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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.

Gardens for Your Budget

on Tuesday, 16 April 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Have you ever leafed through one of those gardening magazines, or seen an online spread about the great gardens of the world? They’d be nice to have, sure, but who could afford them?

Well, there are plenty of ways you can make a beautiful garden at a surprisingly affordable price. The most important aspect of planning a garden is to look at what you have to work with. Do you have good soil? Is it rocky? Hilly? Are there any natural features that you take advantage of? Every potential garden has challenges, and the less reshaping of the landscape you have to do, the less work you have to put in (and the less money you’ll spend).

The next thing to decide is what you want to accomplish with your garden. Do you want an herb garden so you can zip outside to snip some basil for your spaghetti sauce? Maybe you want a more traditional garden with rows of corn gently swaying in the summer sun. Your intent will dictate how you use your space and the budget required to make it happen.

Don’t assume you have to use expensive materials either. Many of the most beautiful gardens make use of recycled materials or even junk. It’s perfectly possible to incorporate a used tire or cracked cinder blocks into your design at virtually no cost.

It turns out, gardening is a fun and surprisingly cheap way of enjoying the outdoors. All you need is a little creativity and a willingness to get some dirt underneath your fingernails.

Happy Spring!

Spring Exercise Series: Taking Care of Yourself

on Tuesday, 09 April 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Exercise is great, and so is eating right. Many of us think a healthy lifestyle stops there, but our health is a more complex thing than we often realize. Taking care of the little things can make a big difference.

One of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle is getting enough sleep. When we’re under the gun, a good night’s sleep is one of the first things to go. Sleep is the body’s way of renewing itself, and lack of it can leave you groggy, confused and irritable. It can sap your energy, both mental and physical and undo much of the good work you’re doing in your exercise program.

Another aspect of our lives that often gets overlooked is our emotional health. We generally exercise to feel better, and thus increase our overall happiness. However if our emotional health is out of balance, then happiness is still elusive. Take the time to examine whether the inner you is doing as well as the outer you. Good physical health is often the key to improving many other aspects of our lives, but it is not enough by itself.

Keep these two important aspects in mind as you begin your spring training regimen. If you’re the fittest person on the planet and are still miserable, then you haven’t accomplished one of the key aspects of an exercise program, which is a healthier—and happier— you!

Spring Exercise Series: Nutrition & Hydration

on Tuesday, 02 April 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

In our first two articles in this series we talked about how to get the most out of your body, so now it’s time to talk about what you put into it. Your body is a finely tuned machine, and if you’re going to get the best performance, you’ll need the best fuel.

Hydration. You’re working out and sweating, so it’s no secret you’ll need plenty of fluids. Not all fluids are created equal, however. You’ll want to avoid drinks that contain caffeine, as these can actually make you even thirstier. As you sweat, you not only lose water, but valuable electrolytes. Sports drinks that can replace these minerals are ideal, but if you don’t have one handy, there’s nothing better than good old-fashioned water.

Nutrition. While you don’t want to be starving before you take your first step, avoid eating immediately before an intense workout. During exercise more blood is directed to your muscles, leaving less for digestion. Afterwards, your body is ready to refuel and rebuild muscle mass, making it the perfect time for a snack. What to eat before and after a workout can be confusing and will vary depending on both you and what type of workout you’re attempting. For a more complete review, check out this medically approved guide from Everyday Health.

The warm weather is finally here, so it’s the perfect time to get back into shape. So get out there and get moving and make sure you take care of yourself along the way.

Spring Exercise Series: What You’ll Need to Get Started

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

Last week, we talked about the best ways to get your workout groove back. To be your best, you’ll need the proper equipment. Here are some things to consider.

Buy new shoes. Since your feet are guaranteed to touch the ground at some point during your workout, your shoes are possibly the most important piece of exercise equipment you have. If there’s one area to splurge on, it’s this. Get good shoes that are designed for the job. Your feet, your back and every other part of your body will thank you.

Update your wardrobe. Spring is a new season, and what better way to start a new you than with a new look. Clean out those dingy cotton t-shirts and replace them with some colorful and breathable modern fabrics. It’s not just about fashion either, as many types of support equipment, such as sports bras, only have a usable life of about six months or so.

Don’t forget your skin. It’s only spring, so you’re not thinking about sunburn just yet. But you should be. Since the leaves haven’t come out yet, shade can be hard to come by. That means your skin is at more risk than you think. Use a waterproof lotion of at least 15 SPF on all the exposed areas of your body.

In the next part of our series, we’ll be delving into the proper nutrition you’ll need to stay at the top of your game. But in the meantime, it’s finally Spring. Get out there and enjoy it!

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.

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