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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.

Spring Exercise Series: Getting Back into the Groove

on Tuesday, 19 March 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

After a winter spent cooped up indoors, you’re probably just itching to get outside and finally get to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. So what’ll it be- cardio, yoga, hitting the weights, all of the above? Here are some ways you can get back in the flow of things if you’ve had a winter lay-off from your workout routine.

Get a physical. You need to get an idea of where you’re starting from, before you can really design an effective workout program.

Set realistic expectations. Do you want to lose some weight? Tone up? Maybe you have an event you’re preparing for. Whatever your goal, set expectations and make sure to keep them realistic.

Ease into it. It may be tempting to go all out when you finally get that first warm day, but take it slow to start. An injury, especially early in the season, can set your workout plans back considerably.

Stretch. The most common injuries from workouts result from placing sudden stress on joints and muscles that weren’t expecting it. Rev them up with a good stretch to make sure they’re ready for what you’re going to throw at them.

Don’t exercise in pain. You may want to just push through it, but learn to recognize the difference between a little stiffness and a genuine injury. There’s no health benefit to be gained by hurting yourself even more.

With these ideas in mind, go out and enjoy the nice spring weather! Next week, we’ll look at some of the equipment you’ll need to make the most of your time.

Green Beer and Blarney Stones

on Tuesday, 12 March 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Ho, lads and lassies! It’s time for that most Irish of holidays, where everybody’s just a little green and leprechauns abound looking for their pot of gold. It sounds better if you say it with an Irish lilt, of course, though you don’t have to be from the Emerald Isle to enjoy this holiday. In fact, some places go a little crazy for Saint Paddy’s Day.

Take Chicago, for example. It’s the city of Big Shoulders, and they aren’t content with just painting the town green for Saint Patrick’s Day. For over four decades, the residents have dyed the river green as well. These days, it’s an eco-friendly dye, but it can still take several days for the color to fade.

Not to be outdone, New York hosts the largest Saint Patrick’s parade with over 150,000 marchers of all stripes. It was long thought to be the oldest parade in the country as well, but recent evidence says that Saint Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the U.S., holds that record, with Saint Paddy’s Day celebrations going back as far as 1600.

The holiday isn’t just for the big cities either. O’Neill, Nebraska has the world’s largest shamrock, a large green clover painted in the middle of the intersection of Route 281 and Highway 20.

And of course, if you really want to go all out for Saint Patrick’s Day, you can always participate in the Bering Sea St. Patrick’s Day Classic, a six-hole course played on the ice using brightly colored orange golf balls.

Whatever you do during the holiday, take a moment to enjoy it and be sure to wear green for a little luck.

Is it Spring Yet?

on Tuesday, 05 March 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…”

~  Sammy Cahn

The song might have sounded nice during the holidays, but now the Christmas lights have been put away and there’s nothing outside except a bleak white winter. Will it ever be spring? The answer, of course, is yes, but it still seems like an eternity. How can you survive until then? Well, here are a few ways:

Color. The thing about winter is that there really isn’t a lot of cheerful color around unless you  have a thing for white and gray. If nature won’t provide, do it yourself! Get a picture, repaint a wall, dress in  bold and gold hues.

Light. We’re all solar powered in a sense, so make sure you’re getting plenty of light. Spend a little extra for some higher-watt bulbs, add a few more lamps- anything to brighten things up.

Smell. This powerful, primordial sense is often overlooked. Add some fragrant lilacs or tropical scents to your work day and see if your mood doesn’t improve.

If all else fails, throw yourself a holiday. Outside of Mardi Gras, the early part of the year doesn’t offer a lot of holidays. Don’t let that stop you. Make your own, complete with your own holiday traditions and paraphernalia. It’s something to make these bleak winds of February a little more bearable.

Believe it or not, Spring is coming. Use these tips to make it through until the thaw.

Will You Be Paying More this Tax Season?

on Tuesday, 26 February 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

“The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.”

—     Albert Einstein

Taxes aren’t the easiest thing in the world to comprehend, even for arguably the twentieth-century’s greatest mind. There’s no doubt your tax forms can be difficult and sometimes frustrating, and the confusion is simply magnified by the changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed into law last December.

While they may wonder what goes on what form or whether they qualify for a particular credit, the question most taxpayers will be asking is pretty simple: Will I have to pay more this year? The answer is… well, it depends. Generally speaking, most taxpayers can expect a smaller tax bill and a larger refund this year, but a lot of it will depend on the particular circumstances.

Those most at risk for having to pay more include homeowners in high-tax states who are used to itemizing their state and local taxes. The new tax law effectively capped this deduction (known as SALT) at $10,000. Another group that will likely see their tax bills increase are sales people and many overnight truckers, who typically report a large amount of unreimbursed business expenses. With the elimination of personal exemptions, those without dependents may also be paying a larger chunk to Uncle Sam.

As always, consult your tax professional if you fall into any of these groups or have questions about how the new tax laws may affect you.

How to Keep From Breaking Your Budget

on Tuesday, 19 February 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

You can find all sorts of advice on the Internet about making a budget. There are great tips like paying off your higher rate loans first to save on interest payments or using a prepaid debit card when you go shopping to avoid overspending. Even with great advice, however, many budgets fail. Here are some ways to keep your budget on track:

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. To give yourself the best chance of sticking to a budget, try taking on one challenge at a time. For example, if you’re already trying to exercise and eat right along with taking on the challenges of a demanding new job, a strict budget may be too much to handle.

Keep it simple. Like most things, the more complicated we make something, the more likely it is to fail. Persistence is the key to maintaining a successful budget, so the more work we have to put into making it work, the more likely we are to give up.

Cut yourself some slack. You can’t expect perfection, so give yourself a little bit of a ‘fudge factor.’ Unexpected expenses may come up, and if you’ve calculated everything to the penny, it will throw everything off and may leave you with the sense that budgeting is simply too hard or not worth the effort.

Keep at it. Putting yourself on a budget can seem like a big change. Like a diet, it’s tough to stick to at first. Make sure to celebrate when you’re able to stay on target, and if you slip up, don’t get discouraged.

Living on a budget is as much about the journey as it is about the destination, and it can set you up with the planning skills and the financial discipline to take on any road you travel. Use these tips to stay on track.

Valentine's Day for Kids

on Tuesday, 12 February 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year. If you need a reminder, just check out the ads filling up your TV and seemingly every corner of your favorite websites. Sure, couples get the lion’s share of the attention during this holiday, but why should the kids be left out of the fun? Valentine’s Day is a day of love, and with that in mind here are a few ways to share that love with the little ones:

Cut out a few colorful hearts with construction paper. Tape them to the bottom of a box. Add some toys and some kid-safe paint and then shake and you have these shaken-not-stirred painted hearts. It’s modern art with a toddler twist! And that’s not all either. Check out these activities for a fun week with the kids before Cupid’s favorite holiday.

Love and science come together with the crystal hearts science experiment, which can be done with a little adult supervision and components from your kitchen.

Eat your heart out with the pizza heart party. And for another twist you can also try these Valentine’s Day pancakes as well.

Valentine’s Day also coincides with National Heart month, so bring learning, healthy living and fun together with these healthy-heart Valentine’s Day activities.

Have a safe and happy St. Valentine’s Day, and be sure to tell everyone (big and small) in your heart how much they mean to you.

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