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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.

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.

Red, White and Blue It Up For Memorial Day

on Tuesday, 23 May 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, is traditionally the last Monday in May. For many Americans it’s also the first official day of summer. What better way to kick off a great season than with an all-American red, white and blue spread? 

Appetizers:

Red, White and Blue Corn Chip Bites. While you’re getting the grill good and hot, keep the party rolling with these tasty treats.

Main Dishes:

Red, White and Blue Burgers.  Red peppers and white onions make this burger stand out, while the blue cheese completes the ensemble.

Red, White and Blue(berry) Chicken.  If a burger just isn’t in the cards for you, then why not chicken? While the colors don’t run, they may stain, says the recipe, so enjoy this dish outdoors.

Sides:

Red, White and Blue Deviled Eggs.  Everyone likes deviled eggs, so make them with patriotic pizzazz.

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad.  Who says potato salad has to be bland looking. Red and blue potatoes give this dish its all-American credentials.

Salads:

Red, White and Blue Fruit Salad.  For a lighter fare, try this simple salad with watermelon and blueberries for color and flair.

Desert:

Summer Crostini.  Sure you could bake a cake, but you want to enjoy the summer. These easy-to-make treats will let you do just that.

Drinks:

Patriotic Drinks.  While you may have plenty of cold ones on hand, don’t forget the kids. This colorful and kid-friendly concoction is perfect for any star-spangled occasion

It’s great food with a little slice of patriotism. What could be better this Memorial Day?

Family Game Night

on Tuesday, 16 May 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Has that humdrum day got you down? Wanna spice up your life? Well, why not bring the Monopoly Man home with you for hours of real-estate mogul inspired adventures? And if the Monopoly Man isn’t your style, there’s Pac-man, the lovable Donkey Kong, competitive Scrabble, lawn bowling and more.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”  ~ George Bernard Shaw

A family game night can have other benefits too. If you include the kids, games can give them valuable practice at problem solving. Many games build specific skills that can be useful to them throughout their life such as math, spelling, and vocabulary.

Research from Carnegie Mellon shows that even a small amount of practice playing games can lead to better results in the classroom. And who says the kids can’t teach Mom and Dad a thing or two?

There are advantages for adults as well. Playing games can improve your relationships and help foster empathy for others, key skills in just about any profession. Games can even help create an improved state of mind. Developing a playful nature can help you deal with stressful situations and make new friends.

Whatever your guilty or not-so-guilty pleasure, a family game night may be just what you need to break out of the mold and shake things up a bit. You can include the kids or not, but the idea is to have fun, and more importantly, share the fun with others.

The Pros and Cons of a Gluten-Free Diet

on Tuesday, 09 May 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Food is trendy, and not just because we’ve been dealing with it in some form or another since we were born. No, by trendy we mean that like fashion, some foods are in style and some are ‘oh so last year.’ One of these new trends is gluten-free eating. If you’ve decided that it’s time to kick gluten out of your life, either because of health problems like Celiac disease, or just for your overall health, here are some things to consider:

If you’re going to simply substitute out cakes, cookies and breads for their gluten-free alternatives, then eating gluten free is not necessarily healthier.  Many of these processed foods actually contain higher amounts of fats and sugars. They’re also more expensive than their glutinous cousins. 

Gluten is insidious. It’s not just in breads and pastries; it can also show up in condiments like ketchup and soy sauce as well as many snacks. A gluten-free diet will force you to read nutrition labels much more carefully, but in the process you’ll become much more aware about the foods you eat.

Eating out can be problematic. Fortunately, since ‘gluten-free’ is now trendy in many places, the amount of choices you have has increased considerably. You’re still better off keeping it simple and sticking to meat, vegetables and basic starches like rice.

The true health benefits of a gluten-free diet come from eliminating processed foods, not substituting them.  It’s a back-to-nature sort of diet that can pay long term dividends for your health.

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