This Penn Med Student Is Balancing Virtual Lectures With At-Home Yoga
Fourth-year Penn Medicine student, Nuvid Bhuiyan, is practicing yoga in between online learning.
Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money people invest in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one area resident to spend a week tracking everything they eat, all the exercise they get, and the money they spend on both. Want to submit a Sweat Diary? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Bhuiyan completed her Sweat Diary from May 25th through May 29th, prior to the start of the protests in Philadelphia.
Who I am: Nuvid Bhuiyan (@datnunu), 27
Where I live: Rittenhouse
What I do: I am a rising fourth-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania. Apart from being a student, I run a tutoring company I started with my sister to help immigrant students navigate the educational waters. I also work on healthcare consulting projects, mentor a class for healthcare innovation run by one of my favorite college professors, invest in various research projects, and spend my “free time” writing, painting, and re-watching all of Grey’s Anatomy.
What role healthy living plays in my life: I’m lucky to have grown up in a family that really values health — both of my parents are physicians, and I can’t count the number of times my Baba told me, “Health is wealth.” From that, I was encouraged to get out and move my muscles. I’ve done everything from fencing to yoga to Unite Fitness. I also have a soft spot for traditional Chinese medicine/wellness techniques, so I often go to acupuncture and actively research new herbs, supplements, and skincare regimens.
Health memberships (and what they cost): Since the pandemic hit in March, I’ve been practicing yoga with Alo Moves for $20 per month.
9:01 a.m. — We celebrate Eid! I have been fasting for 30 days (sunrise to sunset) with my mom, dad, and sister in Long Island. Eid comes at the end of Ramadan, a time of spiritual reflection and physical restriction. Each day was filled with prayer, family, and self-betterment — all things we really needed during this pandemic and the stresses paired with it. With that said, I start getting ready for the day.
9:30 a.m. — Normally, we would go to do Eid prayer in congregation (usually with thousands others on Long Island) and then feast the day away with friends and family. This year, however, our activities will be more about our nuclear family. We join a virtual sermon and community gathering hosted by ICNYU, where we discuss topics like racial inequity, coronavirus, and spiritual enlightenment.
10:45 a.m. — We dress up to take pictures! We wear dresses my aunts had tailored for us from Bangladesh. Naturally, my sister wears mine and I’m left to wear hers.
11:30 a.m. — Over the years, a wild peacock has made its way to our backyard and has become an extended guest. Today, he decided to reveal his true feathers and we snapped some great pictures to send our family.
11:45 a.m. — My mother made a Bengali dessert, shemai (a sweet vermicelli with milk), which we enjoy with a tea from Dubai before wishing each other Eid Mubarak.
12:15 p.m. — We make beautiful henna designs on each others’ hands with henna we grew, harvested, and pureed ourselves.
12:45 p.m. — I sit down to study a few chapters of blood vessel physiology before the day gets away from me. I decided a little while ago that I would be the one to take on the enormous task of making Eid dinner for my family — something I’ve never done before!
3:45 p.m. — A few doctors who are close friends of my parents stop by for a socially-distanced hangout in our backyard.
4:40 p.m. — I begin preparing dinner, which in retrospect I realize I should have started earlier. One of my saving graces, was that I have my dear younger sister as my sous chef.
4:50 p.m. — I’m already tired LOL. This is going to be a long evening of standing and cooking. The menu consists of: fattoush salad with lemon vinaigrette, roasted beets, zucchini, and bell peppers, red snapper with lemon thyme and sage, qabuli pulao (an Afghani rice dish with raisins from the Dubai spice market, fried carrots, and almonds), braised lamb shank with carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, fresh squeezed apricot and orange juice, and for dessert, tahini cookies ($73.46 total).
9 p.m. — It’s about time to eat! I hate to toot my own horn, but everything tastes amazing.
Daily total: $73.46
8:45 a.m. — Begin the morning with an energizing, mindful breath sequence on Alo Moves.
9:12 a.m. — Finished with a 27-minute breathing sequence, I focus on my skincare regimen, particularly after a day of wearing makeup. During quarantine, I’ve experienced a massive series of breakouts that seem to be a combination of hormones and stress according to the acne face map.
11 a.m. — I drink a cup of hot water with lemon, followed by a glass of apple cider vinegar with water, a glass of fresh green juice made with celery and spinach, and a cup of rose hibiscus tea. Lots of fluids!
12 p.m. — We are off for a mini road trip to get out into the world and attempt to get a fresh breath of air.
12:45 p.m. — We roll into the Hudson Yards/Highline area and take a family walk around the Vessel. We wear masks and are lucky to be some of the only people there to explore safely and stress-free.
1:45 p.m. — We decide to drive east towards our family friend’s house around Westhampton beach.
3:25 p.m. — We stop at John Scott’s Surf Shack for some fresh fries ($7.76). They are just so good!
4:12 p.m. — Off for a beach run. There is a nice chill breeze, which feels incredibly refreshing after not leaving our house for about four weeks. I run 2.3 miles according to my Apple Watch.
5 p.m. — After cooling down and stretching with my sister, we sprawl out on the beach for a little bit to read. There is almost no one on the beach, so we’re able to be present and enjoy the quiet.
7 p.m. — Okay, so we basically forgot to eat all day (minus the fries) because our daily schedule was somewhat accustomed to eating at sunset. Once we’re home, we make cauliflower pizza and kale spinach pizza crust with avocado, mozzarella, tomatoes, and mushrooms that we had bought several days ago in a grocery haul.
9 p.m. — I sit with my dad to study a few concepts in pharmacology and ease in to the work week that’s about to start.
11:30 p.m. — I play a round of crossword puzzles with my sister before watching Grey’s Anatomy and falling asleep.
Daily total: $7.76
8:45 a.m. — Start the day with a 10-minute yoga video on Alo Moves.
9 a.m. — Sipping on a cup of coffee, I update my daily to-do list and check out my calendar.
9:30 a.m. — I am participating in a four-hour lecture series on physiology today, particularly to understand the endocrine (hormonal systems). One of the topics is about how stress and cortisol change throughout the day and with daily stressors. The professor highlights the important of sleep to overall function, and I realize I want to dig further on something we spend so much of our life doing. I order Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker ($10.99).
1:35 p.m. — I make brunch from food we have in the house, so I don’t have to go out and buy anything. I whip up some meatless breakfast patties from Trader Joe’s, baked sweet potatoes, two eggs over easy, and half an avocado.
2:15 p.m. — I have a call with a surgeon I am trying to do research with, to understand what projects currently exist so that I have a better sense of what is going on in relation to my research endeavors. These days, a lot of projects in health economics are about exploring the impact COVID-19 has had on missed appointments, biopsies, and overall patient health.
3:45 p.m. — Quick meeting with a tutoring company while on the road to Philadelphia. I am thinking of applying to be tutor for a company that basically sets students up with all the resources needed to succeed.
4:10 p.m. — Chat with my favorite high school teacher, Serena McCalla, who started iResearch Institute to help high school students stay active and curious during the summer. We discuss ways I can help and also learn about how to use data analysis to shape the future of science and medicine.
5 p.m. — I arrive in Philadelphia, just in time to virtually work with one of my students on preparing for her MCAT.
6:05 p.m. — I finally get to spend some quality time with my boyfriend, Andrew, a professional soccer player!
7 p.m. — Together, we do my favorite workout: Les Mills BodyCombat (free on Youtube). It’s absolutely amazing — 45 minutes that gets harder each time. Even when I am the most tired, I come out of it feeling incredibly energized. I’ve learned that if you workout before you eat (and eat within 20 minutes of working out), you increase your GLUT4 receptors on your skeletal muscles, meaning your blood glucose doesn’t rise as much because your muscles are primed to uptake the sugars. So if you’re planning on a big meal, working out or going for a walk is perfect to prime your body.
7:50 p.m. — We enjoy a great meal together, with foods like octopus salad, olives, steak, chicken, squid ink pasta, and dates. Andrew picked up everything from Di Bruno Bros. earlier today.
Daily total: $10.99
4:30 a.m. — Wake up early, stumble around, and try to get oriented. I’m trying to match Andrew’s schedule for today, which is going to be tough because he wakes up so early. But we’re starting the day with an outdoor run. When I work out first thing in the morning no matter the current momentum of my life, I feel a strong sense of accomplishment and am able to start building on “wins,” which sets the tempo for the rest of my day. Additionally, it’s easy to get through difficult and tedious efforts while my mind is full of endorphins.
5:45 a.m. — Back and showered. I also meditate in a seated position while drying from my shower, as it provides a clarity for me.
6:54 a.m. — While Andrew eats a breakfast of chicken, beef, eggs, avocados, and vegetables, I sip on my teas and concoctions.
7:27 a.m. — We read together, as we are working hard to curtail social media consumption.
9:30 a.m. — I’ll be spending the next four hours working on my online electives as part of medical school. Since COVID, our rotations have shifted to an online format. While I miss being in the hospital and interacting with patients, I feel I am doing my part in learning from home. I just finished a four-week course on radiology and now am doing some pathology time. I look at slides of different tissue samples and see what kinds of changes occur when someone has diseases like diabetes or lupus.
2 p.m. — One of my students I mentor is a former professional boxer, and is looking for a support system to help the transition from college to a career in higher education. We talk about all the different resources that exist to help him achieve his goals, as well as flesh out his career ambitions.
4 p.m. — I decide to channel the frustration I’ve been feeling regarding current social injustices through painting and listening to music.
5:15 p.m. — I complete questions and review concepts I learned today using Amboss (for which I am an “Ambossador”).
7:45 p.m. — Dinnertime! We feast on the leftovers from yesterday, and it’s all still delicious.
8:15 p.m. — I make haldi doodh (a golden milk latte) with ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, ground black pepper, and manuka honey. For the base milk, I use unsweetened almond, cashew, and macadamia nut milk. I love this stuff!
8:20 p.m. — We settle down watching The Goldfinch, while I work on some social media collaborations.
9:45 p.m. — Time to call it a night.
Daily total: $0
7:30 a.m. — Wake up to what feels like day 1,234,567 of this new world order with a morning yoga stretch on the mat next to my bed.
7:45 a.m. — I recheck my to-do list and note that I want to order some beauty products since some places are having sales right now. Granted, I don’t really have anywhere to go these days …
8:30 a.m. — I listen to a update regarding our medical school’s classes and read an article about how coronavirus may persist in our stool (good morning!).
9:30 a.m. — Time to join the lecture on pathology and biochemistry.
1 p.m. — Call my mom quick, and review some concepts I just learned.
1:30 p.m. — We head to the local Four Seasons to buy an orchid for the apartment to spruce up the place ($23).
2:30 p.m. — Andrew and I go for a run towards the Rocky Steps for the afternoon. It’s nice to get outside, workout, and be together all at the same time.
6 p.m. — We order dinner from Dan Dan Rittenhouse ($35). Andrew has recently pursued a keto-diet for several weeks now and tries to mainly eat beef, salmon, eggs, cucumbers, and sauerkraut with lots and lots of water, coffee, and the occasional mango-flavored kefir. I try to join in where I can!
8 p.m. — During this time we look for job opportunities for Andrew as he’s transitioning from his playing career and seeking roles in sports tech and consulting.
9 p.m. — I read the book on sleep that has already gotten here thanks to Amazon, and indulge in a weekly bath with lavender Epsom salts and rose petals. Ah, so relaxing!
10 p.m. — To bed we go. Goodnight world.
Daily total: $58
Money spent: $150.21
Workouts completed: Five