Monday, April 29, 2019

Next time, my time should be better

Over the weekend, I decided to see how fast I could run one mile.  It’s always been a revealing fitness conditioning benchmark for me.  Over the years, I’ve put good training effort into running longer, fasting and better.   

Now that I’m back on the running “circuit”, it makes sense to see what my current abilities are at this challenging distance and compare it to what I’ve done in the past. 

About a dozen years ago, I’d regularly test myself with a timed one-mile run.  I generally did these tests on a treadmill because that’s what I wanted to do. I liked the precision pace-management that treadmill running gave me and found that I was able to replicate treadmill running speed when hitting the pavement or at an all-weather track. 

Back in my olden running days, when running on a treadmill, I consistently clocked a 6:00 mile.  Since the treadmill I used maxed out at a 6:00 mile pace, it wasn’t possible to see if I could do better.  Maybe I could have by a little but probably not much. 
About five years ago, not in the same running condition as years earlier, I set a by-the-end-of-summer goal of running one mile in 6:00 and diligently trained with this goal in mind.   

My training journals from this era are nowhere to be conveniently retrieved but I recall my best effort being around 6:10 on the treadmill. During a final attempt on an all-weather track, one Saturday morning as summer was coming to an end, I ran a 6:17 mile and accepted that my best effort was short of the goal set months earlier.   Despite failing to achieve my goal, I was in better fitness condition than had I not made the effort.  All was well in Pierini Fitness middle-aged man land. 

Fast forward to Saturday, over the weekend, I ran a timed one-mile in 8:36. It was slower than the 8:00 mile pace that I reasonably thought was possible.  Looking at my heart rate statistics for this effort, I realize that my effort was sub-maximum so the next time, my time should be better.    

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Full of myself

Get around a bunch of middle-aged men and women who happen to enjoy good fitness, health and wellness and it’s a matter of time before you hear chatter about how they feel and look younger than they really are.  I used to chatter such nonsense but no more.

This chatter typically is how other people mistakenly believe they’re at least ten years younger than their actual age, as if this other person saying this, obviously dead-wrong, is an expert guessing someone’s age.  You know, like that county fair person who you pay to guess your weight within three pounds and if he doesn’t you win a teddy bear prize.

I read this one 68-year-old middle-aged man chump’s comment on a fitness discussion forum where he touted how he feels like his 40’s and people guess his age at early 50 consistently. Oh really?  Who are these people?  Members of the bingo brigade at his neighborhood senior center with an average age of 85 years?

It’s humorous and to think that I once drank the same Kool-Aid and contributed to the chatter.

Some of this chatter has a tit-for-tat element to it.  You tell me how I don’t look my age but ten years younger (tit) and I’ll tell you the same (tat.)  I don’t buy it.

Despite my “famous” middle-aged man slogan and a book I authored - “Every Man Who Looks in a Mirror sees a 16-year old kid” - I confess my utterance is merely in jest.

Being honest, I’m 64, look 64, feel 64 and happen to be pretty darn fit for a 64-year-old middle-aged man.  It’s the other people my age who happen to look and feel older.  Can’t help them, have my hands full of myself.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Middle-aged man fatso fathead

Thanks to losing weight I’m now safe from being called a middle-aged man fatso.  There was a time, not long ago, when such a tag would have been hard to defend as being untruthful.  But, no more.

Honestly, it wouldn’t have hurt my feelings because at this stage of life, I’ve got thick skin and so do most middle-aged men.  There are also certain tricks to hide the girth, such as those XXX football jerseys that make for good conversation about one’s favorite football team.  “Hey, how about them Raiders?”

Now, we’re learning there’s more to being a middle-aged man fatso than just having a big gut or lap.  A recent internet article Pierini Fitness read had an eye-catching title High Body Fat Linked to Possible 'Brain Shrinkage'

Seems that recent research suggests obesity may affect brain structure and, apparently, more for men than women.  These findings add to previous research findings of the obesity link to lower brain volumes, brain shrinkage and brain diseases such as dementia.

As typical with most published research, there’s always a caveat that more research is needed.  Until that happens, it’s best being a lean and mean middle-aged man fighting machine for many reasons including to be spared the wrath of being called a middle-aged man fatso fathead.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, April 22, 2019

Pierini Fitness pushup test

We all have favorite exercises regularly done in our fitness training.  I have an affinity for pullups but also perform other bodyweight-only exercises in my fitness training rotation; pushups happen to not be one of them.

I’ve done plenty of pushups in my training past; you do lots of them in the Army and Pierini Fitness was in the Army many moons ago.  And, he performs a pushup of sorts when doing burpees, but it has a different feel to it than stand-alone pushups.

But, Pierini Fitness did go through a volume pushup phase probably fifteen years ago when hanging out at an internet fitness discussion forum that sold them as the Holy Grail of fitness training.  For a while, he drank the Kool-Aid and included volume pushup work in his training mix.

For some, the golden benchmark is being able to complete 100 consecutive pushups in a single set.  This is something Pierini Fitness never accomplished.  While my training journals from this bygone era are nowhere to be found, I recall my best being about 55 pushups in a single set maximum reps effort.

A couple other volume pushups workouts I did come to mind.  One time, I completed 10 pushups every minute on the minute for 30 minutes for a total of 300 reps. Another time, I completed 500 pushups in one hour.  Both are decent accomplishments for a middle-aged man but aren’t in the same league as the golden benchmark of 100 consecutive reps in a single set.

Restless, I suppose, and trying to figure out what last Friday’s workout would be, I decided to include a pushup test to see how many reps I could perform in a single set.   The following is a quick video of my effort.

So, there you have it Pierini Fitness sports fans, last Friday’s Pierini Fitness pushup test.

 Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Summer 2019 at the beach

Pierini Fitness has been AWOL for a while due to the rigors of his profession but today is a new day and those demands have come to an end. What a breath of fresh air!  I’ll now have a more relaxed remainder of the year, time to train hard, have fun and add more content here of middle-aged man reflections about living and dying, gracefully aging and trying to live a good and honest life.  I’m excited and looking forward to it.

My Lent 2019 OMAD journey will soon come to an end and I’ll give an “executive briefing” sharing my experience.  It’s been an amazing journey to say the least.

I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting (IF) for over seven consecutive months and, more recently, one meal a day (OMAD) for Lent 2019 as previously noted.

The demands of my profession required me to work 16 hours non-stop on April 15th, from 3:30 am until 7:40 pm. The discipline gained from my Lent 2019 abstinence from meat and fasting from food 22 hours a day made it possible.

While IF or OMAD are no longer “needed” for weight loss because I have “arrived”, I’ve arrived before only to let it slip away. Moving forward, I can maintain my current lean and mean “fighting weight” with a more traditional eating approach, but I’ve grown fond of both mainstream IF and its outlier ugly stepsister named OMAD. There’s a certain renegade rebel being an OMAD’er that's attractive and I toy with the idea of coming back often for a visit.

I started this journey of reclaiming my lean and mean “fighting weight” last August 31, 2018 weighing in that morning at an embarrassing 210.8 lbs.  My goal was to weigh 180 lbs. by my 64th birthday on February 19, 2019.  Along the way, I reset my goal for 177 lbs. and achieved it the day after my birthday.  

Then I learned from others how it’s good to have my ideal weight expressed as a range rather than a single point.  Therefore, I set my ideal weight range for 172 to 177 lbs. and have consistently been at this weight or less the past six weeks.  Yesterday morning, I had a pleasant morning weigh-in at 171.4 lbs.  

Pierini Fitness “has arrived” and is now the lean and mean fighting machine he deserves to be from disciplined hard work he’s done the past 231 consecutive days.

This year, it’s going to be a great Summer 2019 at the beach.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, April 8, 2019

Wharf to Wharf, here I come!

Pierini Fitness has a few 2019 fitness goals that he hasn’t shared here before. One goal is to resurrect my “career” as a fun runner and enter a 10k running event sometime this year.  I’d like to finish the run at a 9-minute mile pace and will be training with this goal in mind.  It’s a much slower pace than the 7:10 to 7:15 mile pace I used to run 20 years ago.

Now that I’m leaner and meaner, running as a fitness activity is on the table and my knees don’t hurt when I run. 

My history as a fun runner is loaded with memories that’ll always be mine to cherish with the best ones dating back to over 20 years ago.  This was when my son and I would enter fun runs together.  He was an accomplished high school cross country and track runner and I was just a tag-along father trying, to the best of my abilities, to be half the runner he was.

Probably my favorite memories were the annual and very popular Wharf to Wharf 10k fun run in Santa Cruz, California.  This event gets its name because the course begins at the Santa Cruz Wharf and ends at the, nearby town, Capitola Wharf.  It’s a great running course with refreshing views and an ocean mist to keep everyone cool and comfortable.

When searching for a fun run to enter, this one was at the top of my list.  But, because of its popularity, there was no guarantee I’d get to run it.  The good news is I was able to register and get accepted and I’m stoked.  It’ll take place on Sunday, July 28th later this year so I have a little over three and one-half months to get in 9:00 minute mile running shape.  I think I should be able to do this.

Due to current work demands, I’m now only able to run once a week which, lately, has been a 60-minute long and slow run on Sunday at a favorite local park.  But my busy work schedule will soon be coming to an end, and I’ll be able to begin a more structure training effort in about three weeks.  So, this should be plenty of time for me to be fun run race ready, capable of accomplishing my 9-minute mile pace goal.

Stay tuned for more details as I share how goes my fun run training effort, and other details of my continuing middle-aged man fitness, health and wellness journey.

Wharf to Wharf, here I come!

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, April 1, 2019

An update of my Lent 2019 OMAD journey

Today is the 27th day of my Lent 2019 OMAD journey.  By the way, in case you don’t know, OMAD stands for one meal a day.

If you missed it, Pierini Fitness chose to practice a demanding form a fasting during Lent 2019 that began on March 6th.  He’s fasting 22 hours each day and eating during a very small feeding window of two hours, but not until the sun sets.  Additionally, he’s chosen to abstain from meat during Lent.  He’s never done anything this demanding before so thought it would be a good idea to give Pierini Fitness sports fans another update on how it’s going.  The last update was on March 15th.  If you missed it, you’re welcome to find and read it. 

So, how is it going?

As previously reported in my March 15th update, not bad.  I don’t recall ever going this long fasting this way or abstaining from meat.  I’m sure as an infant, there was a longer period when I didn’t eat meat, those early days when being breastfed or guzzling baby formula.  I’d have to ask my Mom for details and know she wouldn’t remember how long it was as an infant before I had my first meat dinner. 

Sun sets a minute later each day and today, according to my sources, it sets at 7:28 pm so that’s when I’ll begin eating.  It’s a little later than what I’d like but my Lent 2019 promise was made and so it’ll be. 

The hardest time with this fasting schedule is the last two hours.  This is because I’m generally home and not as occupied with work. I’ve done various things to keep my mind occupied, ranging from a light resistance bands workout, doing minor chores and even laying in bed just relaxing after a hard day of work.

Another hard time is Sunday because that’s the day I run for 60 minutes, generally around noon.  After my run, I have a long wait before feeding time.  It’s a challenge but a great opportunity to test my mental toughness.    

What about my abstinence from eating meat?

Surprisingly, I haven’t missed, too bad, being a carnivore.  A couple times, meat thoughts entered my mind.  One was a passing thought about eating one of my favorite lunchtime meals when on the go, a chicken teriyaki rice bowl.  The other was thinking about the giant plate of barbeque baby back ribs I ate on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent 2019 began. 

Since I didn’t want to lose any more weight during my OMAD journey, I’ve had to eat more than what I had prior.  And, I’ve had to taper my workouts.  Although, being busy with work has contributed more to tapering my workouts that OMAD.  Despite these adjustments, I’ve lost a few lbs. but nothing to be concerned about.

What I’ve shared might be a yawner for some and if this is your case, oh well.  I just wanted to make it a matter of my Pierini Fitness archives, so this is an update of my Lent 2019 OMAD journey.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum