Tag Archives: Myth

Freaky Friday: Gimme Some Sugar

By Richard

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard — and said — “Don’t give the little dudes that! It’s full of sugar. They’re going to be hyper all night.” Or words to that effect. I can’t say it was exactly those words, but I think you get my drift.

Anyway.

Turns out, I and apparently every other parent in the world, were worrying needlessly. No, really. It’s true. Sugar does not, in fact, make the little dudes or dudettes hyperactive or aggressive. That’s what we call in the profession a myth.

Not only that, but this has been known to be a myth for almost 20 years. And, still, the notion that kids will turn into sugar-fueled dervishes persists long past time when it should have been put away.

In one particularly clever study — among a slew of studies finding sugar’s nil effect on unruliness — kids were given Kool-Aid sweetened with aspartame, a compound that contains no sugar. Researchers told half of the parents the Kool-Aid contained sugar, and told the other half the truth.

The parents who thought their kids were riding a sugar-high reported their children were uncontrollable and overactive. But a sensor on the kids’ wrists, that measured activity level, said the opposite: The kids were actually acting subdued. The study was published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology in 1994.

How’s that for ironic. Turns out the delusions of the parents shall be visited upon the children. It’s just one more example of the Odyssey Effect. That is, before I purchased a Honda Odyssey mini-van, I never saw any on the road. Once I got behind the wheel of one, the silly cars were everywhere. It’s all a matter of what you’re seeing, not so much what’s actually there.

So there you have it. You can relax about the sugar. At least a little. It’s still not the most nutritionally sound thing to let the little dudes eat, but at least you can rest easy knowing the sugar isn’t responsible for their misbehavior.

That’s all on you.

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More Gym Myths

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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Happy Birthday, Dad!

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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