We’re back with another installment of my favourite series, Inspiring Humans.
Each month I like to highlight a totally inspirational human that’s come into my life. They may be someone I’ve met through family and friends, through my own fitness endeavours, or through my social media interactions.
Today I’m shining the spotlight on Farrah Fong. I “met” Farrah through the online blogging community I’m a part of, Sweat Pink.
Not only is Farrah super friendly and ultra-inspirational, but she’s a total badass! This girl is weight lifting and dancing her way to becoming a doctor so she can inspire families to live happy and healthy lives.
But I’ll let Farrah tell you more about all that 😉
#1 – Have you always wanted to be a doctor, or did a certain event inspire you to become one?
Fun fact! Throughout high school, I actually wanted to be a vet (that’s partly why UC Davis was my first choice for undergrad), but I realized fairly early on that it’d break my heart to have to euthanize pets.
In my freshman year, my family got into a car accident and my grandma ended up in the hospital. I spent my spring break there translating for her and keeping her company, but what I felt most overwhelmingly was helplessness—I hated that I had no idea what was going on and didn’t know what I could do to help her.
The following year, I started volunteering at a free primary care clinic (Paul Hom Asian Clinic) as a medical interpreter and patient advocate, and I absolutely fell in love with family medicine and being able to help the patients there, so much so that I used to sneak back there almost every weekend after I graduated. (“Sneak” because my parents weren’t entirely okay with me driving >100 miles just to volunteer.) Someday, I’d love to go back there as a physician to volunteer!
(My compromise on not becoming a vet is that when I finally have an income again, I want to fund no-kill shelters like Please Save A Cat [otherwise known as my second home out here]. <3 )
#2 – What do you hope to accomplish as a doctor? What message do you want to send to your patients?
I want to go into family medicine, and am especially interested in sports medicine, and working with the under-served! I think preventative care is extremely important, and want to inspire my patients to make the necessary lifestyle + dietary changes to lead healthier lives. Part of why I’m so hell-bent on maintaining a healthy lifestyle through medical school is so that I can lead by example.
#3 – What’s something you know now that you wish you had known when you were just starting your quest to become a doctor?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when/if you need it. I have a long history of not wanting to trouble anyone with my problems, and if it’s something I’m fairly certain that I can do on my own, I tend to default to figuring it out on my own.
I think if I’d learned to ask for help earlier, I might have done better in several courses that completely kicked my butt over the years, but…on the flip side, they built [a lot of] character and at least I’m still standing?!
#4 – I can imagine that your workload is CRAY-Z. How do you manage to juggle requirements for school, blogging, coming up with delicious recipes, and exercise, all while being on a student budget?
School always has to come first (although I admit, I definitely procrastinate sometimes), and I fill in whatever “spare” time I have with everything else. I have some major type A/workaholic tendencies, and always feel like I have to be doing something, so I make giant to-do lists and cross things off as I finish them. Here’s…my current-ish one:Most of my posts are written in my pockets of free time and scheduled 1-12 months into the future, and I cook in bulk on the weekends so that I’ll have food prepared for the entire week. With exercise, I shove it in wherever I can. If I get out early enough that the gym’s still open, I’ll go lift and/or jump in on a group fitness or BJJ class.
I’ve been notoriously frugal for most of my life, so I’ve been keeping my living expenses (rent, utilities, food, etc.—basically everything other than tuition) under $10k/year since 2006. Learning to cook and make all my own food has helped a ton, and I’m also really lucky in the sense that over here, if people like you, they tend to feed you. <3
#5 – Have you always been as active as time would allow, or was it something you discovered later in life?
I’ve never exactly been sedentary, but didn’t really exercise regularly until college. I did gymnastics in high school and danced with Na Keiki ‘O Hawai’i (Polynesian cultural dance club at Davis) throughout undergrad. Hula + Tahitian will forever hold a piece of my heart—I miss dancing with them so much!
I learned to lift weights in junior year of college, partly because I changed my major from Biological Sciences to Exercise Biology, and felt like I’d be a disgrace to my major if I didn’t exercise more. Since then, I’ve pretty much been piling on the activities, although I’ve had to tone it down a lot ever since medical school happened.
#6 – Do you have any tips for staying active when you might not necessarily have enough time for a full workout?
I had to let go of my all-or-nothing mindset and just accept the fact that some days, I really just won’t have the time to get in a full workout if I’m to keep my priorities straight.
On days where I know I can’t get a full workout in, I do a lot of bodyweight exercises (e.g. squats, pushups, dips, planks, etc.) and climb all the stairs in the hospital. I hate cardio, but if I have something I need to read, study, or memorize, I’ll powerwalk on the treadmill at a super-steep incline until I get the information down.
#7 – How do you stay fuelled during a busy day at the hospital?
Ah…I’m on my surgery rotation right now, so there is a lottttt of standing, especially when the cases end up way more complicated than we anticipated (oh gallbladder, you were such a tease).
I never really drink coffee, but I do consume copious amounts of green tea and keep my pockets stashed with all sorts of snacks to scarf down between surgeries!
#8 – Do you have a favourite budget-friendly healthy recipe?
I am horrible with picking favorites, but oatmeal and rice tend to be pretty cheap, and they last forever, so I use both of them a lot!
#9 – You seem to have an incredibly varied exercise history between pole, powerlifting, dance, and martial arts. Can you share what some of your favourite forms of exercise have been, and what you’ve learned from trying so many different things?
I adore powerlifting, because that’s what sparked my love for exercise and healthy living. Deadlifts are my favorite, and my best PR to date is 275 lb! Someday, I’d love to break 350. :]
I took pole dancing lessons at Twirly Girls Pole Fitness (where my first fitfam originated <3) for 6 months before I had to move across the country for grad school. (They’re actually the reason I started my blog!) At present, pole may well be what I miss the most. I can lift and practice hula/Tahitian on my own, but having someone to spot you for pole makes a huge difference, and the lack of a pole studio makes that difficult. :[
My advice would be to find something that you love, and stick to it! My issue is that I like wayyy too many things, and I never seem to drop any of them, so I just keep accumulating more and more. ._.
#10 – What’s one piece of advice you would like to share with our readers today?
My top piece of advice would be to find a balance, and figure out what works for you. There isn’t any set routine, workout plan, diet, or style of living that will work for everyone. We were made to be different, and while I’m all for striving for self-improvement on a daily basis, I think it’s also really important to accept that you can’t be perfect.
Thank you SO much Farrah for sharing your story with us! You are one amazing chick! Be sure to check out Farrah on her social media channels for more from this awesome girl.
Do you have anyone ultra-inspiring in your life you think deserves a post? If so, let me know! I’d love to learn more about them 😀