Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Busy being fit, healthy and well

A 7:15 am. set of overhead press work, with
The Hook and 45-lbs. of resistance on each side,
  at  my office before beginning my "rat race" work day.

It always happens this time of year when I’m extra busy with work, something that’ll continue being my case for the next month.  I must try harder squeezing in my workouts, they must be more condensed and efficient, or they won’t happen at all, and delivering new Pierini Fitness content starts to decline.

Thanks to new fitness tools recently purchased, my condensed and efficient workouts are taking place in a spare room at my office.  

I’m using the amazing “fitness tools” created by a legendary serial fitness equipment inventor -  Bruce “The Hook” Tackett - and his Sierra Exercise Equipment company.  I personally know Bruce, he's a fellow cyberspace fitness brother from a different mother, and his The Hook Resistance Band Training System along with The Isometric/Suspension Trainer are among the cleverest fitness training tools I’ve ever owned.

My new fitness tools include a pair of handles, an anchor, an adequate supply of resistance bands and isometric/suspension trainer. 

The handles
These are the fastest loading handles for changing resistance bands I’ve ever used. Changing resistance is swift, you do so by easily adding or removing resistance bands.  I can use many resistance bands to create a resistance load mirroring my days of lifting heavy barbells.  The handles have dense foam grips which gives me a comfortable yet strong grip.

The anchor
This gets my five-star rating for design creativity.  The anchor is strong and secure, thereby allowing it to be safely-mounted on top of a closed door and various other anchor points.  It can even be looped around a bar or tree limb.   I’m still discovering how to use this to its full potential.

The Bands
Bruce sells them in 15 and 5 lb. resistance and I have a good starter supply of both.  These are made of surgical tubing and seem to have the resiliency needed for retaining their shape and resistance provided.

The Isometric/Suspension Trainer
This is a poor man’s version of expensive suspension trainers you often see in gyms.  It’s used with the handles and anchor to allow unlimited isometric and bodyweight exercises.  I'm only limited by my imagination.  There are 30 numbered loops spaced six inches apart, thereby allowing a precision with my range of motion for maximum training benefit.  As previously mentioned, I’m very busy with work right now so training time is of my essence.

Learn more about The Hook Resistance Band and Isometric/Suspension Training System by visiting the Sierra Exercise Equipment website here: http://www.sierraexercise.com/

Note that Pierini Fitness seldom makes a pitch for others and receives no compensation when doing so.  He's just sharing how one middle-aged fitness dude is going about chasing fitness, health and wellness.

Thus far, I’ve completed several quick workouts using my new fitness tools.  One workout is a series of isometric overhead press work for five different positions using my isometric suspension trainer.

Each position inches me upwards to a fully-extended lockout isometric contraction for the fifth and final position.  I hold each isometric contraction for a breathing 10-count, resting for a 5-count and repeat for a total of three contractions.  Then, I advance to the next position.  

This brief, yet challenging, isometric workout consists of 15 isometric contractions and takes a little more than five minutes to complete.  Then, I switch gears and use resistance bands for closing overhead press work. 

Yesterday’s workout, for example, was completing as many sets as possible, with as little rest between sets as possible, using decreasing resistance for each succeeding set.  I started with 45-lbs. of resistance on each side, then 30-lbs. resistance and finally 15-lbs. resistance.  For the 15-lbs. of resistance, I completed three sets to fill up the 10 minutes allotted for this workout.  It was 10 minutes well spent and my shoulder muscles felt worked.

So, despite being very busy with work right now, thanks to my new fitness tools, Pierini Fitness is also busy being fit, healthy and well.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, March 15, 2019

My Friday foods for thought


Lately, I've shared a lot about eating and nutrition and today is more of the same here at Pierini Fitness.  Next week I'll change subjects and share more about how I've been training lately now that I'm busier with work.  

Today, I’ll share how my OMAD “science experiment” is going.  In case you missed the news, during Lent 2019, that began on March 6th, I’m only eating one meal a day, sometimes described by the acronym OMAD.  I’m also abstaining from eating meat during Lent.  I’ve completed nine days of OMAD through yesterday which is slightly more than 20 percent of the days of Lent 2019.

And since eating this way requires great discipline, I’ll also share some pearls of wisdom for middle-aged men trying to have the requisite discipline necessary to eat clean and smart and have a healthy relationship with food.  

So, how’s my OMAD “science experiment” going?  Not bad, and better than I thought.  I’m only eating once a day after fasting for 22 hours.  My feeding window is two hours beginning when the sun sets.  Today, the sun sets at 7:13 pm. and each day is one minute later.  This means I’m eating much later than in the past when I tried to be done around 5:00 p.m.     

The last two hours of my 22-hour fast are the most challenging, ones where I think more about food and wanting to eat.  Fortunately, this isn't the case for the other hours because I’m very busy with work and will continue for the rest of Lent.

What I've also discovered is how OMAD sure makes feasting a wonderful experience.  Everything tastes delicious.  You know the old saying, “Hunger makes a great chef.”  

Finally, I’m eating more than I was prior to beginning OMAD, exercising less and, thus far, losing more weight.  This is not something planned but it’s happening.  So, I’ll start eating more calories each day to keep my weight where it is.  I’m within striking distance of what I weighed when discharged from the Army over 40 years ago.  Who would have thought?

Now, moving on to pearls of wisdom for middle-aged men trying to have the requisite discipline necessary to eat clean and smart and have a healthy relationship with food.

One topic that comes up is cheat meals and whether someone who’s being very disciplined with their eating should have a cheat meal every now and then. 

My answer, being a prude, is that that if we're smartly fueling our bodies each day with nutrient-dense and satisfying food, there should be no need for a cheat meal.  Smartly includes selecting foods meeting our satiety needs.  If we're satisfied, we won't need to overindulge.  Fueling our bodies means feeding it with adequate calories for the energy needed to live our lives to the fullest, and that we have no unmet nutrition needs. 

But we're humans, and humans are weak.  Consequently, if we're following a disciplined eating protocol, we may occasionally fall victim to relapse and resort to a pigging out session, sometimes described as binging.  Some struggle with binge eating more than others.  Pierini Fitness must be honest and confess how he's pigged out in the past but, now, he promises no more.  

Relapse, by having a pigging out session or binging, isn’t the act of pigging our or binging.  Rather, it’s all the thoughts and behaviors leading up to the act.  This is understood in the addiction world and it’s no different with eating.   

What should we middle-aged men do when faced with overwhelming desires to to pig out and binge, or we've just done so and now feel disgusted and terrible for falling off our healthy eating pony?

Start by retracing our steps and identifying when relapse began and what were its obvious cues.  Again, relapse isn't the the act of pigging out or binging, but all the thoughts and behaviors leading up to it.

Learn from this retracing and then build an action plan for the next time we're about to relapse.  Borrowing from what is said in religious circles about sin, avoid placing ourselves in the occasion of "sin" of pigging out or binging.  

In the context of eating healthy and avoiding pigging out or binging, this means avoiding placing ourselves in the occasion of relapse.  So, we  must fuel our body adequately, not stock our refrigerators and kitchen cabinets with foods known to be a struggle to eat in moderation and be mindful of how important healthy eating is in helping us achieve our fitness, health and wellness goals.


My fellow middle-aged men, these are my Friday foods for thought.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

That you fill with food


During the last six months in my journey to chisel off excessive middle-aged man bodyweight, I did what I’ve done in the past when having a similar task but was open to what others had to say.  Obviously, there’s only one way to lose weight and this is by having a constant calorie deficit; eating less calories than calories burned.  By the way, I have “arrived” at my target bodyweight and it feels great to be back at my “fighting weight.” 

Nonetheless, there are some who advocate that there’s more to it than having a calorie deficit.  Some will suggest that meal frequency and timing is important.  For example, eating small meals several times a day as opposed to eating three square meals like we did growing up. 

A meal timing approach I currently use is intermittent fasting where I only eat during a narrow feeding window in a 24-hour day and refrain from eating the rest of the day.  I do this because it’s convenient and efficient.  Currently, I’m practicing a more challenging version of intermittent fasting called One Meal A Day or OMAD for short.  I’ll have more to share about my OMAD experiences in future Pierini Fitness blogflections.

So, what do I think having followed various meal timing protocols in the past?  Does meal timing matter?  If it does, what is the “perfect meal timing protocol to follow?

My opinion only is that meal timing doesn’t matter.  But this may not be the answer you hoped for so let me give you a good meal timing rule to follow in your middle-aged man fitness, health and wellness journey.

Eat only when you’re hungry and know the difference between real hunger rather than an excessive desire to eat out of boredom, habit or an emptiness in your life that you will with food.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, March 8, 2019

An acorn once in a while


In our middle-aged man pursuit of fitness, health and wellness, we’ve undoubtedly been at it a while and have the knowledge and wisdom that comes with the passing of time.  This doesn’t mean we know it all, so it’s only natural that we’re always on the lookout for new information about optimal fitness training and nutrition to better sculpt and fuel our gracefully-aging bodies. 

Fortunately, or unfortunately, for us, there are no shortage of “experts” willing to share their expertise. They passionately explain how what we’re doing is the wrong way and how they know the right way.  If they have great communication and marketing skills, there’s a good chance we’ll give them an ear or eye and listen or read what they have to say.

And, they often succeed getting our undivided attention because, perhaps, we confess and ponder, there might be a better way than how we’ve been doing it.  Maybe the visual image we have of ourselves when looking in the mirror is that they have something we don’t and, maybe, we’d like some of it.  After all, despite being confident middle-aged men, at an emotional level, we might have subliminal doubts and insecurities about ourselves and a proclivity to be fitter, healthier and stronger than we are, however it is we measure these attributes.

It’s always important to follow the money when reading what these others have to say because oftentimes, they’re peddling a product or service behind a masquerade of evangelizing their expertise.  While there’s nothing wrong with someone trying to make a dollar in capitalist America, it doesn’t mean what they’re sharing, or peddling is worth to us more than a bucket of spit.  Therefore, it’s important that we conduct our due diligence.  Otherwise, we risk spending a lot of money and time expecting great returns only to discover that what we’ve gotten is little or next to nothing.

“Caveat emptor”, the saying goes, let the buyer beware.  Pierini Fitness has another saying, “Caveat lector”, meaning let the reader beware.  Just because what we’re reading on some fancy website with a photo of Mr. Beefcake peddling his knowledge while showcasing his ideal body doesn’t mean it’s something great that can be replicated by us, if only we knew the “secrets.”

Sometimes, however, the sales sizzle and our desire are so great that we’re unable to resist, and we succumb, parting our money in exchange for getting the secrets that’ll deliver promised six-pack abs, unbridled masculinity and strength, and a shredded body of musculature. 

Those who buy may soon discover that the product or service purchased doesn’t deliver the promised results for any one of several reasons.  Other times, however, great benefits may be realized, again, for any one of several reasons.

Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Lent 2019


Today is the beginning of Lent 2019, a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending approximately six weeks later before Easter Sunday.  Traditionally, it’s also described as the 40 days of Lent and its purpose is preparation for Easter through prayer, doing penance, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial.  Fasting and abstinence are part of the self-denial component.

In the United States, the penitential practice of abstinence is to refrain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the other Fridays during Lent.  Fasting is observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Traditionally, this fasting is understood as having only one full meal a day.

Pierini Fitness has chosen to abstain from meat all the days of Lent and to practice fasting by only eating once a day when the sun sets.  This eating will take place during a two-hour feeding window.

He’ll also practice the other components of Lenten sacrifice by spending time in prayer and giving alms, reaching into his wallet, getting outside his comfort zone and making charitable contributions to organization whose mission aligns with his faith.

Today is day one of Pierini Fitness practicing abstinence and fasting this Lent 2019.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum