Practically all of us have some innate desire to be healthier, whether it’s a focus on our physical, mental, or emotional health. But between the costs of personal training sessions, meal planning services, therapy, counseling, and medications — as well as finding the time to make room for these activities each day — it can be easy to ignore the things that can help us improve our health. For graduate students, and medical school students in particular, keeping up with these activities along with the daily pressure of course requirements can leave hardly any room for time to focus on their own health.
This problem is one that 4th-year medical student Cameron Ghassemi recognized early on in his academic career. Since his sophomore year of college in 2015, Ghassemi has been a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. After attaining this certification, he developed an online company in my sophomore year of college; Fitlifeadvice.com.
Having grown up overweight and suffering from an eating disorder and body dysmorphia at a young age, Ghassemi founded Fitlifeadvice, LLC to embark on a mission that would not only improve his own health in a holistic way but also to guide others and help train them to a healthier lifestyle through proper diet and exercise.
“Throughout college, I trained students weekly at our campus gym and developed a comprehensive training program encompassing their mental, physical, and emotional health,” said Ghassemi. “The work was very rewarding, especially if I could make an impact on a person’s health. This experience allowed me to develop communication and interpersonal skills and work with clients in a holistic manner which I can draw upon as a future physician.”
For Ghassemi, the call to focus on bettering his own health came many years after his eating disorder had taken hold. He recalls feeling as if he was living a double life; becoming obsessed with working out and eating under 1,000 calories a day while hiding his disorder and declining health from friends, family, and colleagues. It wasn’t until one day at the pool when Ghassemi’s father, a physician himself, noted his son’s protruding ribs and commented on them. But Ghassemi swept the remarks under the rug. That is, at least, until about a year later when he could no longer ignore the effects his condition had on his health.
“I was extremely fortunate to have doctors that were kind, caring, compassionate, but most importantly they weren’t judgemental of my condition or health at all,” Ghassemi said. “Their guidance helped me to see myself more clearly. It was the spark I needed to truly focus on improving my health and what ultimately led me towards wanting to help others feel the same sense of relief.”
As a certified health coach and owner of Fitlifeadvice, LLC, now in his 4th year of medical school, Ghassemi knows firsthand how one single aspect of our health can affect the entire body’s ability to function at peak performance. This is how he is able to, “[integrate] the perspective of a personal trainer and a medical student,” with his company to help talk about and teach others, “about the benefits of holistic health, mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.”
Indeed, Ghassemi’s work as a personal trainer and his academic studies as a medical student makes him uniquely qualified to offer expert advice to others regarding their holistic health. Along with offering free health advice to colleagues in search of guidance, he has also worked at an age 65+ community in Florida to show its residents how to stay healthy and fit without using heavy or cumbersome workout equipment.
Despite the hardships of medical school and bettering one’s personal health, Ghassemi has managed to excel at both—all while founding and leading an online company to help improve the health and lives of others.