Archive for March, 2011
March 30th, 2011 by Richard
Let’s get right into it, dudes. We’re talking about myths from the gym. And, no, we’re not talking about the myth that gym mirrors add 10 pounds to whatever you’re looking at. That’s just you.
Myth No. 3: You need a gym to work out. This just isn’t true. Sure, a gym has loads of equipment that you can use to get a good workout (that is what a gym is for, after all), but you don’t have to go to a gym. There’s tons of stuff you can do to get into shape and never have to actually go inside a gym. Hit the bricks and run or jog. Walk your dog. Do isometric exercises at home. Push ups. Sit ups. Jump rope. Ride a bicycle.
Heck, if you’re feeling inventive, just grab your middle-schooler’s backpack and start doing curls. That thing probably weighs at least 40 pounds and makes for some good lifting. But that’s another story all together. No excuses.
Myth No. 4: Flexibility is for other people. I don’t care if you’ve never been able to touch your toes in your life, you can still get flexible. All you need to do is start small. Sure there’s a genetic component to flexibility, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get better at it. I mean, that’s the whole point of working out: improving on what we get by nature.
I don’t think you want me to start laying out your flexibility workouts, but there are plenty of people available to help you with that. If you’re a member of a gym (and you should be), just talk to one of the people there. They’re glad to help. Or, barring a gym membership, just start googling flexibility workouts on the internet. Start small, get longer.
Myth No. 5: Cardiovascular exercise burns the most fat. I know this is a bit counter-intuitive, but it’s just not true.
When you do cardio exercises (like working the elliptical machines, running, that sort of thing), you are burning fat during the actual exercise. Resistance exercises (which usually involve sport cords or elastic bands) actually burn more calories overall. And that’s because those exercises are aimed toward strengthening the muscles. When your muscles grow stronger and more dense, they begin burning calories for up to 48 hours after the exercise is over. This sort of thing is known as excess post-exercise oxygen combustion, or afterburn.
Resistance training also raises your base metabolic rate, which means you’ll burn more calories just sitting still because your body is now having to feed the calorie-hungry muscles.
Regardless of any myths you might be believing in or not believing in, one thing remains true. You need to work out. So make the time and get in the work. A healthy dude is a happy dude.
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Tags: A Dude's Guide to Health
, Burn Calories
, Cardio Exercises
, Cardiovascular Exercise
, Elastic Bands
, Elliptical Machines
, Genetic Component
, Gym Membership
, Isometric Exercises
, Metabolic Rate
, Middle Schooler
, Push Ups
, Push Ups Sit Ups
, Resistance Exercises
March 30th, 2011 by Richard
Today (well, today as I write this, but yesterday as you read this) is a rather huge day. Richard E. Jones turns 70 on this day. Wait, you’re saying, but you don’t look a day over 30. (Since I’m guessing what you’re saying, I’m also guessing you think I’m devilishly handsome and very young looking.) That’s true. But, the deal is, my name isn’t original.
I’m the fourth in a line of Richard E. Joneses. It’s my dad, known to most folks as Dickey, who’s reached the big 7-0. Really, I can’t believe it. The man is amazing.
He’s still working, still traveling, still using his “vast storehouse of general knowledge” (and his vast storehouse of specific experience and expertise) to educate others from Florida to Texas to California and country after country over the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. When I was growing up, 70 was old, one foot in the grave and one foot on a bag’s worth of loose marbles. Every year, every day, my dad helps to put the lie to that myth.
He’s a lucky man, really. He’s got a wife who loves him, children who not only still call him on their own initiative, but actually look forward to talking to him, friends and colleagues who like and respect him, a job he loves, and a place he loves even more. I feel like a public relations shill here, saying something he paid me to say, but it’s all true. The man is smart as all get out, the only person I know who can beat me at general-knowledge trivia (though I’m waiting for dementia to really kick in and then I’m going to challenge him to a game of Trivial Pursuit), and more kind and generous than we deserve.
Basically he’s who I want to be when I grow up.
I’ve already patterned a lot of my life after him, whether he or I knew it or not. Despite the fact that he was a busy doctor building up his practice and reputation, my dad was either at most of my sports games or coaching me at those same sports. I think we know where I stand on the subject of coaching the young dudes. He always made sure that he did what was right, no matter if someone was watching. He not only encouraged me to hold contrary opinions to his, but he helped me sharpen my debating skills while learning to defend my point of view.
Arguing as a family sport. Who knew?
Not to say that he was a perfect dad when I was growing up. Oh, no. I can’t tell you the number of stories I’ve got locked inside my brain, emotional scars too horrible to bring to the light of day, from him letting his freak flag fly when I was a young dude. (What can I say? He was a hippie and proud of it.)
I’ll not go into it now, but, oh, when he’s enfeebled and brain-ially infirm, oh, the stories I’m going to tell.
But that day’s not here now. Or yet. Right now, he’s still a smiling, vibrant patriarch, who loves nothing more than a good sunset, a good meal of Thai food, a good bottle of wine, some good conversation and a nice episode of Jeopardy. Well, what did you expect? He is 70, after all.
Happy birthday, Dad!
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Tags: A Dude's Guide to Life
, Bottle Of Wine
, E Jones
, Freak Flag
, General Knowledge
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, growing up
, Happy Birthday
, Happy Birthday Dad
, Lucky Man
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, Pacific Oceans
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, Trivial Pursuit
, Young Dudes
March 29th, 2011 by Richard
Losing weight isn’t all that hard. Really. At its most basic, losing weight amounts to nothing more than eating less and exercising more. Seriously.
Unfortunately, that sort of advice tends to not go in one ear and out the other, but near one ear, round the back of the head and then off into the aether. Basically ignored is what I’m saying.
So, when sensible advice goes flying out the window, a lot of strange thoughts can filter in and take its place. No, I won’t be taking the time here to bash trendy diet and exercise plans. That’s too easy. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Sardines, maybe. In a very small barrel. With an anti-tank gun. Far too easy.
Instead, I’d like to talk about some basic gym myths. You know, stuff that everybody knows to be true. And, of course, if everybody knows something is true, it’s more likely to be false. If that isn’t confusing enough, dudes, then please, read on.
Myth No. 1: If you’re not hurting, you’re not working hard enough. This myth should be self-evidently wrong, but, for some reason, it’s got a rather enduring shelf life in the mental maps of most people’s workout plans. I think it mostly comes from people who have started back exercising after a bit of a layoff.
When you start back exercising, your muscles are — naturally — going to be out of shape. Unless, of course, that shape is round, but that’s beside the point. Once we start exercising again, you’re going to get sore. That’s just a fact. The problem comes when people begin to associate being sore with having worked out. Once you’ve started getting your muscles used to being, well, used again, you should be able to move beyond soreness.
Pushing yourself to work until you’re sore does not ensure a good workout. The best way to check to make sure your workout actually helps is to wear a heart monitor. Using a heart monitor can help you to keep your heart rate somewhere between 60 and 85 percent of your maximum recommended heart rate. Keeping your heart rate in this range will allow your body to gradually improve and that’s your goal, after all.
As my physician father always says, “Pain is your body’s way of telling you to stop doing what you’re doing.”
Myth No. 2: Working with weights will turn you into a bodybuilder. This really isn’t true. If it were, I’d look a lot more intimidating than I do now, rather than looking like the only intimidation I do is when I stroll past a buffet and people start clutching their plates in fear I’ll steal them.
Weight training is necessary if you want to get back into shape. Using your muscles well, as you do in resistance or weight training, will make them stronger and that allows you to metabolize your food more efficiently. Try using weights in a more-reps, lower-weight cycle and you’ll find you’re getting toned, rather than bulking up.
Speaking of bulking up, don’t want to do that with this post, so I’ll have more tomorrow.
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Tags: A Dude's Guide to Health
, Diet And Exercise Plans
, Exercise Plan
, Heart Monitor
, Heart Rate
, Keeping Your Heart
, Losing Weight
, Mental Maps
, Sensible Advice
, Shelf Life
, Shooting Fish In A Barrel
, Strange Thoughts
, Taking The Time
, Tank Gun