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Doctor Lee's Blog

Musings from The Doctor of Fitness: Fitness Trainer, Nutrition Expert, & Sports Medicine Physician

The purpose of this blog is to write informally for anyone who is interested in fitness, strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, sports medicine, and breaking fitness and nutrition news. If you'd like to reach me directly, you can contact me here. Feel free to take a look at my professional bio and my not-so-professional bio.

Memorial Day: Solemn or Party Time?

on Tuesday, 21 May 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

It’s nearly Memorial Day, and if you’re like many Americans you’ve already got plans for that precious three-day weekend. You’re not sure of the exact details, but you know it will involve some quality grilling, cold drinks and a lot of relaxing.

You also know that Memorial Day is really a time to honor those who gave their lives to make all that fun and relaxation possible. Should you feel guilty about using Memorial Day to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures?

Not at all. In fact, it’s part of the holiday’s history.

Memorial Day was created in the aftermath of the Civil War as a way to honor the fallen. It didn’t take long for it to turn into a party, however. By the late 1800’s, it was already a time to celebrate the spring by going out for a picnic, attending a sporting event or even visiting Coney Island. In 1972, Time Magazine remarked that the holiday had become “a three-day nationwide hootenanny that seems to have lost much of its original purpose.”

There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun though. Even back then, the New York Times noted that Memorial Day’s real function “to stimulate patriotism,” did not necessarily mean there couldn’t be “patriotic joy” as well.

So, yes you can have your cake and eat it too. You can enjoy your holiday outing guilt-free as many Americans have since the beginning, but while you’re at it, do take a moment to reflect on the original meaning of the day and those who made it possible.

6 New Ways to Eat Veggies

on Tuesday, 14 May 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

You’ve seen veggies before. At some point you were three or four years old, eyeing them suspiciously on your dinner plate and wondering if Mom and Dad were trying to pull a fast one. Of course, we know they’re good for us, but that doesn’t mean we have to like them, right?

Not so fast! Give veggies a second chance with these exciting new ways to serve them.

Veggie noodles. This is a great way to replace high-carb foods such as pasta with a healthier alternative.

Veggie-based soups. Not every soup needs to be stuffed with meat and potatoes. Even a small addition such as diced broccoli can add crucial fiber, vitamins and minerals to your diet.

Cauliflower. This pale cousin to broccoli is extremely versatile. You can use it to make a great substitute for mashed potatoes or even a pizza crust.

Lettuce wraps.Wraps have become extremely popular as many people are looking for ways to reduce carbs. Why stop there! Just swap out that tortilla or flatbread for a sturdy lettuce leaf and enjoy.

Meatloaf. Well sort of. You don’t have to go all out here for true veggie-loaf, but since meatloaf is a blended dish anyway, why not throw in some veggies? Puree them properly and your veggie-hating family will never know.

Spinach. It’s not just for Popeye the sailor man. Adding some uncooked spinach can not only stretch your meal, but it adds an elegant ‘restaurant’ touch as well.

Yes, veggies can not only be good for you, but downright good. Try veggies in these new ways and watch those suspicious looks disappear at dinnertime.

Honoring Mom on Mother’s Day

on Tuesday, 07 May 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

As you might have noticed from all the store displays, flower arrangements and dinner reservations, it’s almost Mother’s Day. And while the day is a boon for the greetings card and restaurant businesses, it’s also a chance to honor that special person— the one that brought you into this world.

That’s right… the one… the only… Mom!

So what should you do for Mom? The perfect Mother’s Day is as individual as she is. Some moms like to be treated like the queens of the world that they are for their special day. Others would like nothing better than to disappear out in a garden for some well-earned peace and quiet. Take the time to consider who Mom actually is and what she likes. Not all moms like to be dragged off to a crowded restaurant, or want yet another bouquet of flowers they’ll have to figure out where to place.

Rather than racking your brains, your best bet is to ask her. Let mom pick the type of day she wants to have. That being said, there are a few things that virtually any mother will like.

  • Give Mom the day off.
  • Say ‘thank you’ for all she does.
  • Spend time together (but don’t be afraid to let Mom do her own thing too).

Above all, show her you care. And better yet, make everyday a ‘Mother’s Day’ by showing appreciation for all she does the other 364 days of the year.

Tax Planning for Next Year

on Tuesday, 30 April 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

It’s finally done, and your tax return is off to Uncle Sam. It’s time to put your feet up and celebrate a job well done. At this point, the last thing you probably want to think about is next year’s taxes, but a little planning now could save you headaches (not to mention dollars) down the road.

If you’re working for someone else, it’s still early enough in the year to adjust your withholdings. By increasing or decreasing the amount of tax deducted from each paycheck, you can take direct control over the size of your refund.

One of the advantages of putting money into a traditional IRA is that you can make contributions all the way up until tax time to reduce your taxable income. But why wait? Invest that money now and let it go to work on your retirement funding right away.

If you’re a small business owner, you probably already know you can deduct most of your expenses. And if you’re anticipating a big year, it might be a great time to make some investments in your company. You’ll be glad you did when tax times rolls around again.

Before you sell any major assets such as your home or a rental property you own, check the tax laws to see if you’ll have to pay on the gain. Tax time is stressful enough without any nasty surprises.

Don’t forget the state return as well, particularly if you’ve just moved into that state. Many taxpayers miss out on important credits available to them at the state level.

As always, take the time to consult with your accountant or tax professional to see how each of these strategies might work for you.

School Vacation on a Budget

on Tuesday, 23 April 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Spring break is rolling around, and those pictures of the beaches in Cancun sure do look enticing. The only problem is that you don’t have the executive budget to make it happen. Ah, well… maybe next year. In the meanwhile, you’ve got perfectly good vacation time to use. Here are some ways to make it a unique and fun experience that doesn’t break the bank.

Check out your home town. Sure, you’ve seen it every day, but have you really seen it? Go exploring and look at it with new eyes. How many things have you passed without ever noticing them? You’d be surprised at all the forgotten corners you may have missed.

Go camping. Yes, there’s a chance it might be chilly out, but so what? Pack the appropriate gear and go for it. You’ll get a chance to see nature the way you normally don’t, and if all else fails you’ll have a great story to tell.

Head North. Spring break is when everyone heads south. Break the trend and head in the opposite direction. Many northern areas offer steep discounts during the off-season, and you’ll get to see the sights without the crowds.

 It might be tempting to follow the trends when it comes to spring vacation, but a little out-of-the-box thinking can lead you to a unique experience that you just can’t duplicate at a cookie-cutter resort. And if it lets you keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket, so much the better.

Gardens for Your Budget

on Tuesday, 16 April 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Have you ever leafed through one of those gardening magazines, or seen an online spread about the great gardens of the world? They’d be nice to have, sure, but who could afford them?

Well, there are plenty of ways you can make a beautiful garden at a surprisingly affordable price. The most important aspect of planning a garden is to look at what you have to work with. Do you have good soil? Is it rocky? Hilly? Are there any natural features that you take advantage of? Every potential garden has challenges, and the less reshaping of the landscape you have to do, the less work you have to put in (and the less money you’ll spend).

The next thing to decide is what you want to accomplish with your garden. Do you want an herb garden so you can zip outside to snip some basil for your spaghetti sauce? Maybe you want a more traditional garden with rows of corn gently swaying in the summer sun. Your intent will dictate how you use your space and the budget required to make it happen.

Don’t assume you have to use expensive materials either. Many of the most beautiful gardens make use of recycled materials or even junk. It’s perfectly possible to incorporate a used tire or cracked cinder blocks into your design at virtually no cost.

It turns out, gardening is a fun and surprisingly cheap way of enjoying the outdoors. All you need is a little creativity and a willingness to get some dirt underneath your fingernails.

Happy Spring!

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