Pressed for time? Top three (well, four) strategies to maximise short workouts.

What is the most common – and annoying, by the way – excuse for not working out or at least incorporating some activity into a routine? “I don’t have any time”.  We’ve all heard it at least once in our lives.  Sometimes from our own mouths – trust me, I’ve pissed myself off with that one.  But there are ways to get around to being physically fit when you have an hour or less to spare.  These are my favourite three strategies:


Grab your timer.  Or your timer app – whatever you’ve got, whatever works for you.  Interval training protocols are your best friend when your workout time is tight.  Whether you opt for reps for time, every minute on the minute, Tabata or metabolic conditioning (where your rest time intervals get shorter and shorter – insert short panting breaths here!), your body will thank you later for the shortest workouts you can eke out.


Be ready to move – a lot.  Compound movements are paramount for maximum effect when time management and workout efficacy are your priorities.  Whether you’re mixing body weight with free weights, plyometrics with weight machines, cardio machines with stability workouts, make sure your moves incorporate multiple muscle groups so that your short burn has a lingering effect long after you’re finished.
Now is the time to go all in – every single minute.  You have 30-45 minutes to work up a sweat – this is not the time to half-ass any of it!  Set your timer app to block interruptions from other apps, set your phone to “Emergency Calls Only”, do what you gotta do.  If you’re only at it for a tight time period, you have to use every single second meticulously.


There you have it!  When you have the right principles in mind for your workouts, time is no issue.  Speaking of principles, here’s a bonus tip that I’ve relied on throughout my adulthood:


Aim for 20 (minutes, that is).  When I first started training in the gym almost two decades ago, one of the trainers at the gym on my college campus told me that I should aim to keep my heart rate elevated for a minimum of 20 minutes in a session – several years and a number of careers later, I have worked with that as a principle when I hit the gym.  It’s true, my gadgets have gotten more fanciful since then, but I always carried that with me: any gym session must mean that for at least 20 minutes of a session, I cannot be able to respond to a question in more than 3-5 words (my measure of heart rate elevation when my heart rate monitor is either dead or missing in action).



What are your strategies for working out on a time crunch?  I can’t wait to find out what you do!


Note of Advice to Aspiring Healthcare Workers.

Considering a career as a doctor, nurse or any other profession in the healthcare and medical sector? Be prepared to be bullied, for about as long as you are junior or reportable to someone in a hierarchical workforce.  And likely even when you are senior as well.  In some cases, you can lead an entire department, division, service, practice or even a hospital and still be bullied by someone else.


Bear this in mind when your time comes to start ascending through the ranks – it definitely will happen to you and you can (and just might) exact it on others.  Your own experience as the bullied party may not even cross your mind either.  Watch for it.  And don’t be surprised if you become that bully.



A Short Word of Choosing A Career.

Choose a career that involves a lot of what you love doing, that you will love dealing with for a long time.  Or that you feel called to do.  That love will have to last and sustain you unconditionally, through university, many courses and degrees, multiple years in the job industry and eventually into retirement.

Why do you need to bear this in mind?  For two reasons.

One.  Being a summer student or an intern in university working in the firm and actually working in the firm with expenses to pay are completely different things.

Two.  Sometimes your job entails more of what you don’t want to do than what you actually want to do. So will your career.  Actually, more often than not.






The Bright Side – Top 3 Types of Shock Everyone Studying Away from Home Knows About…

I wanted to follow up on my last post, titled “Top 3 Types of Shock Everyone Studying Away from Home Knows About…” It was a lot of information to digest in a blog post so I thought I’d allow some decompression time before I wrote this one.

So in my last post, you recognised the top three types of shock you may observe when you’re studying away from home. Culture. Currency. Cache. Some of you may have experienced any of them recently, too.

Now that you know what you may be facing, it is probable that you already feel piled under.  But know this as well: the types of shock you may face as a student (as an out-of-state or as an international) are not insurmountable and certainly not impossible to deal with. Here are some things to remember when you deal with them. I’ll try my best to make this post a lot more concise.


This is bound to happen, whether you’re going one city over or an entire ocean over. Be prepared for incessant stares, strange remarks. Some people may even try to reach out and touch. Know your boundaries and don’t be afraid to tell someone that touching is not okay.

Try your best to keep an open mind. I know, I know – sometimes there’s no “making the best of a bad situation” but life challenges us that way very often so embrace it as just that, a challenge. Some find that finding humour in the ignorance borne and generalisations made by others help them to stay calm in the face of culture shock.


Either ends of the spectrum can be draining to deal with. Do your best to adjust to and “think” in your new currency as quickly as possible. Learn to be frugal and live within your means thinking in your new “local” dollars and cents.

When time and/or immigration systems allow, supplemental income goes a long way to helping temper the pull of the new currency on one’s bank account. Opening a bank account may be necessary in any regard, but keeping a savings account for “rainy day funds”, “future goals funds” or just plain “when-I-get the-hell-outta-here money” is worth considering.


The best part of information overload lies in the fact that we live in the beloved “digital age”. There are innumerable applications, products, services and solutions to retain information and keep it as close as the touch of a button. Take advantage of those tools within your reach and scope of use – video and audio recorders (of course remember to ask permission!), transcripted notes, eBooks, documents, emails – these all can house the information you need and can be kept as close as necessary. Take your cache in as many bytes as you can cope with.


The World Is Yours


… On Feeling Overwhelmed

Being away from home can leave even the strongest person feeling overwhelmed.  For some people, it may feel like there’s no other way out.  Depression is a very real and very serious thing for those who experience it, whether it’s a reaction to a life change or a long-term battle to see the bright side.

To those of you who are (or may know or love someone who is) experiencing signs or symptoms of depression, please remember that you are not alone and there are ways past that feeling.  Remember to draw on the support of those who love and care for you.  Remember to talk to someone, don’t be afraid to reach out and seek help.  Sometimes we all need someone to lean on, and sometimes it means professional help – don’t be afraid of it when it feels like there’s no other way out.

Many people care.  Myself included.  Always remember that.

Top 3 Types of Shock Everyone Studying Away from Home Knows About…

So you got accepted to a school away from your hometown.  Fees are paid, scholarships are awarded, you’ve travelled the distance and touched down in your new second home for the next 2 years or so.  Whether you enrolled in a small junior college or a university with multiple campuses, you are bound to relate to at least two of the three types of shock in your time away from home.



Culture shock from being in a new locale is one thing.   The natives probably not understand your customs, your habits or your language; hell, they may not even understand the colour your eyes, hair or even skin (yes, I said that – and meant that).  And the same statement applies to the international population – in all its diversity; they may not get you or relate to you very often, despite the locale also being foreign to them.  And sometimes in that regard, the people you may feel like you can relate to the most – people from your home country or as close as your home city – will surprise the mess out of you.  They will find some ways to adapt that seem very odd at first, they may think differently than you, they may be brought up with different ideals or morals than you.  Needless to say, it will be very unnerving at times; sometimes frustrating, infuriating, disheartening, discouraging and even depressing.  In fact, for some people the prospect of forming many generalised ideas (some very outlandish and some right on the money!), become a recluse or run for the green green grass of home can seem very tempting.



Switching to a new currency or simply a new price of living can be a true shock, not just to your wallet.  On one end, switching to a lower cost of living sometimes means that spending habits are underestimated – constant comparison in your home currency runs the risk of the notion that “oh it’s not that expensive, so I can afford to buy more/splurge” and the inevitable money management problems in the long term.  On the other end of the spectrum, switching to a higher cost of living sometimes makes expenses tough to maintain.  This is especially true on a scholar’s stipend, no matter where your scholarship takes you.  In one way or the other, the potential to feel overwhelmed by the cost of life in your new surroundings is lurking, sometimes palpable.



You’ve just moved to a new city, new state or new country.  You’ve got a new set of customs to adapt to, a new set of rules to learn, a new set of responsibilities to adjust to.  And that’s before you even get on the flight to reach your new destination!  You still have yet to get your orientation package when you touch down in your new city – or enter the gates of your new school.  Then that package arrives – and that’s pages upon pages to read, whether it’s on paper, USB drive, online, mobile app, wherever it lies.  Then there is in-campus orientation to school – that day (day, days, weeks, depending on where you go to school) is pretty much flooded with more terabytes of data imaginable, most of which will be lost on you between the first 3-6 hours.  If you’re blessed with a large attention span.

Oh, then there’s the new things on the checklist that you now have near-full responsibility for.  Choosing courses? Picking extra-curricular activities?  Knowing class pre-requisites?  That’s on you.  Which textbooks to digest to deal with in which order?  What time class starts?  What class you’re supposed to be in?  Oh, that’s you too.  Any medical woes?  Pharmacy run?  Dental check-ups?  Your call again.  Traffic tickets?  Any other run-ins with the law?  Oh yeah, there you go too.


Stress over Shock


… Calm Down

Okay.  It is possible that I may have shocked you.  So while you find something lighter to read about, I’ll leave you with a short note – there are bright sides to all this.  More about that in another post.



See. Do. Teach. Reach. A shift in approach.

“See One. Do One. Teach One.” It’s an adage that’s been used in the medical industry for eons. Anyone who’s been through medical school or through a hospital rotation has heard it at least once along the way. Having been studying and working in the industry for a little over a decade, I’ve personally heard and employed this approach to my experience at least on a weekly basis. While still relevant in the current climate of the field, it is in definite need of a change. Passing on the knowledge only goes so far and there is no continuity; our industry needs to rethink its approach to medical and healthcare practice and add to it while simultaneously forming a continuum, constantly closing the loop. “See One. Do One. Teach One. Reach One.” feels more like it.

Seeing a procedure, a process being performed helps to familiarise oneself with the process. Seeing it done not only helps us to realise that what we may have deemed difficult can be done, it also serves as an impetus to learn more about it and topics related to it. Reading instruction manuals and textbooks are limited by static images and depictions, and video footage in their optimal form merely the scratch the surface of the visual dimension of a procedure. Witnessing a procedure engages all the senses of the observer and allows him/her to interact with the operator, ask questions and glean as much as possible from the encounter.

Doing a procedure brings an added dimension to the experience. Personal encounters with a new process or new procedure brings with a heightened awareness – having to know for oneself the indications, alternative options, risks and benefits helps broaden our knowledge base and gives us drive to knowing our target audience. Having to learn the procedure through available channels such as text, video and/or past observations brings some visual familiarity and puts the steps of the process in the forefront of one’s mind. The actual execution of the task turns the gleaned theories and observations into a live engaging exercise, cementing one’s research into memory and then into learning and simultaneously bringing a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.

Teaching a learned procedure further engages the mind as a professional; drawing on read knowledge and personal experience to counsel a fellow colleague refreshes the mind while challenging us to examine the procedure from a different perspective. The shift from student to teacher helps us to find ways to impart one’s expertise on a fellow colleague and challenge his/her understanding before, during and after the procedure.

Reaching out to one’s younger colleagues closes the loop and encourages continued learning and growth for oneself and for those in our tutelage. Through the offering of mentorship, support and counsel, the medical/healthcare community encourages a sense of solidarity and helps us to nurture our upcoming generations. In the same way, the culture of mentorship fosters that same form of unity in our juniors and promotes their love of the profession, which also helps to bring future generations to the call of our growing, changing industry.

The medical and healthcare industry, although steeped in centuries of tradition and axiomatic principle, is now experiencing major changes along with other industries in the world. These changes make it necessary to break the box in which our industry has been perpetually enclosed, which means our fundamental approach needs to be modified. See – do – teach – reach encourages the circle of learning and perpetuates it across our current and future generations of industry professionals. With all the changes that our industry has seen and will continue, it feels like this small tweak in our approach may be the ideal fit for our field.

See. Do. Teach. Reach.