Pharmacist Feature Friday: Pharmacists Lead By Example

JUNE 08, 2018

For more information about Pharmacist Feature Friday and how to participate, click here.

As one of the most accessible health care providers, our patients come to us seeking advice not only for prescription medication and OTC questions but also on the big question: "How do I get healthy?"

My name is Dr. Adam Martin, and I am the founder of The Fit Pharmacist. When I was in pharmacy school, I noticed something profound in all my classes: Nutrition is the cornerstone of therapy for every disease state we help to treat as health care professionals, yet we are not given much training as to the science behind it. Patients frequently ask questions about nutrition; what are you going to say? Are you using those tips yourself? Are you leading them to better health through your own example to inspire their journeys?
 
In health care, we strive every day to improve the lives of those we serve. Sometimes, we care so deeply and give so much, that we sacrifice our own health. At first it starts small: skipping a meal or forgoing that one workout. But over time, it can become a habit that contributes to an unhealthy lifestyle. I saw this in pharmacy school, working with extremely passionate health care providers who would smoke to curb stress, binge eat after work because they had not eaten for 10 hours, or grab anything that was available to munch on, which more often than not was some of the unhealthiest food options imaginable. I started to see this more and more, even after I graduated and became a full-time pharmacist. I thought to myself, there must be a better way. 
 
As I started on this journey 10 years ago, I started to get amazing results, so much so that colleagues began asking me for advice on ways they could feel happy and healthy and happy with their lifestyles. This really struck a chord with me, as it was a major reason I became a pharmacist. But then it hit me. Who serves patients? Not just pharmacists but nurses, physician assistants, physicians, and other members of the health care team. We are all on a mission to improve the health and lives of our patients, and we want to give our absolute best. But if we ourselves are not functioning at our best health, how can we honestly say we are doing that? However, if we commit to empowering ourselves to be healthier in terms of nutrition and mental and physical fitness and in how we deal with the stress of the environment, job, and our relationships with colleagues and patients, we can function at optimal health. If we have healthy lifestyles, we can not only be the best versions of ourselves, but we can lead by example. 
 
Cookie-cutter plans, skipping meals not by choice, and having zero energy to work out are not the norm. I know because I used to “live” that way until I found flexible dieting through what I now teach. The main concept of structured flexibility made so much sense, gave me so much relief from not having to follow a restrictive diet or rely on supplements or pricey shakes. Through the support of simplified science-based nutrition, paired with the flexibility of being able to make my own choices in any given situation about what to eat because I know what to eat from that structure, it led to such a feeling of freedom and empowerment that I wanted to share this with others looking to really live their best lives on their terms. It was liberating. 
 
I began to connect with others in my profession who overcame their own struggles on their journeys toward health, and we began to share with each other what we had learned along the way. Those who were still looking for where to start to improve their health became inspired, and they put that into action to actually become healthier. This was what created The Fit Pharmacist movement, which has grown far beyond what I could have ever imagined, to inspire and positively affect the lives of not just pharmacists and pharmacy students, but other healthcare professions. It has turned into a way to bridge the gap among practitioners, so that we can motivate and support each other to stick to our commitment to health both personally and professionally. The community that has been created by these amazing individuals continues to grow daily, and I am really proud to be a part of it. Health care is what you make of it. We must make it our mission to lead by example and be the change we wish to see across health care in our communities. It all starts with you, so let’s get started!
 
You can get started with numerous free resources posted at , or check out my Instagram @thefitpharmacist.
 

Adam Martin, PharmD, ACSM-CPT
Dr. Martin is a licensed pharmacist, having earned his doctorate of pharmacy degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2012. He is the founder of TheFitPharmacist movement, which strives to empower pharmacists and pharmacy students to thrive in their careers by overcoming stress and unhealthy habits using science-based principles and unmatched support. His passion for helping those in pharmacy led to TheFitPharmacist Podcast on the PharmacyPodcast network, where he provides practical tips for staying healthy while working at the pharmacy, along with interviewing professionals in the top of their respective fields to bring their knowledge right to your earbuds. He merges his passion of pharmacy with the experts in nutrition through being the owner and nutrition consultant at The Diet Doc Pittsburgh North, with the company having over 25 years of success. Learn more and join TheFitPharmacist movement at www.thefitpharmacist.com.
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