T Nation

Training For Medical Interns

What would you suggest for a 23 yo medical intern who has to make 32 hours shifts every third day? You know, training, diet, etc.

Alberto Mendez
Mexico City.

Hey, there Alberto. Welcome to T-Nation. We have a few doctor types running around here. Hopefully someone who’s been in your shoes will stop by shortly.

My quick thoughts on your situation? Limit the damage while giving priority to your career.

There are 3 things you need to address when trying to stay fit:

  • Cardio
  • Diet
  • Resistance Training

The cardio is easy. Stick to what’s called High Intensity Interval training or HIIT. Do a search here on T-Nation for more info. It’s intense, fast, effective, and you’re done in 15-20 minutes.

Diet is going to be harder. Once again, limit the damage. Replace bad choices with good ones. Educate yourself on nutrition for athletic performance and body composition (not taught in medical school). Limit or eliminate sweets, cakes, cookies, Cokes, etc. Make sure you always carry quality choices with you. Nuts, jerky, protein powder, apples, pre-cooked food that will help you meet your goals. Focus on green veggies. They’re healthy and full of nutrients. They’re also high in fiber. Get away from rice, potatoes, bread, except for PWO when your body is better able to handle starchy carbs. Finally, educate yourself on healthy fats. Stay away from fried foods and incorporate fat from raw nuts, avocados, cold water fish, olive oil, flaxseed oil.

Resistance training. Honestly, realistically, by the time you finish your shift and get some sleep, I don’t see how you’re going to have much time for resistance training. Plan on doing a whole body routine every third day. You can find excellent programs here on T-Nation. It will actually be enough to maintain your current body comp. If your diet is good and you work out every third day, you should even make some progress towards your goals.

The above ought to give you a running start. As I said, hopefully you’ll get some useful input from others here on the forum who have been in yoru shoes or at least understand what you’re going through.

Hang tough, Alberto. It’s probably going to be a rough few years ahead, but you’re close to achieving what you’ve worked so hard for.

Stick to compound movements. With limited time you could go one day cardio, another day full body workout.

Stick to:
Squat or deadlift (alternate if you wish)
Bench press
Chins or Bent row (alternate if you wish)

This is easy and effective.

P.S. I am an MD/PhD student. I have yet to hit the clinics, but this is what I would do with a limited schedule.

I agree with beefcake, stick to the compound movements. If you could hit full body twice a week with 1-2 cardio sessions you’ll be fine. It’ll get you through this tough time.
I’m a med student myself - what kind of intern are you??