Friday, May 29, 2020

Because getting fat and weak isn't an option

Over the years, Pierini Fitness has “coined” and used several fitness slogans.  They’re chants for lack of a better term that cut to the chase with perspective that we all need in chasing our middle-age man upper-percentile fitness, health and wellness.

One of my earliest ones I recall was, “I am as good as my last workout and I am what I eat.”

Another one was, The fitness training program has got to match the personality.”

Recently, I thought it was time for a fitness slogan rebrand.  Businesses do the rebranding thing all the time.  While Pierini Fitness is not a business but, rather, a “ministry”, a rebranding, getting ready for Summer 2020, still seemed like a good idea. 

So, here’s the latest – drum roll please – that you’ll be seeing more of as I continue marching forward sharing my fitness, health and wellness journey and perspectives, “Because getting fat and weak isn’t an option.”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Pierini Fitness baker's dozen what has worked for me

I recently commented to a question posted on an internet fitness discussion forum.  The question was, “What has actually worked for you?”  Obviously, this was a question in the context of fitness.

The person asking the question shared that the Ketogenic diet, high repetition pushups, and Creatine supplementation is what worked for him.
Interesting was his following comment that he wondered why it is when we find something that seems to work that we ever abandon it.  I couldn’t quite tell if this suggested he had abandoned what had worked for him, lost his results and was now contemplating getting back on the plan.
Always willing to jump in on the action and contribute to a legitimate fitness question, I thought about it for a while and then shared what has worked for me.  The following is what I shared, edited somewhat and in a slightly different order from my posted comment:

Eat less as a lifestyle, yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the rest of my life.  Don’t quit once I’ve achieved my weight loss or body appearance goal.

Jump on the scale each morning and weigh.  Keep detailed training journals.

Use a tape measure to measure my girth periodically.  Take pictures to keep my bathroom mirror and perception honest.

Take videos of me in fitness action to evaluate my form and detect my fitness lameness so I can work of eradicating it.

Change and manage my thoughts, feelings and behaviors so that food is fuel for my body and not my crank cocaine drug of choice.

Follow an intuitive fitness training approach rather than one that’s structured, depending on what my body is telling me.  Always obey my body.

Do not dodge intensity during my workouts.

Chase athleticism rather than bodybuilding.

Have seasonal fitness goals that are SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timetable to achieve.  Periodically test these goals to see how I’m doing.

Have desire, discipline, patience and perseverance when chasing, achieving and maintaining all my fitness, health and wellness goals.

Do let anyone sabotage my goals, especially ME!

Realize that if I achieve my goals, it won’t make me a better person. If I’m a jerk and turd before, I’ll be one after, even if sporting a bad ass body and having upper-percentile fitness for an amateur athlete.

Know my age.

This is my Pierini Fitness baker’s dozen what has worked for me.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.

Monday, May 25, 2020

I miss you Dad

Seven years ago, yesterday, my Dad died.  I visited his gravesite and took a nice long trip down memory lane of all that I remember of him.  I also said a few prayers and thanked him for all that he taught me that makes me who I am today.   

Today, Memorial Day 2020, I salute him, and all other World War II veterans from the greatest generation, thanking them for their service. 

I miss you Dad.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, May 22, 2020

Can't do the gym thing any more

"Me and my parks are one."

I may have shared this before that once turning age 65 and becoming a Medicare Man a few months ago, I got a free gym membership with my health insurance plan.  I hadn’t belonged to a gym in probably five or more years so the thought of getting something “free” caught my attention.

It wasn’t as if not belonging to a gym was compromising my middle-age man fitness.  I’m fit right now by my middle-age man historical standards.  Since quitting the gym, I had used various public parks as my training landscape.  There are about five that I regularly frequent depending on what I’m doing.   

I have a favorite park for running, a favorite park for doing pull-ups and a preferred park for doing burpees and kettlebell workouts.  I enjoy my outdoors workouts at these parks.  I’ve found little nooks and crannies at these parks where I can pitch my fitness tent and get a good workout without calling too much attention to myself.  Trees abound at these training sweet spots that have become my training oasis. 

Nonetheless, the free gym membership thing enticed me so after exploring the various gyms that I could join for free, I chose a 24 Hour Fitness gym located downtown about one mile from my office.  It’s one of their bigger gyms that they’ve coined as a super-sport gym because it’s huge and loaded with every exercise equipment you can imagine, plus it has many other amenities like a swimming pool, basketball court, you name it; it has it. 

After joining, I decided that it would be a supplement to how I was currently training because all was going well doing it that way.  Pull-ups, bar dips, kettlebell complexes, burpees and running had been doing me good and I saw no reason to change anything.  As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

I’d say during the first month of membership, I visited only four times.  This gym frequency was unlike my past when I would go to the gym five days a week.  I found that my new gym was densely populated with people exercising and it was noisy with loud music.  I also learned that, unbeknownst to me, I had become a reclusive middle-age man fitness dude from several years training in the park solo style.

I tried my best to work around this gym density and noise by reminding myself how endowed it was with every imaginable fitness exercise equipment and weights under the sun.  Still, as time passed, I was continually dodging my new gym, taking a hike, instead, to one of my favorite parks.

Then, Coronavirus struck, and all gyms closed and remain closed to this day.

It was during this gym lockdown that I decided I wouldn’t be going back.  I cancelled my free membership about a week ago.  It felt good doing this because it got a monkey off my back that I wasn’t using my free gym membership.

It was a paradigm shift – a stepping over the line in the sand to the other side – and a realization that I can’t do the gym thing anymore.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, May 18, 2020

Middle-age man morning report

When in the U.S. Army five decades ago, I remember how each morning there was a morning ritual leading to what was known as the Morning Report.   A fellow soldier friend of mine had as one of his many duties its daily preparation.  

The Morning Report was a document produced every morning for every basic unit of the Army.  It reported head counts of Army soldiers and changes in status from the previous day.  Once completed, it was reviewed and approved by the unit’s Commanding Officer and then punted up the Army chain of command. Basically, it was a daily measure of Army soldier resources, strength accountability and military readiness.

Fast forward to my middle-age man present.   

Nowadays, I do a morning report of sorts with my middle-age man body to assess its resource availability and readiness for another day of fitness training.  In 2 Thessalonians 3 we read: “If any man will not work, neither let him eat.”   Pierini Fitness says, “If I don’t earn my calories from activities of daily living and exercise, let me not eat.”

My morning report assesses my body and mind’s readiness for planned daily living activities and fitness training.  Nowadays, it’s giving me much different information than a noon or early afternoon report.   

For example, yesterday, upon awakening and crawling out of bed, one of my first thoughts was how sore and stiff I was, and that perhaps my planned fitness activities for the day might not take place.   

My wrists, hands and ankles were sore, and the rest of my body “radiated” signals that perhaps a day of fitness training rest was a good idea.  My previous day’s workout included a short morning kettlebell workout and then later in the day, 150 burpees performed at a moderate pace. 

This has become a common morning experience for me that’s more pronounced than decades earlier.  I remember when in my late 40’s until my early 50’s hitting the gym at 6:00 am sharp, roaring, and ready to go, each Monday through Friday.  I don’t have the physical ganas to do this nowadays.  Did it, done it and gone! 

What I’m also finding is that as time passes, these morning report feelings begin to dissipate so that by noon or early afternoon, I’m ready to tackle my fitness training for the day.  Yesterday, for example, after my ganas woke up, I went for a great 6-mile early afternoon run.

So, my middle-age man morning report is often not a good measure of my middle-age man body's resource availability and readiness for another day of fitness training.

You may recall from what I’ve previously shared that my fitness training approach is an intuitive one.  I’m never quite sure what I’ll do even though I have some ideas and preferred exercises to select from in my fitness training cafeteria with workout duration and intensity depending on what’s being reported in my morning, noon, and early-afternoon reports. 

Works for me. 

Even though it doesn’t always give me the good report I’d like, I’ll continue each day preparing upon awakening and crawling out of bed, my middle-age man morning report. 

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, May 15, 2020

Go north middle-age man, your journey continues

There’s an old saying that “whatever goes up must come down.” And this is true for doing overhead press barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell exercises.  I’m a fan of overhead press work and have put it, again, on my short list of go to exercises.

This isn’t the first time in my middle-age man fitness training journey that I’ve had a focus and fascination with overhead training.  In my former training life, I did a couple semesters of Olympic weightlifting training, the snatch and clean and jerk lifts. 

While doing so, I understood that there undoubtedly were lightweight members of the Chinese women’s Olympic weightlifting team hoisting considerably more overhead than I was doing on my best training days.  Nonetheless, I was able to increase my lifts, peaking with best effort lifts of 160 lbs. for the snatch and 185 lbs. for the clean and jerk.

Later, I moved on the other things including a semester of the StrongLifts barbell training program.  There, my best overhead effort was a barbell press of 175 lbs.  I wish I had a video of that lift, but I don’t.

These days, almost a decade later, I’m at it again with overhead work, doing single and double kettlebells snatch and overhead presses, either standalone efforts or as part of a kettlebell complex or chain.  

I like and thrive doing the overhead stuff. Someone once told me that when I exercise, don’t lay when I can sit, don’t sit when I can stand, and lift something heavy overhead.  Single and double kettlebell snatch and overhead press work are perfect for doing just that. 

I’m using the two pair sets of kettlebells I own for my overhead work, a pair of 20kg kettlebells and a pair of 24kg kettlebells.  Rather than go out and add to my collection at this point, I’ll focus on progressive resistance improvements by increasing the rep volume I do, either as a single set maximum reps effort or total reps completed within a given time.

Go north middle-age man, your journey continues.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum


Friday, May 8, 2020

Cafeteria-style fitness training menu

I describe my fitness training as intuitive fitness training because I don’t follow a specific workout program that’s spelled out for me with specific exercises, weights, sets, reps or times that I follow to the “T”.  My approach, rather, has me never knowing exactly what I’m going to do until I step into the batter’s box ready to swing.

To make what I do legitimate, I’m guessing that 80 to 90 percent of the time what I do will be done with intensity. 

Otherwise, I risk the chance of being a sandbagger playing or working out below my potential.  Sort of like a B-level racquetball player who plays the D-level competition ladder at his local racquetball club.

Intuitive training works for me because I never know how my body is going to feel on any given day.  How my body feels depends on what I may have done the previous day.  For example, as I peck away on my keyboard composing this blog post, I’m very sore in my wheels because yesterday I ran six miles.  If I had some very specific plan to do this or that today, I’d probably not do this or that today because I wouldn’t feel like it.

Therefore, intuitively, today is a rest day but tomorrow will probably be an intense workout day.

This works for me.

So, the way I do things is like going into a cafeteria to have a meal.  As I walk down a cafeteria aisle, there are several foods to choose from: main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and beverages.  I might have a little of this and a little of that. As I approach the end of the aisle, chances are my plate is full and I’m about to begin having what’ll hopefully be a good meal.

This is how my workouts are put together on any given day.  I chose from a menu of fitness activities and exercise selections from my cafeteria-style fitness training menu.

Here are the exercises and activities currently on my menu, in no order of preference or training frequency:  

Pull-ups and chin-ups – Lately, a typical workout consists of about 100 repetitions done greasing the groove style.  I like doing this while at work where I have a pull-up bar.

For example, I might perform 10 sets of 10 repetitions during the morning or throughout my workday depending on how busy I am.  Last summer, I did more weighted pull-ups and chin-ups; lower rep volume of course with a 20kg or 24kg KB hanging from my waist using a lifting belt.

Bar dips – I have a bar dip unit in a spare room in my office and do most of my bar dip work while at work just like pull-ups and chin-ups.  I generally shoot for about 100 bar dips when I do them.  I’ve also done weighted bar dips but not lately.

Slam ball work – A couple months ago, I purchased my first slam ball; it weighs 15 lbs. and I’ve used it for about four workouts.  Honestly, I thought I would have used it more than I have thus far.  Also, honestly, the slam ball workouts I’ve done have spanked me big time in a short amount of time.  I’m looking forward to more slam ball work in the months ahead.

Burpees – I hate and love burpees in the same breath of air, just like everyone else.  I hate how they make me feel and how they keep me humble whenever my head swells thinking what great fitness conditioning shape I’m in, but I love the fitness conditioning results they deliver.  

Lately, I’ve been doing burpees a couple times a week and am chasing a goal of completing 100 of them in ten minutes or less.

Running – I don’t know how many times in the last ten years I’ve retired as a fun runner only to come back out of retirement.  I’m currently out of retirement again and have been so for almost two years.  It was tough coming back and I swear I’m not going to retire again but, rather, ramp up or taper the running I do depending on what else I’m doing.  

Lately, I’ve been running at a slower and steady-state pace only once a week for between 30 and 60 minutes.  During this summer, I’d like to do some more speed work and see how fast I can fun a one-mile distance on a high school all-weather track.

Kettlebell work – I really like kettlebell training and the stuff I do tends to be kettlebell complexes or chains.  I have a limited inventory of kettlebells that I own but enough to get awesome workouts.  I have a couple favorite routines or complexes I like to do so progress doing them comes from completing a certain number of rounds faster than the last time.

Other items that have been on my fitness training menu in the past – Certain menu items in a cafeteria menu might be seasonal and not always available.  This is also the case with my fitness training menu selections.  Things that I enjoy doing, have done in the past but am not now doing include pull-up hang and handstand against the wall holds for time, Heavy Hands workouts using a pair of 5-lbs. dumbbells and higher-repetition step-ups using a 12-inch step.  

I’ll add these exercises to my training when they come "into season" according to my whim.  I may also add new selections to my menu.

As a middle-age man fitness training warrior trying to achieve age-adjusted upper-percentile cardiovascular-respiratory and strength endurance conditioning, I do best with my intuitive fitness training approach and having a diverse selection of activities and exercises to chose from in my cafeteria-style fitness training menu.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, May 1, 2020

Middle of nowhere

I once listened to a person talking who shared about an older person he once knew. This older person always made mention of the fact that he grew up in the middle of nowhere. Until recently, often when catching myself in a frenzy in the fast-paced rat race in which I frequent, the thought of taking a trip to the middle of nowhere was appealing.

To be, for a short-term sabbatical at least, a nowhere man living in the middle of nowhere. I’ve also been curious about the nowhere man, after listening to the Beatles sing one of their classic songs having that as its title.

Lately, though, with all this shelter in place stuff keeping me more homebound, it’s given me a greater awareness of what life might be like in the middle of nowhere.

Wherever I go, there I am!

Nonetheless, it’s still an attraction, to visit and spend some time in the “real” middle of nowhere.

Would I like it? 

Would I want to relocate and live there permanently?

Would I be able to go back if I didn’t like it?

These are just some of the questions dancing in my mind simultaneously while imagining what this middle of nowhere is like.

Is it at the end of a rainbow?

I remember years ago during a trip to Maui in Hawaii, taking a drive to Hana, a beautiful area of the island.  When we arrived, I remember driving until I approached a dead in.  I got out of my car and took a look at the scenery and remember thinking that where I was and what I was experiencing seemed like I was at the end of the world, similar to what I imagine what is the middle of nowhere.

Yet, current feelings and urges after being chicken cooped up more than I ever have is that perhaps I’d now prefer to be middle of everywhere rather than in the middle of nowhere. 

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum