Exercising has been a bit of a challenge living on an island. There are gyms, but they are pretty expensive. Too expensive for a Caribbean medical student – $60 a month!

I want to use that $$ for food. I’m a guy, so I want to do more than jog on a beach. Weight lifting is a must. So what does a broke medical student do to get exercise in a 3rd world country?

  1. Circuit training can be a great way to add variety and excitement to workouts.
  2. Set a time to beat (ex: 2 miles in 20 minutes) and keep trying to beat your time. It makes work outs fun and challenging.
  3. Don’t neglect your eating habits, the healthier, the better, and you should see results in less time.

I run on the beach at least 3 times a week. I ride my bike wherever I go.

The food in Belize is pretty tasty! When I first arrived I had fried food way too much along with stuff like pizza, and fried jacks. Since last year I’ve come a long way in improving my health via exercise and eating right. Because being at a Caribbean medical school is stressful, exercising and keeping active is essential.

Eating healthy is also important!

I cut out hamburgers from my diet and red meat to a great extent. I only eat red meat about twice a week, and I’ve replaced servings of red meat with chicken and fish. I used to hate fish, and you might hate it too, but find a delicious, healthy way to prepare it, and you’ll benefit. I reduced the extent that I eat cheese, cut down on pizza to once a month, changed my cooking style to be low-sodium as well as avoiding high-sodium/high-fat foods, and I drink skim milk, as well as eat oatmeal and healthy cereals that provide enough fiber. I also cut out crawfish, lobster, shrimp, eggs, and I rarely have dessert (probably 1-2 times a month). That’s just my personal “plan,” it varies with everyone else, so just go with what your doctor recommends.

Part of my health philosophy is this: You can eat what you want for fuel, but be smart. Would you eat 900 calories in a meal that contains 7 grams of fat, or would you eat a meal of 900 calories, that, by proportion, contains a lot more fat and cholesterol and is less nutritious?

Anyway, (again, non-professional advice, and I’m not responsible for your health), I find that eating healthy and exercise is a great way to get in shape. You can eat super healthy all the time, but is your heart and circulation as healthy as they could be? You can also exercise all the time, but how does that help if you’re eating foods rich in fat and saturated fats with minimal vegetables and fiber? It’s all a balance. And don’t feel bad about the occasional dessert or snack if you consistently work out and are in great shape, it makes for a nice reward/treat.

We can do so much to improve and maintain good health, and in turn, prevent a lot of diseases that become resistant to treatment and then progress. It’s all in your hands, so get out there and have some fun!