Published October 5, 2017

Fitness Inspiration: Medical Resident Vanessa Rojas

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Vanessa Rojas is the definition of “No Excuses!”. Vanessa is a Frequent FHIXer who managed to FHIT in sweat sessions throughout her medical residency, a notoriously grueling couple of years for newly minted MDs. Keep reading to learn how getting her FHIX helped her fight through 24 hour shifts and what keeps her coming back for more!

How did you first find out about Fhitting Room? What inspired you to come for your first FHIX?
I first found out about Fhitting Room four years ago. As soon as I joined ClassPass, I read lots of reviews about different studios and it stood out to me, so I decided to give it a try.

Describe your first FHIXperience. Who were your FHITpros and what did you think of the class?
My first FHIXperience was quite daunting initially, but that all quickly went away once the workout started. It was on 80th Street and it was a small class so I knew I couldn’t hide. When I first walked in I was startled by Daury because he was HUGE, had a lot of tattoos and asked me very loudly if it was my first time. HA joke was on me since he has become one of my favorite FHITpros. Eric was also teaching and I just remember being a little taken aback by all the energy he had. Daury asked me if I had ever swung a kettlebell before and I replied “what’s that?”

Once I started the class I felt like I worked out my body in a way completely different from anything I had ever done in the past. I felt challenged by the movements but they still seemed doable. And the magic touch was the motivation Daury and Eric provided. That was unlike any other studio I had ever been to. After the workout, I felt like my fitness life had changed because I wanted to become stronger and better, not just for aesthetic reasons, but because I wanted to become a girl who could do those so called “kettlebell swings.” I could not wait for my next FHIX. My first FHIX was a few months before starting residency and I was a little sad knowing over the next few months I would have little to no time to workout. While I couldn’t come nearly as often as I wanted to during that first year of residency, I made it a point to make it to class as much as possible.

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What do you do when you're not working out?
Most of my time outside Fhitting Room, I spend working. After finishing residency, I feel like I came from being from outer space and am now just getting back to reality.  So now I am trying to re-discover the small joys in life like going to the movies, apple picking, and shopping. Sounds crazy but all very true.

How do you make time for FHIXes with your busy schedule? How do regular classes affect your mood and the goals you are working towards?
Making time for FHIXes is easy. I mentally just pick a day I am going to go to Fhitting Room and don’t sign up for a time until the day before or the day of in case something comes up at the hospital. It’s going to sound corny but making time is all about what you put into it. I know that working out makes me feel refreshed and helps me think more clearly so getting a FHIX is going to happen because I made that decision and not because I necessarily had time. Often during residency, I could have continued working on charts or paperwork, but I knew that by getting a FHIX I gave 50 minutes to myself which ultimately could lead to being able to give back more to my patients. My workout buddy also knows I can’t go too long without a FHIX otherwise I start to feel like something is missing.

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What role has high intensity interval training played in thriving during your medical residency?
High intensity interval training played a huge role in thriving during residency. I have found a huge parallel between the two. For example, working 24 hour shifts is quite possibly one of the most difficult mentally and physically draining tasks I have ever had to do in my life. There usually comes a time around 1-3am where complete delirium sets in. There is a certain type of mental and physical energy that one needs for this. It is the same energy that one needs to do burpees during a FHIX after fatigue from the rest of the workout. That little voice telling you to keep going even when you want to stop and crawl in a ball goes a long way during those long nights. Finding that core mental and physical strength is something that helped me persevere time and time again during residency.

Who are your favorite FHITpros? Why are they your favorites?
I have so many favorite FHITpros!!! I love Daury, Eric, Jason, Simon, Mark, Jess, Dara, and Dennys. They are my favorites because they push me to be a better version of myself time and time again all while making me laugh. In today’s society, there is very little building up of each other as humans and to have that at Fhitting Room each and every single time is truly something special.

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What are your favorite workout moves and skills you have learned at Fhitting Room? Do you have any least favorites?
My favorite workout move at Fhitting Room is the box jump because I love jumping and (like most of the moves at the Fhitting Room) I used to be terrible at it and now I am so much better. I used to hate the burpee because I just couldn’t do that many but then I trained for a Spartan race, put my mind to it, and dare I say it, I am actually starting to love them.

What advice do you have for first time FHIXers?
My advice for first time FHIXers would be to not get discouraged if you didn’t feel “good enough” at the moves the first time you come. That doesn’t matter one bit!!!! Knowing that I have come so far as a FHIXer makes me super proud and keeps me motivated to push myself to new limits each time.

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