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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.

Is it Spring Yet?

on Tuesday, 05 March 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…”

~  Sammy Cahn

The song might have sounded nice during the holidays, but now the Christmas lights have been put away and there’s nothing outside except a bleak white winter. Will it ever be spring? The answer, of course, is yes, but it still seems like an eternity. How can you survive until then? Well, here are a few ways:

Color. The thing about winter is that there really isn’t a lot of cheerful color around unless you  have a thing for white and gray. If nature won’t provide, do it yourself! Get a picture, repaint a wall, dress in  bold and gold hues.

Light. We’re all solar powered in a sense, so make sure you’re getting plenty of light. Spend a little extra for some higher-watt bulbs, add a few more lamps- anything to brighten things up.

Smell. This powerful, primordial sense is often overlooked. Add some fragrant lilacs or tropical scents to your work day and see if your mood doesn’t improve.

If all else fails, throw yourself a holiday. Outside of Mardi Gras, the early part of the year doesn’t offer a lot of holidays. Don’t let that stop you. Make your own, complete with your own holiday traditions and paraphernalia. It’s something to make these bleak winds of February a little more bearable.

Believe it or not, Spring is coming. Use these tips to make it through until the thaw.

Will You Be Paying More this Tax Season?

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

“The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.”

—     Albert Einstein

Taxes aren’t the easiest thing in the world to comprehend, even for arguably the twentieth-century’s greatest mind. There’s no doubt your tax forms can be difficult and sometimes frustrating, and the confusion is simply magnified by the changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed into law last December.

While they may wonder what goes on what form or whether they qualify for a particular credit, the question most taxpayers will be asking is pretty simple: Will I have to pay more this year? The answer is… well, it depends. Generally speaking, most taxpayers can expect a smaller tax bill and a larger refund this year, but a lot of it will depend on the particular circumstances.

Those most at risk for having to pay more include homeowners in high-tax states who are used to itemizing their state and local taxes. The new tax law effectively capped this deduction (known as SALT) at $10,000. Another group that will likely see their tax bills increase are sales people and many overnight truckers, who typically report a large amount of unreimbursed business expenses. With the elimination of personal exemptions, those without dependents may also be paying a larger chunk to Uncle Sam.

As always, consult your tax professional if you fall into any of these groups or have questions about how the new tax laws may affect you.

How to Keep From Breaking Your Budget

on Tuesday, 19 February 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

You can find all sorts of advice on the Internet about making a budget. There are great tips like paying off your higher rate loans first to save on interest payments or using a prepaid debit card when you go shopping to avoid overspending. Even with great advice, however, many budgets fail. Here are some ways to keep your budget on track:

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. To give yourself the best chance of sticking to a budget, try taking on one challenge at a time. For example, if you’re already trying to exercise and eat right along with taking on the challenges of a demanding new job, a strict budget may be too much to handle.

Keep it simple. Like most things, the more complicated we make something, the more likely it is to fail. Persistence is the key to maintaining a successful budget, so the more work we have to put into making it work, the more likely we are to give up.

Cut yourself some slack. You can’t expect perfection, so give yourself a little bit of a ‘fudge factor.’ Unexpected expenses may come up, and if you’ve calculated everything to the penny, it will throw everything off and may leave you with the sense that budgeting is simply too hard or not worth the effort.

Keep at it. Putting yourself on a budget can seem like a big change. Like a diet, it’s tough to stick to at first. Make sure to celebrate when you’re able to stay on target, and if you slip up, don’t get discouraged.

Living on a budget is as much about the journey as it is about the destination, and it can set you up with the planning skills and the financial discipline to take on any road you travel. Use these tips to stay on track.

Valentine's Day for Kids

on Tuesday, 12 February 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year. If you need a reminder, just check out the ads filling up your TV and seemingly every corner of your favorite websites. Sure, couples get the lion’s share of the attention during this holiday, but why should the kids be left out of the fun? Valentine’s Day is a day of love, and with that in mind here are a few ways to share that love with the little ones:

Cut out a few colorful hearts with construction paper. Tape them to the bottom of a box. Add some toys and some kid-safe paint and then shake and you have these shaken-not-stirred painted hearts. It’s modern art with a toddler twist! And that’s not all either. Check out these activities for a fun week with the kids before Cupid’s favorite holiday.

Love and science come together with the crystal hearts science experiment, which can be done with a little adult supervision and components from your kitchen.

Eat your heart out with the pizza heart party. And for another twist you can also try these Valentine’s Day pancakes as well.

Valentine’s Day also coincides with National Heart month, so bring learning, healthy living and fun together with these healthy-heart Valentine’s Day activities.

Have a safe and happy St. Valentine’s Day, and be sure to tell everyone (big and small) in your heart how much they mean to you.

Putting Your Dutch Oven to Work in the Kitchen

on Tuesday, 05 February 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Simple and versatile, the Dutch oven is an essential part of any good cook’s culinary arsenal. It can handle thick cuts of meat, pasta and even bread and puddings with equal ease, and it’s perfect for a hearty stew or that pot of chili on a cold winter afternoon. If you have one of these handy kitchen helpers around, here are a few recipes to put it to good use.

If the winter blues have gotten you feeling run down, lift your spirits with some warm and inviting chicken noodle soup. For a gluten-free variation, swap out the regular noodles with zucchini noodles and you’ll have the best chicken ‘zoodle’ soup on the block.

If you can’t attend Mardi Gras this year, bring the flavor to you with shrimp and crab gumbo.

A Dutch oven can not only make a great soup, it can make a complete meal such as roasted garlic and truffle chicken. It’s like one-stop shopping for dinner!

If you thought Italian cooking just meant spaghetti and lasagna, you thought wrong. This Ancona-style fish stew is as Italian as it gets and surprising light on your waistline.

Remember that great green bean casserole you had at Thanksgiving? Enjoy that taste any time of year with this delicious, and completely vegan, green bean casserole.

If you’re tired of the same bland casseroles from the store try something new— specifically this Chinese-inspired chicken creation. It’s light, packed with flavor and gluten-free to boot.

Thick and heavy enough for the toughest jobs, the Dutch oven is one of the best friends you can have in the kitchen. Steam, broil, bake or braise with it, but don’t let it gather dust!

Keep Your Exercise Program Going Through the Winter

on Tuesday, 29 January 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The weather has turned, and many animals, such as squirrels, rabbits and bears, are taking their annual nap. As you’re sitting there at the window, looking at a sea of freshly fallen snow, you might be starting to think these woodland critters have the right idea. However you don’t have to put your winter exercise plans into hibernation just because it’s cold out. You just need to be prepared. 

Wear reflective gear. Lighting conditions are often gloomy or foggy in the winter, and it’s important to wear appropriate gear if you're going to be on the roads. Just because you can see the car doesn’t mean the car can see you.

Know your opponent. Check the forecast before heading outside. In the winter, the weather can quickly turn on you. Remember it’s not just the air temperature, it’s also the wind.

Protect your head and your feet. Heat and moisture are lost in these areas of your body first, so plan ahead with a hat and gloves. In extreme temperatures, any exposed skin is vulnerable to frostbite.

Wear synthetic, breathable fabrics. These materials may be more artificial than a pop tart, but they wick away moisture, keeping you dry and comfortable. More importantly, they keep you safe, since the last thing you want to be on a cold day is wet.

Warm-up before you head outside. Your body will naturally tense up when it’s exposed to cold temperatures, increasing the risk of muscle pulls and other injuries.

The woodland critters may be snuggled in their beds for the winter, but you don’t have to be. Use these suggestions to keep your exercise program going until the spring thaw.

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