Thursday, April 30, 2009

An inspired presence for others

This is the fourth of five consecutive daily blogflections by middle-age men guest bloggers. 

Today’s guest blogger is David Hill, a financial advisor who helps clients develop cohesive, comprehensive financial direction. 

He’s also a bona-fide middle-age man and an accomplished fitness enthusiast. A passion for mountain climbing was awakened eighteen years ago with a first unsuccessful climb of 14,162’ Mt. Shasta. 

11 subsequent climbs, along with summiting a variety of 19,000’-23,000’ peaks in Africa, South America, and Alaska, as well as aspiring to climb all fifteen 14,000’ summits in California, are his expression of living life fully.

What follows is David Hill’s guest blogflection.

Whoa, am I in still in the middle of "middle age" or am I more closely aligned with the "seasoned age", as I am within six months of turning age 60? Last night, Tony Robbins showed up on another hyper infomercial of Unlimited Possibility available for each of us. After about ten minutes, I turned off the TV, and I turned in for the night with my wife.

This morning, I experienced an unsettling feeling, as I found myself questioning whether I have lived “big” enough, expansively, prosperously, creatively, lovingly enough for the short privilege of life I have been granted. The question marks stirred discomfort, sadness, anxiety, and dissatisfaction, as I questioned the value of how I have lived my life, what is the value of my presence, and whom I could be or have “if only.”

As I shared the discomfort with my wife, she reminded me of the value of my questions, because they are an opportunity to reconfirm--am I living life awake, as a distinctive human being who is making a difference?

This morning, I also had an appointment to be interviewed by my daughter’s partner to assist him in the writing of a college paper, as to why people travel. The magic of the synchronicity of life seems to always show up (whether or not we are aware of it), as it did this morning.

I was offered the opportunity to step out of my life-probing questions, and to answer other thought-provoking questions--what inspires me to travel and climb mountains all over the world?

As I stumbled to find the “perfect” answers, the introspection that unfolded, as well as the words that coalesced, stimulated a profound sense of appreciation for the opportunity I have been given to expand vistas, to learn differences, to share connection, to live history, to behold beauty, to honor magnificence, to step out of the grip of comfort, and open up to the exhilaration of freedom and discovery, when I step into a genuinely new frame of reference of experience outside my home community.

What eventually follows is that I am inspired to share the sensitivity awakened, the perspectives enlivened, and the vibrancy stirred. In that moment, I am reminded of the Contribution I am to whomever I connect and wherever I land, because of all that I have accomplished, received, and integrated as the distinctive traveler, professional, father, husband, citizen, and spiritual being I am.

Thus, for a precious moment, I experience the Grace of relief, that the value of life is not about how much I have accomplished or how I look as an individual. It is about who I am willing to be, as an inspired presence for others.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sit mens sana in corpore sano

This is the third of five consecutive daily blogflections by middle-age men guest bloggers. 

Today’s guest blogger is Greg “VRT Man” Mangan, a middle-age man lifelong fitness enthusiast and creator of the Visualized Resistance Training (VRT) Megapump Bodybuilding System. 

VRT is a totally weightless, non-apparatus bodybuilding method that can be done anywhere, even in an office, and only requires self-resistance. 

You can learn more about Greg “VRT Man” Mangan’s unique training system by visiting his website at VRT Megapump Bodybuilding System.

What follows is Greg “VRT Man” Mangan’s guest blogflection.

Recently I attended a Silent Retreat at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I’ve spent more of my free time with my physical development than mental and spiritual development, which was the focus of this silent retreat, so I had to prepare myself to attend to this whole new set of mental curricular.

I continued to keep up with the physical side of things while in silent retreat, but what I experienced - as I attended lectures in a chapel at the retreat house and then retired to my room to think and reflect on these soul enhancing lectures – was a 'total body experience' I hadn't had in a long time.

This is the ultimate experience that was an ancient Roman ideal quoted from the poet Juvenal: A Sound Mind in a Sound Body. He perhaps obtained it from an ancient Greek ideal attributed to the Spartans: "Nous igeiis en somati igeii."

In my small and Spartan retreat room, about 10 feet by 13 feet in size, I would perform my visualized resistance training (VRT) exercises with only a desk, a small dresser, a bed, and a sink. My presence seemed so monk-like in this room which was once the room of Jesuit seminarian over 50 years ago.

I devoted my mind and heart to a form of spiritual study. Scriptural reading, spiritual reflection, journaling my thoughts, counting my blessings, and contemplating the subject matter of the lectures. Occasional periods of meditation also kept me occupied. With my remaining energy, I followed up with a 20 to 25 minute VRT workout in a training area roughly 3 feet by 6 feet in size.

I found my time in retreat to be a more rewarding experience than a physical and action-packed “fun” vacation on the beach at Cancun, Mexico. I came out more fit, relaxed and focused on my life, with true peace of mind, enriched with a sound mind in a sound body, better expressed in Juvenal's Latin phrase of this, like the Greek one above, "Sit mens sana in corpore sano."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You'll never look back

This is the second of five consecutive daily blogflections by middle-age men guest bloggers. 

Today’s guest blogger is Charles Long, a middle age man fitness stud who does workouts that would put guys half his age to shame. He has his own wildly popular blog with 2 loyal readers and a few others who drop by on occasion. 

He's been married for 26 years years to his wonderful wife and has 7 children ranging in age from 23 years down to 3 years. What follows is Charles Long’s guest blogflection.

Chances are if you're a middle age man, you use to watch your father, grandfather, or some other older relative shave but not like most men do now. You probably saw them wet a brush, swish it around in a shaving mug until well lathered, apply it their respective faces, and then whack them whiskers off with a safety razor--the ones with the rounded top and replaceable double edged blades.

Now men mostly shave with an electric razor, or a cheap can of shaving cream and a disposable plastic razor. And they don't enjoy it.

You can buy a variety of different kinds of shaving cream, none of which work particularly well. For razors, you can get single blade, double blade, triple or quadruple blade, or the latest nuclear powered 12-blade model. And there are a lot of offerings of both creams and razors for sensitive skin. It seems more and more men have sensitive skin nowadays.

But chances are it's not that your skin is all that sensitive. It's just that your shaving tools are faulty. You need to go back to the way your dad or granddad did it.

First you need a good brush. You can get a cheap boar hairbrush at Wal-Mart for about 5 bucks. That's better than nothing but not ideal. What you want is a good quality badger hairbrush which will set you back anywhere from about 40 dollars to as much as you want to pay. You'll be able to pass it on to one of your grandkids.

Just teach them how to shave properly first or they will sell it on eBay to any number of anxious willing buyers. The one I use is one my dad had from before I was born. I have no idea how old it is. I bought him a new set as a gift back in the 70's when I was in high school. He gave me his old stuff that I shave with today.

For soap, you can buy a cheap puck (Yes, they are called pucks.) of soap at about any discount or drug store, any of which will work better for lubrication than the shaving creams you're used to. Or you can get online and find some premium quality soaps in about any scent imaginable.

You can buy a proper shaving mug or just put the soap in a coffee cup or some other dish of the right size. You can also buy soaps that come in there own plastic or ceramic container with a screw on lid, thus eliminating the need for a shaving mug.

My mug again came from my father. It's an Old Spice mug. They no longer make such things. I don't know how old it is but it's heavy ceramic and older than I am.

Last, you need a good safety razor and a supply of blades. A safety razor has a smooth rounded head that will just glide over your face like you wouldn't believe. If you're one of those with sensitive skin, quit messing around with that other stuff. Just get a safety razor and be done with it.

Again, it's something you can pass on to your grandkids. My dad used an injector razor. My safety razor is one I found. Back in the 4th and 5th grades, we lived on a 10-acre farmstead in Leach, Oklahoma. There was a gully that ran next to the house that had a section that had been used as a trash dump for years. My brother and I used to go treasure hunting in that trash dump.

One time I came across a little silver box. Inside was a Gillette Bostonian safety razor. I hauled it around with me ever since. It's one of the few things from my childhood that I still have. And I use it every time I shave. You can find them readily online. There are stores that specialize in such things or you can shop eBay.

You can buy blades almost anywhere that sells shaving stuff. I haven't found much difference in brands. Just buy what you can find and use one until you can feel it getting dull. A lot of blades now come in a plastic container with a hollow space in the back for safe disposal of the used blades.

If you live in an older house in which the bathrooms haven't been remodeled, chances are you have a medicine cabinet that has a little slot in the back of it. In case you're wondering what that slot is for, it's to dispose of used razor blades. So you can just put your old blades in there.

Shaving doesn't have to be a chore. Take your electric to the office so you can clean up for a late afternoon meeting as the need arises. Keep the disposables around for house guests who forgot a razor. And buy some good equipment so you can shave like a man and actually enjoy it.

And if this still bothers your "sensitive" skin, what can I say? You're a weenie but you still need to belly up to the bathroom sink and shave like the middle age man you are. Go for it. You'll never look back.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tommy Bahama all the way!

This is the first of five consecutive daily blogflections by middle-age men guest bloggers. Today’s middle-age man guest blogger is Tom. 

Tom is the father of two beautiful young adult daughters, an accomplished karate martial artist, and musician by night and Japanese language high school teacher by day. More importantly, Tom is a bona-fide middle-age man who has been preparing for old manhood by taking private lessons from his 96-year young father. 

What follows is Tom’s guest blogflection.

A year and a half ago I started my diet. It has worked very well for me, allowing me to maintain my present weight or to even dabble with a lower weight via lower bodyfat percentage. Currently I am 183 lbs/ 6' 1". Below is some of the combination that worked for me. Each could be it’s own article, I suppose, but I’ll just outline it here. I chose the categories that seemed unique and/or were surprising self-discoveries.

A diet must be invisible. No one likes a dieter. They can be annoying - "I'm on a diet. I'll just have salad." Shut up. Don’t be the only one who orders a simple salad when the others order a burger, fries, and shake.

Support group
You may not have one. As for your family, friends, and loved ones, they often don't care if you're pre-diabetic, you have high blood pressure, or look fat. To put it kindly, maybe they like you so much that the idea of you changing makes them afraid they will lose you and your wonderfulness. Or, maybe they are just insecure, guilty, and jealous. You are on your own.

One thing I have learned from my diet: I am so sick of advice. Advice is too often ignorant, self-serving, narrow, and negative. I’m doing my best to become a reformed ex-advice-giver. Hey, you came to this blog. When I want advice, I will go to some well-reasoned books, information websites, some internet acquaintances, and a very limited number of personal friends.

With your diet, work on your diet. You will not always exercise, but you will always eat. That’s how you got fat after playing sports in school. There are some exercises that will give you an irresistible hunger. It is easier to not eat a bagel than to work off that amount of calories.

Learn what insulin response is. For the record, I eat everything, only the proportions and portions have changed. I have no cravings or deprivations. Learn which food satiates hunger for the longest time.

That is my foundation. Adjust as needed. It's simple, free, and genius. It is the ultimate invisible diet.

Intermittent fasting
There are workable variations for everybody. If it means hunger to you, you are doing something wrong. Intermittent fasting is the best way to learn about your own eating habits and needs. My strong opinion: meals are like bureaucracies; they only get bigger, never smaller.

We are hardwired to search out and eat food. There was a pre-modern humanoid species that was hardwired to avoid food. They became extinct. Their bones were recently discovered in Africa. Really skinny little bones. Learn our animal nature and what we are built to eat.

Introspection, self-knowledge. I can look as good as when I was in college. I can shop like a girl. Dang, I’m fine. Tommy Bahama all the way!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday high in the sky

Today is Sunday and, as usual, Pierini Fitness is closed so the chief executive blogger can rest his body, mind and spirit.

Rest today is high above the clouds, in a United Airlines flight to Mexico City, on a beautiful Sunday high in the sky.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Pierini Fitness Substitute Dream Team

During my absence next week, Pierini Fitness will be in good hands with an outstanding dream team of middle-age men guest bloggers. Allow me to introduce them to you.

Middle-age man guest blogger Tom will serve as Acting Chief Executive Blogger on Monday, April 27th. Tom’s guest blogflection - Tommy Bahama all the way! – is one great discussion of effective bodyweight reduction eating strategies for middle-age men.

Middle-age man guest blogger Charles Long will serve as Acting Chief Executive Blogger on Tuesday, April 28th. Charles’ guest blogflection – You’ll never look back – is both a history lesson and a “how to” instruction discussion of how real middle-age men shave.

Middle-age man guest blogger Greg “VRT Man” Mangan will serve as Acting Chief Executive Blogger on Wednesday, April 29th. Mr. VRT Man’s guest blogflection – Sit mens sana in corpore sano – provides clues of what's in store for me during my contemplative pro-life pilgrimage to Mexico City next week.

Middle-age man guest blogger David Hill will serve as Acting Chief Executive Blogger on Thursday, April 30th. David’s guest blogflection – An inspired presence for others – gives a benevolent perspective of giving service and mentoring the generation of men and women young enough to be our children.

Finally, middle-age man guest blogger Jim Carlson will serve as Acting Chief Executive Blogger on Friday, May 1st. Jim’s guest blogflection – Because you are killing all of them – is so thought provoking that you'll be thinking about it weeks later.

There you have it my cyberspace fitness partners of ladies and gentlemen – The Pierini Fitness Substitute Dream Team.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, April 24, 2009

Because they might kidnap us

This Sunday morning, my wife and I leave for Mexico City for a one week contemplative pro-life pilgrimage sponsored by Human Life International (HLI), a U.S. Roman Catholic activist pro-life organization, and the largest international, pro-life, pro-family, pro-woman organization in the world. Two years earlier, we had the opportunity to visit with the staff of Vita Umana Internazionale, the Rome, Italy office of HLI.

News of our trip have raised frequent comments and concerns from family and friends that we will encounter Montezuma’s Revenge and our travel safety.

Montezuma’s Revenge
Montezuma’s Revenge is the colloquial term for any case of traveler’s diarrhea contracted by tourists visiting Mexico. The name jokingly refers to Montezuma II (1466-1520), the ruler of the Aztec civilization who was defeated by Hernán Cortés, a Spanish conquistador.

Well I’ve got a stomach made with bricks and mortar and lined with steel so I’m not worried about Montezuma’s Revenge.

Concerns for our travel safety
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs issued a travel alert on February 20, 2009, excerpted in part below:

“While millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year . . . violence in the country has increased recently. . . foreign bystanders have been injured or killed in violent attacks in cities across the country, demonstrating the heightened risk of violence in public places . . . The Mexican Constitution prohibits political activities by foreigners, and such actions may result in detention and/or deportation . . . U.S. citizens who believe they are being targeted for kidnapping or other crimes should notify Mexican officials and the nearest American consulate or the Embassy as soon as possible, and should consider returning to the United States . . . .”

Even though our planned activities include a rosary service in front of an abortion hospital, I’m not worried that Mexican authorities might deem this to be a prohibited political activity and detain or deport us. Nor am I worried after reading the travel alert or listening to the many good-intentioned comments from family and friends, fearful for our safety, that we shouldn’t go to Mexico because they might kidnap us.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Yesterday afternoon in my basement

Trying to resume some regularity to my fitness training and staying closer to home because my wife has been ill, yesterday afternoon I went down to my basement after work for a quick bodyweight-only workout. My plan was to do something quick in 15 minutes or less so I did a 3-exercise circuit consisting of these exercises:

I alternated my grips performing my patented 6-grip pullup/chinup medley for 5 reps each round. I described this medley here: My 6-grip pullup/chin medley

Atlas pushups
I did these deep descending pushups using the pushup handles on my pullup station and had my feet elevated on a wooden pallet about 12 inches high for 10 reps each round.

Walking lunges with a front kick
I concluded the circuit with this fun exercise for 15 reps each round. I demonstrated it here: Walking lunges with a kick

Remember, I’ve experienced some fitness erosion that I wrote about yesterday so be easy on me when I tell you that it took me 14:16 to complete 6 rounds of this circuit.

It wasn’t an awesome workout performance that will win awards and praise from my critics, but it sure was a quick and fun yesterday afternoon in my basement.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fitness erosion

Yesterday was my second day back to the gym for Olympic lift training after my grueling tax season work schedule the past three months. Let’s just say that I’m rusty with a capital R. My timing is off and so is my technique. My absolute strength has declined and so has my strength endurance.

It’s nothing to get excited about, as I believe I have lots of fitness shelf life with my many years of training. It’s just going to take some time to restore my fitness performance, or at least get it closer, to past performance efforts. I’m OK with that and am willing to do the necessary work.

The good news is that I’m 15 pounds lighter and I can feel it in my movement. I can better see my facial cheekbones and if I tighten my ab/core muscles I see a restoration in progress of my old four and a half pack when looking at myself in the mirror. My pants fit looser, my posture is good and my bodyfat is definitely lower. Thanks be to God for me not having any bodily aches or pains and being prescription medicine free at this point in my middle-age man life.

Yesterday’s training effort was a confirmation that my 2/24 intermittent fasting way of eating is incompatible with top-level absolute strength and strength endurance performance. That means I’ll have to make some business decisions about fitness and health goals I have, some of which may be incompatible with each other.

It’s not the end of the world by any stretch of my imagination, but it does suck knowing that I’ve experienced some fitness erosion.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

These are what I take

So I’ve made a business decision to continue following my 2/24 intermittent fasting way of eating five days a week until further notice, probably Monday through Friday. I last wrote about it here: It's been an amazing journey

Since concluding my 2009 Lenten intermittent fasting journey on Easter Sunday (nine days ago), I have continued eating this way six of those nine day, including today. Here are some things I've discovered:

Significant decrease in trash
I remember taking the trash out the night before garbage service pickup and noticed that the outside garbage can was bone dry. In other words, it took a whole week to fill up the kitchen trash container to the point it was time to dump it in the outside garbage can. I can’t think of any other period in my adult life where this happened before.

Money savings
Two-thirds through my Lenten intermittent fasting journey, I asked my wife if we were saving any money on account of me eating less. “Yes!” she exclaimed while adding that her life had been so much simpler not having to constantly go grocery shopping trying to keep up with my demand.

Getting more done in daytime hours
All I can say is try it and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

I continue to be amazed at the people who believe eating this way is not healthy, and the negative comments they share about eating a single large meal late in the evening. My reply to their comments is always the same: “how do you know, have you tried it?” None have. One person told me that it was bad because they heard a medical doctor say so on a television talk show program.

My experience is that many medical doctors are not the best models or source of fitness, health and nutrition advice and often don’t follow the advice they dispense. A friend of mine wholeheartedly agreed with me. He told me the time his doctor hastily wrote him an unnecessary prescription for high blood pressure medicine while saying, “here's a prescription, these are what I take”.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blessings from the sidewalk

My wife and I both believe that life begins at conception and that is the moment that the life of an unborn infant deserves to be protected. She has organized a local chapter of The Helpers of God's Precious Infants in our hometown.

The Helpers of God’s Precious Infants is a pro-life apostolate made up of individual volunteers called Helpers with a mission to maintain a loving, peaceful, prayerful witness outside abortion centers; supporting pregnant mothers and their families with spiritual, emotional and practical assistance; praying for the moral conversion of our society; and informing others about the tragedy of abortion.

Since starting this pro-life apostolate, my wife has spent hundreds of hours performing sidewalk counseling and, recently, it has taken a toll on her physical health. She was unable to be at the sidewalk last Friday, so I volunteered to be there on her behalf. What follows is my account of that experience.

April 17, 2009
53rd & F Streets
Sacramento, CA

Today I substituted for the Chief Helper of God's Precious Infants who was very ill and in pain, unable to be at the sidewalk. I've been to the sidewalk before but as one among many. Today I left home knowing that I may be at the sidewalk alone, praying the Holy Rosary by myself.
Why did that seem so challenging? Was it because I was concerned what people would think, seeing me, a middle-age man, standing on a corner praying the Holy Rosary by himself. Maybe they would think or call me a Jesus Freak, or utter some unkind comment that I should get a life or that I was crazy, like the time a man walking his dogs told his dogs upon seeing us praying the Holy Rosary that some people just want to make fools of themselves. To this day, I still wonder if his dogs agreed with him. Or was it because deep down inside I had to admit to myself that I'd rather be doing something fun and easy, like a morning workout at the gym or a walk in the park, something more mainstream and acceptable to those who would see me in action.

As the clock on my cell phone approached 10:00 a.m., I readied myself to begin a two hour peaceful prayerful presence at the sidewalk. At that moment, three other Helpers arrived, one of whom volunteered to be the Sidewalk Counselor while the other three of us served as Prayers. In a sigh of relief, I realized that I had been spared from my fear of being "caught" at the sidewalk praying by my lonely self. As we prayed the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary together, I felt comfortable and safe in the peaceful and prayerful presence of my Catholic brother and sisters who, like me, were probably outside their comfort zones, trusting God that our peaceful and prayerful efforts would soften the souls of pregnant women wanting to abort their unborn infants, and the abortion facility employees.

Dear God, thank You for the blessing at the sidewalk today of exposing one of my many weaknesses, that of wanting to take the path of least resistance and do something fun and easy rather than pray at the sidewalk in front of an abortion facility for the moral conversion of pregnant women determined to have an abortion and the abortionist and assistants who perform these abortions. Thank you for giving me the strength to walk through my weakness and fear of praying in public, and to be fearless of what people passing by may see or think of me.

Click here to read more Blessings from the sidewalk

Pax Domini sit simper vobiscum

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Enjoying a relaxing Sunday

Today is Sunday and once again Pierini Fitness is closed so the chief executive blogger can rest his body, mind and soul. Actually, he is very rested right now because he has not worked since Wednesday, will continue resting through Monday, before returning to work on Tuesday.

Visit Pierini Fitness tomorrow for a daily blogflection about a topic yet to be determined but guaranteed to be creative and original. Until then, do as the chief executive blogger is doing today – enjoying a relaxing Sunday.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bring in some subs

In nine days, an outstanding dream team of middle-age men guest bloggers will begin gracing Pierini Fitness for five consecutive days. Each day, a different middle-age man guest blogger will offer the cyberspace blogsphere some alternative and fresh middle-age man ramblings about everything under the sun, and give the chief executive blogger a much deserved vacation.

All guest bloggers have submitted their manuscripts and I’ve had a chance to read them all. If the collective wisdom and sage counsel in these five upcoming blogflections could be bottled like a bottle of fine wine, it would sell for a pretty penny premium. But reading them won’t cost you one cent, only an early morning daily visit to Pierini Fitness while you sip on your morning cup of coffee or tea.

It all begins on Monday, April 27th and ends on Friday, May 1st. Mark those dates on your calendar and stayed tuned as the chief executive blogger, like a football or basketball coach, calls a time out to bring in some subs.

Pax Domini sit simper vobiscum

Friday, April 17, 2009

Going back to the gym

Yesterday was a very different day from how it had been for the past three months. Sleeping until 6:30 a.m. made me feel like a rich man. An early morning cup of coffee from Starbucks, attending morning Mass with my wife and then breakfast together afterwards, a little banking and a long-overdue haircut, then spending the rest of the day doing as little as possible. Maybe a little too boring for some but right down my alley for the day.

Today will only be different in one respect because I’m going back to the gym.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anything today besides working

Well I survived another tax season. Today I’ll probably start showing symptoms of an adrenaline hangover from the last week of serious sleep deficits and never-ending work days.

Effective immediately I’ll start a great lifestyle of a Tuesday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. work schedule. There will be periods during the year when I’ll need to work a little more, but I’m sticking to this work schedule just like I did last year. It’s absolutely wonderful.

Today I’m going to church with my wife and spend a quality day with her, getting a long-overdue haircut, doing some banking, getting a light workout in as I jump back on the fitness saddle, maybe take a nap and enjoy a good meal, anything today besides working.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

That kind and sensitive middle-age man

My memories of high school include hanging out with friends and verbally sparring with them or “capping” as we called it. Capping was the friendly exchange of insults in a group setting with the intention of generating loud laughs from others in the group. It was a battlefield most of the time and we survived by developing thick skin and quick mental reflexes to retaliate after being the recipient victim of a very successful “cap”.

I remember one guy named Daryl, perhaps the king of cappers, someone feared because he could drop the cruelest cap on you that would result in unanimous and loud laughter from everyone in the crowd. One of Daryl’s classic caps that I still remember to this day was when he told someone that he saw that person’s mother taking a bubble bath, sitting in a mud puddle farting.

Those years of combat duty along with three years in the military with young soldiers of a similar mindset trained me well and cultivated a “joy”, still to this day, of giving and receiving verbal one-liner put downs. Two that I’ve “used” with much success will generate guaranteed crowd laughter. One is directed to a middle-age man and the other is directed to a middle-age woman. Give them a try whenever you are feeling insecure at a party or group setting and want to show others how “funny” you are.

The middle-age man one is best delivered to a longtime friend who might be a few pounds heavier than yesteryear. It goes like this: “I’ve known him for a very long time. I knew him when he had a 32 inch waist!”

The middle-age woman one is best delivered to a longtime friend who also might be a few pounds heavier than yesteryear. It goes like this: “I’ve known her for a very long time. I knew her when she looked good in a tight jean skirt!”

Have some fun with these and let me know how they work for you. You’ll get some guaranteed laughs but it may come at a price of people no longer seeing you as that kind and sensitive middle-age man.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The latest issue of the National Enquirer

I’ll be brief and to the point – I’m so overwhelmed with my work and so tired as I write this blogflection announcing that there’s no Pierini Fitness blogflection for today. There’s always tomorrow and hopefully I’ll deliver something creative and original as I always strive to do every Monday through Saturday.

If you’re feeling a little lonely as you drink your morning coffee, biting your nails and twitching because you’re missing your standard morning dose of “off the beaten path” reading material, run down to the corner grocery store and buy yourself the latest issue of the National Enquirer.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's been an amazing journey

Last Thursday’s blogflection was about my 2009 Lenten intermittent fasting journey. In case you missed it, you can read it here:

My intermittent fasting journey

A fit and lean middle-age man client of mine who read this blogflection shared these comments with me:

“Okay I think monitoring my diet or what I eat is really appropriate. But denying my meals to two hours a day? I am surprised you don’t fall over. I eat five to six times a day – small controlled and clean (veggies, fruits, complex carbs, proper fat and non-red meat protein including soy). The fitness dimension is critical – agreed. Keep it up, not only do you feel and look great – you will be able to keep working to refill retirement and pay taxes. Take care.”

Here was my reply:

“Something surprising about my fasting journey has been the discovery that I was not denying myself, after the first couple days of adjustment. In fact, it was very liberating and created so much time not devoted to thinking about food, preparing food, eating it, cleaning up, thinking about how good or bad it was, and, finally, thinking when I was going to do it again. So the unexpected discovery was how much more time I had available during the daytime hours to work during my busy tax season.

Again, the first couple of days were an adjustment but it has been an amazing journey.”

My intermittent fasting journey began on Ash Wednesday, February 25th, and ended yesterday on Easter Sunday, 46 days later and 15 pounds lighter. On Easter Sunday I ate an apple at 1:00 p.m., enjoyed an authentic Mexican food dinner single serving of Chili Colorado, rice, beans and tortillas at 4:00 p.m., and another apple at 8:00 p.m. I thought about eating more but my body and brain kept telling me nothing else was needed.

I’ll have more to share next week when I’m not so busy with my work, but until then I’ll repeat that it’s been an amazing journey.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Have a blessed Easter Sunday

My 2009 Lenten Journey ends today. I'll share my blessings and experiences of this journey next week.

Pierini Fitness is closed today in celebration and observance of Easter Sunday. Visit us tomorrow as we resume early morning blogflections about middle-age man fitness and health, reflective ramblings and economic/political thoughts guaranteed to be creative and original.

Have a blessed Easter Sunday.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sabbatum Sanctum

Today is Holy Saturday (Latin: Sabbatum Sanctum), the day after Good Friday and the day before Easter. This day commemorates the day that Jesus Christ’s body lay in the tomb.

Pierini Fitness is closed in observance of Sabbatum Sanctum.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Pierini Fitness is closed today in observance of Good Friday.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My intermittent fasting journey

During my 2009 Lenten Journey that will end this Easter Sunday, I chose intermittent fasting as one of my Lenten sacrifices. Since February 25th on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent and also my 31st wedding anniversary, I have been continuously following an intermittent fasting way of eating for 44 consecutive days.

Talking with a good friend of mine who practices intermittent fasting had me curious so I started to read about it, including the Warrior Diet and Fast 5, both intermittent fasting ways of eating. The Fast 5 model prescribes that you eat within a 5 hour window in a 24 hour day and fast the other 19 hours.

What I chose to do was practice my own version that I call 2/24 intermittent fasting. My goal was to only eat within a 2 hour window each day from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Because no middle-age man is an island, I didn't start eating at 7:00 p.m. every day. Some days I started eating as early as 5:00 p.m. One day I didn’t start eating until 9:00 p.m. Overall, my average eating window was about 2 hours with the shortest being 1 hour and the longest about 5 hours.

Right now I will end my 2/24 intermittent fasting this Easter Sunday. It has been a positive experience that I'll have more to share about soon. Therefore, I may continue eating this way, most of the time.

Stay tuned for a future series of blogflections where I’ll share my experiences about my intermittent fasting journey.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

They can't eat you

A quick meeting with a client on Monday afternoon revealed that he periodically reads Pierini Fitness blogflections. We spent some time talking about all the worrying some of my clients are doing that I wrote about here:

Find something else to worry about

While exchanging chuckles about what little good worrying does most of us, something he said struck me as worth repeating. Even in the most difficult situations, with the odds not in our favor, against the most formidable adversaries, one thing to remember is that , unlike those giant and scary monsters in horror movies, they can’t eat you.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Single digit midget

Ask any person who served in the Army, or any other branch of the military, if they remember the day they became a double digit midget and chances are they will, and also share a story or two about that era of their life.

What does it mean to be a double digit midget? It’s soldier jargon to describe someone who has 99 days or less to go until discharge from military service. I remember the day I became a double digit midget. Chances are I went out and celebrated that night but, quite frankly, I can’t recall with absolute certainty thanks to some middle-age man memory blur.

But the ultimate coveted status all soldiers patiently waited for is exactly the status I have right now with a mere 8 days to go before my grueling 2009 tax work season is over - that of being a single digit midget.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, April 6, 2009

Next to nothing - part II

Last Monday I wrote about what little fitness training I did the prior week; so little that it probably didn’t qualify as one of my bona-fide something is better nothing workouts, but rather a next to nothing workout. You can read about it here:

Next to nothing

Last week was more (or maybe the correct word is less) of the same. Here again is what little I did:

In my basement beginning at 5:45 a.m. – a single set of 54 reps of the combo of shoulder dislocates/overhead squats using a light wooden pole – a single set of 54 reps of 4-count cherry pickers – a single set of 12 reps of the standard grip pullup – a single set of 12 reps of bar dips. Cumulative exercise time: about 12 minutes.

In my office beginning at 6:54 a.m. – a standard ab plank hold for 3:00 – a handstand hold for 1:25. Cumulative exercise time: rounding up, about 5 minutes.

So that’s a whopping 17 minutes last week, qualifying me for membership in the Couch Potato Club. I did a few isometric contractions a couple days here and there, but nothing significant to add to the week's training minutes.

My training will return to normal shortly but last week’s dismal effort was next to nothing – part II.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Have a great Sunday

If Pierini Fitness had a cyberspace telephone and you called today, this is the recorded voicemail message that you would hear:

“Thank you for calling Pierini Fitness, the home of creative and original blogflections about middle-age man fitness and health, reflective ramblings and occasional economic and political thought. Our business hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and by appointment. Today is Sunday and we are closed.

If you leave a message, we will return your call; or visit Pierini Fitness tomorrow to read our daily blogflection about a topic yet to be determined but guaranteed to be creative and original. Thank you for calling Pierini Fitness and have a great Sunday”.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Saturday will be mine to finally enjoy

The third Saturday of Spring 2009 finds me once again in my office working a long day while looking outside my office window at the pleasant springtime scenery with flowers in bloom and green grass so vividly green. I can hear the birds chirping in a melodic symphony that sounds so pleasant to my ears, a nice contrast from the never ending computer keyboard chatter that has been my daytime “music” for what seems like forever.

The toughest month is behind me and I fared pretty well clocking 285 hours of work, the most I’ve ever done for a March month. I’ll continue this blistering pace for 12 more days and will probably clock about 180 hours through April 15th. Then a spring 2009 Saturday will be mine to finally enjoy.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, April 3, 2009

Busy about nothing

Something I've noticed this year when meeting with clients is that everyone is busy, as in busier than normal and I’m no exception. What’s this all about? In a series of e-mails back and forth with a client, I stated that I don’t believe this 24/7 busy stuff is healthy. 

There’s got to be underlying forces in our minds and souls that are fueling it that I want to discover and share with the world. We all need a “Eureka moment” to discover what this never-ending busy stuff is all about so we can give it a kick in the behind and watch the quality of our lives improve.

One client shared how she wondered if she was addicted to her busy stuff. She also shared that she’s battled one type of health challenge after another for the past 2 months. Perhaps, she pondered, these health challenges were strong messages from a higher power insisting that she slow down, by giving her a kick in her behind and off her feet since the was unwilling to make that conscious choice on her own. In her own words, “God chose to help me along by visiting various aches, pains and viruses upon my body”. 

Little did she know the captivity I had in listening to her message while wondering if she was me talking to myself.

But this busy stuff is all for the chase of great accomplishments such as for the good of the family, financial security, prestige and all that other intangible good stuff that has been programmed into our complex reward systems. Work hard today so that tomorrow we won’t have to work hard and will be able to sit in our kingdoms enjoying the fruits of our labor. 

The problem with this stinking thinking is that the relaxing and tranquil tomorrow that we worked so hard for yesterday is our today that we are working so hard for a relaxing and tranquil tomorrow. We’re all like cats and dogs chasing our tails in a vicious circle that doesn’t end.

So we keep at it like the blind leading the blind, believing that we are doing the right thing so long as we are moving forward. That’s all fine and dandy until we hit a wall and crash, realizing that, in our chase to accumulate the finer things of life, what we may actually be doing is being busy about nothing.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, April 2, 2009

One day it will be our turn

Another frequent topic of discussion during client meetings this year is the challenges clients are facing being responsive to the needs of their aging parents. 

People are living longer than a generation ago and that include the mothers and fathers of middle-age men and women of my generation. Yesterday, for example, I met with a client who was leaving today for a distant trip to tend to the needs of elderly and needy parents.

The challenges are formidable because elderly and needy parents are oftentimes not revealing of their needs so as to not burden their children, or be in denial that they are reaching a point in their elder lives where help is needed. It’s a tough situation emotionally for adult children of elderly and needy parents, particularly when the parents live far away in another city or state.

The best I can do when having these discussions with clients is to listen attentively and with empathy, and praise them for doing the right thing as demanding as it may be. There comes a time when taking care of Mom and Dad takes precedence over the fun things we’d rather be doing with what little spare time we have. 

There’s nothing more honorable than rising to the occasion and being a good son or daughter to our elderly parents in need, fully aware that, like Mom and Dad, one day it will be our turn.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Middle-age man ramblings about eating

The chief executive blogger of Pierini Fitness is having a difficult time this week producing the creative and guaranteed original blogflections that he prides himself on delivering each cyberspace morning come rain or shine. Today is no different, so the best he could do was to share with you a collection of 10 prior Pierini Fitness blogflections, all middle-age man ramblings about eating.

I like fat

A hamburger for breakfast

Eat your age not your appetite

Abs are made in the kitchen

My 7 forbidden C foods

Holiday gluttony

Not so fast

Like a chipmunk harvesting chestnuts

My midde-age man truth

Hitting a rock bottom

That's the best he can do today - his personal collection of 10 blogflections of Pierini Fitness middle-age man ramblings about eating.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum