Ep 3. Staying fit while in medical school: tips from a varsity athlete


Bill Wong Cover Photo Bill Wong is currently an MD Candidate, Class of 2019 at UBC. Prior to medical school he finished three years of a BSc in Chemistry at UBC. He runs varsity track and field, jumping hurdles at impressive speeds. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without a gym bag.


  • Bill’s story
  • Ways to fit exercise into a busy schedule
  • How sports inform medical practice
  • Profiting from stress

Statistics Mentioned:

  1. Physicians who perform aerobic exercise regularly are more likely to counsel their patients on the benefits of these exercises, as are physicians who perform strength training (Abramson, Stein, Schaufele, Frates, & Rogan, 2000)
  2. Physical activity habits of physicians matter. Providers who themselves act on the advice they give provide better counselling and motivation to their patients to adopt such health advice (Lobelo, Duperly & Frank, 2009)
  3. Medical students are at high risk for stress. Among many suggestions, Yiu (2005) talks about regular exercise as a way to relieve stress.
  4. Stecker (2004) states that the incidence of stress and major depression is 3x higher in medical student population than that of the general public population.
  5. Steinert, Naismith, & Mann (2012) discuss ways to improve leadership skills in medical school. Team sports is explored as an option.


Bill is an incredibly driven individual. After the interview, I felt rather motivated so I followed him to the gym located in the Medical Student and Alumni Center (MSAC). Nothing pushes you to keep up quite like working out with an elite athlete. During my frequent water breaks, Bill gave me some more information about his training. He does not drink alcohol, he plans most of his meals for the week and he lifts weights outside of his running schedule. Note to self: work out with Bill again.


Abramson, S., Stein, J., Schaufele, M., Frates, E., & Rogan, S. (2000). Personal exercise habits and counseling practices of primary care physicians: a national survey. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine10(1), 40-48.

Lobelo, F., Duperly, J., & Frank, E. (2009). Physical activity habits of doctors and medical students influence their counselling practices. British journal of sports medicine43(2), 89-92.

Stecker T. Well-being in an academic environment. Med Educ2004;38:465-78.

Yiu, V. (2005). Supporting the well-being of medical students. Canadian Medical Association Journal172(7), 889-890.


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