Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Awesome and powerful

Since powering PIerini Fitness back up the beginning of this year, I’ve shared much about diet and nutrition, drawing from personal fitness, health and wellness goals I was chasing.  I’ve written about diet and nutrition in years past, including intermittent fasting (IF) which is, simply, an eating timing protocol helping one practicing it eat a sensible amount of food.

I've previously written:  

“Eat and exercise as little as possible to be as 
fit,  functional and strong as you need to 
be living the life you've chosen."

Read more here:  Prescription for today

I won’t devote any time to explaining IF or listing the many versions of it existing; that’s your job if you’re interested.  But what I will do is share that I’ve used it very successfully, both past and present, to meet my goals.  Even after having “arrived” at a target bodyweight, I continue practicing it because of its economy and efficiency.  

And, I’m about ready to practice a more challenging version of it for this upcoming Lent 2019, something I’ll share the details about within the next week.  Until then, let me part with a few words what I think about IF, based on my experiences.

For me, IF is a discipline builder that contributes tremendously to my fitness, health and wellness goals.  Unbridled discipline is awesome and powerful.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, February 22, 2019

Another Saturday workout at my office

There’s a time of the year when Pierini Fitness works harder and longer than the rest of the year and that time is now.  Therefore, thanks to an extra spare office room where I have my minimalist fitness training toolbox, I’m able to get some quick fitness action when I’d otherwise be stuck at my desk, staring at a desktop computer, and sitting hour and hour working on a Saturday.

This was my case last Saturday.

But I found time for a quick, less than 20-minutes workout, using my favorite training implement, the kettlebell (KB.)

What I did was one of my favorite KB complexes, The Rdella Power 5 KB Complex.  It’s my “go to” KB complex for measuring cardiovascular conditioning and the ability to work hard at a high level of intensity.  I have a section in my training journal where I recorded my time to complete five rounds of this challenging complex.  This training performance history showcases completion times all over the place depending on my conditioning, or the lack of it, at the time. 

I use a 20kg KB when performing this single KB complex which consists of five reps each of the swing, snatch, clean, rack squat and overhead press.  Five reps of each exercise are done before advancing to the next one.  I first do this series with my right arm and then switch and do my left arm.  One round is finished when I’m completed both arms.  Completing five rounds for time is my workout.

My best time completing this tough KB complex is 12:27 back in November 2014 when had a higher level of cardiovascular conditioning.  Last Saturday, it took me four minutes longer; look here:

Viewing this video, I again see more work needing to be done with my technique; it’s a never-ending work in progress.

With about half a dozen more Saturday’s of working this year, this upcoming weekend will include another Saturday workout at my office.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

"When I'm 64" - a special black and white and almost silent edition

Pierini Fitness is having fun as a new 64-year young middle-aged man.  Yesterday’s blogflection, When I'm 64 was a fun to write share with you.  

If you missed it, do take the time to read it because if you’re a middle-aged man, you’ll enjoy the trip down memory lane.

If this is what it’s like gracefully-aging, sign me up for more; I’ll take all the gracefully-aging coming my way.   

With less than one year from becoming a Medicare Man and experiencing a steep decline in my health insurance premiums, all I can say is the best is yet to come.

Two evenings ago, on the eve of my 64th birthday, I decided to capture a few moments of my last day being a 63-year young middle-aged man for my archives.  Perhaps, one day, my grandsons and other descendants, some I’ll never know, will be able to learn more about this character who paraded around the cyberspace world known as Pierini Fitness.

Take 60 seconds to view the video below and enjoy the "entertainment" - 

Pierini Fitness hopes you enjoyed Part II of “When I’m 64” - a special black and white and almost silent edition.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

When I'm 64

Ask any middle-aged man close to the age of Pierini Fitness what music they listened to growing up.  While several answers may be given, it’s more likely than not one will be the timeless music of the Beatles.

Without a doubt, they were the most popular band in America starting in the early 1960’s; international stars leading the “British Invasion” on the American soil pop market as evidenced by breaking numerous sales records.    Most middle-aged men recall the first time they watched the Beatles perform.  Perhaps it was while watching the Ed Sullivan Show with their parents during Sunday evening family television time.

We all remember more than one of their classic songs, many of which are still sung in the minds-eye of many who grew up listening to their musical greatness.  Together we all sang “It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog.” or “Help, I need somebody, help not just anybody.” or “He’s a real nowhere man, sitting in his nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody.”

Their song “Nowhere Man” was an inspiration for this aged Pierini Fitness blogflection over ten years ago:  Just an average Joe Blow.

Another Beatles’ song that entered my mind about a year ago when calling and giving a happy 64th birthday greeting to an old Army buddy was “When I’m 64”, circa late 1966.

“When I get older losing my hair, 
Many years from now;
 Will you still be sending me a Valentine,
 Birthday greetings bottle of wine.”

It was just a matter of time before I identified with this song in an upfront and special way, so much different than the youthful impression it left with me as a 12-year old boy 52 years ago.

So today, on my 64th birthday, chasing my middle-aged man fitness, health and wellness goals while counting my blessings and giving thanks to my Almighty God for all He’s provided, I’ll listen to this song, singing it in my mind’s eye while wondering what the future in general, and more specifically, the next year of my life will experience, when I’m 64.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, February 18, 2019

Bacon or spaghetti

Since bringing life back to my Pierini Fitness blog the beginning of this year, plenty has been shared about my current fitness, health and wellness journey, currently a work in progress.  This includes nutrition and a goal of lowering my bodyweight.  It has been, for the most part, a pleasant journey and I now weight over 30 lbs. less than when I started, although, there have been a few stuck points along the way.  This is to be expected as any seasoned and successful weight-loss person knows.

When entering the fascinating world of nutrition for whatever goal you have – be in good health, muscle and strength gains, weight gain or weight loss – all the experts have their standard prescriptions of the precision eating one needs to do to accomplish their goals.  In sifting through and deciphering their “killer nutrition plans”, eventually one starts reading about macronutrients, more commonly referred to as macros.

One explanation of macros is that they’re the building blocks of nutrition and include calories (carbohydrate, protein and fat) but also vitamins and minerals.  In most nutrition chatter, however, when macros are mentioned, it’s the relative composition of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the calories eaten.

So, for example, if I eat something that has 321 calories consisting of 40 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat, its macro composition can be expressed as 50/25/25.  The 50/25/25 means that 50 percent of the calories are carbohydrates, 25 percent protein and 25 percent fat.  This is because a gram of carbohydrate or protein is 4 calories, and a gram of fat is 9 calories.  Do the math to see for yourself.

Some middle-aged men chasing their fitness, health and wellness subscribe to various “killer nutrition” approaches.  Some eat low or near zero carbohydrates following the popular keto diet.  Others eat high carbohydrates following a starch-based nutrition approach such as that advocated by Dr. John McDougall.  Some take a more balanced approach getting, for example, 50 percent of calories eaten from carbohydrates with the remaining 50 percent equally from protein and fat.

Sometimes, in the diet and nutrition chatter, advocates for each will fiercely argue why their method is superior to the others.  Sometimes this chatter becomes very intense and mean-spirited, equaling in intensity and opposition as an atheist and Christian arguing about whether God exists.  If you remain in this crossfire, it eventually can become confusing, overwhelming and unmotivating.

What does Pierini Fitness think about macros?  What macro plan does he follow in his fitness, health and wellness journey?

In past journeys, I’ve tried just about all except for the low carb – or keto – approach; it’s not for me.  My body needs carbohydrates to fuel my daily and fitness training pursuits.  I’ve tested the high carb and low-fat approaches and, of course, a balanced approach.  They all work for me and provide eating satisfaction, for a while, before shifting among them.

Currently, I don’t pay attention to macros other than an afterthought at the end of the day after my nutrition journaling is completed.  I never pay attention to macros for meal planning.  Consequently, what I’m finding is that my macros are all over the place.  Case in point are two days last week.

Here’s a macro presentation of what I ate last Wednesday, a day that included a chicken teriyaki rice bowl for lunch and a big filet mignon steak for dinner:

And, here’s a macro presentation of what I ate last Friday, a day that included five boiled potatoes and, honoring my Italian ancestors, a very large bowl of pasta:

These two extremes coexisting with my continuing weight loss best exemplify that a calorie is a calorie and eating less calories than you expend, over time, is proven weight loss, whether you’re loading up on bacon or spaghetti.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, February 15, 2019

And I’m on it

The kettlebell (KB) is the primary fitness training implement in my Pierini Fitness toolbox.  I recently shared what’s in my fitness training toolbox.  If you missed that read, here it again:

In my KB training journey, the work I do is single KB complexes, primarily because of my limited KB inventory and, more importantly, they’re easier than double KB complexes.  There comes a time, however, when one must take their training to the next level and include double KB complexes in the training mix.  Recently, I’ve decided to do this, and it’s been a humbling experience.

Last Saturday, while at work, I decided to take a double KB complex for a test drive.  What I chose to do was a double KB complex consisting of a round of clean, rack squat and overhead press for five reps, for five rounds.  For some reason, I’m an “5x5 KB dude”, meaning I like to put together KB complex workouts consisting of five rep rounds for five rounds.  Sometimes, the complexes include five different KB movements so it’s a 5x5x5 KB complex.  This one, however, was a 3x5x5 workout, meaning there were three KB movements, done together, making up one rep, done for five rep rounds, for five rounds.

It was tough! 

Isn’t this the case when adding a new workout to our training?  There’s lack of familiarity with the new workout, not to mention the double load.  A pair of 20kg KB’s weigh 88 lbs.  That’s double the load of a single 20kg KB weighting 44 lbs.  Toss in the coordination element handling a pair, versus one, KB and I had a challenging introductory double KB complex workout.

Here’s the fifth and final round of my workout:

I like to periodically video record my workouts because it allows me to evaluate my form.  I did this when training in karate and the Olympic lifts about ten years ago.  The feedback gives me what I need to focus on to improve my form and workout performance.

This video showed that my double KB cleans are rough and not smooth as they should be.  The KB’s should gently arrive in the rack position without banging on my shoulders.  I also learned that the lack of heavier load squatting is showing up at how I had to work coming out of the bottom position of the rack squat.  Finally, the overhead push jerk work I’ve been doing has come at a price of not doing enough overhead press work.  You’ll notice that I struggled with completing the overhead press reps during the fifth and final round of this workout.

Overall, my introduction to KB complex work was a humbling experience.  I’ve got some work to do and I’m on it.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

I wonder if he's still alive?

A week ago today, I was in San Francisco for business.  I decided to lodge at the Hostelling International USA San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Hostel at Fort Baker.  It’s a stone’s throw from both Fisherman’s Wharf and the Presidio of San Francisco where I was stationed as a young soldier 46 years ago.  I’ve stayed there many times in my distant past while on business because I enjoy the international and vagabond flare of those who stay there.

As often is the case when returning to places visited long ago, memories start to come front and center about people I knew, places I frequented, etc., etc.  Perhaps the challenge of parking unique to hilly San Francisco triggered some of the memories entering my mind.

One memory was when I took an Introduction to Criminal Justice class at San Francisco City College.  I remember how difficult it was finding a parking place.  It was so bad that I decided I wouldn’t take any more classes.  It wasn’t fun circling around campus, over and over, trying to find a parking place and not be late for class.  Besides, I reckoned, there were better things to do than study. After all, I was an 18-year old young soldier living in exciting San Francisco.  Later, however, I did take another class, Introduction to Accounting, but it was held on base, so I didn’t have to deal with trying to find a non-existent parking place.    

This memory got me thinking about the instructor.  He was an older fellow, in relation to me, who was probably slightly past the halfway point of being a middle-aged man.  I don’t know why the thought of him entered my mind.  What I remember about him is how he always prefaced what he said with “basically speaking.”  This was his transition crutch to whatever it was he was about to say.  “I wonder if he’s still alive?”, I wondered, while doing a little finger math and reckoning that he’s probably not but, I’ll never know.

This pondering then took me back even further to a high school bookkeeping class I once took during summer school.  I don’t know why I took the class, but I liked it and the instructor.  This memory made me wonder if he was still alive.  I’m guessing he was in his early 40’s when I was about 16 or 17 years old.  This means, if he’s still alive, he’d be close to 90 years old.  It’s possible he’s still living but, I’ll never know.

I confess these are just two examples of the wonderings I have when spending time in yesteryear land.  I don’t know if there’s anything weird about having these wonderings.  Maybe they’re simply me wondering about my eventual meeting with the Grim Reaper.  Sooner or later, we’ll all get our turn.

Obviously, these two individuals left me with lingering memories about them.  Perhaps it was something I judged as intrinsically good that was deeply-embedded in my subconscious.  Whatever it was, it got me wondering.

I wonder if I might one day leave a lingering memory in the minds of people I have or will interactive with.  You know, younger people who chronologically have much more time remaining on planet earth than I do.

Will they remember some pearl of wisdom I shared with them, perhaps a joke or laughter-oriented encounter, or perhaps something unpleasant like a rough conflict encounter that puts one or both of us in an uncomfortable position we’d rather not be?

Or, might it be one or more of the thousand plus reflections they read at Pierini Fitness, diamonds in the rough, yet wholesome, middle-aged man reflections about living and dying, gracefully aging and trying to live a good and honest life.

Time will tell but, it does make me wonder, just as I was wondering last week, will they one day be wondering about me and thinking or saying, “I wonder if he’s still alive?”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, February 11, 2019

Not a typical day as an IF practitioner

I’m an intermittent fasting (IF) practitioner again and have been since the middle of August 2018 when beginning my current fitness, health and wellness journey.  

This isn’t the first time I’ve been riding the IF pony.  The first time was almost 10 years ago, and I shared my experience here at Pierini Fitness:  My intermittent fasting journey

There are several versions of IF and you can read up about them if you’re interested because I won’t explain them in today’s blogflection.  Some prefer to use the term “time restricted eating” and explain the subtle difference between it and IF.  Again, I’ll not take valuable content space here lecturing you about it.

I don’t know exactly but would guess that my average fasting period is about 19 hours, so this means my feeding window is about 5 hours.  Sometimes I fast longer and other times shorter.  Therefore, I’m guessing my feeding windows have ranged from two to eight hours in a 24-hour period.  Some would refer to a short feeding window of two hour as OMAD, an acronym for one meal a day.

I thought it would be interesting to share with you a day in my life as an IF practitioner, so I chose to share my feeding window last Saturday.

It began at 10:25 a.m. after a fasting period that started 7:40 p.m. Friday evening.  This means my fasting period was 14 hours and 45 minutes.  This is a little shorter than normal because, again, my shortest fasting period is typically 16 hours.  Friday was an atypical day and, as a result, my last meal ended much later than normal.  Typically, I like to be done eating by 6:00 p.m.

So, when beginning my feeding window, I ate three pieces of fruit – a banana, an apple, and an orange – during a one-hour period.  That was it until later in the day when I had my main meal.

It consisted of treating myself to one of my favorite meals at a restaurant I frequent about once every two months.  I treated myself to a full rack of barbeque baby back ribs and a “naked” baked potato, naked meaning I ate it plain without the typical gobs of butter and sour cream that many prefer when eating one.

What’s the bottom line of this big meal I feasted on?

BEFORE – 1,672 calories

AFTER – 0 calories

That was it?

My total caloric intake was 1,965 calories and my feeding window this day, which ended at 5:00 p.m., was 6 hours and 35 minutes.

I normally don’t pay much attention to macros except as an afterthought.  In case you’re interested, here’s how the day went in the macro department:

Now, I know what some of you are thinking.  Where’s the vegetables or, not enough fiber.

Every day is different.  Some days I’ll have a starch-centric high carbohydrate, low protein and low-fat day.  On other days, it’ll be very high fat, monosaturated fats preferred, along with balanced protein and fat day.

All in all, most days are much different but, for me, last Saturday was not a typical day as an IF practitioner.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, February 8, 2019

My hair is on fire

Last month Pierini Fitness shared that he’s a fitness, health and wellness work-in-progress with a goal of dropping some bodyweight by his next birthday, coming up in less than two weeks.  His goal is to arrive at a bodyweight of 177 lbs.  As of today, at a bodyweight of 182 lbs., he might not achieve his birthday goal weight but should be very close.

If he doesn’t achieve his goal by then, he won’t toss in the towel but, rather, keep the discipline intact by marching forward as he has done every day since last year August 31st when beginning the task at hand.

This weight he has been shedding is an almost decade-long "science experiment" resulting in about 30 extra lbs. of bodyweight added to what can best described as a yesteryear chiseled Pierini Fitness

During the last year of this "science experiment", like a lot of middle-aged men, he got too comfortable early last year and took an extended time-out, basically paying attention to everything else but his fitness and nutrition.  Consequently, he got extra out of condition and packed on the final 10 lbs. of a decade-long weight gain of about 30 lbs.  Some would call this added load lard.

History has a tendency of repeating itself so, he has been there before, did it and done it, including peeling it off and that’s what he has been doing every single day since August 31st.  Now, 29 lbs. lighter, he can smell the “finish line”, but may not cross it on his birthday which was his initial goal.

It doesn’t matter because he’ll eventually cross the finish line and will be sure to let you know here at Pierini Fitness, so stay tuned.

But, why didn’t he catch himself sooner as the poundage was piling up?  That’s a fair and simple question for which there’s a simple answer – denial! 

He suffered from a bad case of “every man who looks in a mirror sees a 16-year old kid.”  Oh, my mirror, how I love it; it’s the camera and scale with which I have issues.  And, I solved these issues by not taking any photos or jumping on a scale during my fitness, health and wellness sabbatical.  I was immersed in my denial as are so many others who have allowed peak fitness, health and wellness to get away from them.  I knew I wasn’t alone.

But, sooner or later, we hit a rock bottom, a condition of disgust with one’s self, an “enough is enough” realization and then we “attack” what we’ve allowed and created with an intensity capable of solving all the great problems of the world.

That’s what Pierini Fitness has been doing and he’s relentless.  He won’t stop until he has arrived, again, and this time, he’s going to make darn sure it doesn’t happen again.  It’s too hard to be subjected to an Army “boot camp” approach to get back where he needs to be and honor his fitness and body 24/7.  To showcase middle-aged man fitness, health and wellness at its best.

But, along the way, those who are part of my life must have seen a change taking place as my previous chisel was evaporating in thin air right before their eyes.  Why didn’t they say anything?  Were they in denial too?  Or, were they trying to be my “friend” and not want to hurt my feelings?  Talk about the weather or engage in small talk like, “How about them Raiders!” 

I’m not sure but do know this, none of my “friends” or “acquaintances” said one word, their silence was deafening, to which I say, “thanks but please, no thanks the next time.”

Next time, please, tell me when my hair is on fire.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum