Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"Don't be such a pig!"

You may have read the same Washington Post internet article I did last week about how scientists have created a part-human, part-pig embryo, raising the possibility of interspecies organ transplants.

Researchers cautioned about this accomplishment but it’s considered a significant step towards developing animal embryos with functioning human organs.

This seems to defy the laws of nature and it’s something not meeting with this middle-aged man’s approval.  If God wanted us to have a part-human and part-pig creature, He would have given us one.

This possibility raises all kinds of questions in my mind.  Will it one day create a new topic of discussion among future philosophers and scientists replacing the classic question of which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Might it one day be helpful to ask a person needing to think differently the causality dilemma question of which came first, the human or the pig?

And it may one day not be considered quite as offensive, but rather partially truthful, when a middle-aged man glutton gets scolded by his wife for making excessive trips to refill his plate with more food at his favorite local buffet, when her admonishment tells him, “Don’t be such a pig!”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, January 30, 2017

(10-20-30-40) x 5

Today I’m sharing another workout that’s representative of what I’m doing nowadays during my busy work season.  My workouts are done at work and they’re brief yet productive. 

I did this workout last Friday during my lunch hour on a day when I spent the entire day attending an online continuing education seminar to keep my professional skills sharp.  I didn’t dress down into gym workout clothing but I was very casually dressed.

My workout consisted of a superset of these four exercises that constituted one round:

Standard pushups x 10 reps, then bodyweight full-range squats x 20 reps, then two-handed kettlebell swings with a 24kg kettlebell x 30 reps, and finally whatever feels right stretching active recovery x 40 breath count.

I completed 5 rounds of this workout which took 19:21 to complete.  I had a dime of time remaining during my 30-minute lunch to rest and recover before getting back to work with my online seminar.

Give this quick superset workout a try when you want to do something different.  I think you’ll like my workout called (10-20-30-40) x 5.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, January 27, 2017

Extraordinarily ordinary

In the extreme world in which I live, examples of these extremes are countless.  One such extreme is in how generous we can be in describing how awesome and great we are in the things we do that, long ago, were just considered average at best.

Long ago when I was an employee, and believe me that was a long time ago, I received a performance evaluation from my supervisor.  Believing my work performance to have been spectacular, I had high expectation of a performance evaluation that would align and validate with my own assessment.  Much to my chagrin, my supervisor ranked my overall job performance as average. 

Average!  That was a fighting word in my mind.

But I kept my composure and asked my supervisor why he didn’t consider the great things I had done and give me a higher evaluation; like above average or outstanding for example.

His reply was that the great work I had done was what he had expected of me and that was average in his mind.  Being wiser than I looked, I accepted his response to my question, and his evaluation of my job performance, while privately giving him a big middle finger in my mind’s eye.

Years looking back, I believe my supervisor was spot on in his evaluation.  The work I had done was average and so is what I do nowadays going about my business and personal life.  This includes my middle-aged man fitness training. 

The overuse of superlative adjectives is rampant every which way we hear and see, both on private conversations, and other communication mediums such as radio, television and social media.  Everything seems to be amazing, awesome and tremendous nowadays.  Even the average stuff we do, just like my 30 years plus long-ago job performance that my poker-faced supervisor dared to evaluate as average.

I’m going to be on guard to not be among those who abuse the meaning of words in behavior best described as manic uttering of superlative adjectives that are meant to be used sparingly.

So, even on my best day doing whatever it happens to be, at best I’m extraordinarily ordinary.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Punch for lunch

When you’re thirsty for lunch, what’s your beverage of choice?  Do you like soda, a glass of wine, a cold bottle of your favorite beer, or perhaps a tall glass of water with a slice of lemon?

This middle-aged man is a water guy most of the time.  I find it refreshing, it does the best job of meeting my hydration needs, and it’s the best deal in town if I’m eating out at lunchtime.

Well I’ve discovered a new lunchtime beverage that meets my needs during my busy work season like now.  I don’t know that I’ll have it every day, but a couple days a week sounds about right.

And it’s something I can have at my office so I don’t have to go out on those very busy work days.

Here’s a short video of what I’m talking about:

My recommendation is to do this quick workout as suggested in the video.  You complete 10 rounds of heavyhands-style punching with an appropriate pair of light dumbbells for 30 seconds followed by a stretching medley for 90 seconds of active recovery. 

Each round takes 2 minutes so if you complete the suggested 10 rounds, your workout will take 20 minutes to complete.

You shouldn’t go too heavy with the dumbbells for best results.  I personally find that a pair of 5-lbs. dumbbells is about right for me.  The 30-second flurry is all about elevating your heart rate.  Bopping and weaving does a great job for me.

Also, know that I’m not a boxer so please spare me any of your private or public criticism about my form. 

What I like about this workout is you can complete it and remain relatively “fresh” and dry with no need to shower before jumping back on the work saddle.

Give it a try when you’re extra thirsty (for fitness) on those busy work days.  I really think you’ll like this punch for lunch.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Stealth health and wellness

Recently, I wrote some new content for my business website and discussed “stealth taxation”.  I described it as taxes you don’t see until it’s too late.  Stealth taxation is not the result of tax law but rather from being innocently unaware and uninformed.

I didn’t coin this term.  It apparently has its origin “across the pond” thanks to our British taxpayer friends.  Apparently back in the late 1990’s, the term appeared when a national association of pension funds demanded a reverse to a tax on UK pensions fund dividends.  One advocate of a proposed tax law change publicly commented how pension funds were being “taxed by stealth”.

Well enough about the world I live in most of the day, but let’s borrow the stealth term and apply it to our middle-aged men health and wellness journeys.

When thinking about my journey, diet and exercise components come to mind.  I don’t know about you but, for me, these words connotate effort and work.  So, let me use the words nutrition and fitness; I like these words better.

In any event, in my pursuit of health and wellness, I have a full-time curriculum of nutrition and fitness things I do.  I read up about the newest and best ways to eat and exercise, and remain always open to new ways to skin my health and wellness cat.  This all takes time and painstaking effort and somewhere along my journey, I may achieve some health and wellness gains. 

Sometimes these gains are modest and seem to dwarf the effort I’ve expended.  Yet at other times, the gains I’ve made may suddenly disappear or diminish during times when I experience lethargy in my pursuits. 

Whether I dance with joy about the gains I’ve achieved or lament about the erosion that has come my way, I tend to do so in my public square, letting my whole world know about great or poor little me.

Regardless, I have a proven track record of always marching forward, even if my cadence is two steps forward and one step back, because my journey has no end destination until my day of eventual reckoning, when I meet my grim reaper.

Again, I don’t tend to keep all this to myself but, rather, burden others with what I’m doing.  This broadcasting I do about my middle-aged man health and wellness pursuits, reminds me of my elementary school “Show and Tell” classroom time.

Maybe what I really need to do is be more covert, quietly silent with perhaps a slight whisper at most.  And to pursue that which I seek without regard to any progress statistics or visual appearance goals in mind.  To do so just like the mindless eating, sleeping, driving, walking and chewing gum that I do throughout my day.

Maybe this fresher and newer approach will result in me achieving that which I seek without seeing it until it’s too great.

Maybe then what I have achieved can best be described as stealth health and wellness.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Wherever I go, there I am

Years ago, when my reading interests were more eclectic, I once read a book written by Jon Kabat-Zinn titled Wherever You Go, There You Are.

The book’s subtitle read “mindful meditation in everyday life”, but it was the title that captured my interest the most.  These words eventually became a lingering reminder to me that still exists today.  I find myself “chanting” these words in acts of self-talk whenever I’m stuck in my gutter of negative thinking. 

Like how my life would be much better if I made a move from here to there, changed the work I do from this to that, or changed the people in my life who are my sphere of influence from these people to those people.

I learned by repeating this phrase that even if I made all the changes described above, at the end of the day, I would still be stuck with myself, so I’d do better making the best of me in all my daily doings.

But is this true?  Am I really stuck with myself?  Is the way I am the way I’ll be?

I’ve always thought so but an article I read last weekend challenged my conventional thinking.  This article was titled “You (and Your Therapist Can Change Your Personality”.  It began with this: “A question for the ages:  Are you stuck with yourself?”

What followed was a summary of conventional psychology thinking that personalities are so stubborn that once formed, they remain relatively the same.  In other words, we are who we are and we’re stuck with ourselves.

Another group of psychologist thinkers believe that our personalities are so unstable that trying to measure any change is hardly worthwhile.

Recently, a team of researchers wrote an article appearing in a monthly professional psychological journal sharing the results of their analysis of 207 prior studies.  They reported how personality can and does change, and sometimes by a lot.  But guess what?  You’ll need the help of a professional therapist to bring about this change.

This middle-age man has always joked how the job of these psychology therapists is to eventually tell us we’re all nuts.

So, I’ll skip therapy sessions and stick with my self-talk trying to make the best for myself that, inspired by the title of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book, wherever I go, there I am.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, January 23, 2017

Make me great again

Last Friday’s blogflection on President Trump’s inauguration day had a befitting title we’ve read and listened to countless times during last year’s grueling and marathon Presidential election - “Make America Great Again”.  I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of it.

Realizing that the total of any greatness is the sum of its parts, this got me thinking that the way to make America great again is for each of us to be great again.  It makes me wonder if I’ve ever been great; maybe you’re thinking the same.

Well, great is a relative term in relationship to my maximum potential of being great.  I shouldn’t compare myself to someone else in assessing my own greatness.  Me being great can best be understood by me as being my maximum greatness at whatever great I’m capable of achieving assuming I put forth maximum effort.  A little perseverance is also important.

So, you and I have the potential to be great within our own unique selves, yet, at least for me, my greatness is sometimes dormant and in remission.  And if my greatness has been dormant and in remission for way too long, just like America, maybe it’s time for me to do something about it.  How about you?

Maybe it’s time for all of us to do something about it.

I’m jumping on the hype wagon of making American great again by making my own modest contribution, knowing that American’s total greatness is the sum of the greatness millions of Americans achieve in their own greatness pursuits.

I’m going to make me great again.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, January 20, 2017

Make America great again

Pierini Fitness continues from yesterday, with another political content reflection.  After today, he’ll return to primarily sharing his middle-aged man reflections about living and dying, gracefully aging and trying to live a good and honest life.  So, bear with me for today.

Yesterday’s blogflection might have painted a picture of who is Pierini Fitness in one area you might not have known.  If it did so only partially, more likely than not, today’s reflection will seal the deal.

Last year, Pierini Fitness posted a couple blogflections taking a cyberspace stab, so to speak, at then candidate for President Donald Trump.  Having reviewed those posts again, I stand by everything shared in them, and would say what I said again if he said what he did again.

But along his way and successful journey to becoming our 45th President today, I’ve learned to pinch my nose at his bad while developing an appreciation for his good.  This good is both his vision of what he wants for our country and the way he shares how he’ll go about attempting to do it.

So, today, I personally congratulate Donald Trump, our new President, and privately extend my prayers and well-wishes to him as he gets to work.  I also do the same for his family, knowing it’s no easy task being a family member of the President of the United States. 

In some respects, the feelings and mood I sense among many who look forward to a new President Trump reminds me of what I recall long ago when Ronald Reagan became our President in 1981.  There was this economic enthusiasm having its roots in good old-fashioned American capitalism, a pride of America and a pride of being an American.

So, lets act on the message of our messenger, President Trump, and do our own fair share in making America great again.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, January 19, 2017

On the way out

Pierini Fitness is as all-American of a middle-aged man as they come.  Just like all Americans, he has his values and political leanings; or slant as some may call it.  

Yet others may describe these things as making up my bigot.  Call it what you want, it's who I am just like your collective makeup of values and political leanings make you who you are unique from anyone else in the whole wide world. 

Isn't it wonderful to be an American, free to be this way without fear of a one-way trip to the guillotine?

Those who have followed Pierini Fitness know that among the 900 blogflections posted here, as of yesterday, political content is among the least discussed.  There's a reason for this.  

First, there are others who do a far better job.  Second, it just doesn't interest me and ignite a passion requiring me to publicly share my deepest feelings and thoughts.  This doesn’t mean I don't have them, or that I won't share them in private discussions with others capable of doing so courteously.  

Despite this big build-up about who I am and what are my values and political leanings, I want to use today's reflection to wish President Obama well as he leaves the Oval Office. It'll be fun, again, for me, to be interested in viewing Presidential press conferences and State of the Union addresses, something I've not done the past eight years.

And, I also want to remind him, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

With fame comes duty

I miss my good friend Tommy Kono, American’s greatest ever Olympic weightlifter.  He passed away about 8 months ago, last April.  

I received a Christmas card from his wife and a small gift.  It was a DVD documentary about his wonderful life, Arnold Knows Me: The Tommy Kono Story.  If you haven’t had a chance to view this one-hour documentary, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, viewing the DVD brought back many memories of his life and I recall him sharing all these memories in in many private conversations I had with him.

Most of the time, he was the instructor and I was his student as I listened to his great wisdom, but I do recall one time when our roles were reversed.  He was staying as a guest in my home during one of his visits to Sacramento.  While at the annual Tommy Kono Weightlifting Contest held at his alma mater high school, he was approached by a group of people, who knew very well, wanting to take him to dinner after the competition.

Well Mr. Kono politely declined.  I believe he felt obligated to spend that evening with me since he was a guest in my home.  Sensing this obligation, I encouraged him to join his friends who had invited him but, again, he declined.  He said there would be other opportunities to enjoy their company.

I accepted what he said but felt an opportunity to share my relatively-younger wisdom with him, and I did.

What did I say?  Something I remind myself constantly, particularly when observing the doings of well-known and respected public figures, and my, known-to-me-only, small fame character.  

I told him, “With fame comes duty.”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Yes, I'm exercising

It seems the reflections here for 2017 thus far have followed my favorite theme of living and dying, gracefully aging and trying to live a good and honest life.  Is a blog named Pierini Fitness, a misnomer?  After all, there hasn’t been one reflection here this year even making mere mention of current exercise.

Well, for my record, fitness is happening in my life despite a ramping up in progress of what will soon be a very busy seasonal work period.  What I’m doing must be done with efficiency.  I don’t have the luxury of jumping into my car, going somewhere, dressing down and dressing up into my favorite jock training attire, working out, showering, redressing, driving back to where I came, etc.  

So, what am I doing?  Quick and dirty, yet highly efficient stuff in a spare room in my office where I have permanently parked my modest kettlebell collection, a pair of 5-lb. dumbbells for some heavyhands work, a small step for some step-up work, a wooden dowel for some stretching, and a reasonable space to move forward, backwards and side to side.  Good enough to get my fitness job done when you consider the alternative of doing nothing and that’s not an alternative of interest to me.

For my record, I did have a long time out late in 2016 lasting for about three months for reasons I really can’t explain other than describing it as an extended period of fitness training lethargy.  It took me getting disgusted with myself to do something about it; glad I did starting on January 1st.

For my record to document how quick and to the point, here’s what I did yesterday for a total workout lasting 16 minutes:

4 rounds of the following combination:  #1 = hand-to-hand swings x 30 reps using 24 kg kettlebell, then #2 = standard pushups x 12, then bodyweight full squats x 24 reps, and finally #4 = one minute of upper-body stretching. 

I allowed 4 minutes for each round and this gave me a little rest before starting the next round. 

This little combo gave me an elevated heart rate while allowing me to stay dry and “fresh” so afterwards I could get back on my work pony saddle and giddyap back to working.

Yes, I’m exercising.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, January 16, 2017

500 nonstop sit-ups

It seems that lately I’ve been taking these trips down my long-ago memory lane so why quit while I’m on a roll?  Today, I’ll share another memory that’s a tad north of 50 years old.

Long ago there two television programs I used to faithfully watch each week; one was called To Tell the Truth and the other one was called What’s My Line?

To Tell the Truth was a television program that required a panel of celebrities to correctly identify a contestant who had an unusual occupation or had undergone an unusual experience.  What’s My Line? involved celebrity panelists questioning contestants to determine their occupation. 

I can’t recall which of the two programs I had watched that inspired me to try what a contestant had accomplished, setting a world record at the time.  This person had set a world record of completing the most non-stop sit-ups.  I don’t recall the exact number but very clearly remember it was 14,000 repetitions and “some change”.  Unfortunately, a quick Google search didn’t provide me any information on who this person was or the exact repetitions he completed.

This feat inspired me, as a young boy about 11-years young, to see what I could accomplish; how many repetitions of nonstop standard sit-up I could do.  So, after the television program, I placed my feet under our living room sofa and started doing sit-ups.  I vaguely recall that first night completing 100 repetitions before throwing in the towel.

But I was inspired by what I had learned so the following night I tried again.  I can’t recall how many consecutively evenings I did this but do know it wasn’t many before I lost interest and moved on to other battles to conquer in my adolescent journeys.  So, I didn’t call it quits until I had accomplished something that was good enough for me and something that, to this day, I’ve yet to repeat.

I’ll always remember that evening long, long ago when, in the comfort of our family living room, I banged out 500 nonstop sit-ups.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, January 13, 2017

Grandfather time

Friday is a day of the week that generates various memories when I think about it.  As a younger person, bellowing the classic “Thank God it’s Friday” (TGIF) acronym was music to my ears and imagination when thinking about how I was soon to begin my long-awaited weekend.  Other Friday-centric memories were those couple times a year when it was Friday the 13th, like today.

The TGIF memories changed over time but were generally more frequent when younger, beginning as a soldier in the U.S. Army and continuing when I was an employee working for someone else.  I didn’t seem to have a TGIF mindset as much once I became a self-employed stiff. 

My TGIF memories also had a bar-hopping with friends’ component to it, along with sleeping late on the weekends and having, as The Beach Boys sang, fun, fun, fun.

The Friday the 13th thing was never that big of a deal for me as I’ve never been, nor are, superstitious.  Nevertheless, I recall being in the company of those who were so Friday the 13th chatter inevitably became a topic of small-talk discussion.

What Friday memories is this middle-aged man making nowadays, and more specifically today?

The awesome and wonderful time I’ll soon be having today and tomorrow with a couple little fellas; it’s called grandfather time.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Butt of my dry humor

Life is a journey of personal transformation or at least it should be for both you and me.  In my transformation journey, each step along the way should ascend to a higher level.  One indication of my ascension to this higher level is how I use my dry humor to make the world a better place for all of us.

I’d say my experience being a wise-guy has been in the humor I’ve directed at others, making them the ridicule of what I’ve uttered.

This behavior has its origin going way back to my elementary school days and time on the school playground during class recess.  

It was rough and tough being a young boy surviving all the vocal assaults that would come my way from fellow classmates in what can best be described as normal adolescent young boy behavior.  

It gave me thick skin at a very young age.  It also gave me self-defense skills of being able to dish it back out.  I became a Quick Draw Magraw character in my self-defense of quickly sending one back after receiving one. 

It was so much easier doling it out, though, than being on the receiving end of cruel humor and in the process of doing so, I became good at it.  I thrived on the rush of being labeled as “cool” and clever for the wise-guy stuff I said.

These experiences formed me and so many others; we grew up to be purveyors of wise-guy comedic assaults that too often are delivered in bad taste, are cruel and disrespectful, inconsiderate and rude to say the least. 

Contrast this Don Rickles’ type of humor to that of the late and great comedian Rodney Dangerfield, whose humor was more self-deprecating in content; it evoked delight and laughter among those listening. 

Which type is better for me to deliver in my continuing journey of wanting to be a clever wise-guy capable of making life fun and jolly for those who are my audience?

It seems like it would be healthy trying something new and making me, rather than someone else the butt of my dry humor.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum