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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.

Kids Health

on Tuesday, 25 September 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Kids' Nutrition, Fitness

We all want our kids to be healthy –as evidenced by the countless magazines, TV reports and online posts dedicated to the subject. However, today’s parents, at least as a whole, aren’t doing the best job of protecting our kids’ health. Recent studies show that this current generation of children may be the first one to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, which sounds crazy in an era when medical science is making incredible strides fighting disease and prolong life.

The culprit, as you might have guessed, is childhood obesity. Between our culture’s growing reliance on fast and convenience foods and a playtime culture that has moved from the backyard and the local park to the TV and the computer, our kids are gaining weight, and contracting diseases once reserved for adults like Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

But there is still good news. As a parent, you have a lot of control over your kid’s health. From the food you keep in the house to the weekend activities you enjoy, every choice you make can contribute to your kids’ long, healthy and happy lives. And you don’t have to drive yourself (or them) crazy to do it. Because the easiest way to raise healthy kids is to start by creating a healthy you.

That means getting up from in front of the TV and getting outside for some exercise – whether it’s a bike ride, a walk around the block or a game of pick-up basketball. It means skipping the drive through window and chopping up some vegetables for a salad. It means stocking your pantry and fridge with foods and drinks that are good for your family – and for you.

Follow those few steps, and you won’t just get to see your kids grow up healthy. You might look and feel a lot better too.


on Tuesday, 18 September 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The autumn equinox officially hits on Saturday the 22nd at 9:49 a.m. (CDT). So get ready for fall.

Now, if you told most people outside of North America to “get ready for fall,” they’d be afraid of you toppling on them – because the word “fall” is only used for autumn in this country and Canada.

This usage actually came from 16th Century England – so, when the English settled America, it continued to be used in “the colonies.” Strangely enough, using “fall” as a synonym for “autumn” became obsolete shortly thereafter back in Great Britain - but Americans held on to it for some reason. And obviously, we still call this season “fall” to this day.

Prior to the 16th century? The season was just basically known as “harvest” in England and other parts of the world. But that changed when more people began moving to towns from farms and harvest just began to be used to refer to the actual reaping of crops.

Whatever you want to call it, this season is worth billions in tourism dollars to both New England and Easter Canada because of the brightly-colored autumn foliage of the trees. North America has a greater variety of leaf colors because it has more than 800 arbor species – a lot more than you’ll find in Europe or other parts of the world – and is able to put on a much more vibrant show.

And by the way, “autumn” is no also-ran name. Since 1997, it’s been one of the top 100 names given to girls in the U.S. “Fall,” not so much.

Personal Trainers

on Tuesday, 11 September 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Fitness Training, Fitness

Is a personal trainer really worth the expense? Here are five reasons why a professional exercise partner is an excellent investment in your health and your future.

Personal trainers take the mystery out of exercise.

It can be difficult to tell what kind of exercise is best to help you reach your goals. What will you like doing? What will be most effective? Simply by spending time with you and learning a few things about you, a personal trainer can formulate a plan just for you based on what you like, what you need and what you want.

Personal trainers introduce you to new things you’ve never tried before.

Personal trainers are plugged into the exercise world – they know what’s new, what’s hot and what’s working and are constantly learning new things. If your trainer runs across something that might interest you, you can be sure you’ll get a chance to try it – and might find a program that changes your life.

Personal trainers keep you healthy.

Even exercise has a down side, and that down side it, it’s easy to get hurt if you don’t know what you’re doing. A trainer will work with you to make sure you’re performing each exercise correctly, so you don’t overdo it or injure yourself.

Personal trainers break you out of a plateau.

If your fitness routine stops working, you may see that as a reason to quit. But with a trainer by your side, you can you get over that hump more easily. A trainer will help determine what’s at the root of your plateau and design a plan to help you get past it – and on to your fitness goals.

Personal trainers are someone to talk to.

Your trainer is like a coach, a friend and even a therapist all rolled into one – someone who will be with you every step of the way, helping you when things are difficult, and celebrating with you when you succeed.

If your goal is to get or stay in shape, consider teaming up with a trainer. And find out what a difference the personal touch can make for you.

Grandparents Day

on Tuesday, 04 September 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Kids' Nutrition

Did you know Grandparents Day is this weekend? The bond between grandparents and grandchildren is so special. Not only do grandparents get to watch their grandchildren grow up, they get to spoil them, too. Still, sometimes the gap between generations can feel wider than it should – especially with today’s grandkids consumed by Facebook, texting and whatever gadgets are currently dominating their lives. So to help strengthen those bonds and bring grandchildren and grandparents together, here are seven activities both generations can enjoy together.

1. Go outside! There are limitless things to do outside, depending only on your interests and Grandma and/or Grandpa’s level of fitness. Options include a walk to a local point of interest, a hike in a natural spot like a beach or park, even a game of softball or basketball.

2. Make Something Sweet! Grandmas are notorious for their baking prowess – but even if you’re not, or if you’re a grandpa, anyone can follow a simple cookie recipe. Plus, you get to eat the results.

3. Join the 21st Century! If you can’t see your grandkids/grandparents as often as you’d like, you can start a blog together, trade photos and videos, even communicate on Facebook.

4. Put it Together! Perfect for a rainy weekend – get the biggest puzzle you can find and spend an afternoon…or, depending on your skills, a weekend…putting it together. As a bonus, this combines well with Activity #2.

5. Get some Culture! Whether your idea of culture is a movie, a visit to a museum or an afternoon at a baseball game, anything you all enjoy going out and doing is something you should enjoy together.

6. Swap Stories! Gather together in a comfortable spot – in the garden or by the fire – and share stories on a specific topic. For example, “My most embarrassing moment was…” or, “the thing I wanted most in life was...”

7. Have a Movie Night! Rent a movie or two, pop some popcorn and dim the lights.

Focus on choosing activities everyone will enjoy, and you’ll create inter-generational memories that last a lifetime.

Labor Day

on Tuesday, 28 August 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Labor Day Weekend is coming up – and that means the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of football season. And, to most Americans, it means picnics, maybe a last swim and a day of recreation and rest. But the actual holiday sprang from more violent, political events back in the late 1800’s.

While the first Labor Day in the U.S. was informally celebrated in 1882, it wasn’t until 1894 that it became a national holiday – and very quickly too.

That year, the infamous Pullman Strike took place – a labor strike by the unions against the railroads that ended up involved 250,000 workers in 27 different states. President Grover Cleveland wanted the strike over as soon as possible – so he called in the US military, as well as US Marshals, to stop the union demonstrations.

A number of workers died in that action – and the President wanted to make amends with labor quickly – so he pushed through legislation to make Labor Day an official holiday, starting that year, in just six days after the official end of the strike.

The very political holiday became even more political in 1909, when the American Federation of Labor convention decreed that the Sunday before Labor Day should be recognized as “Labor Sunday” and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

While you’re enjoying your long weekend, hopefully without having to actually labor, please take a moment to remember the millions and millions of workers who helped build this country and make it great.


on Tuesday, 21 August 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Healthy Nutrition

Here's some real food for thought, when it comes to giving your body everything it needs.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is the ideal way to make sure you're getting all the nutrients you need. However, even the best diet is bound to have some gaps in it – and there are some nutrients, especially vitamins D and E, that are difficult to get enough of through diet alone. That’s why so many health professionals continue to recommend vitamins, minerals and other supplements to their health conscious patients.

Of course, with so many products out there, you may be wondering exactly what you should be taking to give your body the right stuff. Here is a brief rundown of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs every day.   Remember, this is a general, basic list, so talk to your doctor or health professional to learn more about your own body’s specific needs.

  • Vitamin A for eyes and skin (beta-carotene is a good substitute)
  • The B vitamins – B6, B12, riboflavin, thiamine and niacin – for cell growth
  • Vitamin C, a powerful anti-oxidant and immune-system booster. And yes, you need more even if you drink orange juice!
  • folic acid helps your body form red and white blood cells – and prevents birth defects, if you’re a woman and happen to be pregnant
  • Vitamin E, for healthy skin and more
  • Iron for red blood cells – check with your doctor on this one
  • Vitamin D, calcium and Vitamin K – all three work together to build your bones, which is especially important for women!
  • Magnesium, a mineral that protects against heart disease, colon cancer and diabetes

Most people would rather not swallow eight or more individual pills every day, so it’s fine to take a multi-vitamin that combines most of these substances into a single dose. Just read the label to make sure you know that you’re getting everything you need!

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