I am an upcoming third year medical student (only 2 more years until I can put that M.D. behind my name and I can't wait!). I spend most of my time between the library and the gym, but it is worth it to gain knowledge in helping people and to maintain my own sanity. I also work as a fitness instructor at the campus recreation center in order to continue my love of encouraging others to become and remain fit. I enjoy that I have access to information and research that can explain the intricacies of how the body reacts to foods, diets, and certain forms of exercise (and I must say that I research all of that more than I have time for because it is so interesting!).
I not only love working out for the sake of helping others, I love it because of my history as an athlete. Much of my life has been focused around sports including martial arts, soccer, and softball (and a few others as well!). I have been able to combine the knowledge of being on teams with my understanding of fitness through sport-focused training. This has helped me understand better how the body works and the stresses it is able to handle. I LOVE SPORTS and I think they are great for families to participate in together. My family all did martial arts together my entire life as well as helped me train in each sport I was involved in. I can truly say that a family that trains together stays together :).
Now that you know a little more about my background, I wanted to share a few things that I have learned in my process of mixing fitness blogging and medical school.
1. Exercise DIRECTLY affects your mental health and ability to learn. The hormones released when you exercise actually increase the connections between the neurons of your brain and give them food for growth. You actually learn better and retain your mental capacity longer if you are active.
2. Sugar is addictive. Like cocaine-level addictive! After reading all of the research on sugar (and loving sweets so very much), I did a sugar detox. You go through withdrawals for a bit and then your body and your brain start working better than ever. It is crazy what we put into our bodies that we know nothing about.
3. Everything must be done in moderation. The good and the bad all have limits. For example:
Growth hormone burns fat and builds muscle.
Low blood sugars increase growth hormone.
Exercise increases growth hormone.
Growth hormone sounds awesome right? Well, it is, in certain quantities.
Too much growth hormone also creates insulin resistance and can lead to diabetes.
The point: everything in moderation :)
4. When they talk about needing sunlight to get vitamin D, you think, "Let's tan!". In reality, it only takes 10-15 minutes outside 3 or so times a week to get the max vitamin D that your body needs. Don't over do it and risk skin cancer! (And wear sunscreen when you walk out of the house... shameless plug for preventive medicine).
5. Enjoy yourself! Whether it be work, family, or fitness, keeping your stress levels low and your happiness high is the key to your health. Stress makes you gain weight, lose your hair, break out and be frustrated. Take some time for yourself and consider it a preventive medicine measure to help you protect yourself from getting sick. You do not want to end up wasting all of that gym time have endured only to counteract it with stress hormones!
Hope everyone has a great week enjoying life and training with the family :) If you have any fitness or wellness questions that you want answered in detail and based in medical research, feel free to comment and ask! I love helping people with their real concerns. Maybe your question will even be the topic of a future post.