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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.

Easter Trivia

on Tuesday, 11 April 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Spring wouldn’t be spring without the pastel colors, spring fever and of course, Easter. After a long cold winter, many people are just as happy to see the Easter Bunny as they would be Santa. With that in mind, here is a small collection of Easter trivia from our Easter basket to yours.

A good egg. Easter eggs go back a long way back— to ancient Egypt in fact, to whom the egg was a symbol of life.

For the birds. The first Easter baskets were designed to look like bird's nests.

Holy cross buns, Batman! The first Easter treats weren’t candy at all, but hot cross buns. They were given to the poor during the month of Lent.

Counting your chicks. Americans buy 700 million Peeps during the Easter season.

Peep, peep! Peeps aren’t hard to figure out. They’re made of 3 simple ingredients: gelatin, corn syrup, and yellow dye #5.

Go Big Red! For many children, red jellybeans are the favorite candy for Easter.

Egg-cellent. In the old days, people were forbidden to consume eggs during Lent. Since chickens weren’t going to stop laying to accommodate the observance, people turned to other methods to preserve them like boiling. And when Easter came at the end of Lent? They had a lot of left-over eggs to eat!

A hunting we will go. According to Guinness world records, the world's largest Easter egg hunt was held in Florida in 2007, where 9,753 children searched for 501,000 eggs.

Happy Easter!

Procrastination and Your Taxes

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

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow.”     —  Mark Twain

Sound familiar? Twain was using the quote to mock some of Benjamin Franklin’s famous sayings, but it can just as easily apply to doing your taxes. Nearly one-third of Americans put off their taxes until the last minute. 

If you’re one of these types of procrastinators, there are a couple of deadlines you should know about. The first one is the most obvious, and that’s April 18th this year. Even if you won’t be able to pay your tax bill in full, you should still file. The IRS assesses two types of penalties, one for failing to pay and another for failing to file. There’s no sense in paying two penalties for one tax bill.

The next type of deadline is the extension deadline. Like the deadline for filing your taxes, the deadline for filing an extension is April 18th. Many taxpayers mistakenly think an extension means extra time to pay their tax bill. It doesn’t. An extension is designed for those who haven’t been able to gather the necessary information to properly file. If you do file an extension, the IRS still expects you to make a good faith estimate of your tax liability and to pay it by the April 18th due date.

Still procrastinating? Filing at the last minute simply increases the likelihood of errors and means you may not be able to take advantage of tax-saving opportunities like traditional IRAs. If you still want to put it off, check out this IRS site about avoiding common errors.

Creative Mayhem for April Fools’ Day

on Tuesday, 28 March 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The electric hand buzzer, the camera that shoots water when you go in for that special ‘close-up’ or convincing your best friend it’s really Sunday when the calendar says Thursday: these are just a few of the tools available to you on the world’s most mischievous day of the year.

If you can’t quite think of the perfect way to flummox a friend, confuse a coworker or prank a pal, here are some suggestions:

Spice up a boring day at the office by planting a garden in a co-workers keyboard or installing an air horn at a door protector for the office restroom.

For a quick and easy April Fools’ prank, just take a cup, write an ominous message on it like: “Do not open unless you plan to kill it!” and leave it upside down on your victim’s desk.

A trick that’s been making the internet rounds is to paint their bar of soap in the bathroom with nail polish. No suds? Wonder why.

There’s no reason to leave the kids out of the act either. Simply open a bag of their favorite snack, replace the contents with a different equally favorite snack and enjoy their confused looks.

For a quick bit of watery fun, take some electrical tape and tie down the trigger on the sprayer on the kitchen sink.

There’s no sense in letting a perfectly good holiday go to waste, so enjoy a little creative mayhem this April Fools’ Day.

How Does Marriage Change Your Tax Return?

on Tuesday, 21 March 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

If the sound of weddings bells are in your immediate future, you probably have a million things on your mind. From picking out the right dress, to choosing the best venue to figuring out how you’re going to pay for it all, you have your hands full. But once you’ve said your ‘I do’s’, there are some other things you’ll want to look at— namely your first joint tax return together.

The first decision to make is whether you’re going to file jointly or separately. Filing single or head of household is no longer an option. For lower-income couples, filing jointly is usually the best option, since with ‘Married Filing Separately’ you are no longer eligible for valuable tax credits such as the Earned Income Credit or the American Opportunity Credit for education expenses. On the other hand, you may want to file separately if your spouse has a business, owes back taxes or child support.

If you decide to file jointly, the process is fairly straightforward. You just combine your assets together and use the ‘Married Filing Jointly’ columns instead of the ‘Single’ column when calculating your tax credits.

Things become a little more complicated when your new spouse makes significantly more than you do. Many of the credits you’re used to getting have income phase-outs built into them, meaning the greater your income, the less credit you get. Under certain circumstances, you might even end up owing for the first time in your life.

Marriage isn’t just about two people becoming one happy couple. Saying your ‘I do’s’ means your incomes, assets and liabilities are also tying the knot.

For more information consult your tax professional, or visit the IRS website for additional tax tips.

National Pi Day

on Tuesday, 14 March 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

While some dream all year of a white Christmas, mathematics aficionados around the country have their own celebration to plan for. It’s National PI Day, observed appropriately enough every year on March 14th.

Pi, if you don’t remember from your geometry class, is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It’s a constant number, meaning that for all circles of any size, Pi will be the same. The first significant digits of the number are 3.14, which makes March 14th (3/14) a perfect day to celebrate it. As an added bonus, it also happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday.

Pi Day was first organized by physicist Larry Shaw in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium. The observance grew from there. Even Google got into the act in 2010 with one of its famous Google Doodles, the Google logo with circles and mathematical equations superimposed over it.

So how do you celebrate Pi Day? You eat pie (or Pi), of course. To kick off the inaugural Pi Day, Shaw and his colleagues marched around the large circular space of the Exploratorium consuming as many fruit pies as they could. 

The town of Princeton, New Jersey, where Einstein lived for over twenty years, also has numerous events like pie-eating and mnemonic recitation contests, not to mention an Einstein look-a-like competition.

If you prefer a more low-key observance, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate, including Pi key chains, t-shirts, hats, buttons and more.

You could even calculate out Pi just for fun. As of this writing, the number has been computed to over a trillion decimal places.

Happy 3.141592653…

Winter Family Sports

on Tuesday, 07 March 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

You may have read about playing sports as a family, you know- the bonding, the togetherness, the getting to learn life lessons together. But that’s for summer right? In the winter, family sports means gathering up the beer and soda, the chips, dip and popcorn along with the spouse and kids and settling down in front of the TV to watch the Super Bowl.

Well, even though it’s cold outside, there are still plenty of ways you and your family can get together for a little competitive exercise.

The first part of the list is obvious. Skiing is a popular winter activity. There’s nothing like hurtling down the slopes at 40 mph to get your heart rate up. And there are plenty of easier hills to be found if you’d like something a little tamer. Snowboarding is another alternative. Since the techniques are surprisingly similar, if you can surf, then you can snow board.

For a variation on the family hike, why not try snow shoeing? It’s as easy to learn as walking, so virtually anyone can do it. Since it doesn’t require any lessons, and you can strap most shoes onto your existing boots, it can be a great way to get a family workout at an affordable price.

No snow? No problem? Check out these 52 ways to play outside in winter without snow.

Just because it’s cold out, doesn’t mean your family can’t get out and get some exercise. There are plenty of creative activities to keep your kids entertained, while making family time more enjoyable.

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