Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The End

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On August 28, 2008, Pierini Fitness first appeared in cyberspace as a middle-age man’s cyberspace chronicle of his journey down the superfitness highway in the fast lane.

As the chief executive blogger, I created Pierini Fitness as my cyberspace training journal and to record anything else I had on my mind for my archival benefit and for the benefit or disadvantage of anyone else who happened to stumble across my blog.

It turned out that I had quite a bit on my mind that I spilled out each morning for 600 consecutive days through yesterday. "Blogflections" are what I called my daily cyberspace utterances that shared my thoughts about middle-age man fitness, reflective ramblings, and occasional economic and political thoughts.

In the process, I got to know myself better and suspect that my cyberspace brothers from different mothers and cyberspace sisters from different misters who visited me on average about 950 times per month got to know me better too. Several took time from their busy day to share a comment or kudo about my daily blogflection – to tell me “right on” or “you’re missing the boat” with my message. I enjoyed all the comments I read and learned something from them.

In the process of being so full of myself, I crowned myself as the “self-appointed ambassador of middle-age men around the world”, advocating their interests and expressing their views of the way life was, the way life is and the way life should be.

I took my ambassadorship seriously and, along the way, had a middle-age man or two privately comment that the stuff I shared empowered their own middle-age manhood. It made me feel good inside my skin to be a middle-age man and to know that in some small way I helped them feel good inside their skin.

Now it’s time for me to take the daily energy I’ve devoted to Pierini Fitness and direct it elsewhere. Maybe I’ll write a daily poem to my wife who deserves more of my expressive attention than I've given her. To be a great husband should be the perpetual goal of all “real” middle-age men.

So it might come as a surprise to some – as it has for me – with what I am about to announce with those simple two words you see at the end of a good movie; that today’s 601st Pierini Fitness blogflection marks the end.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

p.s. to stay in touch, you can reach me at pierinifitness@yahoo.com

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wish me success

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Today I’ll start a 12-week strength training program that takes into account what I believe is best, yet challenging, for my middle-age man body.

My plan is to train three times a week and alternate between the following Workout A and Workout B:

Workout A

Barbell Olympic-style back squats - 3 sets of 5 reps.

Barbell bench press - 3 sets of 5 reps.

Barbell clean pulls - 3 set of 3 reps.

Knuckle pushups and bar dips for the next workout - 2 sets - first set to failure minus 1 rep and second set to failure.

Standard-grip hanging knees to elbow - 2 sets - first set to failure minus 1 rep and second set to failure.

Workout B

Barbell Olympic-style front squats – 3 sets of 5 reps.

Barbell overhead push press – 3 sets of 5 reps.

Barbell squat cleans – 3 sets of 3 reps.

Standard-grip pullups and standard-grip chinups for the next workout - 2 sets - first set to failure minus 1 rep and second set to failure.

Ab plank hold – 2 sets for the same hold time for both sets with rest time equal to 50% of the hold time.

I’ll follow this progressive resistance model:

(1) All sets with the same weight (after an appropriate warmup).

(2) Add 5 lbs. total weight each workout until I have technical form failure and unable to complete the planned reps for three workouts. Then I’ll reduce the weight by 10 percent for the stalled exercise only while continuing to add weight for the other exercises.

(3) I’ll continue adding 5 lbs. total weight each workout until I stall again with technical form failure for the planned reps.

(4) I’ll repeat this one step back and two steps forward approach for the entire 12 week length of this strength program, and follow the same principle for the pushups, pullups, chinups, bar dips and ab plank hold exercises.

It’s a tough program for me but I’m going to do it. Wish me success.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I plan to enjoy my Sunday

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Today is Sunday and Pierini Fitness is closed so the chief executive blogger can rest his body, mind and spirit. Maybe I'll go on a long walk like the 4-mile walk I did on Saturday.

Visit tomorrow to learn about the barbell strength training workout program that I’ll begin on Monday. It’s a plan that I intend to follow for 12 weeks for some much-needed structure with my middle-age man fitness training.

Enjoy your Sunday as much as I plan to enjoy my Sunday.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'll be back for more

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Yesterday I returned to my gym sporting both some fitness and strength erosion from hit and miss (mostly miss) training during my busy work season. My previous barbell workout was on April 1st and it was a very abbreviated one that consisted of a couple sets of squats and squat cleans at a hurried “something is better than nothing” pace.

Arriving at my gym mid-morning both mentally and physically tired, I promised myself a pleasant reintroduction to barbell weight training and I kept true to my promise. After investing 15 minutes walking on the treadmill to move the blood slosh in my arteries and veins from cardio inactivity, I then ventured to the weight room and completed the following combo sets:

Combo #1 - barbell front squats for 10 reps followed by standard grip pullups for 10 reps

Combo #2 - barbell bench press for 10 reps followed by standard grip chinups for 8 reps

Combo #3 - barbell bent-over rowing for 10 reps followed by close grip pullups for 10 reps

Combo #4 - barbell overhead push press for 10 reps followed by close grip chinups for 10 reps

For combo #3, the bent-over rowing and the close grip pullup reps were broken, and for combo #4, the close grip chinup reps were broken since I'm sporting some endurance erosion and didn’t give myself sufficient recovery to take that into account.

Overall, it was a pleasant workout that left my muscles feeling worked and a fresh reminder that I’m only as good as my last workout. But rest assured that I’ll be back for more.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, April 16, 2010

He is brain dead tired

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Pierini Fitness is closed today and there won’t be a blogflection because the chief executive blogger is taking the day off to rest and recovery from a hectic yesterday.

He is brain dead tired.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Combat tour of duty

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Today marks the end of my 2010 busy work season. While my April 15th has yet to begin as I compose today’s blogflection, I have a sense that this year will be smoother than the past.

My busiest work season ever was in 1988 when a fellow CPA who I shared office space with learned in mid-January that he needed an immediate major operation, about the time his busy work season was starting. I agreed to help him by serving his clients while he was away to keep them from going elsewhere.

It was a colossal undertaking that challenged me in ways that I haven’t since been challenged. The long hours I worked that year - day in and day out - and the stress of serving both his clients and mine was overwhelming. I remember going to work early that year on April 14th and working nonstop until the late evening of April 15th the following day - a total of over 36 hours of nonstop working without sleep. I did take a short break early in the morning on April 15th to go home and take a shower and freshen up because the “stench” of nonstop working and sitting was getting the better half of me.

Today will be nothing like that, yet I’ll still be running on adrenaline as that’s all my body and mind knows from years being in the tax season trenches. It takes a long time to teach an old dog new tricks and I’m an old dog in this work world in which I exist.

Sometime later today there finally will be a dissipation of my tanked adrenaline that will be replaced with a long overdue calmness that will surface like a rainbow in the sky after a torrential rain storm. At some point I’ll let out a believable big sigh of relief and start feeling elated like a sailor returning home from a combat tour of duty.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Not much when there's much to do

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How much sleep does a middle-age man require or, to be more specific, how much sleep does this middle-age man require? That’s a good question and I’ll give you my answer shortly.

We all grew up being taught that the average person needs eight hours of sleep a night; at least I did. It’s probably sacred in most our minds as a default answer although those of us who get manic now and then about fitness, family and work get by on far less. I am at this moment to no known short-term detrimental effect; or so I think.

There was a time when I would “cry like a baby” if I didn’t get the allotted sleep my mind had been conditioned to believe my body needed. Then I got a life and discovered that so long as I’m generally well-rested and well-fed, it’s no big deal to wake up seriously short in the “good night’s sleep department”.

Over the long haul, our bodies and minds need an average amount of sleep and if we don’t obey Father Time and Mother Nature, we’ll pay the price. As the saying goes “you can pay me now or you can pay me later”. Coming up short, now and then for a day or a small number of consecutive days is not the end of the world and doesn’t deserve to be elevated to a serious crisis to moan about to anyone who’ll listen.

This week I’ll average four to five hours of sleep a night and I don’t feel one cent deprived. It’s because my mind is in high gear and there’s a greater payoff to be alert and awake to wrap up my busy work season than to spend time in “Mr. Sandman-land”.

So back to the question of how much sleep does this middle-age man require? Not much when there’s much to do.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A set of 25 knuckle pushups

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For what seems like forever, I’ve been bothered by injured shoulders that have prevented me from doing most pressing exercises including pushups.

There was a time when I did pushups several times a week as part of my fitness training. My favorite version was knuckle pushups which are popular among martial artists because they condition your knuckles, work wrist stability and forearm muscles, and are slightly more challenging because of an extra range of motion.

Every now and then I’ve attempted to do some pushups and stopped each attempt immediately because my shoulders were telling me that they were not ready.

Yesterday, after a 14-hour work day and another missed fitness training day at my gym, I decided to drop down to my office floor and give my favorite pushups a try. A smile on my face is how it all ended as I was able to bang out a set of 25 knuckle pushups.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, April 12, 2010

Do nothing as I see fit

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For as long as I’ve been doing the work I do and the challenges of a very tough seasonal work schedule that concludes on April 15th, I’ve always taken the following day off and that’ll be the case this upcoming Friday. I’m looking forward to it.

Three years ago, it was the day my wife and I left for a 17-day vacation to Rome, Italy. There was much excitement of jumping on an airplane and crossing the Atlantic the day after my busy season ended but in hindsight, it was too exhausting because of the "vagabond" way we prefer to travel. It took forever for me to recover from that combination once we returned home and I haven’t done anything like that since.

I’m not sure what I did last April 16th other than take the day off and just smell the roses. That’s how simple it’ll be this Friday for it’s a promise I’ve made to myself. Last year we did go to Mexico City the last week of April, but that was after a week of rest and recovery to “heal” from the work-related abuse to which I’d been subjected.

There are so many people who have been waiting for my attention and a list of neglected chores to eventually tackle, not to mention restoring some regularity to my middle-age man fitness training. All that will wait for at least one day longer because Friday will be my day to rest and do nothing as I see fit.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Get you going

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It’s Sunday so I’m taking a rest; tomorrow will be busy and I want to be my best.

Today there’s a calmness of my body, mind and soul; observing the Lord’s Day is my only goal.

So that means Pierini Fitness is closed once again; but rest assured it’s not the end.

Return tomorrow very early in your day; you’ll enjoy my blogflection and what I have to say.

The topic I’m not sure of for it’s not been created; rest assured it will be original and most definitely top rated.

At Pierini Fitness you will always find some creative “knowing”; to jump start your day and get you going.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Oh, the joy to see you come!

This afternoon, I’m attending a memorial service for a good friend who passed away about six weeks ago. Below is the passage from a sympathy card I sent his wife last month. It really touched me and I’m sure it’ll do the same to you. Read it as if someone you know who passed away – a beloved family member or dear friend – is whispering the message to your soul.

Safely Home

I am home in Heaven, dear ones; Oh, so happy and so bright! There is perfect joy and beauty in this everlasting light.

All the pain and grief is over, every restless tossing passed; I am now at peace forever, safely home in Heaven at last.

Did you wonder I so calmly trod the valley of the shade? Oh! But Jesus' love illumined every dark and fearful glade.

And He came Himself to meet me in that way so hard to tread; and with Jesus' arm to lean on, could I have one doubt or dread?

Then you must not grieve so sorely, for I love you dearly still; try to look beyond earth's shadows, pray to trust our Father's Will.

There is work still waiting for you, so you must not idly stand; do it now, while life remaineth - you shall rest in Jesus' land.

When that work is all completed, he will gently call you Home; Oh, the rapture of that meeting, Oh, the joy to see you come!

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, April 9, 2010

Unable to deliver today

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Visit us tomorrow because Pierini Fitness is taking an unscheduled day off. The chief executive blogger is knee deep in his work and unable to deliver today.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Everyone is scared of something

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Monday morning at 3:00 a.m. - about one hour before my busy work season wake-up time - a knock on our bedroom door awakened my wife and me. It was a young man who is temporarily residing in our home. He's young enough to be a young son; actually he is 8 years younger than our son. My wife and I are lending him a helping hand because he's experencing difficult times right now and we’ve opened our home and hearts to him.

His knock on the door was accompanied by calling out my wife’s name. There was something about the tone of his voice that we both sensed he was scared. My wife got out of bed while I tried to catch another hour of scarce sleep before beginning another marathon work day at my office.

It turned out that he was terrified by mental images that danced in his head, perhaps from a bad dream and/or recent events in his currently-challenged life. Whatever it was doesn’t matter but only that he felt scared at the moment and needed some comfort. I must admit that our large two-story 105-year old home could make someone feel scared, particularly a trip to our basement or being home alone at night.

Tuesday evening, my wife and I talked about this young man’s experience and what it feels like to be afraid or scared of someone or something. As a young boy, I remember being scared to go upstairs at night when we lived in an old two-story home much like the one we live in now. I remember turning on every light possible in my nighttime trip from our first story living room to my second story bedroom.

Other past scary experiences I’ve had came to memory in our conversation. I’m sure just about everyone from my generation has a scary memory of the first time they saw the Wicked Witch of the West from the classic Wizard of Oz movie. Years later as an adult, I remember when I learned that the actress who played this witch-character had died. In a conversation with a secretary in my office, I made a jestful comment that there now wasn’t a person on the earth that I feared.

Well I wasn’t telling the truth because the truth is that however tough we are both mentally and physically, everyone is scared of something.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Is that all?

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Yesterday I stumbled across this in my early morning speed-surf on the internet for what’s going on in the world – one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise a day can help teens beat the effects of a common obesity-related gene with the nickname”fatso”. This is according to a new European study by a research team of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden that appears in the April edition of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

This research confirms that children and teenagers should get an hour or more of physical activity daily.

Children and teenagers of my generation would have shouted their reaction to this prescription of one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise a day with a loud "Is that all?"

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Light at the end of my tunnel

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There are nine more days of hard work for me and my busy work season will be over so, once again, that makes me a single digit midget that I wrote about last year at this time.

Some people mistakenly believe that those who do this kind of work are done working after April 15th. Nothing could be further from the truth, but my truth is that the remainder of the year is a wonderful work lifestyle.

After a grueling March during which I worked 263 hours, right now I’m feeling better about things for there is hope and light at the end of my tunnel.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, April 5, 2010

My "Charles Atlas business card"

 As a kid growing up, I read lots of comic books and part of my ritual was reading – over and over – the Charles Atlas Dynamic Tension Course ads that appeared on the inside cover. Ask any middle-age man if they did this too and their answer will almost always be a guaranteed yes.

Charles Atlas made millions of dollars selling his Dynamic Tension exercise course, appealing to a market of insecure young boys who wanted to be bigger and stronger. His “Mac the 97-lb. weakling” comic that appeared in these ads was a classic and genius marketing strategy that played on the insecurities of his young boy targeted market. A photo of a strong and young-looking Charles Atlas flexing his muscles and wearing a pair of leopard-design swimming trunks was also part of his comic book ads.

I once remember telling my Dad that I wanted to be fit and strong like Charles Atlas in the comic book ad photo. At that time, I honestly believed that was how he looked. Well my jaw dropped when my Dad dropped a bomb on me that the photo was an old one and Charles Atlas was about 80-years old. His comment stunned me and made me feel like I had just been punched in the stomach or told that the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus weren’t real.

About 17 years ago, I got the bright idea to have my photo on my business card so I had a professional photographer client take some photos of me wearing a suit and tie. When I selected the photo that would be used, I “announced” that it would be the one and only photo on my business card for the rest of my career.

To this day, that photo of me – a 38-year young little business man - still appears on my “Charles Atlas business card”.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter Sunday 2010!

Pierini Fitness is closed today in celebration and observance of Easter Sunday. Visit tomorrow for another early-morning blogflection about a topic not yet determined but guaranteed to be creative and original.

Happy Easter Sunday 2010!

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sabbatum Sanctum

“The women saw how His body was laid; and they prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.” Luke 23:55-56

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 2, 2010

Abstinence, fasting, penance and prayer

Like last year, Pierini Fitness is closed in observance of Good Friday.

I’m also taking the day off from work for a solemn day of abstinence, fasting, penance and prayer.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The path north is a long journey

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My abbreviated fitness training’s venue continues at a different location this week again at my Dad’s house where I am going each day after work to lend him a helping hand. He was in an auto accident on Saturday and definitely on the mend with a very bruised and sore sternum.

Tuesday’s workout was brief like Monday and again took place in his garage using his squat rack and Olympic bar and plates. Still on the mend myself in the shoulder department, I decided to do barbell overhead press work from the squat rack using light weight. I completed eight sets of overhead presses with the following weights (in lbs.) and reps: 45x5 – 45x5 – 45x5 - 65x5 – 75x5 – 85x 5 – 95x3 – 95x3.

These lightened loads are a far cry from the 145 lbs. I’ve done in the past for a single rep but I was able to complete this quick workout without any shoulder discomfort. This quick “something is better than nothing” workout made me feel good but also made me realize that the path north is a long journey.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum