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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.

Get a Jumpstart on Your Tax Prep

on Tuesday, 11 December 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

It’s holiday time, not tax time. After all, you want to be trimming the tree not thinking about Form 1040. However, now might be the perfect time to get a head start on those schedules, and more importantly, do some end-of-the-year tax planning.

The key part of taxes is that they encompass everything within the calendar year, meaning that if you want to include something when you do your taxes next year, you’ll need to have it done by December 31st of this year.

Stock up. If you’re self-employed, stocking up on supplies before the end of the year is not only a great way to hit the ground running in January, but it means you can also expense them, potentially lowering your taxable income.

Contribute. An IRA is more than just a good way to save for retirement. It’s also a way for you to potentially lower your tax bill. Depending on your age, you may be able to make a contribution of up to $6,500 dollars to an IRA, directly subtracting from your taxable income and possibly pushing you into a lower tax bracket.

Pay off those doctor bills. If you’re planning on itemizing your medical expenses, make sure you actually make the payments before the end of the year or they won’t count on this year’s taxes.

Sure, this time of year you’d rather have sugar plums dancing in your head than tax schedules, but a little planning now can save you big bucks when April 15th rolls around.

Outdoor Winter Fun

on Tuesday, 04 December 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The warm days of summer are long gone. Now there are only bare trees and the cold winter breeze. That means it’s time to come inside and watch the world through your windows, right? Well, not so fast. When we were kids, the cold weather didn’t stop us. We couldn’t wait to get outside and play in the snow. Find your inner child again this winter. Here are some ways to enjoy some cold weather fun:

Capture the Snow Flag. This is cheap winter entertainment at its best. All you need is a piece of white cloth tied to a wooden spoon. Mark off your area of play, and then have one person plant the ‘snow flag’. Time how long it takes the other person to find it. Switch places and start again. The person who finds the flag in the shortest time wins.

A real holiday movie night. It’s pretty easy to find an affordable movie projector for outdoor movie nights. But why let the fun stop when the summer ends? Get some blankets, some warm drinks and other supplies and enjoy a holiday movie in true holiday style.

Tic-Tac-Snow. Sure you could play the game inside, but why would you? Use a stick to draw some lines in the snow, grab some pines cones, stones, etc., for playing pieces and you’re all set.

Go for the stars. One nice thing about winter is that the humidity is low and the night sky is crisp and clean, perfect for some quality stargazing. Astronomy and hot chocolate. What could be better?

Winter is waiting. Make the most of it with these fun holiday activities.

Gearing Down For the Holidays

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

If you glanced at the title, you might be wondering why we didn’t say ‘gearing up’ instead. Well, the economy might be roaring, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your wallet is. With holiday season coming up, you have a lot to do and also a lot to buy. There’s food and parties to go to. There are decorations to update, and cards to send out, and that doesn’t even count everyone on your shopping list.

So as this holiday season kicks into high gear, it may be time for you to gear down. Here are some ways to do it:

  • Plan out your holiday budget ahead of time and make sure you stick to it. It’s sort of like making a list and checking it twice.
  • Take advantage of early bird and off-season sales. No, you probably don’t need a Christmas tree in July, but you’re likely to find a great deal on it.
  • Try making instead of buying. Sure, creating a new tablet or a high-definition TV may be beyond your skill, but there’s no reason you can’t make festive decorations or holiday treats from cheap raw ingredients.
  • Use a prepaid debit card when you go shopping. It has a set limit and when it runs out, so do you. The set limit means you can’t go over budget even if you want to, and it also cuts down on those impulse buys that can break your bank account.

The holidays can take a pretty good bite out of your finances. So if you don’t want to have a sad face when the January bills come due, try a little gearing down for the holidays.

Thanksgiving Means Food

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

From the turkey to the mashed potatoes to your spouse’s legendary macaroni and cheese, Thanksgiving has some great eats. Throw in some pumpkin pie and maybe a slice of Grandma’s spice cake and you have some work ahead of you. The only real questions are which order you’ll go in and whether your stomach can handle a second savory helping of turkey and dressing.

Of course, there’s always room to try something different to go along with the family favorites. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions:

If you don’t have hours to spare to cook to perfect turkey, try the world’s simplest Thanksgiving turkey recipe

Many Thanksgiving dressings are as unique as the families that make them, which means guests often view them with suspicion. Ease their fears with this tasty kale creation, sure to please everyone at the table.

If you’re of the opinion that a quality pumpkin pie is the perfect way to cap off your Thanksgiving feast, then give Chef John’s rich pumpkin pie a whirl.

Cranberry sauce doesn’t have to be shaped like the can. Add a little zest to your holiday with this apple-orange variation on the holiday classic.

Sure, there’s the big game on your ultra-high definition 4k TV or the annual parade through 34th street, but let’s admit it: Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without the great food. So give these recipes a try and make your Thanksgiving meal the belt-busting spectacular it deserves to be.

What Will You Be Most Thankful For Next Thursday?

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

In many households, Thanksgiving is about food, football and family. More than anything though, Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful. In fact, it says it right in the name. Sure we may not have everything we want, but the holiday isn’t about what we don’t have. Instead it’s about what we have right in front of us. It’s about being thankful.

If we’re fortunate, we have a roof over our head, good food in our bellies and a warm place to sleep. Maybe we have a few treasured possessions. They may be new, like the fancy tablet on our desk. They could be old like the worn baseball glove stuffed in the corner of our den. Above all, we have the gift of being alive and the chance to reinvent ourselves into something better each day.

It’s not just about us either. There are people in the world that enrich our lives. Maybe it’s an old friend you stayed in touch with since high school, or your parents who faithfully call you every Thanksgiving at precisely two o’clock to see how you are. It could even be a stranger, like the clerk at the checkout that took the time to smile at you, even though the line was full of grumpy people with plenty of places they’d rather be.

Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, but if you take the time to look, you’ll find there are plenty of things to be thankful for.

So what are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?

Thank You, Veterans

on Tuesday, 06 November 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

These days, many of us see Veteran’s Day on the calendar and either get ready to enjoy a three-day weekend or look with envious eyes at those who can. One hundred years ago, things were a lot different.

After four long years of mud, blood and death, World War I had finally come to an end. The formerly picturesque European landscape was now a barren, pitted wasteland. Exhausted soldiers, battered by their experience in the trenches, celebrated an end to the fighting. From these grim battlefields came a day of remembrance known first as Armistice Day, and then later as Veteran’s Day.

Since then, veterans of all stripes have fought valiantly in America’s armed conflicts and kept our country secure in peacetime. Here are a few ways you can say thanks:

  • Check out the Veteran’s Day events in your area and get out to show your support. You can wear a button, wave a flag or just stand quietly. Google this: “veterans events near me 2018.”
  • Take a moment to thank a veteran for his or her service. It only takes a few words to let them know you appreciate everything they do.
  • Make some time to listen. Many veterans are expert story tellers, and what they have to say may give you new insight into the world.
  • Share these Veteran’s Day discounts and benefits with your favorite veteran.

This year, make Veteran’s Day more than just a date on the calendar. And even if you don’t have a chance to get out, take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices veterans have made to keep our country safe.

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