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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.

Tips for a Lifetime of Learning

on Tuesday, 17 April 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

 “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”

~  Albert Einstein

It’s hard to argue with a genius. A lifetime of learning has many benefits. It can help keep your mind sharp as the years creep in. It can improve your mental awareness and quality of life, and even potentially stave off the onset of Alzheimer’s according to some research. So if a lifetime of learning sounds like just the ticket for you, here are some resources to help you along the way.

With the rapidly changing pace of our world, lifetime learning isn’t always a choice- sometimes it’s a survival skill. You never know what you might need. Here’s a list of some useful new skills that may help you overcome some of life’s challenges (or at the very least help you in that round of Final Jeopardy.)

If you don’t have the time or the funds to pay for formal classes, all is not lost. There are some great online learning resources available for little or no cost at Open Culture and Lynda. There are also plenty of other choices if these two don’t work for you. Plenty of colleges and universities offer free online courses too.

Learning means engaging with your world, and more learning can also help you obtain better outcomes when you do. There are organizations like Toastmasters International that can teach you how to better present yourself and achieve more.

The world is out there.  Live it, love it and take the opportunity to learn from it. 

Are You Putting Off Filing Your Taxes?

on Tuesday, 10 April 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

April 15th. Tax Day. Judgment Day. The big deadline.

Maybe you have it circled on your calendar. Maybe it’s an annoying afterthought that won’t go away no matter how much you want it to. Regardless of how you feel about it, one truth is certain: April 15th is coming whether you like it or not.

There are some good reasons not to put off filing your taxes:

  • If you’re due a refund, why let Uncle Sam keep your money any longer than necessary?
  • If you owe the IRS, putting off filing simply increases your stress and worry, and may lead to you missing the deadline and having to pay a penalty.
  • If there’s something missing or if you forgot to include a calculation or schedule, you may not have time to include it.
  • If there are items on this year’s forms that you don’t understand, you’ll have little or no time to do research or to seek help. 
  • If you need professional tax advice, help may be scarce. Tax professionals are often booked solid during the last days leading up to April 15th.
  • By rushing things at the last minute, you might miss out on important tax breaks or credits.

Tax laws change each year— sometimes incrementally, sometimes drastically. You’re far better served to get a jump on it early. In the end, you’ll get a better quality return and save yourself a lot of headaches and antacid pills.

Fighting Perfectionism

on Tuesday, 03 April 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.”   ~ Voltaire

Why would we want to fight perfectionism? Isn’t perfect what we’re after? We want to do our best work, put our best foot forward. If we’re going to be responsible for something— a project, a report, a business— why should we settle for anything less than perfect?

The basic answer to this question is simple: nothing is going to be perfect, no matter how hard we try. One of the things we need to keep in mind as we work for perfection is the law of diminishing returns. The closer we come to getting it perfect, the harder it is to make any headway. What gains we make come at an increasingly high cost of time, effort and missed opportunities elsewhere.

A better way of looking at things is to do a cost-benefit analysis. How much time and work is it going to take to produce a professional product? What do I gain by putting in the effort to improve it? Ask yourself: is this a difference that’s actually going to make a difference? 

Is a pursuit of perfection always a good thing? Not everyone agrees. In fact, there is an entire branch of Japanese philosophy called Wabi Sabi that teaches us to embrace our imperfections and the imperfections of the world around us.

So do your best, but don’t become so obsessed with perfection that you lose sight of your overall goals.

Easter Trivia

on Tuesday, 27 March 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The children might not be nestled all snug in their beds this time of year, but chances are many of them are waiting for the Easter Bunny to come pay them a visit. Yes, Easter brings a spring cornucopia of good wishes, colorful goodies and fun. So how did it all get started? And while we’re on the subject, how did a basket-giving rabbit get mixed up in everything? The answers to those questions and more await you...

That rabbit. Easter is named for the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eastre. Her symbols— well, you guessed it— were a hare and an egg. German immigrants in the 1700’s are believed to have first brought the Easter Bunny to the U.S.

The Easter Bilby. Rather than celebrating with bunnies, Australians have increasingly turned to long-eared native marsupials called Bilbys to usher in Easter. 

That candy. Forget Christmas Candy. Easter is second only to Halloween in term of candy sales.

An old-school jelly bean. In the 1910’s, jelly bean had a different meaning. A ‘jelly bean’ was a ne’er-do-well man who dressed in fancy clothes and put on airs hoping to attract an unwitting mate.

Pretzels, anyone? Pretzels usually aren’t at the top of the shopping list for this holiday, but they used to be an Easter treat to rival jelly beans. The twist in the traditional pretzel is supposed to represent arms folded in prayer.

Don’t Forget the Eggs. The art of painting eggs is believed to have started over two thousand years ago somewhere around modern-day Ukraine, and is called ‘pysanka.’

There you have it! Have a safe and Happy Easter.

What Can You Deduct On Your Tax Return This Year?

on Tuesday, 20 March 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

It’s tax time again, and if you’re like many of us this time of year, you’re adding up figures, gathering up bank statements and maybe searching your documents files for that missing May expense report. While your taxes may be fairly simple, there’s an added complication if you choose to itemize. In fact, one of the most common question tax professionals get is: what can I take off?

The answer (as with many things) is that it depends.

To get started, here’s a rundown of all the things you can potentially itemize. As you can see, the list is pretty extensive. Generally speaking, you’ll want to be looking into itemizing if any of the following situations apply to you:

  • You bought a house in the early part of the year.
  • You had an abnormally high amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses. 
  • You gave a large amount to charity. 

Remember the total from all your expenses, be they mortgage interest, real estate taxes, personal property taxes, work-related costs or others, must add up to more than the standard deduction for your filing status. Otherwise itemizing your deductions isn’t going to help you. 

Also keep in mind that these deductions only apply to the 2017 tax year. The recent legislation passed by congress in December 2017 will bring massive changes to the deductibility of many of these items in future years.

As always, before you file your return, consult a qualified tax professional with any questions.

A Smile a Day Keeps the Frustration Away

on Tuesday, 13 March 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

“People are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

—     Abraham Lincoln

There are many things you can’t control in your daily life. The freeway traffic, the national economy or whether a winter storm delays the receipt of that new printer you’ve been waiting for— the list is pretty extensive.

One thing you can control is how you respond to these challenges. 

Start the day out right. The first events in any given day will often set the tone for the rest of it, so make sure those moments are great. Create a morning routine and fill it with things that boost your confidence, soothe your nerves and put you in a good mood.

Have solutions when pointing out problems. Rather than complaining when things don’t go your way, work on finding a way to fix them. It gives you a sense of order and lets you use your mental energies on a positive solution rather spending them wallowing in negative frustration.

Get rid of ‘If.’ Conditional happiness is often an open doorway to disappointment. So instead of thinking “I’ll be happy ‘If’ I can sign this client”, try to focus on just being happy first. You’ll be surprised how often a positive attitude allows the other things to fall into place.

Talent and hard work are critical ingredients to success, but attitude does matter. In fact it can be the key ingredient. So start the day with a smile and see where it leads you.

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