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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.

Some Explosive Fireworks Facts

on Tuesday, 04 July 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

July 4th is here, and it’s time to help Uncle Sam celebrate another birthday. And what better way to celebrate than with fireworks? Where did these little nighttime wonders come from? Read on to find out some fun facts about this Independence Day staple.

What’s for Dinner?One legend has it that fireworks were accidentally discovered 2,000 years ago by a Chinese cook who mixed charcoal, sulfur and saltpeter together. These were apparently common kitchen ingredients back then.

No Cure for the Firework Blues.Today’s fireworks come in all sorts of colors - except blue that is. Even after thousands of years, there still isn’t a proven chemical combination to make bright blue fireworks.

Better Living through Chemistry.Different colors of fireworks are created with different combinations of metallic powders. Calcium, for example, produces the color orange, while sodium makes yellow, and barium makes green.

The Happiest Place on Earth.If you love fireworks, Walt Disney World may be just that. No other company in the world consumes as many fireworks as the House of Mouse.

Quiet, Please.Not everyone loves fireworks. The Society for the Suppression of Unnecessary Noise campaigned against the use of fireworks and helped create the first fireworks laws in the United States.

The Fabric of Our Lives.That’s one of the slogans for the cotton industry, and it’s doubly true for those who make fireworks. Synthetic clothing like polyester can create sparks from static that could detonate fireworks.

Have a happy 4th of July, and if your celebration does include fireworks, take the appropriate steps to keep it a safe one!

Kids and Summer Freedom

on Tuesday, 27 June 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

As summer gets underway, the question many people have on their minds is which characters will survive the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. For those who have children, some other equally important questions pop up: what will the kids do this summer, and how much freedom should I give them?

Summer is a great time for your kids to learn new skills, make new friends and have experiences they wouldn’t normally get during the school year. The summer schedule is full of opportunities for them to go to camp, hone their basketball or clarinet skills, or learn how to swim. The good part about these camps and classes is that the kids will be supervised and have a structure to their days. 

Not every day needs to be planned, however.  It’s important to give them some down time to learn and grow on their own. You’ll still want to set some guidelines such as curfew times and keeping you informed of their whereabouts. It can be a fine balancing act.

The best of both worlds is to involve your kids. Talk to them and find out what they want to do.  Let them plan some of their activities and adventures. It gives you a chance to be more involved in their lives and helps them take some responsibility for what they do. 

You and your kids have a whole glorious summer in front of you, and with a little planning everyone can make the most of it. For some other ideas about how to spend the summer, check out this link from Care.com.

Date Night

on Tuesday, 20 June 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

There is this person in your life. You tell them ‘hi’ and ‘bye.’ You catch a fleeting glimpse of them coming as you’re going. You send them romantic texts like: “Can you pick up some milk on your way home.”

The problem is that person is your boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse or lover. In other words, they’re the sweetie you never see anymore. If intimacy got lost somewhere in the shuffle of business meetings, schedule conflicts, kids, and office politics, it might be time for a date night.

Date night can be as elaborate as you want to make it. Three dozen roses and dinner at a fancy restaurant followed by an evening of dancing is a perfectly acceptable date night if you both like that sort of thing. But it can also be as simple as you want. It can be anything from a stroll in the park to breaking out some old board games and whiling away the evening in the living room playing Jenga or Monopoly.

For some ideas on a great date night, check out this link from Stylecaster.com.

The real importance of date night comes from taking some of your precious time and intentionally spending it with the person you love best. It says to your partner that you are working to create a special space for one another. Sometimes the smallest gestures have the greatest meaning.

So take some time to do more than just text a hello between office meetings. Like your business, relationships are work, and the more you put into it, the more it will give back to you.

Online Coupons and Rebate Resources

on Tuesday, 13 June 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The only thing better than a great __________ is a great __________ at a cheap price, or preferably at no cost at all. Feel free to fill in the blank with your trip, gizmo, tool or event of choice.  But how do you get to have your cake and eat it too, at a discount?

As with anything these days, the information is at your fingertips. You just have to know where to look.  Here are some resources to get you started:

GroupOn.  Whether it’s discount hotel fares or tickets to events in a distant city, this site has it covered.  You can easily set up alerts to let you know when there’s an upcoming special.

Ebates.com. This is a general coupon site for the budget conscious. You simply type in the name of the store or the type of item you’re looking for and it will pull up any available sales discounts. Many retails businesses have special ‘cash back’ deals with Ebates so when you shop through an Ebates link you might actually get a check in the mail.

Coupons.com. This site has a wide variety of manufacturer’s coupons you can print off for all sorts of brand name products. It’s organized by category rather than by brand name.

Don’t confine your bargain hunting to just these three sites. There are plenty more. If you’re interested in a particular brand, check out their Facebook page, where you’ll often find daily coupons. Many major retail chains also offer online discounts for shoppers on their sites. 

You may not actually read it for the articles anymore, but that doesn’t mean the local paper is useless. The Sunday edition will often include inserts with a whole host of coupons, many of which you can actually use.

With these sites, there’s no need to pay full price for your cake (or any other item you crave) again.

The Art of Listening

on Tuesday, 06 June 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

“Did you even hear me?” your exasperated friend says to you.

“Sure,” you say, inwardly hoping they don’t ask you for feedback.

The truth is you heard every word that came out of their mouth, but you didn’t listen to any of it.

Listening is more than just your ears taking in the sounds someone makes to you. It is absorbing the full meaning of what someone else is saying. The best listeners also take in clues from the speaker’s body language and the context in which it’s being delivered.

Listening is not as easy as it sounds. The first step in being a good listener is avoiding some bad habits. These include:

  • Thinking of what you’re going to say next
  • Evaluating what’s being said from only your perspective
  • Talking over the speaker

Like any skill, listening takes work. Here are a few tips to help get you started:

  • Treat it like a test. With any luck the speaker won’t present you with a multiple choice exam after they’re done talking, but pretend they will.
  • Summarize. This technique is also known as the “so what you’re saying is…” trick. If you’ve truly listened you should be able to quickly sum up what they’ve said. It can also provide clarity and gives you a little more time if you don’t know how to respond.

Better listening skills can be a great help in business communication as well as your personal relationships. So practice listening and save your friends some exasperation.

Surviving a Tax Audit

on Tuesday, 30 May 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The image of IRS agents gobbling up your hard-earned assets and selling them at auction may have flashed through your mind when you received that sweet love letter from Uncle Sam, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

The first thing to understand is the letter itself. Read it carefully and pay particular attention to what’s being audited and for which tax year. Another thing to watch is the return instructions.  Unless they state differently, any correspondence should go to the office it came from, not to a general IRS address. 

Make sure you have your records as organized and as detailed as possible. Precise, accurate records can be your best defense against an audit.

Don’t answer any question unless asked, and don’t volunteer any additional information. Also, don’t provide any additional records unless they pertain specifically to the audit.

Don’t ignore the notice. When you hear about IRS agents seizing assets or placing a lien against a tax payer, it’s usually because the taxpayer has already ignored the notices for an extended period of time.

Whenever you provide documents to the IRS, make sure they are copies, not the originals. The IRS has a habit of losing things. 

Most importantly, if you don’t feel comfortable dealing directly with the auditor, consult a tax professional as quickly as possible. They can often ensure a better outcome to the audit.

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