Thursday, July 23, 2015

Goodness warming and footprints

Pierini Fitness is on a summer sabbatical until August 3, 2015.  Enjoy this blogflection until we return. Stand tall and be an awesome proud middle-aged man.

Well as a man with little science background, you’d think I’d be inclined to place all my trust in scientists for answers about something I know little about.  This is not what I’ve done in my middle-aged man wisdom-gaining journey.

Like scientist proclamations about global warming, running out of water due to drought and carbon footprint stuff.

Take global warming for example.  For every scientist and other interested-party “expert” warning us about this calamity is someone else equally scientific and an interested-party expert telling us it’s all a bunch of, pardon the pun, hot air.  I’ll let you do your own research, just like I have, and draw your own conclusions.  I’m not a scientist or interested-party “expert” but that doesn’t disqualify me from joining the “it’s a bunch of hot air” crowd.

How about running out of water due to drought?  That’s a hot topic in my California part of the world and our government water police will cite and fine you and me if we use more water than they decide we should.

One thing about aging is having the benefit of history to guide your present and this middle-aged man is blessed with some yesteryear drought-related history to guide his current water consumption, even if he has to do his watering in the wee hours of the night.

Twenty or more years ago I lived in a rural area that was in the path of residential development.  I would regularly read the local newspaper about the, then, drought and all the disasters it would eventually cause.  At the time, I lived on acreage and had my own water well so I read this constant dire news with emotional detachment even though, I suppose, my well could have run dry.  But it didn’t.

During this same time, not that long later, was news of an approved major residential development that would result in I can’t remember how many hundreds or maybe thousands of new homes to be constructed.  Where are they going to get water is what I thought to myself before eventually realizing that I had had enough of this drought nonsense like a well gone dry.  Those homes were eventually built and none of us every ran out of water.

So what about this carbon footprint stuff?  I’ve heard this sound bite term many times, can repeat it in environmentally-friendly conversations but, until now, couldn’t define it if my life depended on it.

So thanks to a morning Google internet search about carbon footprint, I learned that it has been historically defined as the total sets of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person.  To make a long story short, it’s something that can’t be calculated because of the large amount of data required and the fact that carbon dioxide can be produced by natural occurrences.

So this means the carbon footprint generated at a Sunday NFL football stadium packed with tens of thousands of hot dog eating and beer drinking middle-aged men belching and farting can’t be quantified but merely expressed as a figure of speech.

Your carbon footprint and $3.25 will buy you a large cup of CafĂ© Americano at your local Starbuck’s.

So where is all this Pierini Fitness rambling leading you?

Rather than focus on this global warming, running out of water due to drought and carbon footprint stuff designed to create fear and unnecessary worry about how your children and grandchildren may not have a planet earth to call their own like you and I have, why not direct your middle-aged man energies to something within your control?

Like gracefully aging and trying to live a good and honest life.  And from that effort, contribute something wonderful to the world we middle-aged men live in with our own contributions of goodness warming and footprints.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My squatcentric kettebell complex

I’ll be the first to agree that there’s nothing new under the sun so what I’m about to share has probably already been invented and named by someone else who deserves to have the honor.  

That will not prevent me from presenting it to you here, calling it mine and giving it a Pierini surname.

It’s a single kettlebell complex that uses a pyramid approach designed to blast my thigh wheels.  Here’s a simple explanation of it:

And here's a short video demonstration of it performed by a 60-year young "fitness model".

This was my first time performing this workout and I used a 20 kilogram kettlebell, the only one I own.  My time was 17:56 to complete it as prescribed; not a great time, but good enough for me.   

Erring on the side of caution, I front-loaded my rest time between rounds in a deliberate effort of stave off oxygen debt.  My recovery formula (note that I like exercise structure) was 5 breaths multiplied by the number of total squat reps completed.  So, for example, after the first round consisting of 4 total squat reps, my recovery period was 20 breaths (5 breaths x 4 squat reps completed).  This turned out to be a little more rest than I needed thereby allowing me to complete this new workout for the first time without killing myself.

I suppose when I want to be more of a beastly middle-aged man, I can up the weight, use a pair of kettlebells or decease the recovery time between rounds.  One thing seems seems certain from this experiment and that is completing more than 100 reps in a workout is not something I'm likely to do.  It's so easy to get caught up in rep volume as in the more the better; I've been there and done that and will not do it any more.

For the heart rate (HR) monitor junkies like me, here's what my HR monitor reported for this workout:  time to complete was 17:56, total calories burned were 366 calories, starting HR was 113 bpm (61% of my maximum HR), average HR was 155 bpm (84% of my maximum HR) and peak HR was 171 bpm (92% of my maximum HR).

I’ll add this pyramid complex to my training mix and over time hope to improve my performance by slowly but surely beating my fitness clock.

Give it a try and tell me if you like my squatcentric kettlebell complex.  

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fight for your life to keep it

A recent study by a group of researchers reported how obese men had less than a one percent chance of dropping to a normal bodyweight.

Here’s an abstract of this research from the internet website of the American Journal of Public Health:

Objectives. We examined the probability of an obese person attaining normal body weight.

Methods. We drew a sample of individuals aged 20 years and older from the United Kingdom’s Clinical Practice Research Datalink from 2004 to 2014. We analyzed data for 76704 obese men and 99791 obese women. We excluded participants who received bariatric surgery. We estimated the probability of attaining normal weight or 5% reduction in body weight.

Results. During a maximum of 9 years’ follow-up, 1283 men and 2245 women attained normal body weight. In simple obesity (body mass index=30.0–34.9 kg/m2), the annual probability of attaining normal weight was 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women, increasing to 1 in 1290 for men and 1 in 677 for women with morbid obesity (body mass index=40.0–44.9 kg/m2). The annual probability of achieving a 5% weight reduction was 1 in 8 for men and 1 in 7 for women with morbid obesity.

Conclusions. The probability of attaining normal weight or maintaining weight loss is low. Obesity treatment frameworks grounded in community-based weight management programs may be ineffective. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print July 16, 2015: e1–e6. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302773)

You can read more here: 

The good news revealed is that about 8 percent of men stand a chance of losing 5 percent of their bodyweight.  For a 200 pound man, that translates to a 10 pound weight loss.

But this research finding is of limited implementation value because the study did identify the methods used to lose this weight.  Did these men use a fad diet, exercise more, a combination of both or something else?  We don’t know from reading this research report.

But what we do know is that the weight-loss success is generally short-lived because almost 4 out of 5 men gained the lost weight back within five years.

So for all middle-aged men out there destined to lose their tub of lard pasted to their hips and their enormous potbelly and gargantuous lap, once you achieve your new sinewy leanness, fight for your life to keep it. 

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, July 20, 2015

Middle-Aged Man’s Day

Imagery of Pierini Fitness announcing Middle-Aged Man's Day
Well in an announcement likely to be met with cheers and praises from government workers looking for another paid holiday, Pierini Fitness is pleased to announce that this ambassador of all middle-aged men around the world will be advocating on their behalf for a new world holiday to be known as Middle-Aged Man’s Day.

Yes you read me right.  After all, we have Mother's Day, Father's Day, Labor Day and Veteran’s Day as holidays in the United States honoring a class of people rather than an individual and that’s what this new proposed holiday would be – honoring the esteemed class of people known as middle-aged men.

Yes sir and yes ma’am; it’s time to honor the middle-aged men of the world for they are the pillars of society and modern-day purveyors of all intrinsic goodness existing in your life thanks to their painstaking efforts to make the world a better place to live. 

So the big question is when should this new holiday be observed?

I’ve thought about it over and over and the one day coming to mind is the first day of autumn in the United States; this year that’s September 23rd.

September 23, 2015
Middle-Aged Man's Day

Why this date? 

Well middle-age marks the transition period from young to old just like autumn marks the transition period from a pleasant and warm summer to a harsh and cold winter.  For many, it’s a melancholy chapter of life that all men who are blessed to live long enough will eventually experience.

Like expressed in the following autumn-mentioning poem “Wild Swans at Coole” written by Irish Poet William Butler Yeats in 1917 who, at the time, was melancholy, unhappy and reflecting on his advancing age, romantic rejections and his search for a lasting beauty in a changing world where beauty is mortal and temporary.

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

Join me this September 23rd and each first day of autumn thereafter in giving all middle-aged men of the world the bare minimum to which they are entitled; a day of honor and recognition that I propose be known around the world as Middle-Aged Man’s Day.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, July 17, 2015

I am Mr. Big Stuff

It only seems natural that the author of a book titled “Every Man Who Looks in a Mirror . . . sees a 16-year old kid” would, from time to time, reflect back on all the pleasant yesteryear memories he has of that coveted age in his life.

Even if that was a whopping 44 years ago!

Well the other day I caught myself doing just that and the memories floating around in my head had a summertime flavor. 

What do I recall about being a 16-year old kid during the summer of July 1971?  Pretty simple stuff is my quick answer.
Pierini Fitness circa 1971.
School was out for summer recess; I had finished my 10th grade sophomore year in high school.  I was enjoying the warm summertime weather and school time-out before starting my 11th grade junior year beginning in early September. 

I had a summer intern job working as a clerk for the Internal Revenue Service making $1.65 an hour (yes really).  Life was great and I was living at the top of my simple and worry-free world.

I recall hot summer starry-nights, and hanging out with my friends playing late-at-night rough and  touch football games in the empty and bright-light parking lot of the neighborhood grocery store after it had closed for the day.

I was the proud owner of my first car, a bright red 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix with a white vinyl top. 

I recall listening to a lot of music on the radio and from the 8-track cartridge player mounted below the dashboard in my car.

Old-timer middle-aged men like me fondly recall these music playing dinosaurs that preceded the audio cassette players following a few years later.

My musical interests at this chapter of my life were more of the rhythm and blues (R&B) vintage.  Doing a little research reminded me that during July 1971, the most popular R&B song was “Mr. Big Stuff” sung by Jean Knight.

Life was great that summer of July 1971; I was a 16-year old kid making many pleasant memories of me going about my little simple and worry-free business.

If you would have asked me back then, “Who do you think you are?” my answer would have quickly been, “I am Mr. Big Stuff.”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wednesday workout at the park

A little more blogflection frequency here at Pierini Fitness is going hand in hand with an uptick in my training and two upticks are better than one or none.  

I got another good workout in yesterday after taking two days of rest from my Sunday basement workout.  My wheels are still slightly sore from Sunday’s squat work so I decided to give them more rest.

This time I returned outdoors and visited a different park for a quick circuit workout taking slightly over 20 minutes to complete.

I have no video to share for this workout so allow me, instead, to share the workout details for your middle-aged man viewing pleasure.  Maybe it’ll be a new workout idea for your next training day if you’re looking for something different or new. 

I completed 8 rounds of this combo:

#1 = standard-grip pull-ups x 4 reps for odd-numbered rounds and standard grip chin-ups x 4 reps on even-numbered rounds – all reps were full-range -


#2 = single-arm kettlebell overhead press x 8 reps - right side on odd-numbered rounds and left side on even-numbered rounds using a 20 kg kettlebell -


#3 = alternating single-arm kettlebell swing x 25 reps - each one-arm swing is one rep – I started with my right arm on odd-numbered rounds and with my left arm on even-numbered rounds -

I started a new round every 3 minutes and my time today to complete all 8 rounds was 23:10.

For the heart rate (HR) statisticians out there, the following is courtesy of my HR monitor with all percentage being those of my maximum HR of 185 beats per minute:

Starting HR = 91 bpm (49%) – Average HR = 154 bpm (83%) – Peak HR = 173 bpm (94%)

Furthermore, according to my HR monitor, I burned 464 calories during this quick workout.

I hope you enjoyed reading the details of my latest summer 2015 Wednesday workout at the park.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fit and strong as we want to be

My Dad as a newbie middle-
aged man - RIP dear Dad.
A recent conversation with another middle-aged man fitness brother from a different mother included a brief exchange about middle-aged man appropriate diet and fitness training.  

It doesn’t have to be complicated or exhaustive I shared, because, for those of us who have reached this coveted middle-aged man status, it doesn’t take much to excel among our peers.

At some point, it may be as simple as walking upright with good posture and absent a king-sized belly protruding over our belt buckle and, voilĂ , we might be in the top ten percentile among our middle-aged men brothers. 

With regard to fitness training, I honestly believe that a daily single set of pushups and pull-ups performed with excellent form and for one to two reps short of failure and then followed by a brisk walk for about 30 minutes is all that is needed.  This assumes, of course, that your fitness training is to help you get the most out of your game of life which does not include some competitive or recreational sport. 

So, for example, if you participate in a softball league, your fitness training should include something more than the above minimalist prescription such as spending some time with batting practice and infield/outfield position drills. 

Now with regard to diet, I believe it’s so simple and that’s probably why it’s also so hard to put into perpetual practice.  We should eat as little as possible to be as fit and strong as we want to be.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Going up and down the ladder

My workouts of late have centered on using kettlebells and done at a neighborhood park.  

I’m having a good time, enjoying the summertime weather and getting challenged sans a formal gym training environment.

Last Sunday, however, I decided to get in a quick workout in my basement and I used my only pair of 35-lb. dumbbells.  I wanted a quick and whole-body workout that would give me a good “pant” when finished.

So I did a double dumbbell up and down the ladder complex.  What I did was ten rounds of a double dumbbell complex explained below:

Here’s a video demonstration:

This was the first time I tried this workout so allow me to share a few post-workout training words of wisdom:

  • Pick an appropriate dumbbell weight.  I only own a pair of 35-lb. dumbbells and this weight seemed about right for me.  I suggest selecting a weight that challenges you but allows you to start a new round every two minutes as I did in the video.
  • One way to measure your fitness conditioning improvement is by being able to start a new round in less time.  So for me, a goal might be to start a new round every 90 seconds rather than two minutes.  Don’t take such a drastic drop however but small decreases as you’re conditioning improvement allows.
Give my Pierini Double Dumbbell Up and Down The Ladder Complex a try for a great middle-aged man fitness challenge and have fun going up and down the ladder.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, July 13, 2015

For a longer and healthier life

Recent research confirms that education leads to a longer and healthier life!

According to an abstract of research done by a team of researchers at the University of Colorado, New York University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and published last week on the internet website of PLOS One: 
“Educational disparities in U.S. adult mortality are large . . . Thus, policies that increase education could significantly reduce adult mortality.

You can read the entire abstract here: 

To all middle-aged men of the world:  obey this new research and continue your educational journey for it may lead you to a longer and healthier life.

And there’s no better place to get your middle-aged man continuing education than here at Pierini Fitness.  

And, by the way, middle-aged women are welcomed too.  They deserve to benefit from this cybespace elixir fountain of health.

Visit Pierini Fitness for a longer and healthier life.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, July 11, 2015

"Conoscere il mio sangue"

  Federigo Pierini - paternal great-grandfather of Pierini Fitness
One of my many middle-aged man interests is getting to know my ancestors and about ten years ago I spent a lot of time doing this until eventually “hitting a wall” unable to learn more about them without expending extraordinary effort.    One such hitting the wall episode was when I realized there was no photo of my paternal great-grandfather for me to visually know who he was and how he looked.   

But many wonderful conversations with my Dad gave me a clue including one when he once shared a boyhood memory of his grandfather and my great-grandfather.  According to my Dad, my great-grandfather was a short, light-skinned man with a happy disposition known to family members by his nickname of “Walkie”. 

My Dad recalled how his grandfather encouraged him and other grandchildren to walk by uttering the command “walkie, walkie!” in his broken English accent.  Like many Italian immigrants, Walkie only spoke enough English to get by, preferring instead his mother tongue Tuscan-dialect Italian.

Another memory my Dad shared was a photograph he once viewed of a younger Walkie wearing a tall black hat and sporting a very long handlebar moustache.

Federigo Pierini was born in the Lucca area of Italy on September 19, 1856 to parents Pietro Pierini and Fruguina Morelli.  According to a newspaper obituary, Federigo immigrated to California when he was 15 years young and was “a leader of the Sacramento Italian colony and resident of Sacramento for 65 years.”

Upon arriving in America, Federigo initially called home the gold mining area of Amador County in California where he worked as a horse trainer.  It was there he met his wife Elena Garbarini and sometime later, the young married couple moved to Sacramento to begin raising a family.  Three boys were born – Joseph, John and Edward – and the family residence was a Victorian home, purchased with hard-earned money saved, and relocated to the southwest corner of 27th and G Streets in midtown Sacramento.

Federigo financially provided for his family by working as a self-employed vegetable peddler as did many other Italian immigrants of this era.  He sold vegetables, home grown in the family’s backyard, from a horse-drawn wooden carriage along the streets of midtown Sacramento. 

He also made money selling home-pressed olive oil from olives from a small orchard of olive trees grown in the family’s backyard.  Extra money was made by sharpening kitchen knives, perhaps for the same customers who purchased his home-grown vegetables and olive oil.

Federigo’s amazing yet simple life of 80 years as an Italian immigrant in his adopted country came to an end at 7:15 a.m. on July 11, 1937 and all that is known about him this day primarily rests with me to pass along to other family members who may be interested.

A recent photo discovery provides the only visual clue that may ever exist about Federigo.  I felt like a blessed and rich man when recently viewing it for the first time.  So today, on the 78th anniversary of his death, I cherish this photo because it has helped me to know my blood - “conoscere il mio sangue”.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Photos coming soon

One of the jewels of middle-aged manhood is becoming a grandfather.  I had my first experience last year on July 24, 2014; you can read about it here:

Yesterday, grandson number two was born at 6:20 p.m. my time so my middle-aged manhood jewels continue to grow making me a "rich man".  

Check back often for further details as I share more about my new treasure and know that there will be photos coming soon.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Squat-assisted pullup

As a middle-aged man in the last decade of my middle-aged man life, I've come to realize and accept there are things I can still do today that one day I can't or won't do.  

I'll also acknowledge that, now, there are things I used to do that I can or will no longer do.  It's all part of the deal that comes with my gracefully aging journey and I'm at peace with this reality.

For many middle-aged men, doing a dead-hang pullup or a bodyweight squat - either a single or multiple reps - is something beyond their current abilities.  If that's you, then what I'm sharing here is also for you. Fortunately, I'm not one of those middle-aged men yet and am still able to bang out dead-hang pullups and full-range bodyweight squats for decent reps counts.  

But my day may be coming.

The following video is a demo performed by a 60-year young "fitness model" of 25 reps of squat-assisted pullups done with a perceived squat assistance of 85 to 90 percent.  In other words, this pullup is perceived as only taking 10 to 15 percent of what would be required to perform a regular dead-hang pullup with no squat assistance.

The squat-assistance can be tailored to your needs and fitness goals and change during the course of a workout.  Conversely, you can adjust the amount of pullup assistance to make the bodyweight squat easier or more challenging.  I do encourage you to concentrate on squat depth to get the most out of the squatting part of this exercise.  An added benefit of doing so is to get a full hang from the bottom position of the pullup. That'll give your upper body and lower back a nice feel-good stretch that you're bound to enjoy.

Here are some training suggestions on how to incorporate this squat-assisted pullup into your workouts:

  • Complete 25 to 50 reps as a warmup at the beginning of your workout.
  • Complete as many reps as possible in 10 to 20 minutes or longer.
  • Complete 10 to 25 reps as one of three to five exercises in a circuit training workout.

The possibilities are endless and limited only to your imagination and fitness training goals.

Here's the video:

Add this exercise to your fitness training toolbox; I believe you'll enjoy it - the squat-assisted pullup.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum