Heavy lifting: Physician weightlifting for personal growth and patient motivation

April 07, 2022 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Heroes

People tend to have more credibility when they walk their talk.

It’s easy to tell people they should exercise regularly and eat right—it’s an entirely different thing to make it your personal lifestyle.

Doug Tran, M.D., an internal medicine physician with Edward Medical Group, has credibility and empathy to spare. He spends his workdays treating patients and advising them on health and wellness. In his off-hours, he follows a strict regimen of nutrition and physical training.

Dr Doug Tran

Doug Tran, M.D.

Before the coronavirus pandemic started in 2020, Dr. Tran participated in daily group exercise at a local CrossFit gym. The exercise not only improved his physical health, it also provided a mental health boost.

About five years into his CrossFit routine, however, the gym stopped group exercise because of COVID-19.

“I had a good relationship with the gym owner, who let me come in after hours to train and relieve stress,” Dr. Tran says.

A coach at the gym who had competed in weightlifting told Dr. Tran he should consider it. Intrigued, he gave it a shot.

“I would train on my own. I’d videorecord lifts and he would critique me,” Dr. Tran says. “Technically, I got better, I got stronger. And as the pandemic improved, we were able to start getting together again for competitions. He encouraged me to try out for a competition to see how I compared to others.”

In February 2022, Dr. Tran competed in Villa Park, keeping his expectations low and just looking to have fun.

“I placed gold and qualified for the 2022 National Masters Weightlifting Championships, age 50 to 55,” he says.

So Dr. Tran is taking his training to a new level and will compete at the event on April 22, 2022 in Salt Lake City.

The workout, nutrition and sleep regimen necessary for success in weightlifting has been helpful in his relationships with his patients.

“It definitely gives a talking point, because I'm living it as well—the struggles pretty much everyone would face, we all have goals,” Dr. Tran says. “I sometimes hear from patients that they haven't been able to get activity in five days a week. There are days when I don't do that. I can relate and have empathy for them.

“It's a lengthy process, to reach our goals. If you can't fit in five days of exercise, one is better than zero.”

Regardless of the outcome of the weightlifting competition, Dr. Tran plans to continue his regimen.

“My wife always has been a great supporter, she still shakes her head and says I can't believe you're doing this,” Dr. Tran says. “It's been a great example for my kids. With childhood obesity on the rise, they see their parents staying active and eating healthy as well and it motivates them to do the same.”

Dr. Douglas Tran is an internal medicine physician with Edward Medical Group. View his profile and schedule an appointment online.

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