Dr. Mahmood Hasan is an individual who truly reflects the idea of “eat clean and train mean”. Now a second year resident from McGill University, Mahmood uses exercise and his social supports to help him destress from the demands of residency. Here he shares his tips for planning work outs and meals, while trying to juggle a busy schedule. Check out how he stays healthy in EM!

  • HasanName: Mahmood Hasan
  • Location: Montreal, Quebec
  • Current job(s): PGY-2 Emergency Medicine Resident, McGill University
  • One word that describes how you stay healthy: Commitment
  • Primary behavior/activity for destressing: Working out and traveling

What are the top 3 ways you keep healthy?

  1. Eating healthy. I make a conscious effort to watch what I eat. Although it may seem excessive, I do check and calorie-count my food whenever I can. In general I try my best to eat healthy, while juggling the busy life of a resident.
  1. Staying active. I have a strong commitment to the gym. I work out almost 5-6 times per week, and have a “no excuse” attitude when it comes to skipping my work out. Working out provides me with an outlet to release my stress after a busy shift. And as an extra bonus, it keeps me energized throughout the day. After all, look good, feel good!
  1. Traveling. If you have the opportunity to travel, do it! During residency, stress tends to build, and traveling provides a good option to relax and decompress. Taking note of my busy rotations and planning ahead gives me the opportunity to schedule vacation for when I really need it. Traveling gives me a chance to reset, so that I am fueled and ready to go when I come back to work.

What’s your ideal workout?

My ideal workout is a combination of weight lifting and cardio. I started using this combination during my second year of medical school, and I have no complaints. The cardio fuels me with energy, and the weights push me to set goals for how much I can lift. Setting goals and working through the challenge is a large part of why I love working out.

Do you track your fitness? How?

My ideal workout is a combination of weight lifting and cardio. I started using this combination during my second year of medical school, and I have no complaints. The cardio fuels me with energy, and the weights push me to set goals for how much I can lift. Setting goals and working through the challenge is a large part of why I love working out.

How do you prepare for a night shift? How do you recover from one?

Because I am a morning person, I am usually up early. During this time I study, exercise, or meet with friends. In the afternoon, I usually sleep for a minimum of 2 hours, then wake up to prepare my meals for the night. Before the shift, I take it easy and eat a meal that I would usually eat for breakfast. My breakfast meals are high in carbs so that I have the energy I need to make it through the night.

I recover from my shift by getting in quality sleep. If I can, I try and sleep uninterrupted for about 5 hours. This gives me just enough energy to get things done when I wake, without having problems sleeping again at night. My routine after waking up from a night shift usually includes a light day at the gym. I mainly focus on cardio, and leave the weights for days when I have more energy.

How do you avoid getting “hangry” (angry due to hunger) on shift?

I eat regular and frequent meals, which usually works out to about 6 times per day. I prepare meals in advance, so that I don’t waste time on days with shifts. I try and eat every 2-3 hours, mainly snacking during shifts. I pack things that are easy on the go, such as fruits and vegetables, protein bars, shakes, nuts, or rice cake with peanut/almond butter.

How do you ensure you are mentally in check?

Maintaining my social networks. My family lives quite far away, so I try to connect with them at least once a week. I do find this a challenge at times, because of the huge time difference. But I do find ways to keep busy in the city by meeting with friends. At least once a week, I plan an activity with friends, which can include going for dinner, games night, or playing a sport.

What are the biggest challenges you face in maintaining a longstanding career in EM? How do you address these challenges?

Shift work. Although shift work can be beneficial in some circumstances, in the long haul it is exhausting. I know managing shift work will become even more of a challenge when I have a family and other commitments to attend too. To balance this out, I hope to pursue a fellowship that will be more accommodating to the future lifestyle I wish to lead.

Best advice you have received for maintaining health?

Eating clean. I believe it’s all about what you eat, more than about how much you eat. It all adds to boosting your metabolism, burning fat faster, and giving you the energy you need.

Who would you love for us to track down to answer these questions?

Martin Kuuskne
Muna Al Musleh
Antony Robert

Zafrina Poonja, MD

Zafrina Poonja, MD

Editor, How I Stay Healthy in EM series
Emergency Medicine Resident
University of Alberta
Zafrina Poonja, MD

@zafrinapoonja

Emergency Medicine Resident. Assistant Editor @ALiEMteam. Lover of travel, soccer, and boat shoes.