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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.

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.

What’s New in Taxes for 2019?

on Tuesday, 22 January 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Toward the end of most years there’s a lot of talk about the new tax laws and what changes we can expect. For the most part, these changes are usually relatively minor. A tax credit might end or an income bracket might have been tweaked here and there, but frequently that’s about the extent of it. Not so for 2019. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act didn’t just make a few cosmetic changes; it represents the most extensive tax overhaul in over a generation.

So what’s new for 2019? A better question might be what isn’t new for 2019.  Here’s a good summary of what we can expect.

The change most of us will notice is the doubling of the standard deduction and the elimination of personal exemptions. Because of this change, fewer people than ever will be itemizing.

Many common deductions have been eliminated including those for employee business expenses and student loan interest deductions. Moving expenses may now only be deducted by active duty military personnel moving as part of a change in duty station.

Starting in 2019, the penalty for not having health insurance will be reduced to zero.

The loss of personal exemptions may be particularly difficult for large families. To compensate, the child tax credit doubles to $2,000 per qualifying child. In addition, up to $1,400 of the child tax credit can now be received as refundable credit.

These changes are just a few of the many differences the new law will bring to American taxpayers. As always, if you have any questions before you file your return, please consult a qualified tax professional.

Martin Luther King Day: A Call to Service

on Tuesday, 15 January 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

If you’re looking at the calendar for January you‘ve probably noticed that the 21st is Martin Luther King Day.  At the very least it’s a three-day weekend for some of us.

The day is so much more than that. If we’ve studied history at all, we know the words and we’ve heard the speeches. Dr. King’s life and legacy is an important part of why we honor him on his birthday, but the day represents more than the celebration of the life of a great man. It represents a call to service.

King is known for his “I have a Dream” speech. He had many dreams. One of those was that we could live in a community where hunger, homelessness, and poverty didn't exist, because we all helped each other out. He hoped that each of us could become a ray of light in hard times and together build a better world.

If you want to change the world, often the best place to begin is right in your own neighborhood. Not sure what you can do or who needs your help? One place to find out is mlkday.gov.  Just click on “Find a Volunteer Opportunity”, enter your zip code and you can find many volunteer projects in your area.  There are such a wide variety of services needed, and you’re sure to find an opportunity that’s just right for you.

If you’re already part of a volunteer organization, you can still find great information about hosting an event or promoting one.

So don’t let January 21st just be a date on the calendar. Honor the legacy of Martin Luther King by honoring your neighborhood. Get involved and do what you can to make it a better place.

How to Keep Those Pesky New Year Resolutions

on Tuesday, 08 January 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Did you make a New Years’ Resolution? Most of us have. How long did you keep it? If you’re like most of us, the answer is not very long. It can be tough work sometimes, but if you’re determined to make a resolution this year, here are some ways to be certain you can keep it.

Be realistic. Take some time to examine what you can reasonably expect to accomplish this year. There’s no point in setting yourself up for failure. Pick resolutions you can achieve given your time and resources.

Set goals you really want. Before you put all the time and effort into meeting that New Years’ resolution, make sure you’re doing it for you and not for someone else. Not only will you be more likely to get it done, but you’ll end up a lot happier if you’re successful.

Create bite sized portions. Making major changes can seem so overwhelming that many of us opt not to even start. Don’t be intimidated. Instead, break your goal down into manageable chunks that you can handle.

Be persistent. You’ll have your down days. You’ll have days where you slip back into old habits without even thinking about it. Don’t be discouraged. Remember if it was easy, you’d have probably taken care of it by now.

Even though we may laugh at them sometimes, the idea behind New Years’ resolutions is a good one. It’s a brand new year, so why not start the year off right with a brand new you? Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have a great chance to succeed.

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