Wednesday, February 20, 2019

"When I'm 64" - a special black and white and almost silent edition

Pierini Fitness is having fun as a new 64-year young middle-aged man.  Yesterday’s blogflection, When I'm 64 was a fun to write share with you.  

If you missed it, do take the time to read it because if you’re a middle-aged man, you’ll enjoy the trip down memory lane.

If this is what it’s like gracefully-aging, sign me up for more; I’ll take all the gracefully-aging coming my way.   

With less than one year from becoming a Medicare Man and experiencing a steep decline in my health insurance premiums, all I can say is the best is yet to come.

Two evenings ago, on the eve of my 64th birthday, I decided to capture a few moments of my last day being a 63-year young middle-aged man for my archives.  Perhaps, one day, my grandsons and other descendants, some I’ll never know, will be able to learn more about this character who paraded around the cyberspace world known as Pierini Fitness.

Take 90 seconds to view the video below and enjoy the "entertainment" - 

Pierini Fitness hopes you enjoyed Part II of “When I’m 64” - a special black and white and almost silent edition.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

When I'm 64

Ask any middle-aged man close to the age of Pierini Fitness what music they listened to growing up.  While several answers may be given, it’s more likely than not one will be the timeless music of the Beatles.

Without a doubt, they were the most popular band in America starting in the early 1960’s; international stars leading the “British Invasion” on the American soil pop market as evidenced by breaking numerous sales records.    Most middle-aged men recall the first time they watched the Beatles perform.  Perhaps it was while watching the Ed Sullivan Show with their parents during Sunday evening family television time.

We all remember more than one of their classic songs, many of which are still sung in the minds-eye of many who grew up listening to their musical greatness.  Together we all sang “It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog.” or “Help, I need somebody, help not just anybody.” or “He’s a real nowhere man, sitting in his nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody.”

Their song “Nowhere Man” was an inspiration for this aged Pierini Fitness blogflection over ten years ago:  Just an average Joe Blow.

Another Beatles’ song that entered my mind about a year ago when calling and giving a happy 64th birthday greeting to an old Army buddy was “When I’m 64”, circa late 1966.

“When I get older losing my hair, 
Many years from now;
 Will you still be sending me a Valentine,
 Birthday greetings bottle of wine.”

It was just a matter of time before I identified with this song in an upfront and special way, so much different than the youthful impression it left with me as a 12-year old boy 52 years ago.

So today, on my 64th birthday, chasing my middle-aged man fitness, health and wellness goals while counting my blessings and giving thanks to my Almighty God for all He’s provided, I’ll listen to this song, singing it in my mind’s eye while wondering what the future in general, and more specifically, the next year of my life will experience, when I’m 64.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, February 18, 2019

Bacon or spaghetti

Since bringing life back to my Pierini Fitness blog the beginning of this year, plenty has been shared about my current fitness, health and wellness journey, currently a work in progress.  This includes nutrition and a goal of lowering my bodyweight.  It has been, for the most part, a pleasant journey and I now weight over 30 lbs. less than when I started, although, there have been a few stuck points along the way.  This is to be expected as any seasoned and successful weight-loss person knows.

When entering the fascinating world of nutrition for whatever goal you have – be in good health, muscle and strength gains, weight gain or weight loss – all the experts have their standard prescriptions of the precision eating one needs to do to accomplish their goals.  In sifting through and deciphering their “killer nutrition plans”, eventually one starts reading about macronutrients, more commonly referred to as macros.

One explanation of macros is that they’re the building blocks of nutrition and include calories (carbohydrate, protein and fat) but also vitamins and minerals.  In most nutrition chatter, however, when macros are mentioned, it’s the relative composition of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the calories eaten.

So, for example, if I eat something that has 321 calories consisting of 40 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat, its macro composition can be expressed as 50/25/25.  The 50/25/25 means that 50 percent of the calories are carbohydrates, 25 percent protein and 25 percent fat.  This is because a gram of carbohydrate or protein is 4 calories, and a gram of fat is 9 calories.  Do the math to see for yourself.

Some middle-aged men chasing their fitness, health and wellness subscribe to various “killer nutrition” approaches.  Some eat low or near zero carbohydrates following the popular keto diet.  Others eat high carbohydrates following a starch-based nutrition approach such as that advocated by Dr. John McDougall.  Some take a more balanced approach getting, for example, 50 percent of calories eaten from carbohydrates with the remaining 50 percent equally from protein and fat.

Sometimes, in the diet and nutrition chatter, advocates for each will fiercely argue why their method is superior to the others.  Sometimes this chatter becomes very intense and mean-spirited, equaling in intensity and opposition as an atheist and Christian arguing about whether God exists.  If you remain in this crossfire, it eventually can become confusing, overwhelming and unmotivating.

What does Pierini Fitness think about macros?  What macro plan does he follow in his fitness, health and wellness journey?

In past journeys, I’ve tried just about all except for the low carb – or keto – approach; it’s not for me.  My body needs carbohydrates to fuel my daily and fitness training pursuits.  I’ve tested the high carb and low-fat approaches and, of course, a balanced approach.  They all work for me and provide eating satisfaction, for a while, before shifting among them.

Currently, I don’t pay attention to macros other than an afterthought at the end of the day after my nutrition journaling is completed.  I never pay attention to macros for meal planning.  Consequently, what I’m finding is that my macros are all over the place.  Case in point are two days last week.

Here’s a macro presentation of what I ate last Wednesday, a day that included a chicken teriyaki rice bowl for lunch and a big filet mignon steak for dinner:

And, here’s a macro presentation of what I ate last Friday, a day that included five boiled potatoes and, honoring my Italian ancestors, a very large bowl of pasta:

These two extremes coexisting with my continuing weight loss best exemplify that a calorie is a calorie and eating less calories than you expend, over time, is proven weight loss, whether you’re loading up on bacon or spaghetti.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, February 15, 2019

And I’m on it

The kettlebell (KB) is the primary fitness training implement in my Pierini Fitness toolbox.  I recently shared what’s in my fitness training toolbox.  If you missed that read, here it again:

In my KB training journey, the work I do is single KB complexes, primarily because of my limited KB inventory and, more importantly, they’re easier than double KB complexes.  There comes a time, however, when one must take their training to the next level and include double KB complexes in the training mix.  Recently, I’ve decided to do this, and it’s been a humbling experience.

Last Saturday, while at work, I decided to take a double KB complex for a test drive.  What I chose to do was a double KB complex consisting of a round of clean, rack squat and overhead press for five reps, for five rounds.  For some reason, I’m an “5x5 KB dude”, meaning I like to put together KB complex workouts consisting of five rep rounds for five rounds.  Sometimes, the complexes include five different KB movements so it’s a 5x5x5 KB complex.  This one, however, was a 3x5x5 workout, meaning there were three KB movements, done together, making up one rep, done for five rep rounds, for five rounds.

It was tough! 

Isn’t this the case when adding a new workout to our training?  There’s lack of familiarity with the new workout, not to mention the double load.  A pair of 20kg KB’s weigh 88 lbs.  That’s double the load of a single 20kg KB weighting 44 lbs.  Toss in the coordination element handling a pair, versus one, KB and I had a challenging introductory double KB complex workout.

Here’s the fifth and final round of my workout:

I like to periodically video record my workouts because it allows me to evaluate my form.  I did this when training in karate and the Olympic lifts about ten years ago.  The feedback gives me what I need to focus on to improve my form and workout performance.

This video showed that my double KB cleans are rough and not smooth as they should be.  The KB’s should gently arrive in the rack position without banging on my shoulders.  I also learned that the lack of heavier load squatting is showing up at how I had to work coming out of the bottom position of the rack squat.  Finally, the overhead push jerk work I’ve been doing has come at a price of not doing enough overhead press work.  You’ll notice that I struggled with completing the overhead press reps during the fifth and final round of this workout.

Overall, my introduction to KB complex work was a humbling experience.  I’ve got some work to do and I’m on it.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

I wonder if he's still alive?

A week ago today, I was in San Francisco for business.  I decided to lodge at the Hostelling International USA San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Hostel at Fort Baker.  It’s a stone’s through from both Fisherman’s Wharf and the Presidio of San Francisco where I was stationed as a young soldier 46 years ago.  I’ve stayed there many times in my distant past while on business because I enjoy the international and vagabond flare of those who stay there.

As often is the case when returning to places visited long ago, memories start to come front and center about people I knew, places I frequented, etc., etc.  Perhaps the challenge of parking unique to hilly San Francisco triggered some of the memories entering my mind.

One memory was when I took an Introduction to Criminal Justice class at San Francisco City College.  I remember how difficult it was finding a parking place.  It was so bad that I decided I wouldn’t take any more classes.  It wasn’t fun circling around campus, over and over, trying to find a parking place and not be late for class.  Besides, I reckoned, there were better things to do than study. After all, I was an 18-year old young soldier living in exciting San Francisco.  Later, however, I did take another class, Introduction to Accounting, but it was held on base, so I didn’t have to deal with trying to find a non-existent parking place.    

This memory got me thinking about the instructor.  He was an older fellow, in relation to me, who was probably slightly past the halfway point of being a middle-aged man.  I don’t know why the thought of him entered my mind.  What I remember about him is how he always prefaced what he said with “basically speaking.”  This was his transition crutch to whatever it was he was about to say.  “I wonder if he’s still alive?”, I wondered, while doing a little finger math and reckoning that he’s probably not but, I’ll never know.

This pondering then took me back even further to a high school bookkeeping class I once took during summer school.  I don’t know why I took the class, but I liked it and the instructor.  This memory made me wonder if he was still alive.  I’m guessing he was in his early 40’s when I was about 16 or 17 years old.  This means, if he’s still alive, he’d be close to 90 years old.  It’s possible he’s still living but, I’ll never know.

I confess these are just two examples of the wonderings I have when spending time in yesteryear land.  I don’t know if there’s anything weird about having these wonderings.  Maybe they’re simply me wondering about my eventual meeting with the Grim Reaper.  Sooner or later, we’ll all get our turn.

Obviously, these two individuals left me with lingering memories about them.  Perhaps it was something I judged as intrinsically good about them that was deeply-embedded in my subconscious.  Whatever it was, it got me wondering.

I wonder if I might one day leave a lingering memory in the minds of people I have or will interactive with.  You know, younger people who chronologically have much more time remaining on planet earth than I do.

Will they remember some pearl of wisdom I shared with them, perhaps a joke or laughter-oriented encounter, or maybe something unpleasant like a rough conflict encounter that puts one or both of us in an uncomfortable position we’d rather not be?

Or, might it be one or more of the thousand plus reflections they read at Pierini Fitness, diamonds in the rough, yet wholesome, middle-aged man reflections about living and dying, gracefully aging and trying to live a good and honest life.

Time will tell but, it does make me wonder, just as I was wondering last week, will they one day be wondering about me and thinking or saying, “I wonder if he’s still alive?”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum