Stay in touch Facebook

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.

What Can You Deduct On Your Tax Return This Year?

on Tuesday, 20 March 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

It’s tax time again, and if you’re like many of us this time of year, you’re adding up figures, gathering up bank statements and maybe searching your documents files for that missing May expense report. While your taxes may be fairly simple, there’s an added complication if you choose to itemize. In fact, one of the most common question tax professionals get is: what can I take off?

The answer (as with many things) is that it depends.

To get started, here’s a rundown of all the things you can potentially itemize. As you can see, the list is pretty extensive. Generally speaking, you’ll want to be looking into itemizing if any of the following situations apply to you:

  • You bought a house in the early part of the year.
  • You had an abnormally high amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses. 
  • You gave a large amount to charity. 

Remember the total from all your expenses, be they mortgage interest, real estate taxes, personal property taxes, work-related costs or others, must add up to more than the standard deduction for your filing status. Otherwise itemizing your deductions isn’t going to help you. 

Also keep in mind that these deductions only apply to the 2017 tax year. The recent legislation passed by congress in December 2017 will bring massive changes to the deductibility of many of these items in future years.

As always, before you file your return, consult a qualified tax professional with any questions.

A Smile a Day Keeps the Frustration Away

on Tuesday, 13 March 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

“People are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

—     Abraham Lincoln

There are many things you can’t control in your daily life. The freeway traffic, the national economy or whether a winter storm delays the receipt of that new printer you’ve been waiting for— the list is pretty extensive.

One thing you can control is how you respond to these challenges. 

Start the day out right. The first events in any given day will often set the tone for the rest of it, so make sure those moments are great. Create a morning routine and fill it with things that boost your confidence, soothe your nerves and put you in a good mood.

Have solutions when pointing out problems. Rather than complaining when things don’t go your way, work on finding a way to fix them. It gives you a sense of order and lets you use your mental energies on a positive solution rather spending them wallowing in negative frustration.

Get rid of ‘If.’ Conditional happiness is often an open doorway to disappointment. So instead of thinking “I’ll be happy ‘If’ I can sign this client”, try to focus on just being happy first. You’ll be surprised how often a positive attitude allows the other things to fall into place.

Talent and hard work are critical ingredients to success, but attitude does matter. In fact it can be the key ingredient. So start the day with a smile and see where it leads you.

How to Make the Most of Your Day

on Tuesday, 06 March 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Time.

There’s never enough of it— not for the 25 million and one things we have to do! And that’s just before lunch on Monday. If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. In survey after survey, nearly half of the respondents say they’re pressed for time. Fortunately there are all sorts of ways to get more done, and in less time than you think.

Write down your to-do list before you leave work. At that point, your mind is still focused on your work and the events of the day are still fresh. Write the list down and take it home with you. It allows you to start the next day more smoothly. You don’t need to worry about what you’re doing or how to go about it, because you’ve already thought it through. Now the focus can be on having a great day.

Take advantage of your natural biorhythms. Do you work best in the morning or late into the evening? Try to plan your day so you face your toughest challenges when you’re at your best.  Also, avoid taking on the whole day in one long march. Periodic breaks will keep you refreshed and let you work that much more efficiently.

Focus on the present. The greatest limit of productivity is distraction. Be aware of the task at hand and the environment around you, and figure out ways to minimize anything that takes you away from the moment.

Time.

It may be the one resource that’s finite, but it doesn’t have to be your mortal enemy. Use these tips to get time back on your side.

Intentional Wellness

on Tuesday, 27 February 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

This time of year, coming down with some illness seems inevitable, doesn’t it? It just seems a matter of time until it finds you. Well, there’s nothing inevitable about it, and staying healthy doesn’t have to be a matter of luck. It’s called ‘Intentional Wellness.’ Here are some ways to practice it:

Get a flu-shot. It may seem obvious, but too many people pass on this first line of defense. A flu shot can significantly reduce your chances of getting sick. It becomes even more critical if you frequently come into contact with young children, the elderly or other vulnerable groups.

Wash your hands. Again, it’s another obvious one, but one that gets overlooked in the rush of the day. Hand washing helps prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria, and is particularly important whenever you eat or touch your nose or mouth, or use the restroom.

Bundle Up. Yes, bulky sweaters and coats may be unfashionable, but so is sitting home in bed with a half-empty box of tissues. Research has shown that warmer body temperatures can prevent the spread of the common cold virus.

Get enough sleep. If you’re tired and groggy, chances are your immune system is too. A few nights of shortened sleep cycles can quickly wear your body down and put a serious damper on your immune system.

Don’t stress out. Prolonged exposure to even low levels of stress can put a strain on your body and, of course, every system in it. Since you can’t always avoid stress, find ways to help combat it like aromatherapy, a brisk workout or meditation.

Good health is a matter of good habits rather than good luck, so practice these habits for a safe and healthy winter.

Increase Your Savings and Decrease Your Debt This Year

on Tuesday, 20 February 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

You hear from ‘financial experts’ all the time about how to save more and spend less, especially this time of year when many of us are about to face a reckoning for all that holiday cheer we bought. Some of the advice may seem silly, but you actually can increase your savings and decrease your debt.

The first step is to analyze where your money is going and why. Make a budget and commit to it. With a budget, you’ll have to choose priorities. While you’re committing to a budget, you’ll also want to establish a savings plan. Savings can quickly evaporate if you’re not dedicated to replenishing and growing them. Figure out how much you can stash away and then stick to your plan.

A great way to save is through your employer. If your company offers matching 401k plans, take advantage of them. It’s hard to beat a plan that doubles your investment.

Remember that everything is negotiable, and that includes the interest rates on any credit cards or loans you might have. See if you can qualify for a lower rate and keep some of that money ‘in-house.’

Try to pay your highest-interest loans off first. As a general rule, if the interest rate is greater than 7 percent, you’ll probably save more in interest than you would by keeping the money and investing it elsewhere.

Just like with a workout plan, the important thing is to keep working at it, even when you don’t see immediate results. With a little time and patience, you can build a strong and healthy financial future.

Set A Hot Date… with your Spouse!

on Tuesday, 13 February 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Dating your spouse? It seems almost strange since you’re already married, but dating is exactly how you became interested in each other in the first place. So this Valentine’s Day, spice things up by setting a hot date with that special someone in your life.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Did you have the time of your life during your honeymoon? Why not try it again. Recreate some of those special moments, even if you don’t leave the house.
     
  • The couple that learns together stays together. Delve into the history of classical composers with an online class at the local college; attend a wallpaper hanging class at the hardware store or spring for a wreath making session. The options are endless.
     
  • You could also try playing a game together. Co-op gaming is all the rage these days, so grab a controller and bring a special friend along. Whether you’re slaying evil monsters, solving cryptic puzzles or building the perfect digital town, you’re certain to find just the right digital getaway.
     
  • For something a little less taxing, try a picnic. Yes, it’s probably cold and snowy outside, so do it indoors… by candlelight… with soft music… well, you get the idea.

Whatever activities you and your spouse find for Valentine’s Day, the important thing is to do something together. Even if it isn’t fancy or other people’s idea of a ‘hot date’, it’s how great memories and great marriages are made.

<<  1 2 [34 5 6 7  >>