Thursday, April 26, 2012

The best of both worlds

My fitness training during the past decade has included extended multi-year periods where I trained exclusively with one method or the other but generally not both. The past year, however, has been different.

During one era, I trained with bodyweight-only exercises like pullups, bar dips, pushups, visualized resistance, and self-resistance exercises that did not require barbells, dumbbells or exercise machines.

This was high volume training – lots of sets and repetitions - with brief rest periods between sets. I generally trained every day. Running and karate training were the cardiovascular components of my training. Iron was out and to be avoided at all cost.

A fitness website I frequented for training ideas frowned on weight training like it was the Black Plaque, something that would destroy civilization and contribute to a debilitating condition known as “Busted-up Weightlifter Syndrome”. I was a bodyweight-only junkie during this era and maintained a respectable level of fitness training this way.

Then I discovered the fascinating world of Olympic weightlifting and decided to join that club and way of training. My bodyweight-only training came to an end as the rigors of good Olympic weightlifting training made it incompatible with a good bodyweight-only training program.

During this new era with the Olympic lifts, I used heavier weights for moderate sets of low repetitions, my rest periods between sets were longer, and my training frequency was about three times a week rather than daily. I also performed non-Olympic lift barbell auxiliary exercises and didn’t do much cardiovascular training.

I was an Olympic weightlifting junkie during this era. Like the bodyweight-only training era, I maintained a respectable level of fitness training with the Olympic lifts.

This past year, I’ve trained using both methods. My workouts begin with weightlifting of basic barbell exercises - overhead press and squat to name just two – using heavier (for me) loads for generally five sets of three repetitions. Afterwards, I perform two bodyweight-only exercises – pull-ups and bar dips - for about five to six sets with repetition volume that challenges my strength endurance abilities. I train about three times a week and end each workout with a short and intense anaerobic cardiovascular session ranging from five to 15 minutes. I’m maintaining a respectable level of fitness training this way.

What I’ve learned from my fitness journey this past decade is that there’s no one best training method to achieve and maintain a respectable level of fitness. It’s important to be on guard for a false mindset that one method is superior to the other or that one method is dangerous and inferior to be avoided at all cost.

Our training programs must match our personalities and often our training personalities change over time. However we train, we just have to show up and do the hard work to reap the fitness benefits of a respectable level of fitness.

The way I’m training now, I believe, is the best of both worlds.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In pursuit of gracefully aging

We read what interests us and I’m no exception.  At this middle-age man point in my life, I’ve taken an interest in literature popularly-described as “anti-aging”. It's not a term I invented; others did and I don’t like it.

You see, there’s nothing anti about aging in my book. It’s an activity of the highest order; something we all do breath by breath, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, and year by year. To live is to age and to age is to die.  It’s all been figured out and there’s nothing we can do to change it.

So what’s the meaning of anti-aging? It depends on who you ask.

According to the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, until recently, medicine has presumed that there is little we can do to intervene the process of aging but new scientific data reveals otherwise. They further state that anti-aging medicine is a wellness-oriented model of advanced clinical preventive medicine devoted to achieving demonstrable and objective results that beneficially impact the degenerative disease of aging.

What the heck does that mean? Remember, I’m a middle-age man meathead and need to be talked to in a way that I can understand. I don’t understand that gobbledygook.

I’ve learned that anti-aging medicine is a field that is not recognized by established medical organizations, such as the American Board of American Specialties or the American Medical Association. That’s not a deal breaker for me since I’ve never been a fan of mainstream establishments. Still, I don’t like the term “anti-aging” for the reason stated above.

This anti-aging stuff, in my mind, falls under the umbrella that there's nothing new under the sun. What’s practiced now is not much different than the efforts of Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon over 500 years ago in his futile search for the Fountain of Youth to cure his aging.

Longtime followers of Pierini Fitness know of my classic blogflection:

Ever man who looks in the mirror sees a 16 year old kid

So true in the mindscape of middle-age men (and women) that it’s easy to understand why we have such an interest in this anti-aging stuff.

Still, I don’t like this “anti-aging” term and refuse to use it other than to describe that it exists in the literature that’s out there.

For me, I prefer to think that my efforts in chasing fitness, health and wellness are all in pursuit of gracefully aging.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pierini Fitness is back!

We express ourselves in different ways; some sing or play a musical instrument while others paint, dance or play in team sports. Women like to share intimate feelings and have “girl talk” with their girlfriends. Guys like to share tall tales with their buds about their imaginary or real life conquests.

What about me? Well I never could sing and never learned how to play a musical instrument. I can’t paint and my wife tells me I can’t dance. Maybe that’s why I always liked to dance to those slow songs.

I’ve never been much of a team sport player so that’s never been an expression medium for me. I did, however, find that my many years of martial arts training – particular kata – was a way in which I was able to express myself.

As a middle-age man, almost four years ago I discovered the fascinating world of cyberspace blogging and Pierini Fitness was born on August 28, 2008. It became the way in which I expressed myself with written cyberspace “blogflections” that allowed me to cough up and get out of my mind all the stuff that was taking up valuable mental bandwidth.

For the next 601 consecutive days, I expressed myself using the written word in daily blogflections that I posted here at Pierini Fitness. Then, suddenly, two years ago to this day, I announced I was calling it quits, in my final blogflection titled
The End.

So on this “I call it quits two year anniversary", here I am back at it, expressing myself again in cyberspace. I don’t believe I have the zeal to write something everyday like I did in the past but I do intend to do so at least once a week and maybe more. I’ve had lots of new experiences these past two years and I’m a couple years older – do the math; it’s true. There’s wisdom I’ve banked that needs to be shared, even if I’m the only one who reads what I have to say.

I’ll continue with my theme from the past and serve as the 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 way life should be. I’ll dabble in middle-age man fitness, reflections about living and dying from a middle-age man perspective, gracefully aging, and occasional utterances of political thought. I hope you’ll tune in to read what I have to say.

Check in tomorrow for another blogflection and thereafter, I'll see you at least once a week. Whether you want it or not, Pierini Fitness is back!

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum