Monday, November 30, 2015

Six months ago tomorrow

Winter is approaching so the outdoor fitness workouts I’ve done recently may come to an end.  With inclement weather and outdoor temperatures not so comfortable for the next couple months, this middle-aged man will soon return to indoor fitness training.

In years past, just about all my fitness workouts were indoors because I was a card-carrying member of a gym.  That affiliation ended earlier this year when I decided to go about my fitness training shall we say “unattached”. 

Since then I’ve done most of my fitness training at several favorite neighborhood parks doing bodyweight-only exercises but also using a pair of dumbbells or the two kettlebells I own. 

It’s not that I’m trying to call attention to myself by showing off in public with my fitness training but merely facing my reality that I’m someone who does better going somewhere to do it.  But I’ve also managed getting in several quality fitness workouts at home. 

In any event, I’m proud of the fitness training discipline I’ve cultivated over the years which has been tested more this year since cancelling my gym membership.

You know, I actually thought I would miss my gym because of the camaraderie I developed there over more than a dozen years.  The regular small talk with a small group of fitness compadres and comadres I got to know over many years was something I looked forward to each time there.  I hope they’re all doing well in their continuing fitness journeys and suspect they are.

So like them, this winter and beyond, I’ll keep at it doing my own fitness thing, trying to win my gracefully aging war against a lethargic enemy residing deeply within my body, doing everything possible to keep “him” in check.

Be it in my basement, or in my garage, perhaps on the back porch, and maybe some times at my neighborhood parks when winter weather permits, I’ll continue doing what I do - the short-duration and high-intensity fitness workout stuff – all by my lonely self, while thinking about my former gym that I left six months ago tomorrow.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, November 27, 2015

Not having one done

Three weeks from today I’m scheduled to have my first screening colonoscopy.  It was actually supposed to be done last Friday but I rescheduled it to attend a funeral.

I’ve researched to death about whether I should or should not proceed and have it done.  While I think I’ve made up mind and my final decision, time is still on my side to ponder it some more.

In my research, I’ve studied the risk factors and other pros and cons of having and not having this invasive procedure done.

As of right now, I’m  leaning towards cancelling my appointment and not having one done.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Known as Cova da Iria

Camino Cova da Iria
Pierini Fitness wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving Day with hope that you enjoy many pleasant memories this day.

For some, today is a time to remember our Thanksgiving Days of the past when we may have been somewhere far from home doing something different than normal.

For this chief executive blogger, that yesteryear memory takes me back 14 years ago to Thanksgiving Day 2001 when my wife and I were in Fatima, Portugal.

To some, particularly those of my Catholic faith, Fatima is synonymous with our Lady Of Fatima and the three shepherd children – Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto – who experienced apparitions from the Blessed Virgin Mary over a course of several months almost a century ago in 1917.

These reported apparitions at Fatima were officially declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.

For my wife and I, this Thanksgiving Day 2001 was a beautiful day and we were enjoying the late autumn sunshine while talking a leisurely walk on a trail with meandering orchards of  olive trees whose trunks were covered with moss.

Our destination that day was to a field, where Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the shepherd children, known as Cova da Iria.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Loco gabachos at AARP

Pierini Fitness embraces middle-aged manhood which this chief executive blogger defines as those glory years between ages 45 and 70.  Others who do not have the primary interests of middle-aged men in mind seek to rob us of this special 25-year chapter (planned or actual) in our lives.

And who might they be?

AARP for starters, which stands for the American Association of Retired Persons.  It’s a membership and interest group founded in 1958 under the guise of being for people age 50 and over as a nonprofit advocate for its members.

There’s nothing wrong with this but AARP has turned into a one billion dollar plus of revenue powerful lobbying group in the United States.  It’s also one of the biggest peddlers of affinity group insurance and other products to its members. 

Again, there’s nothing wrong with this so long as AARP’s horse is pulling its cart with the horse being advocating the interests of its members rather than getting rich from peddling its affinity program wares.

Pierini Fitness believes the AARP cart is pulling its horse and getting its top management rich.  Case in point is the $2.4 million of compensation AARP paid its chief executive officers in 2014.

This chief executive blogger never has nor will ever be a member of AARP.  He’d rather take the money it would cost to join and toss it in a bucket of spit than give it to them.

Pierini Fitness is a cyberspace membership organization of sorts that has no membership dues and does more advocating the interests and expressing the views of all middle-aged men around the world than AARP could do on its best day of operation.

A case in point is a recent AARP brain health survey conducted that reported how nearly three out of four Hispanics are concerned about their brain health.

Oh really?

Yes really according to an AARP press release reporting that 72 percent of age 40-plus Hispanics are concerned about their brain health declining in the future.  AARP also reports how Hispanics are more likely to be very interested in learning how eating a healthy diet and regular aerobic exercise are related to their brain health.

Apparently, they (Hispanics) are more interested in this than compared to the general population.

The devil in this nonsense is in the details when you learn that AARP, in its benevolence towards Hispanics, has launched a Global Council on Brain Health which will provide trusted information on what actions people can take to support their brain health through quarterly white papers, scientific reviews and other research.

AARP founded this Global Council on Brain Health in collaboration with Age UK which is the United Kingdom’s largest charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life.

Sounds like another revenue-stream for AARP that we'll know more about it time.

Hey Paco, if you believe this then I’ve got a taco stand on the corner of East Los Angeles to sell you at a bargain price.

This chief executive blogger is of Mexican ancestry and lives in California among what AARP likes to tag as “Hispanics”.  Actually, most are Americans of Mexican ancestry but Hispanics sounds more stereotypically-correct to those who use this term.  It's sort of like calling Americans of European descent “White People”.   There’s a certain ring to it that makes better evening news’ sound bites.

Well the Americans of Mexican ancestry this middle-age man know – family, friends and strangers – are more interested in their family, faith, fitness, fortune and (general) health and are not pre-occupied about their specific brain health.  

Yes some might have a casual interest in their brain health but not to the tune of three out of every four like perhaps those loco gabachos at AARP.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pigging out on pumpkin pie

This middle-aged man has been on a mission for some time now eating less and eating clean.  

Clean doesn’t mean low fat but clean of foods that really don’t offer my body much efficient nutritional fuel.  This means I’m not eating cakes, cookies, crackers, chips, candies, ice cream or chocolate.

And let’s toss adult alcoholic beverages into the off limits list although to not be anti-social, the other day I sipped on about a 3-ounce class of white wine. 

Give me a strong cup of my favorite Italian roast coffee or a bottle of San Pellegrino acqua minerale any day to any alcoholic beverage you might offer.  That’s where my mind and preference is these days with beverages.

It’s been this way now for 117 days with no end in sight.  This means I must get my emotional comfort elsewhere than from that chocolate chip cookie or two like the way I would in my past.  And a bottle of pop as they say in the east coast isn’t anything I desire when thirsty.

You know, to be honest, I don’t seem to miss this stuff although will admit, I smelled the aroma of freshly-baked cinnamon rolls while at an IKEA store over the weekend and had a pleasant thought about it for a nanosecond before continuing on going about my business.

So this means this Thanksgiving Day in two days from now, this middle-aged man won’t be pigging out on pumpkin pie.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, November 23, 2015

Once in a while

Over the weekend, I decided to sneak in a quick Saturday workout.  This month I’ve been a Monday, Wednesday and Friday fitness training dude but decided a bonus weekend workout was something I wanted to do.

I gave my kettlebells a day of rest and chose to use my only pair of dumbbells that had been collecting some dust lately from lack of use.  They’re a pair that weigh of 35 lbs. each. 

I did a workout of alternating arm curl and overhead press for 10 reps a round (that’s 5 reps with each arm).  My goal was to complete 300 reps so that means 30 rounds was the fitness training assignment.

My plan was to start a new round every 50 seconds which was the pace I followed the last time I did this workout in September.  Well as fate had it, my interval timer acted up no sooner than I began this workout so instead I relied on my perceived exertion to moderate brief rest periods between rounds.

It took me 26:12 to complete the 30 rounds and 300 reps which was 1:30 slower than my previous effort.  That pace equates to 52.4 seconds per round.  I’m guessing each round was about 30 to 35 seconds of work with the balance being rest.

I like this workout but it seems like not enough to do it more often than once in a while.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, November 20, 2015

Too many Mexicans

A Los Angeles Times news article reported how fewer Mexicans are leaving their homeland for the United States. 

The article stated the following:

“Workplace raids by immigration agents, nose-diving birthrates at home and the economic slowdown north of the border have convinced nearly half of Mexicans surveyed that life in their native country is as good or better than what would await them if they crossed into the U.S., according to findings released Thursday by the Washington-based Pew Research Center.

The article further shared that family reunification is the explanation for 61 percent of the migrants returning home to Mexico.  They feel better living with “la familia”.

This chief executive blogger is of Mexican ancestry and residing in California highly qualifies him to offer his own analysis for this phenomenon.  Why does he believe fewer Mexicans are leaving their homeland for the United States?

It’s because they don’t like the crowded feeling in the United States of living among too many Mexicans.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fart in a tornado

New research indicates there’s an association between olfactory dysfunction and amnestic middle cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease dementia.  This is according to a research abstract posted this week on the website of JAMA Neurology.

JAMA Neurology is a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Medical Association.

What’s the meathead-version of this research finding? 

The internet website WebMD perhaps does the best job by explaining that losing your sense of smell may mark the start of memory problems and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.

This middle-aged man has never been known to have an impeccable sense of smell so this new research finding is of grave concern to me.

In an anxious moment upon learning this, he quickly asked himself if he remembered what he had for breakfast.  With a lightning-fast correct answer, he bellowed a sigh of relief but still wanted additional confirmation that his memory all was well.

He’s now researching weather reports on the lookout for nearby hurricane or tornado activity so he can subject himself to the gold-standard olfactory assessment test.

And what might that be?

Does he have the ability to smell a fart in a tornado.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I’ll drink coffee to that!

As an avid consumer of health-related news, this middle-aged man gravitates toward news articles reporting research findings supporting my current lifestyle and preferences centered on food, drink and exercise.  This affinity of mine proves that preaching to the choir syndrome really does exist.

So the latest news catching my attention and giving me morning glee yesterday was a news article I read reporting about a new study finding that coffee lowers overall risk of death by 15 percent.

Researchers examined the associations of coffee consumption with risk of subsequent total and cause-specific mortality among over 200,000 men and women who were part of three other previous studies.

You’ll have to read more to draw your own conclusions but Pierini Fitness’ middle-aged man executive briefing of the findings are from the conclusion presented in this research’s abstract as follows:

“In conclusion, regular consumption of coffee was inversely associated with risk of total mortality and mortality due to CVD, and neurological disease. Similar associations of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption with risk of total and cause-specific mortality were found. Results from this and previous studies indicate that coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.”

Click the link below to read the entire research abstract:

I’ll drink coffee to that! 

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Oatmeal season is here again

It’s amazing how our foods of favor come and go sort of like seasons of the year.  I’m sure being a middle-aged man creature of habit also enters into my breakfast choice “business decisions” made each day. 

Take oatmeal as an example.  I like oatmeal and there are times when it’s my breakfast favorite competing with the old-school egg as my morning go-to food.  But for whatever reason for most of this year, until now, I seldom ate it.

Until now, as I just said.

Yup, I’ve restocked this middle-aged man’s breakfast inventory and oatmeal is now my front-and-center favorite.  I won’t eat it every day but chances are in the next couple months, it’s an odds-on favorite of being consumed at two to three days a week.

I like mine simple like my morning cup of coffee – straight and strong – with no sugar or cream added to ruin it.  The oatmeal I buy is organic and purchased from the bins at my local natural food store.

The way in which I prepare it doesn’t require doesn’t require elite culinary chef skills.  I simple add about one cup of oatmeal to two cups of boiling water, let it cook for about 2 minutes, and then add two tablespoons of organic whole ground flaxseed meal.  My final touch is to top off my steaming breakfast dish with a couple manly shakes of ground cinnamon for a little spice and to make my breakfast meal look pretty to the sight.

For the macronutrient fans, this quick and easy breakfast meal clocks in at about 365 calories of which 64 percent are carbohydrates, 14 percent protein and 22 percent fat. 

This middle-aged man has been known to eat this tasty dish for dinner when he’s thinking outside the box.

At Pierini Fitness, oatmeal season is here again.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, November 16, 2015

Failure to thrive

This month is finding me attending celebration of life services for people I know who recently passed away. 

Attending funerals and celebrations of life is the chapter of my life now being lived.  I’m more likely to attend one nowadays than a baby shower.

With one down and one to go this Friday for a departed client, I recently had an opportunity to inspect his certificate of death and noted the primary cause of death listed was “failure to thrive”.  This is a term with which I’m not familiar and, quite frankly, I’ve never stumbled across it before in the few, but not many, certificates of death I’ve had an opportunity to inspect.

Is this a medical term or what? I asked myself.  So I decided to do a little internet searching for an answer to see what I could learn.

I’m not so sure I consulted the most authoritative sources but did come across an explanation. 

Apparently, in geriatrics, the term failure to thrive is a descriptive, non-specific term that encompasses “not doing well”.  Weight loss, decreased appetite, poor nutrition and inactivity are indicators of this failure to thrive state of being. 

Four syndromes are prevalent and predictive of adverse outcomes in patients afflicted with a failure to thrive.  These are impaired physical function, malnutrition, depression and cognitive impairment.

Is failure to thrive a close cousin to the more old-school term I’m familiar with called “natural causes”?

My dear friend whose cause of death was failure to thrive was quite the opposite. He was an octogenarian avid cyclist, daily walker and curious-about-life rugged individual who lived an active and fulfilled life right up to his eventually passing.  Not that long ago, his concerned son gently escorted him off the roof where he was found one day cleaning out the roof gutter of leaves that had accumulated there.

So my middle-aged man reflections, at this thriving full-of-life moment, mentally crisp, and physically fit and strong just like my departed friend not that long ago, is that I too may one day find my life is about to end with my failure to thrive.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, November 13, 2015

Don’t bring me those cookies

In its November 2015 newsletter, the International Diabetes Federation announced they want world leaders to use sugar taxes to fight obesity.  They argue doing so would save lives and lower healthcare costs.

They remind us that in G20 countries, diabetes affects 286 million people and generates diabetes-related healthcare costs of $572 billion in 2014.  I won’t bore you about which countries make up the “G20 world gang” other than to say the United States is one.

They also remind us that worldwide, 415 million people suffer from diabetes and by 2040 this will grow to 642 million people.

So let’s do some math to see how this sugar tax might work closer to home.

Here in the United States, apparently, the average person consumes more than 126 grams of sugar per day.  This is about two and one-half times the daily intake recommended by the World Health Organization (another world gang).

Pass me a couple more chocolate chip cookies to give me an energy boost so I can tell you more.

Now according to the American Diabetes Association, the estimated total healthcare cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States was $245 billion in 2012.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2012 population was 314.1 million.

Let’s use these numbers to calculate how a sugar tax might work with the goal of having this sugar tax totally pay for the healthcare cost of diabetes.

Let’s also give everyone a sugar consumption standard deduction of sorts equal to the World Health Organization’s recommended daily allowance for sugar consumption.  As mentioned above, that’s 50 grams per day.

The economists at Pierini Fitness have crunched the numbers and announce this sugar tax would amount to three cents per gram of sugar consumed in excess of the 50 grams per day recommended daily allowance.

So those two chocolate chip cookies I asked you to give me would cost me a sugar tax of 48 cents.

On second thought, don’t bring me those cookies.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, November 12, 2015

To scratch my back

One thing this middle-aged man has noticed in his gracefully aging journey is how the things he wants now are different than the things he wanted in his youthful yesteryear.

Take birthdays or better yet Christmas for an example.  The boyish joy of wanting that Red Ryder BB Gun like Ralphie in the Christmas-season classic movie The Christmas Story is no more for me.

I'm more interested, nowadays, in the practical stuff.  And, for me but not all middle-aged men, that excludes socks, underwear, a bottle of Old Spice aftershave, or even a bottle of cheap fine or the finest whiskey money can buy.

Those who want to please me this Christmas 2015 will do so if they give me something to scratch my back.  

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

This fellow veteran salutes you

My Dad, hands on lap, a young sailor circa World War II.  RIP.
To all the men and women who served our country in the military, including my deceased grandfather who served in the U.S. Army during World War I, my deceased father who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and my son who served in the U.S. Army during the early 2000’s, today on Veterans’ Day, this fellow veteran salutes you.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

About 20 minutes to spare

Yesterday’s workout was 300 kettlebell (KB) swings which is always a good way to get a quick workout and elevate my heart rate.  

I’ve learned to toss in some other goodies between swings to add some variety.  I’ve done this particular workout a couple times and really like it so I’m sharing it with you for your consideration of giving it a try one of these days.

Here’s the workout – note all swings are of the hand-to-hand (H2H) version:

H2H swing x 60 + snatch R x 5 + snatch L x 5

H2H swing x 60 + clean R x 5 + clean R x 5

H2H swing x 60 + front squat R x 5 + front squat L x 5

H2H swing x 60 + overhead press R x 5 + overhead press L x 5

H2H swing x 60

So that’s 300 swing reps plus some KB change.

My cadence for this workout was to not start another round of H2H swings until my heart rate (HR) subsided to 70 percent of my maximum HR; for me, that’s 130 beats per minute.

This workout took me 19:41 to complete.

Give it a try when your workout time is tight but you have about 20 minutes to spare.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, November 9, 2015

Somersault on a trampoline

With 8 weeks remaining in this 2015 year, it’s only natural for this middle-aged man to start giving more serious thought to his next calendar year of scheduled life.  And perhaps this thought I’ll start giving will be more than what I would have done in prior years.  There’s a reason this might be so.

After planning and analyzing where I am and where I believe my future will be, I’ve had much comfort and safety in my scribbled thoughts and crunched numbers from untold private “futurizing” sessions.  I’ve been known to analyze stuff to death and must confess I’ve done so with all the stuff that’s been swarming in my head for a while.

But just like a young college student inebriated with their future and feeling safe because it’s still a tad far away, I’ve been sort of the same with the stuff I’ve pondered as my future for way too long. 

My party may be over and I’m closer to a cliff of change where I either jump off on my own controlling my when, or fall off by default hoping to cushion my fall.

This may all read like a mystery and it’ll remain so because the details of what’s swarming around in my mind quite frankly are not important to share at the blogosphere level; I’m merely engaging in encrypted middle-aged man reflections. 

What’s important is an emerging message that we, in our gracefully aging journeys, eventually get to the line in our sand where it’s time to take a giant leap to get from our here to our there with great hopes that this there to where we go will be better than this here of where we are. 

Time will tell if it’ll be my manifest destiny but indicators are starting emerge and present themselves of probable changes likely to unfold in the upcoming year of a new landscape and paradigm for this middle-aged man.    

And like a typical creature of habit, resistant to change, this middle-aged man just may just have to jump and hope for a safe landing like a scared-to-death kid taking his first somersault on a trampoline.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum