Friday, January 29, 2016

Middle-aged man flat on his back

Every now and then a middle-aged man gets sick.  It’s been a while for me so it was my turn. 

Yesterday, all day, I was a middle-aged man flat on his back.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Is making my heart jittery

Today's blogflection at Pierini Fitness is brief because this middle-aged man is under the weather; again!  

Stuff happens and sometimes relapse is part of this stuff.  I hope to be back on the saddle in a day or two.

But allow me to share, again, about another health-related research study.

So the latest one is about recent research concluding that drinking caffeinated beverages – such as this middle-aged man’s very strong single cup of morning coffee – is unlikely to make your and my heart jittery. 

Researchers used heart rate monitors on people included in this study and found no difference in heart rate activities regardless of caffeine intake. 

The next time I’m riled up about this and that, I’ll find comfort in knowing it’s not my morning strong cup of coffee that is making my heart jittery.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This middle-aged man will ignore

The latest health news is about how government advisors now recommend that all adults should be regularly screened for depression.

Yes, you read this right, all adults and that includes all middle-aged men.

Further details can be found at the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force website.

This recommendation is one this middle-aged man will ignore.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 burpee challenge report #2

Two weeks ago this day I shared my first 2016 burpee challenge report.  For those not familiar, this challenge is to complete 100 burpees a day every Monday through Friday for a total of 35 days of 100 burpees starting on January 1st.

My last report shared my best time thus far of 12:59 that I did the day earlier.  That workout effort consisted of 20 rounds of 5 burpees performed by starting a new round every 39 seconds.

Throughout this challenge, I’ve tried my best to have variety in how I get my 100 burpees completed and it’s paying off because I continue to slowly lower by time from the day this challenge began on January 1st.

My best time since the 2016 burpee challenge report #1 was on last Friday when I completed my 100 burpees in 12:03.  That day I got the job done by completing 20 rounds of 5 burpees every 37 seconds. 

Equally as important as the time improvement is my perfect attendance every Monday through Friday this month thus far.  There have been a few days where I felt like “playing hooky”.

I’ll share at least two more updates like this one but for right now Pierini Fitness sports fans, this is my 2016 burpee challenge report #2.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, January 25, 2016

Middle-aged men visitors

Last Friday I read an internet article about how certain restaurants in China were shut down by authorities after caught seasoning their food with opium to “hook” customers.

Apparently, five restaurants are being prosecuted over the findings while another 30 more are under investigation.

Closer to cyberspace home, Pierini Fitness may soon be under investigation for one of its time-tested practices.

And what might that be?

Pierini Fitness may one day be caught for using a clever writing style loaded with honesty, originality, wit and wisdom to hook its middle-aged men visitors.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, January 22, 2016

Life begins at conception

Today is the 43rd anniversary of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case on the issue of abortion known as Roe versus Wade.  It forever changed the delicate balance of protecting women’s health and protecting the potentiality of human life.

This middle-aged man believes in the sanctity of human life that must be protected when it begins. 

This middle-aged man believes life begins at conception.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sleeping on my front porch

There’s an internet news article this week that won’t seem to go away from the headlines. 

It’s about a recent study how people living in residential high-rise buildings suffering cardiac arrest had a better chance of survival if they lived on lower floors.  Apparently, their survival odds decreased as floor numbers increased.

So in my middle-aged man pursuit of one day becoming a centenarian, I’m wondering if I might improve my odds by sleeping on my front porch.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

An awesome workout

Of the many exercises that have been part of my current training mix, there are two that many believe are better than sliced bread and should be done often or even daily because of the exceptional results they produce.

One is the kettlebell (KB) swing and the other is the burpee.

A popular suggestion for a KB swing workout is to perform 300 reps while a popular suggestion for a burpee workout is to perform 100 reps.  My workout yesterday took both of these suggestions and put them together for one great workout.

Using my 24kg KB, I completed 20 rounds of 5 burpees and 15 KB swings.  My goal was to complete these 20 rounds at least one minute faster than the last time I did this workout; that was on January 6th and my time that day was 29:28.

20 rounds later and a bucket of sweat, I completed this workout of 100 burpees and 300 KB swings.  My time was 27:38 which was exactly two minutes faster than the last time; I was pleased. 

The next time you’re up for a different challenge, give this little burpee/KB swing combo a try but scale it to your abilities and current conditioning so you have both a successful experience and an awesome workout.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Your legs, lungs or mind?

Years ago I lived in a rural area and regularly included outdoor running in my training mix.  There was a run I would do that was 7.4 miles long.  It was a loop that began at my home, went to the local high school and then back home.  

On the return with about one mile to go, there was one final small hill with a slight grade.  This required that I dig deep into my endurance reserves and attack the hill if I was to keep my pace and finish the run as strong as I began it.

It was very grueling and I would regularly entertain the pleasant thought of quitting and walking the rest of the way home.  I remember asking myself a series of questions while in the thick of things about what was making me want to quit.  Was it my legs, my lungs or my mind?

I’d sequentially evaluate these three quit factors and conclude that yes my legs hurt but they weren’t what was causing me wanting to quit. 

Next I’d evaluate my cardiovascular system.  While my heart was pounding and I was panting pretty hard, honestly I couldn’t attribute my wanting to quit to my aching lungs.

That left only my mind as the culprit of wanting to quit.  This mental process I would put myself through always helped me to hang in there and finish my run.  I don’t recall ever quitting once at this critical “heartbreak hill” portion of my run.

I find myself doing the same these days with my 2016 burpee challenge currently in progress.  There comes a certain point in a 100 burpee effort where you want to quit; actually there are several points because the round from about 50 reps to 100 reps is a long run with lots of mental temptation to pull the plug and call it a day short of the 100 reps.

Such was the vivid case last Friday when I was getting my 100 burpees completed in an episode of beat the clock.  At some point, I began to “hurt” and thoughts of slacking off or possibly quitting entered my mind.  This is normal behavior as any burpee enthusiast will tell you.

So just like long ago with my running, I asked myself the question of what was making me want to quit.  Was it my legs, my lungs or my mind?

This time I concluded the answer was different. 

My lungs were hurting somewhat as my cardiovascular system was working hard, and my mind was getting weak but honestly neither of these were the culprits of me wanting to quit.  This time, it was my legs.

You see, the jump with hands overhead at the end of a burpee really starts to get hard when fatigue kicks in at least for me.  This is something I’ve got to work on so it doesn’t slow me down.  I want to continue coming out a winner in my periodic beat the clock episodes during my 2016 burpee challenge.

Next time you’re doing something athletically-challenging in a game of beat the clock and are starting to hurt and entertaining the comforting thought of calling it quits, ask yourself the same question I did. 

What is it?  Your legs, lungs or mind?

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, January 18, 2016

Middle-aged man traitor

Guilty of first-degree felony of middle-aged man treason!
After reading a news article over the weekend, I became enraged when learning what a certain middle-aged man had done to betray his fellow middle-aged men brethren.  This made me look up the definition of the word treason to help me determine that I was using it correctly when forming my thoughts about what I had just read.

Treason is typically understood and defined in the context of what an individual does to his country as did Benedict Arnold about 235 years ago.  This definition of treason is that it is the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government.

Another definition of treason is the action of betraying someone or something as in someone who does something to betray the sovereign brotherhood of middle-aged men.  A person who commits treason is known as a traitor.

Pierini Fitness exposes here a middle-aged man who recently committed treason against his fellow middle-aged men. 

Seems like a city official in Rhode Island wanted to include an elderly woman in a photo-op about a snow shoveling program so a middle-aged man bus driver was recruited to dress up in a wig, earrings, lipstick and dress and stood next to the mayor of the city of Cranston at a news conference.

Not only did this ridiculous episode make national news headlines but it also resulted in the resignation of the city official who orchestrated this modern-day version of Mrs. Doubtfire in complete disregard of the honor of all middle-aged men around the world.

But what about the middle-aged man who was a party to this treasonous act?

Apparently he’s a van driver and tanning-salon worker in the real world and I’m sure was trying to volunteer for a worthy cause but that does not give him a legitimate defense for the crime he committed.

The Supreme Court of Pierini Fitness finds this gentleman named David Roberts guilty of a first-degree felony known as middle-aged man treason and he will forever be known as a middle-aged man traitor.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, January 15, 2016

Let’s get ready to rumble!

Yesterday I read something that caught my attention because I have been accused of raising my voice and sounding domineering when my going gets tough.

Apparently a digital audio platform that alters emotional inflection in one’s voice has revealed there’s a feedback loop between our voice and our moods.  Supposedly, we align our feelings with the emotional sounds we hear, even when what we hear is us doing the talking – or shouting as the case may be.

I didn’t carefully read the research study so I’m just going off the internet news article but it makes sense to me that this could be true.

And what do I have to say about this?

Let’s get ready to rumble!

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, January 14, 2016

To do with success

Almost seven years ago, Pierini Fitness asked the rhetorical question of who needs a middle-class big brother. 

This question was asked while sharing how President Obama had recently created a White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families, described as one of his major initiatives.  Under the chair of Vice President Joe Biden, top-level administration policy makers were going to raise the living standards of middle-class working families in America.

Here’s the Pierini Fitness blogflection where this was discussed:


Fast forward to today so Pierini Fitness can now ask another rhetorical question of how good a job has this task force done the past seven years.  Let’s look at some recent facts which indicate they’ve done a terrible job and they should all be fired immediately!

A recent news article last month had the headline of middle-class families no longer make up the majority in the United States.  This was based on a recent report of a well-known research organization.

Researchers explained how the rapid growth of upper-income households accompanied by an increase in less-educated lower earners resulted in the American middle-class population falling below 50 percent. Compare this to 1971 when middle-class American families accounted for 61 percent of the population.

So we are a nation where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and the All-American "Ozzie and Harriet" families are shrinking in numbers.

Researchers defined middle class as households earning between two-thirds and twice the overall median income after adjusting for household size.  Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Labor and the Federal Reserve, middle class households had total annual income ranging from a low of $42,000 to a high of $126,000. 

Another news article appearing about the same time reported how the majority of American renters are now age 40 and older. 

The recent research done in this regard is that nearly 51 percent of American renters have celebrated their 40th birthday.  Ten years earlier, only 47 percent were renters and twenty years earlier 43 percent were renters.

Guess what?

Now President Obama, in his final State of the Union address two evenings ago, wants to again put Vice President Joe Biden to work on tackling one of his chief ambitions – curing cancer. 

Apparently, Vice President Biden declared a while back when announcing he would not be a candidate for the 2016 presidential race, how he wanted to focus his attention on curing cancer.  He shared “I believe we need a moon shot in this country to cure cancer.”

What the heck is a “moon shot”?

Two evenings ago, President Obama announced a new national effort to help Vice President Biden get his moon shot.  The President shared how he’s putting the Vice President in charge of mission control of this national effort.  He shared how the Vice President has “gone to the mat for all of us on so many issues over the past 40 years.”

Oh really!  Like the job he has done raising the living standards of middle-class working families in America?

Pierini Fitness believes we should all write President Obama and Vice President Biden and tell both of them thanks but no thanks.

The Vice President is undoubtedly a nice guy and handsome senior citizen but we shouldn’t give him a another major task that is beyond his proven abilities.

Vice President Biden’s final days of public service can best be devoted to him cleaning out his office and saying goodbye to his cronies, something he might be able to do with success.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Buy yourself a diet Big Gulp

A news article catching my attention yesterday was about a recent research study that found people who drink sugary beverages every day tend to accumulate more deep belly fat over time.

The study was of over 1,000 adults and concluded those who slam down at least one sugar-sweetened drink a day had a greater chance of adding to their deep abdominal fat over the next six years.

Perhaps this finding is a middle-aged man fatso example of the classic adage of how “Rome was not built in a day.”

Here’s an abstract of this research if you want to read more:


Added belly girth was not found to be the case when diet soda was consumed.

So next time you middle-aged men need your carbonated daily fix, instead of your regular sugary favorite, buy yourself a diet Big Gulp.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016 burpee challenge report #1

Thought I’d give an update on how my 2016 burpee challenge is coming along.  For those not familiar, it’s 100 burpees a day every Monday through Friday for a total of 35 days of 100 burpees starting on January 1st.

I’ve completed these 100 burpees sometimes as part of a kettlebell workout and other times as a 100 burpees-only training day.  On the burpee-only days, I’ve had a lot of variety with regard to intensity and burpees per round to make sure not every day is too intense.  You know that burpees by their very nature are intense even when performed at a more relaxed pace.

So beginning on January 1st, it took me 14:34 to complete 100 burpees.  That day I did so by completing 10 rounds of 10 burpees per round and starting a new round about every 1:30.

Yesterday it took me 12:59 to complete 100 burpees and I got the burpee job done by performing 20 rounds of 5 burpees.  I started a new round every 0:39. 

Experience tells me that the time it takes me to complete 100 burpees will gradually albeit slowly decrease as my cardiovascular system adapts to their rigor.  Where my time will eventually end is anyone’s guess but I’ll take whatever improvement comes my way from the effort expended.

I’ll periodically provide updates like this but for right now Pierini Fitness sports fans, this is my 2016 burpee challenge report #1.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, January 11, 2016

Because I overslept

There will be no blogflection today at Pierini Fitness because I overslept.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, January 8, 2016

Fattening up a bit

The standard script we read or listen to in news articles and discussions about obesity is of the health perils of being a rotund fatso – a.k.a. obese.  Intuitively this makes sense but thanks to modern medicine and pharmacology, these health perils may not always translate with a shorter life.

Results published about three years ago of an analysis of the relationship between weight and mortality risk provide some interesting information that challenges our intuitiveness about the relationship between obesity and life expectancy.

The results of this study were that all adults categorized as overweight and most of those categorized as obese had lower mortality risk that what we call normal-weight individuals. 

Skeptics may find comfort in knowing that body mass index (BMI) measurements were used in this analysis to categorize individuals as obese or normal weight. 

So this means a heavily-muscled professional athlete who stands 6 feet tall and tips the scale at 200 lbs. with a very low bodyfat percentage gets classified as overweight.  But an average and non-athletic Joe Blow who is 6 feet tall and tips the scale at 160 lbs. with a body appearance commonly described as skinny fat gets classified as normal weight.

Notwithstanding this BMI limitation, the analysis may cause some middle-aged men who are chasing a long life to improve their odds by fattening up a bit.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Because it's raining buckets

The rain is coming down hard this week in my part of the world and this is welcome news after many years of below-average rainfall.  

While somewhat of a nuisance at times, this middle-aged man welcomes the rain.  It’s part of the four season deal known as weather.

But with no gym membership any longer, outdoor training just isn’t that appealing with this weather so the fitness job this week is getting done indoors because it’s raining buckets.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Give myself an "attaboy"

Growing up as a boy, I really enjoyed watching the Adventures of Superman television series.   To this day, I still remember the opening lines of how Superman was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Then the announcer of the opening lines would say how Superman was a strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.



Reflecting on this, I honestly believe that that we middle-aged men in some unique way have our own special abilities, strengths and talents making us unique and one-of-a-kind.  In some small way, we're like Superman with our God-given powers and abilities far beyond those of others in general and more specifically other middle-aged men.

For many of us, and perhaps yours truly in a honest moment of middle-aged man reflection, we may never come to discover what these Superman powers and abilities with which we've been blessed.

Thinking about it a little more, I realize I know mine.

I have this amazing ability to pat myself on my back and give myself at "attaboy".

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Take more often

Generally the walking I do as a form of active rest between training days is just that; a leisurely or brisk-paced walk à la carte swinging my hands side to side while maintaining a forward-moving pace of some type.  To test my ability to chew gum and walk at the same time, once in a while I’ll deliver an occasionally “Whistling Dixie” performance if my mood is upbeat.

Sunday I took a walk of a different variety thanks to a tag-along companion and a somewhat pleasant winter day.

With a stroller in front of me and a little grandson in the cockpit, this middle-aged man went for about a one mile neighborhood walk.  It was relaxing sans the heart-rate monitor normally strapped around my chest.  I had no beat-the-clock mindset that’s normally part of my training.

This is the kind of active-rest Sunday walk that I’d like to take more often.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, January 4, 2016

61st birthday burpee challenge

This middle-aged man has a history of starting birthday-theme fitness challenges of some type beginning with a new calendar year. 

He did so about a decade ago when he trained to self-administer the Marine Physical Fitness Test to himself on his birthday with a goal of scoring 250 points (300 points is a perfect score).   It took me three birthday attempts over three years to finally get my 250 points and that was the last time I took this test; wouldn’t even try now.

Then seven years ago I came up with another beginning-of-the-year birthday-related fitness challenge of completing 54 burpees each Monday through Friday at the end of my workouts.  This was a demanding challenge yet I stepped up to the plate and delivered a perfect attendance score.  In the chase, I improved my cardiovascular conditioning and that was nice.

Now it’s time for another beginning-of-the-year birthday-related fitness challenge and this one will again be a burpee challenge.  I’ll perform 100 burpees each Monday through Friday from January 1st until my 61st birthday about six-weeks from now. 

I’ll take off the day before my birthday to be fresh on my birthday when I’ll perform the 100 burpees as fast as possible in a timed test.  That will give me 35 days of work or 3,500 total burpees for this new little birthday-related fitness challenge.

To make it interesting and extra challenging, I’ll incorporate these 100 burpees with kettlebell work on some days.  I’ll also be smart with pace and intensities so as to not burn myself out.  That’s something very easy to do with burpees.

Do I have any particular goal time in mind?  Having thought about it really hard, I’ve decided no I don’t other than to improve my benchmark time and that is the time it took me last Friday – January 1st – to complete 100 burpees.

Oh, I guess I do have one other goal in this pursuit and that is to have "perfect attendance".

That early morning workout consisted of 100 burpees that I completed in 10 rounds of 10 burpees each round.  My plan was to start a new round every 1:30 and I pretty much kept that pace with some rounds being a little faster and some rounds a little slower.

My time to complete the 100 burpees was 14:34.  All burpees were of the variety including a flopping pushup and a jump with both hands overhead reaching for the stars.

This should be fitness fun of the bittersweet variety. 

The bitter will be that completing 100 burpees each Monday through Friday is a demanding chore that will challenge me both mentally and physically.

The sweet will be that if I complete this challenge as prescribed, I’ll walk away with a nice uptick in my cardiovascular conditioning.  That’s a nice birthday gift to give myself.

Come along for the ride and cheer my on as I tackle my 61st birthday burpee challenge.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum