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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.

Summer Vacation Series: State and National Parks

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

From deserts and plains to mountain and beaches, the USA has it all. It also has a well-developed system of national and state parks that make seeing all that natural diversity cheap and easy. You’ve heard of famous parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon of course, but there are plenty of others that are worth your time, even if some of them are a little off the beaten track.

Lassen Volcanic. With most national parks you might expect beautiful vistas and lush scenery. While California’s Lassen Volcanic has these things in abundance is also has its own charms— namely bubbling mud, pools of boiling water and volcanic vents galore.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon. This park, also located in California, is the alternative to its better-known sister, Sequoia National Park— great for when you want the sequoias without all the crowds. It also has impressive granite water walls, awesome hiking trails and plenty of wildlife.

Crater Lake. Even though it’s the deepest freshwater lake in America, Crater Lake isn’t a lake in the traditional sense. Instead it’s the collapsed caldera of an ancient volcano. In the center of the lake sits Wizard Island. The park boasts spectacular views and some of the most unique scenery in the world.

Dry Tortugas National Park. If you’re in the Florida Keys and want a beach all to yourself, there’s no better place than Dry Tortugas. It’s only accessible by boat, but it has plenty of blue waters and exquisite coral reefs to make it worth the trek.

Mammoth Cave. Not all of nature’s most impressive works are above ground. Living up to its name, Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave has the world’s longest cave system with spectacular natural formations over 200 feet below the surface.

If you want to truly experience the natural diversity America has to offer, national and state parks are a great place to start. Make them part of your travel plans this year and get ready for awesome!

Summer Vacation Series: Active Vacation Options

on Tuesday, 09 July 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Let the summer slip by? Not on your life! No, for you a vacation is the perfect time to take on new challenges and push yourself to the limits. And with ‘active vacations’ becoming more popular, your options are better than ever. Here are just a few ideas.

Kayaking/ Canoeing. Whether you’re leisurely floating down a lazy river enjoying the scenery from an angle you’ve never seen before, or facing off against a roaring torrent of whitewater, kayaking and canoeing can be an addictive and surprisingly affordable pastime.

Horseback riding. Ever wonder how cowboys made do without four wheels and power steering? Find out by grabbing your trusty saddle and hittin’ the dusty trail. Horseback riding weekends and camps are available in many areas and can give you a different perspective on getting from point A to point B.

Surfing. Why let the Beach Boys have all the fun? Surfing is challenging at first, but when you do ‘hang ten’, it’ll be that much sweeter. Surfing camps and classes are available at many beaches with a reputation for good waves, and they’re the perfect way to get some exercise while still enjoying all the amenities a beach vacation has to offer.

Mountain climbing. If you’ve always wanted to try being Lara Croft, then a climbing or rappelling vacation might be just the thing for you. There are plenty of camps and adventure weekends that will teach you the basics before turning you loose on more difficult climbs.

If you have family and friends coming along, it might be good to pick a location that has a variety of things to do. An active vacation isn’t for everyone, but it’s perfect for those who believe relaxing on a cool mountain top or soaking in the summer rays is a lot more fun after you’ve worked up a good sweat.

Happy Independence Day!

on Tuesday, 02 July 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Is that the sound of thunder breaking across the early July sky? Maybe, but there’s also a good chance it’s also the sound of fireworks, which means it’s time for America to celebrate another birthday.

Fireworks have been part of America’s Independence Day celebrations since the beginning. Why you ask?  Well, besides being loud and pretty, they’re also what Revolutionary War celebrity John Adams wanted. The day before he famously signed the Declaration of Independence he wrote to his wife saying that the day should be marked with “guns” and “bonfires” and “illuminations seen across the continent.”

Americans took to fireworks right away, and a year later the first 4th of July celebration was held in Philadelphia with… you guessed it… fireworks!

They were pretty sophisticated, too. While they were a lot smokier and didn’t have quite the variety of designer colors we’ve grown used to, by 1783 a merchant in Boston was able to offer “rockets, serpents, wheels, table rockets, cherry trees, fountains, and sun flowers.”

There was a good reason large cities went to so much trouble to put on a good show. Early Americans were so enthusiastic about their fireworks, that the large shows were designed to keep citizens from putting on their own private shows. Careless displays could and sometimes did result in entire towns going up in flames.

So enjoy those fireworks shows. They’re not only pretty, but patriotic as well. And if you decide to host your own Independence Day show, use proper caution.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July.

A Summer Vacation on the 4th of July?

on Tuesday, 25 June 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Summer doesn’t have a lot of holidays. With great weather, every day is a holiday of sorts. The one big event during the summer is the 4th of July. When you’re planning a vacation, that should be the last weekend in the world you’d pick, right?

Well, yes and no. In the second of our series on summer vacations, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of venturing out on America’s birthday.

The downside is readily apparent. That’s right! Crowds, crowds and more crowds! The 4th of July holiday is going to be jam-packed with people out to celebrate America’s Independence. Hotels will be full to bursting or even booked up. Roads will be congested and afterwards you might feel like you need a vacation from your vacation. There’s also the fact that by traveling on the holiday you’ll miss out on some quiet family moments you could have had at home.

On the plus side, some vacation destinations actually do have special 4th of July rates. More importantly though, the 4th of July is when many places go all out to celebrate and those celebrations only happen during the holiday. It’s a great time to visit some historic sites such as battlefields, national monuments or the nation’s capital. And for some real fun, why not check out Williamsburg, Virginia to see how Independence Day was celebrated in early America?

Ultimately, whether you venture out on the 4th of July is up to you and what kind of vacation you’re looking for. If you prefer a quiet time with friends and family, then kick back, relax and let someone else duel for the last parking spot in the lot. If you want excitement and new experiences, as well as great entertainment that you won’t get any other time during the summer, then the 4th of July is a great time to get out there.

Whatever option you choose, have a great and fun 4th of July.

Summer Vacation Series: Ideas for Singles, Couples and Families

on Tuesday, 18 June 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Rough day at the office? Hectic day at home? We’ve all had them, and it’s in those times that a vacation sure sounds like a good idea. Besides, it’s summer. What better time to get away? In the first of our new series on summer vacations, we’ll take a look at some general tips that will help you make that time away from home go smoothly.

For singles. Traveling alone may not sound like an ideal vacation for many people, but it does have one major advantage. You can take your trip without any need to take someone else’s preferences into account. Want to spend the day browsing exotic boutiques? No problem. Want to get up crazy early to watch the sun rise over majestic mountain peaks? No sweat. It’s a vacation tailor-made just for you.

For couples. For you and that special someone, the best place to go may be a place where neither of you has been before. While revisiting your old ‘stomping grounds’ may be fun and nostalgic, your partner won’t have the same associations and may not be as enthusiastic about helping you relive a memory you had with someone else. Going to new places can build shared memories and more importantly, you’ll be able to fully join your partner in the sense of discovery.

For families. The most important thing to take into account when you’re planning a vacation for the whole family is to pick a place that has something for everyone. What may be thrilling for young children may leave parents exhausted and their older siblings bored. Picking a place that has multiple activities means everybody gets something they want.

There you have it. Use these tips before you start booking and make the most of your summer!

Honor Thy Father

on Tuesday, 11 June 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Pop. Dad. Pappy. There are all sorts of names for dear old Dad. You might even call him ‘Papa’ if that’s your thing.  Whatever name you use, it’s time to give him some props, and what better day to do it than Father’s Day?

Wondering what to do to properly honor thy father? Well here are a few tips.

Take some time to think about who your father actually is. This time of year, the stores are full of stereotypical ‘Dad’ stuff like grill accessories, tools and fishing poles. Don’t be like the other shoppers and just grab the first thing you see. Not every dad fits the ‘Dad’ stereotype. Maybe he prefers a good book or even a romantic comedy.

Let Dad pick the kind of day he wants to have. Sure, some dads love to see the kids and the grandkids and spend the whole day with the family. Others would just prefer a little peace and quiet and a short phone call from the people most important to them.

Share his hobby for a day. Whether he’s perfecting his golf swing, expanding his stamp collection or destroying digital baddies on his game console, chances are Dad has a hobby and would love nothing better than to have someone to share it with. Even if stamp collection isn’t for you, take a little time to step into his world. It’s a chance to build some bonds and who knows? The old man might just have a few useful tips to share.

These suggestions aside, the most important thing is just to be there. Show him you care. He’ll appreciate it, even if he does give you a strange look and wonders why you got him yet another tie clip.

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