Mentally, Spiritually & Physically

Q1.What physical activity do you enjoy doing on a regular basis?

I enjoy weight lifting and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). I try to exercise 6-7x/week when I can for about an hour. Then I recently started swimming 2-3x/week in the evening for cardio. I used to play basketball often, but with age, I’m just a very recreational weekend warrior haha. The next physical activity I would like to start is yoga.

Q2.What makes you motivated to workout/exercise?

I always want to be the best version of myself, mentally, spiritually and physically and try to push my limits and improve everyday.

I started working out and taking fitness seriously about 8 years ago when my life spiraled into the darkest moments of my life. At that moment, I made a mental lifelong decision to make the most out of the situation, and a big aspect of that was to push myself physically by exercising. It became an escape/de-stressor and overtime just made me a happier person. I learned then it’s not about hitting goal weights or lifting a certain weight, but a metaphor for life about being patient and trusting life will get better with hard work. Since then, it’s been my “why”. Even though Podiatry education and residency is tough and time constraining, things will get better with hard work. Having the mental discipline to be a better version of myself physically also carries over to other aspects of my life to make me better as a person and physician.

“Once you know what failure feels like, determination chases success.”

Kobe Bryant

Q3. Are there any workout plans/routines/coaches you follow?

Before pursuing Podiatry, I actually received my Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science. So, I have a background in exercise physiology, principles of weight lifting and sports psychology. I am actually pretty critical to who I follow- unless they are CSCS certified, athletic trainers, physical therapists, or essentially someone who really understands anatomy and function. However, whoever is trying to make a change to be more active finding an online/Instagram workout I’m all about it- just make sure you don’t hurt yourself by jumping into strenuous activities and take it slow.

Q4. Describe a time where you pushed yourself to reach a personal workout goal.

Last year during my birthday, I feel like I had a life crisis (turned 31 years old haha, even changed my hairstyle). So, I decided to push myself with a 50 Day Fitness Challenge, my first ever challenge. The challenge entitled daily exercise approximately 70 minutes that included 60 minute HIIT/10 minute minimal cardio and abs, low carb diet with only a cheat meal once every 13 days, no alcohol. The results were amazing. Really keeping strict and holding myself accountable with the diet was the biggest accomplishment. I love food; never did I think I could keep myself to a strict diet to be honest.

Q5. How has fitness shaped your life?

I don’t think I would be where I am without fitness. Basketball was my #1 passion of mine growing up. Living in Orange County California, Kobe Bryant was my guy. Playing basketball all my life, Kobe has been my idol and inspired me on-and-off the court to elevate my standards of preparation, competition, tenacity and desire. He had that “first one at the gym, last one to leave” mentality to be the hardest worker out there. Basketball taught me a lot of lessons that were a loud metaphor to life. For example “Nothing is given, you have to earn it” means having to make sacrifices and that life isn’t fair. During college, things turned for the worst where I was living in my car. I sacrificed and continued to live in my car with high aspirations of being accepted to Podiatry school. I adjusted the mentality to ‘first one to the library, last one to leave’ when studying for MCAT and trusting the process that things would be better once I was admitted to Podiatry school. Once I was accepted, that mentality stayed with being the first one right when the library opened, and the last one to leave. Fitness to me has a huge metaphor for life. With determination, you will reach goals that you didn’t think you could reach.

Q6. What advice would you give to someone that wants to get back in shape?

Find an activity that’s FUN. Whether it’s with friends, being alone to escape, in silence, or loud blasting music like it’s Ultra Music Festival, this should be fun. It’ll keep you motivated

Find your ‘why?”, write it down, and read it daily. Especially on days where you don’t feel like exercising, or lost motivation. You’re not going to have an amazing workout daily, but remembering why you started will allow you to push yourself on days when you struggle. A bad day is better than nothing and still a step towards the goal

To begin, find a workout buddy. They’ll help keeping you accountable for your workout and push you to find motivation on days you need them

Once you find something fun, push yourself! One more step. One more lift. Pushing your limit a little more every time until you forget you really have limits. That’s where it becomes fun. Accomplishing goals you thought you never could because you took that extra, little step!

Q7. When someone has a very demanding schedule, what would be your advice to them as far as an exercise regimen?

Don’t make excuses and hold yourself accountable. It’s easy to hit snooze. It’s easy to get lazy in the evening. So remember why you started and write it down. Anytime you don’t feel like working out, read it to yourself. Set yourself up with a schedule that you know you won’t make excuses and have a workout buddy to keep you accountable for the first 2 weeks. For me, in the evening I realized I get lazy and want to eat anything in sight. So, I made an effort to wake up early and exercise first in the morning to get it out of the way. I realized that it propelled me for the rest of the day by having more energy, increased focus, faster metabolism, and overall allowed me to become mentally strong and disciplined. I think even with a demanding schedule, squeezing exercise daily will actually allow you to study more efficiently and provide you more energy.

Author: Jannani Krishnan
Interviewee: Edgar Sy, PGY2