Finding Fitness Success in Unexpected Places

April 5, 2023

PGY-3 Internal Medicine residents Dr. Celine Fadel and Dr. Abdullah Asreb reveal their secrets for a successful fitness journey below!

Tell us about yourselves, where you’re from and how you got into medicine.

Dr. Fadel – I’m from Virginia Beach, Virginia and completed my higher-level schooling in Blacksburg, Virginia. I made the choice to pursue medicine in kindergarten and haven’t wavered since. Being a physician is multifaceted. Although rigorous in training, it is endlessly fulfilling. After finishing my undergraduate degrees in biological sciences and French literature at Virginia Tech, I stayed in my college town to attend medical school at VCOM. 

Dr. Asreb – Originally from Syria, I grew up in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and moved to the US for my residency training three years ago. Like Dr. Fadel, I have always wanted to pursue a career in medicine, which later evolved into a passion for cardiology. I’m grateful to pursue that as my fellowship for the next three years.

How did you become workout partners?

Dr. Fadel – I had been an active member of Orange Theory Fitness (OTF) while living in Virginia. When I moved to Gainesville, I was ecstatic to find an OTF nearby. Dr. Asreb had been looking for a gym, and after trying a class at OTF, I knew he was convinced to stay. We started signing up for the same classes, and this time has become our “social hour.” We’ve formed a unique bond based on a shared interest in fitness. We also motivate each other to sign up for class; some days this is after a long shift at 7:00 p.m., and sometimes it is before at 5:00 a.m.

Dr. Asreb – I hadn’t considered myself an active person and have dealt with excess weight for almost my whole life. I tried many fitness routines before, but none were sustainable. After several attempts by Dr. Fadel, I finally signed up for my first class at Orange Theory and have been a committed member since! Working out with a partner is one of the reasons I have been able to remain consistent with it.  

What are your recent fitness goals?

Dr. Fadel – My goal is to exercise consistently as best I can despite the demands. My perception of fitness is to maintain both my physical and mental health. Sleep, for example, is a priority. I never get less than 7-8 hours of it. When I sleep better, I fuel myself adequately to tackle the day ahead. I’m also mindful of my eating habits. Admittedly, this has been the most challenging because of all the amazing snacks in the hospital! Overall, I’ve learned that fitness is composed of many elements and is an ever-evolving journey.

Dr. Asreb – My focus currently is to have a healthier BMI. I evolved from viewing fitness as a chore to something that I enjoy doing. I aim for at least 4-5 classes of moderate to high-intensity exercises weekly, and I try to walk 10,000 steps a day.

How have your fitness goals been impacted by having a workout partner?

Dr. Fadel – Having a workout partner like Dr. Asreb has pushed me to continuously push my own limits. Because he sprints faster than me, that encourages me to increase my speed (which I thought was decent until we started working out together!). On the other hand, if I see him settling in the weights department, I force him to pick up heavier dumbbells like I do. We usually roll our eyes, but we never regret the friendly competition.

Dr. Asreb – Dr. Fadel has a great knowledge of fitness. She helped me understand that it’s not only about losing weight and following the numbers on a scale. She also helped me make more nutritious food choices, which I believe plays a more important role in anyone’s fitness journey than working out!

What advice would you give to residents looking to improve their health and wellness, and do you recommend any workout routines?

Dr. Fadel – Start by incorporating 1-2 activities weekly you enjoy, whether it’s a group or solo session. Some of my co-residents invest in home equipment for convenience. I also recommend using each Sunday to plan the week ahead. This optimizes your schedule and sets you up for success. A favorite quote of mine is, “When your mind is telling you that you’re done and you cannot possibly go further, you’re only actually at 40%.” It’s incredible knowing what you can accomplish when you get used to being uncomfortable. 

Dr. Asreb – Look for a routine that you enjoy doing because it will be easier to commit to. Step out of your comfort zone and try new things. I never imagined being able to run a mile in under 10 minutes until I tried it! Try working out in a group setting as it’s more motivating to work out with people who share your fitness goals.

Learn more about the Internal Medicine residency program at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.