Sunday, May 31, 2009

Enjoy your Sunday!

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

Visit us next month - that's tomorrow the 1st of June - for another creative blogflection guaranteed to be original. Enjoy your Sunday!

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hanging straight-leg raises medley

Here's an exercise I tried yesterday after watching a fellow gym member perform it a few days earlier. I matched her total rep count but she tells me that she's good for 10 reps on a good day. Well so will I after some more practice. Lately, I rarely do any direct ab/core work other than an occasional ab plank hold because my ab/core musculature gets worked really well with my Olympic lift workouts.

Here's a demonstration from yesterday at my gym. I tried to perform each rep from a dead hang and touch the ceiling with the front tip of my shoes to add an extra challenge.

Give this bad boy exercise a try. I call it the hanging straight-leg raises medley.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, May 29, 2009

An 8 minute quickie

Yesterday I attended a continuing education seminar so I walked to the downtown location where it was held. It's one mile away from my home, so it took me about 20 minutes to get there as I chose a relaxing pace. The morning weather was spectacular. During the lunch hour, I walked another mile to my bank and then to the State Capitol to attend a pro-life rally. I walked home but made a pit stop at Bodytribe Fitness, the gym where I train, about 5 blocks from where I live.

I didn't have much time to train during this unscheduled visit and I needed to save myself for a bigger training day tomorrow, but I felt like doing something quick so this is what I did:

1) standard grip pullups x 6 reps followed by overhead squat with 95 lbs. for 6 reps

2) standard grip chinups x 6 reps followed by overhead squat with 95 lbs. for 6 reps

3) close grip pullups x 6 reps followed by overhead squat with 95 lbs. for 6 reps

4) close grip chinups x 6 reps followed by overhead squat with 95 lbs. for 6 reps.

That was it for yesterday - 3 miles of functional walking in pleasant weather and a stop at my gym for an 8 minute quickie.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, May 28, 2009

200,000+ miles

My 1999 Honda Accord odometer hit the 200,000 mile mark the other day. I’m looking forward to the day when the odometer reads 300,000 miles. Hopefully, it will eventually surpass the mileage racked up on a car I owned several years ago – a 1988 Volvo 240DL, a car I owned for over 12 years and eventually donated it to charitable organization when its odometer read about 306,000 miles. That car still had some life in it as evidenced by the charity using it as an operating vehicle rather than sell it as is done by most charities.

I’ve learned that beating repairs to the punch with scheduled maintenance is the trick to auto longevity. Guess what – maintaining good fitness and health is cultivated the same way. Better to keep my body fit and healthy with scheduled maintenance, such as eating healthy and sensibly most of the time and training regularly and wisely most of the time.

That’s my middle-age man strategy for good fitness and health that has served me well thus far, just like my middle-age auto with 200,000+ miles.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thank you Father Tom!

Last month I attended a Human Life International (HLI) pro-life contemplative retreat in Mexico City and had the wonderful opportunity to meet and get to know its President, Reverend Thomas J. Euteneuer (Father Tom). Here's a recent article written by Father Tom in his “Spirit & Life” e-newsletter that helped me better understand the priestly vows of celibacy and my own marriage vows: The Dynamics of Celibacy

Thank you Father Tom!

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day sluggishness

Yesterday was a normal training day but I didn't train; nor did I write a blogflection for today.

Guess I had a serious case of Memorial Day sluggishness.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, May 25, 2009

Give this quick plyometric circuit a try

Here's a quick workout for you on time-challenged days. It will challenge your balance, coordination, explosiveness and speed. That's me demonstrating all exercises last Friday at the gym.

In case you're wondering, my knees are fine. I wear Tommy Kono knee bands when training in the Olympic lifts and doing squats. I did squats earlier in the workout and was too lazy to take them off before demonstrating these exercises.

Give this quick plyometric circuit a try.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, May 24, 2009

See you on Monday

Today is Sunday and Pierini Fitness is closed.

See you on Monday.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Getting back in the bar dip groove

My Tuesday blogflection earlier this week shared how lately I’ve had an itch to include more pullups in my training. Ditto for bar dips, an exercise I use to perform frequently back in my bodyweight-only exercise training days.

Back in those “old days”, I could perform 30 reps of bar dips in a single set and 100 lb. weighted singles on a good training day. While that’s not great, it was good enough for me. Now, being out of bar dip shape, I’m only good for 12-15 reps for a single set. There’s no way I would try weighted singles right now. Actually, my right shoulder is a little aggravated from last Saturday’s circuit workout that included bar dips, a healthy middle-age man reminder to be cautious in resuming them in my training.

Here’s the circuit workout I did last Saturday that included bar dips, consisting of 6 rounds of the following:

(1) pull-ups/chin-ups x 6 reps (done using my 6-grip pullup/chinup medley described in my Tuesday blogflection ), then

(2) bar dips x 6 reps (the standard garden variety), and finally

(3) Olympic-style back squats x 6 reps (next time I’ll do Olympic-style front squats for variety).

The pullup/chinup and bar dip reps were about 40 to 50 percent of my currently single set maximum. For the squats, I chose a weight that was about 65 percent of my current one rep maximum. I buzzed through this 6 round circuit in about 22 minutes; not a killer pace but one that required reasonable effort on my part.

Just like pullups and chinups, slowly but surely I’m getting back in the bar dip groove.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, May 22, 2009

Summertime sleep deficits

I’m beginning to ask the question of what is a nap. It’s been so long since I’ve had one. A great power nap would be wonderful right now. I mentioned power naps in a prior blogflection about sleeping here: Sucker punched in a nightclub brawl

Why do I have a hard time getting sufficient sleep when daylight hours are longer, such as now and through the summer? I believe it goes back to my youth. I played outdoors as a young kid as long as possible until being ordered inside by my parents. As a teenager, when school was in recess during the summer months, I went to bed much later than during the school year. I enjoyed being wide awake during the long and hot summer days and evenings, basking in the sunshine with a euphoric feeling of not having to go to school.

As teenagers, my friends and I roamed around outdoors doing absolutely nothing most of the time. It took us all day, evening and night to get this doing nothing done, and cultivated a feeling that I might miss something if I went to bed early. That lingering feeling still exists to this middle-age man day.

Hopefully soon I’ll get an overdue power nap and feel rejuvenated, but until then I’m sighing and resigning myself to upcoming summertime sleep deficits.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The downfall of Western civilization

Since my last update about two weeks ago, I've continued with intermittent fasting (IF) on Monday through Friday to fuel my body with food and eat like a normal person on Saturday and Sunday. Here’s my prior update in case you are interested: Intermittent fasting in Mexico City

For personal convenience, I’ve increased my daily eating window from the shorter 2 hour window (7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) that I followed during Lent. Now I generally begin my daily eating window at about 5:00 p.m. and end between 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. I’m not constantly eating during this window but only consider it the hours that the kitchen is open for business.

Here’s a great read of what another middle-age man recently shared on a fitness website about his IF experience (with two chief executive blogger parenthetical inserts for clarity):

“When I was in my late twenties I noticed that I was steadily gaining weight. Back then, I was doing everything mainstream medicine was recommending. I was eating three meals a day and doing lots of cardio work in addition to daily resistance exercises. To my surprise however, those pants just kept on getting tighter.

One morning I had a “road to Damascus experience”. A voice told me to skip breakfast. That same voice told me to work through lunch. I went home in the evening and had a huge dinner. I began doing this every day. I noticed two things: firstly, I quickly lost the unwanted kilos and secondly, I began to feel really good. The people around me were horrified. I was constantly being told that I was putting my health at risk. My metabolism will slow down. My stomach will be destroyed. My brain will shut down etc. But you know what? Nothing bad happened. In fact, I managed to remain thin and healthy while all those around me grew fat.

A few years later I read Ori's (Ori Hofmekler) Warrior Diet interview on T-Mag (a fitness website) and felt partly vindicated. I didn't buy the book because I thought that whole warrior gimmick was a tad silly. Nevertheless, it was good to know that I wasn't alone. I am now 45 and my cholesterol, blood pressure etc. are all O.K. I firmly believe if like me, you sit behind a desk all day - three square meals will make you fat. Three square meals will kill you. Three square meals a day may eventually lead to the downfall of Western civilization.”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A fat man on the beach

Why even bother? That was the title of a recent blogflection of another middle-age man fitness blogger who shared that he sometimes asks himself “why in the world are you doing this?” As a late entry to the fascinating world of Olympic weightlifting, he knows that he will only be able to handle a fraction of the weights that seasoned Olympic weightlifters lift on a regular basis.

Those are good questions that we all need to ask ourselves. Why do I bother? Why in the world am I doing this? Huffing and puffing in the gym when I could be sitting on a couch wearing a pair of baggy faded green sweat pants with the television remote control in one hand and a big bag of potato chips in the other hand, watching reruns of Judge Judy or a steady stream of infomercials while seeing how fast I can surf every channel available – a PR of a different kind.

I’ll tell you why I do it. Actually there are several reasons why I do it. First and foremost, to give thanks to God and to take care of the body and good health He has given me. I’ll skip all the other reasons and go to the last one – because this summer I don’t want to be a fat man on the beach.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting back in the pullup groove

A couple years ago when my training consisted of bodyweight-only exercises, the pullup and all its variations was the staple of my workouts. I did hundreds of pull-ups during a workout and built very developed and impressive back muscles doing them. Some days I did a weighted singles progression workout where I would perform multiple sets of a single repetition with weight strapped around my waist. I got as high as an 82.5 lb. weighted single pullup and a 100 lb. weighted single chinup. Then I started dabbling with the Olympic lifts and my pullup workout frequency came to a screeching halt.

Lately, I’ve had an itch to include more pullups in my training and last week I included them in all three of my workouts. It’s pretty basic what I’m doing and the volume is light, nothing like those crazy pullup training days from my training past. The 6-grip pullup/chinup medley continues to be a favorite of mine. I wrote about it here: My 6-grip pullup/chinup medley

Slowly but surely I’m getting back in the pullup groove.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, May 18, 2009

103F degrees and too hot to write

Normally, I write my blogflections late on the day before they are published as in Sunday evening for Monday.

I'm coming up short today on Monday because yesterday on Sunday it was 103F degrees and too hot to write.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, May 17, 2009

That we are born to eternal life

Today is Sunday and, once again, Pierini Fitness is closed so the chief executive blogger can rest his body, mind and spirit. Come back tomorrow for another middle-age man blogflection about a topic yet to be determined but guaranteed to be creative and original.

Until then, have a great Sunday and enjoy the following Prayer of St. Francis

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Journey to good fitness and health

A good friend I’ve known since college – code for 30 years - called the other day to tell me that during a recent physician’s visit he was told that his cholesterol is too high. His total cholesterol reading is 230. I don’t have his LDL, HDL and triglyceride numbers handy as I write today’s blogflection, but my first impression after studying his numbers is that his high cholesterol reading can be fixed. His physician scheduled him for more blood work in about 30 days, along with a warning if the second test yielded similar results, he’d go home with a prescription for high cholesterol medication.

My friend asked me what I thought. I told him that we can fix it without the prescription medicine. His reply was “let’s do it.”

Stay tuned for Pierini Fitness updates about my friend – a middle-age man’s prescription medicine-free journey to good fitness and health.

Pax Domini sit simper vobiscum

Friday, May 15, 2009

A hard time being unemployed

There’s always good to be had in bad times with knights in shining amour responding to damsels in distress, guardian angels protecting innocent little boys and girls, and good Samaritans coming to the aid of impoverished orphans and widows.

The latest example is pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. announcing yesterday its new program that will let people who have lost their jobs and health insurance keep taking some widely prescribed Pfizer medications – such as Viagra – for free for up to a year. Associated Press reported that Pfizer – the world’s biggest drug maker – will provide more than 70 of its prescription drugs at no cost to unemployed and uninsured Americans, regardless of income, who lost their jobs since January 1st and have been on the Pfizer drug for three months or more.

Some of these poor souls are going to have a hard time being unemployed.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A daily morning encounter with the scale

An occupational hazard of my profession is a predisposition to capturing data, recording it, summarizing and evaluating that data so that it becomes information, and then using that information to make decisions. It’s objective and how my brain is wired as was the subject of this prior Pierini Fitness blogflection: The power of journaling

Using the archival benefit of my journaling efforts, yesterday I decided to see how my morning bodyweight has fluctuated over the years, and how I primarily trained, for years that I have recorded information available. The following is an executive summary of that information for May 13th:

2004 – age 49 – 191.5 lbs.
A relative newcomer to bodyweight-only training with running and karate part of my training mix - training 4-5 days a week on average.

2005 – age 50 – 178.5 lbs.
A dedicated high-volume bodyweight-only enthusiast with running and karate part of my training mix – training 5-6 days a week on average.

2006 – age 51 – 179.5 lbs.
A dedicated high-volume bodyweight-only enthusiast with running and karate part of my training mix – training 5-6 days a week on average.

2007 – age 52 – 177.5 lbs.
A dedicated high-volume bodyweight-only enthusiast with running and karate part of my training mix – training 5-6 days a week on average.

2008 – age 53 – 193.0 lbs.
Focusing more on the Olympic lifts using heavier weights and low rep sets, some running and some karate - training 3-4 days a week on average.

2009 – age 54 – 179.5 lbs.
Focusing more on the Olympic lifts using heavier weights and low rep sets, currently zero running and karate - training 2-3 days a week on average. Became an intermittent fasting practitioner on February 25th.

My body fat percentage as measured by a personal home scale that uses bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) technology has fluctuated within 2 percentage points of the average for 4 of the 6 years in which I have morning bodyweight recorded information available. I’m well aware of the inaccuracies of BIA technology so I focus on relative changes in my body fat percentage rather than a particular day’s reading. I’ve learned that my morning body fat percentage is about 5 percentage points higher than my mid-afternoon body fat percentage due to changes in my body’s hydration levels.

Many “fitness experts” say that it’s not a good thing to weigh yourself daily. I say to each his or her own and to do what works for you.

What does it all mean? That’s a good question and my answer is that I have a daily morning encounter with the scale.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What am I going to do when I get there?

Reflecting back on my middle-age man fitness journey is an enjoyable act of nothingness. There have been so many different fitness things I’ve chased at one time or another. It seems like they all have one thing in common in that they kept me out of mischief and trouble. Some were centered on accomplishing something by an upcoming birthday.

One such birthday-theme fitness goal of mine several years ago was when I wanted to score at least 250 points on the U.S. Marine Physical Fitness Test on my 50th birthday. The test consists of 3 events – a single set maximum effort of pull-ups, a 2-minute timed set of Marine abdominal crunches, and a 3-mile run. A perfect score of 300 points requires 20 pullups, 120 Marine abdominal crunches and running the 3 miles in 18:00.

The first time taking this test on my 50th birthday, I scored 237 points by performing 17 pullups, 73 Marine abdominal crunches and running the 3 miles in 21:30. The following year I took the test on my 51st birthday and improved only slightly by scoring 239 points, performing 16 pullups, 73 Marine abdominal crunches and running the 3 miles in 20:16.

They say that the third times is the charm and that was the case on my 52nd birthday when I finally achieved my 250 point goal by scoring 257 points, performing 18 pullups, 77 Marine abdominal crunches and running the 3 miles in 19:32.

That was the last time I took that test! I moved on to new fitness goals to chase in my search and thirst for something new, like a restless teenager constantly shouting out about how bored they are. Was I chasing wind?

So the question for me today, as I stare my current fitness goals in the eyes, is what am I going to do when I get there?

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My new 50 Mexican pesos sunglasses

This is the last of my Mexico City blogflection series by sharing that I left my sunglasses in my car when transferring to an airport shuttle service that took me to the airport for my flight to Mexico City.

Gasp! That was my reaction when I discovered that I was sunglasses-less and in uncharted middle-age man territory because all middle-age men wear sunglasses.

So upon arriving in Mexico City, I quickly fixed the problem by buying another pair. Looks like I’ll be going around looking cool all summer long with my new 50 Mexican pesos sunglasses.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, May 11, 2009

The rest of my fitness training life

So where do I go from here? I’ve been there and done it, not all but a good cross-section of popular training methods. Some produced better results than others but who knows for sure because exercise intensity and diet are big variables, along with training enthusiasm. I’ve said it at least a dozen times before – the program has got to match the personality.

Last week was the first time in a while that I trained 3 times in a week – Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. A very busy seasonal work season followed by a pilgrimage to Mexico City left my training effort light by historical standards. So has my ongoing intermittent fasting (IF) journey.

I guess this brief blogflection is nothing more than my reflective cyberspace utterances of the thoughts rambling around in my middle-age man head, of where I have been, where I am and where I want to go in the fitness and health departments. I know that I’m only as good as my last workout and that I am what I eat.

One thing is for sure – today is the first day of the rest of my fitness training life.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Today is Sunday and, as usual, Pierini Fitness is closed so the chief executive blogger can rest his body, mind and spirit. Visit tomorrow for a creative blogflection about a topic yet to be determined but guaranteed to be original.

To my Mother who celebrated her 78th birthday yesterday, full of life and enjoying good health; to my wife, the Mother of my children; to my deceased grandmothers, the Mothers of my parents, to expectant Mothers who have chosen life for their unborn infants; and for all other Mothers enjoying the fruits and rewards of Motherhood, today is your day and my prayers and thoughts are with and for you, along with my best wishes that you have a Happy Mother's Day.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Big Four

Years ago at a dinner to recognize traditional karate legend Takayuki Kubota, I was sitting at a table with other middle-age men karateka enjoying the evening camaraderie, food and spirits. As is typical when a group of yesteryear karate warriors get together, the conversations centered on the good old days, the hard dojo training and the post-workout partying that was so common among those attracted to Sensei Kubota’s International Karate Association.

Eventually, the good old day stories passed and the conversations changed to something I didn’t expect – comments and questions from several at the table who were taking high blood pressure medication.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise because high blood pressure or hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and being overweight or obese – the Big Four for lack of a better term – increase with age. Recent reports and statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drive home this truth.

Physician-diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes existed in 10.6 percent of the population of individuals aged 40-59 years and 22.9 percent of the population of individuals age 60 years and over. See Table 54 from the link below.

Hypertension, defined as elevated blood pressure and/or taking anti-hypertension medication occurred in 36.2 percent of the population aged 45-54 years, increasing to 65.0 percent of males age 75 years and over and 80.2 percent of females age 75 years and over. See Table 71 from the link below.

High serum cholesterol (defined as greater than or equal to 240 mg/dL) occurred in 20.8 percent of males aged 45-54 years and 19.7 percent of females aged 45-54 years. Note that these percentages are significantly lower than earlier years, undoubtedly due prescription medications now available. See Table 72 from the link below.

Overweight and obesity
Perhaps the most alarming statistic is that 78.5 percent of males and 67.3 percent of females age 45-54 years were overweight or obese in the United States, the land of prosperity. See Table 75 from the link below.

Here’s a link to these and other statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health, United States, 2008

Thanks be to God that I do not currently suffer from any of these conditions and am prescription medicine free, but if these alarming statistics don’t keep me motivated to eat healthy and train intelligently, then I don’t know what will. I’m heading to the gym this afternoon for a good workout in my fight against the Big Four.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, May 8, 2009

If I should have done something different

In one of my prior blogflections, I discussed that it’s a daily ritual for most middle-age and elderly people to read obituaries and funeral notices in the morning newspaper. You can read about it here: Reading the obits

Well yesterday was no exception and during my morning read, I learned that a longtime client of mine recently passed away at the too young age of 51 years. He was an individual tax client who I only did work for once a year at tax time. In recent years, we didn't have face-to-face meetings because he'd mail his tax documents and information to me and I would mail him the completed tax returns.

This year, however, he did come into my office to bring me his tax documents and other information. As I greeted him and we engaged in middle-age man small talk, I looked deep in his eyes and saw a person who had aged a lot, did not appear to be healthy, and had a very strong smell of alcohol on his breath. It was a sad sight and left me feeling helpless as to what I should say or do. The rest of our brief and unscheduled meeting was limited to more middle-age man small talk and a how is your boy (son) doing question from me. He loved his 14-year son with all his heart. That was the last time we talked.

I’ll never ask and probably never know why his life ended so soon at the too young age of 51 years and, quite frankly, it's really none of my business. After reading his obit yesterday morning, I’ve been constantly thinking about the last time I saw him while asking myself if I should have done something different.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Time for a pair of 1.25's

It was an early evening on the streets of Lisbon, Portugal in November 2001 when I had to get honest that it was time to buy a pair of reading eyeglasses.

I was looking at a Lonely Planet travel guidebook for Portugal, trying to find an affordable hotel for the night and having a difficult time as my wife stood by my side.

Playing with the distance of the book and squinting my eyes were to no avail – the lighting was poor, the print too small, and my 46-year young middle-aged man eyes were screaming at the challenge and giving me a rite of passage and a middle-age man moment of truth.

The rock bottom moment that was the straw breaking the camel’s back was when a young woman from Australia about age 22 - who along with her male friend from South Africa were accompanying my wife and me from Seville, Spain to Lisbon - realized that I was having a difficult time. 

In a random act of kindness, she politely grabbed the guidebook from me and with the easiest of ease read to me what I was unable to do on my own. 

It was at the split second that I had to get rigorously honest and admit to myself that it was time to get some help. When I returned home about one week later, I purchased my first pair of over-the-counter reading eyeglasses, some 1.00’s as I call them, that I still use to this day.

Well lately I find myself in the same situation as that early evening in Lisbon over 7 years ago, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for a pair of 1.25’s.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Intermittent fasting in Mexico City

This is an update of my continuing intermittent fasting (IF) journey, focusing on last week in Mexico City. I last provided an update on April 21st here: These are what I take

Last week in Mexico City, my plan was to practice IF Monday through Friday and I actually did so on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I didn’t, however, in a spirit of not being “anti-social”, pressures IF practitioners constantly face from the rest of the world. I resumed IF on Thursday and developed a real bad headache by the afternoon. I initially attributed this bad headache to Mexico City air pollution, a hot sunny afternoon, and possible dehydration, but had a similar headache the following day, Friday afternoon, despite drinking lots of water. Therefore, I made a “business decision” to eat early that afternoon and ended up eating quite a bit of food that day.

Saturday and Sunday, were non-IF days according to my IF plan and I also ate rather well on both of those days.

Just for the record, I ate very well in the evening on both IF and non-IF days. The Enchilada Michocanas dinner I ate on the Sunday evening we arrived was absolutely delicious and makes my mouth salivate just thinking about it. So were the three dinners we ate at the homes of my wife’s cousins on other days.

Since returning home late Sunday night, I practiced IF on Monday and Tuesday of this week and that is also my plan for today.

The positive discoveries of IF that I discussed on April 21st are motivating factors for me continuing IF. Currently, my bodyweight and body fat have stabilized, my strength and strength endurance is down, and so is my muscle mass. In all fairness, part of my strength and strength endurance erosion must be attributed to my training, or lack of it, due to a busy work season and travel. I’ll be able to verify this as I ramp up my training effort and intensity in the months ahead.

So there you have it – an update of my intermittent fasting in Mexico City.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hermanos y hermanas de la Ciudad de Mexico

Last Tuesday, as one of 35 people attending a Human Life International (HLI) pro-life contemplative retreat in la Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City), I awakened very early in the morning while millions of Mexico City residents slept. My destination, along with fellow retreat members, was the Centro de Salud Beatriz Velasco de Aleman, a local abortion hospital, for a peaceful and prayerful early morning at the sidewalk.

We met in the hotel lobby at 4:45 a.m. and departed a few minutes later for a 20-minute bus ride to this abortion hospital. Upon arrival, Mexican pro-life members of the HLI Mexico City affiliate welcomed us.

Mexican women arrive early to this abortion hospital that only accepts 28 of them for an abortion. The line to the hospital entrance was already very long when we arrived, resembling a long line of young people waiting to buy tickets for a popular music concert. Eventually, many women were turned away, unable to enter the hospital that was isolated from the rest of the world by a tall prison-like iron gate. To the right of the entrance was a large and bright orange dumpster where aborted unborn infants are abandoned as trash until being hauled away.

While we all prayed the Holy Rosary in a very peaceful and prayer sidewalk presence, I noticed that several women arrived at the abortion hospital by taxicab. Many of these women were accompanied by someone who appeared to be their mother, but some arrived alone. Some women were accompanied by males, perhaps a boyfriend but probably not a father. I also noticed that some males were standing in the line alone. When asked, these men replied that they arrived early without their pregnant girlfriends or wives who were home sleeping to be better rested for an abortion, hoping that, by doing so, their woman would be one of the "lucky" 28 who would get an abortion. One man walked past us, and in a moment of anger, blew out one of the lighted candles at the prayer vigil site.

The peaceful and prayerful presence was both beauty to our eyes and comfort to our souls as we all prayed the Holy Rosary, but also bittersweet because we knew that back home in our communities, another day at our neighborhood abortion facilities would result in aborted unborn infants being dumped in dumpsters just like the bright orange dumpster at the Centro de Salud Beatriz Velasco de Aleman.

Dear God, thank you for this international blessing from the sidewalk today in Mexico City of being able to peacefully pray at the sidewalk this morning, to end the tragedy of abortion and for the moral conversion of our world, with enthusiastic and zealous pro-life brothers and sisters from all across the United States and also with our pro life hermanos y hermanas de la Ciudad de Mexico.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, May 4, 2009

An oldie but goodie out of the closet

I got home past midnight from Mexico City and was too tired to compose a creative and original blogflection so this is what it is for today: You can always pick tomatoes

It's a perfect blogflection as it's still fresh in my mind how hard the Mexican people work to put food on their table and have a place to live. I'll have more to share in the days ahead.

It's not the creative and original blogflection that I had the best intentions to deliver, but it's better than nothing, an oldie but goodie out of the closet.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, May 3, 2009

There's no place like home

Today is another Sunday in the sky, just like last Sunday, as I return home from Mexico City on an Aeromexico flight. I’ll take Monday off to recover before returning to work on Tuesday.

Reflecting on my week in Mexico City, I’m sure I’ll feel like Dorothy in the classic movie “Wizard of Oz”, clicking her ruby red slippers while repeating to herself that there’s no place like home.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thanks fellas, you did a great job

From Mexico City, I’d like to thank all members of the Pierini Fitness Substitute Dream Team for the outstanding job you did managing the blogflection factory during my absence. Thank you Tom, Charles Long, Greg “VRT Man” Mangan, David Hill and Jim Carlson for your great middle-age man blogflections. Let’s do it again soon.

I’ll soon be back at the blogflection factory, eager to cyberspace utter a blogflection or two about my Mexico City experiences.

Thanks fellas, you did a great job.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, May 1, 2009

Because you are killing all of them

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

Today’s guest blogger is Jim Carlson, a real estate professional with over 30 years of experience serving corporate and institutional owners with real estate sales, leasing and property management. 

More importantly, Jim is a bona-fide middle-age man with a level of fitness that the seat of his pants doesn’t rip when he bends over, and he can run up a flight of stairs without being winded at the top.

What follows is Jim Carlson’s guest blogflection.

Often in my life as a middle age man, thoughts come to mind such as did I choose the right vocation or career.

Should I have been a fireman, politician, professional athlete, doctor, lawyer, etc? As I reflect upon possible careers and vocations, the thought enters my mind of whether I listened to God.

Is my current career His plan for me, or did the voice from God in my younger years say something different?

I look back at the last 30 years and ask myself why I have done my type of work as a real estate professional. I was given a chance to choose what I hoped was God’s Plan. Some were not given this chance to respond or a chance to answer God’s call.

A news article I read last month reported a small plane crash in Butte, Montana, killing seven adults and seven children. Among these casualties were two children, two sons-in law and five grandchildren of the owner of Family Planning Associates.

More innocent unborn infants never experience life due to abortions performed by Family Planning Associates; they perform more abortions than Planned Parenthood.

The plane crashed in Holy Cross Cemetery, the site of a memorial for local residents to pray the rosary at the "Tomb of the Unborn". Many biblical readings can sure explain this providential event.

In my prayer and reflections is a question that I read a few years ago that had a profound effect upon me. It goes like this: “Lord, how come there are so few priests, doctors, and those that are really your true servants?”

Our Lord responded, “Because you are killing all of them.”