dating since most women will be impressed by a man who is thoughtful and skilled enough to craft dinner for two. Like weightlifting, I consider this hobby to be non-negotiable.

You don’t have to dive deep into the culinary world, but you should be competent enough to know how to make a few meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Learning new skills

While learning may not seem like a hobby, there’s definitely a method to rapidly learn new skills. Learning and acquiring new skills is essential for personal and professional growth, so you should consider investing time to sharpen your mental saw.

You can start improving your knowledge by signing up for courses and workshops, learning from experts via books or lectures, and studying subjects tangential to what already interests you in expanding your understanding. Even better, the internet has democratized learning so you can learn almost anything for free via YouTube and a library card.

Learn the method I used to earn a physics degree, learn Spanish, and win a national boxing title

  • I was a terrible math student in high school who wrote off mathematics. I eventually overcame my difficulties and went on to earn a B.A. Physics with a minor in math
  • I pieced together the best works on the internet to teach myself Spanish as an adult
  • *I didn’t start boxing until the very old age of 22, yet I went on to win a national championship, get a high-paying amateur sponsorship, and get signed by Roc Nation Sports as a profession.

I’ve used this method to progress in mentally and physically demanding domains.

While the specifics may differ, I believe that the general methods for learning are the same in all domains.

This free e-book breaks down the most important techniques I’ve used for learning.

Get the free book now

Meditation and mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness and meditation is a great hobby to reduce stress and improve focus and mental clarity. You can easily incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your daily routine to maintain a positive attitude and clear mind.

I find that it’s easiest to schedule time to meditate first thing in the morning before the day’s activities start. It also puts you in a calm headspace to tackle the day with complete mental clarity and a level head. Meditation also costs nothing to start, and you can do it practically anywhere, so there’s no excuse to try it.

Drawing and painting

Learning an artistic skill like drawing, painting, or even sculpting is a fun hobby for expressing yourself and allowing you to work freely without any boundaries commonly found in modern life. Picking up an artistic hobby is also a great way to enter the flow state where you lose complete track of time as you fully devote yourself to your craft.


Similar to drawing and painting, photography also channels your creative side, albeit slightly differently. Photography also has the added benefit of encouraging you to get outside and explore new people, places, and activities, which can expand your worldview and introduce you to new things you never knew you liked or wanted to try.

Contrary to popular belief, photography can also be easy and inexpensive to get started. Before investing hundreds of dollars in a new camera, you can start with just your phone. Learn the basics of framing, light, and portraiture, and you’ll soon dive deep into the rabbit hole of all there is to learn.


Hiking is one of the easiest hobbies to get started with since all you need is a decent pair of shoes and a local trail to explore the great outdoors. Hiking also provides a much-needed change of scenery and fresh air for most guys and allows us to reconnect with nature. Depending on where you live, some local trails can also be quite intense to provide a great workout.

If hiking and exploring nature already interest you and you’d like to take it to the next level, you could combine it with other popular outdoor activities like backpacking, camping, mountain biking, and kayaking. Just be sure you have some hiking experience and basic survival skills before hitting the trailhead for multi-day trips.

Hunting and fishing

While hunting and fishing may not be common if you live in the city, they are still prevalent, and even a way of life, for many people living in the rural parts of the country. And whether you find it interesting or not, there’s something undeniably human about tracking, hunting, and cooking your catch, just like our ancestors before us.

But if the idea of hunting animals for sport is a bit too much for your taste, you can still enjoy the challenge and thrill of the sport by taking up target shooting at an indoor range or even archery. Those are also incredibly popular hobbies, with many resources available for getting started and learning to do so safely.


Learning improv by joining a local comedy or theatre group is one of the best hobbies for building self-confidence and being an effective communicator. Additionally, it will give you the skills to react to real-life situations with spontaneity and make you more comfortable conversing with strangers.

Improv is also an excellent hobby for meeting new people and building relationships. Spending time with others by acting out for an audience helps build rapport and provides a launching pad for interesting conversations outside of improv class. If you live near a city, chances are at least a few improv groups are open for you to join.


Woodworking is another hobby that can help you earn additional income and save money on DIY home projects. You can start whittling if you prefer easing your way into the hobby. If you enjoy woodworking, you can branch out and learn metalworking to complement your skillset.

Playing a musical instrument

Learning how to play an instrument like the piano, guitar, or even something classical like the violin is a great hobby that can be practiced year-round. While the cost of new instruments can set you back hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars, there are ways for you to get started on a budget.

Check out places like eBay or Craigslist to find good deals on used instruments, or pick up a popular beginner-level instrument that’s usually much cheaper than the more fine-tuned professional instruments. You can also check out your local music store to see if they offer free or discounted group lessons so you can level up faster.

Car restoration

Classic car restoration is an old-school hobby that remains popular today. Unfortunately, it can be an expensive hobby that requires a good bit of money if you want to do it yourself. Still, if you can afford it, it can teach you many valuable mechanical, electrical, and general handyman skills. If money is holding you back, you can find a way to get started for free by finding a private owner or shop willing to let you work for them.


Giving back to your community has a positive impact on others while also making a significant impact on you. Volunteering your time and resources to support various charitable initiatives, helping the less fortunate, or even donating a few hours each week to give back to those in need are all great ways to invest your time.

There are countless volunteering opportunities to channel your time, so you’re bound to discover something that aligns with a cause you care about. Joining a volunteer group is also a great way to meet other people and improve your general well-being since it can help you reevaluate what’s important in life.

How are you spending your free time?

When it comes to self-improvement and reinventing yourself, you must devote some of your downtime to doing exciting things that challenge your body and mind. Don’t become the passive consumer who is only fed information via TV, social media, and audio. Instead, devote your free time to exploring your interests.

Making time for the things that matter often starts by cutting out some junk from your life. You need to take a moment to ask yourself how you spend your time. What are you doing with those hours when you first wake up, while on your lunch break, and after work and on weekends?

So whatever hobbies you choose to pursue, just make sure they align with who you want to become and don’t take yourself too seriously when getting started. Just find something you think is a lot of fun while challenging your mind and body to become a better version of yourself. Those hobbies will transform you into an interesting and complex man that others will be curious to get to know.

Boxing Lessons on Grit, Resilience, and Antifragility

In this e-book, I teach you 20 mindset lessons I learned from my 13-1-1 professional heavyweight boxing career.

Use these to conquer any challenges you face, in the ring or in life.

Learn how to develop the mindset of a fighter, from a fighter, so you can win the battles you face.

But now
Ed Latimore
About the author

Ed Latimore

I’m a writer, competitive chess player, Army veteran, physicist, and former professional heavyweight boxer. My work focuses on self-development, realizing your potential, and sobriety—speaking from personal experience, having overcome both poverty and addiction.

Follow me on Twitter.