I am joined by trauma surgeon Boris Borazjani and he is an incredibly busy surgeon. We are going to talk about how he is able to balance that and MetPro. Thank you so much for joining me, Boris.
I’m happy to be here.
What originally brought you to MetPro?
I come from an athletic background and I played sports all my life. I played college sports and even played a couple of years of professional soccer before moving on to medical school. Throughout medical school, residency fellowship, and even out of training, I continue to work out. It's part of my life. That's what you do and use to.
Over time, I noticed that my weight was starting to creep up and my body was changing. Despite trying to eat healthy, I noticed there were changes happening in my body that I wasn't happy with. I figured that I needed to get some help and pause on what I'm doing to see how I could better affect my health. I wasn't having any health issues, but I felt that I wasn't trending in the right direction. Therefore, I was looking around, and somehow, I stumbled across MetPro and the concepts made sense to me. I'm not big on diet. I don't think diets are a good thing. I think it's all about lifestyle changes that contribute to overall health and wellbeing.
I absolutely completely agree. Since you are a trauma surgeon, you probably have pretty irregular hours. Is that accurate?
That's an understatement. At any going time, it could be feast or famine. If I'm physically working, you are looking at about 100 to 120 hours a week of work. It's racking up hours. It's lack of sleep, stress, and things that we shouldn't be doing as human beings that multitasking has to happen. You have to be able to make on-the-cuff decisions based on the information in front of you. Overall, it's popery for getting into health problems, chronic illnesses, and obesity. You need to take a pause outside of that hectic life schedule to reset the body.
120 hours a week, that's 3 times the average workweek. I don't even know how you can do that. How do you keep going?
I'm sure you have your endorphins when you are focused. It's a lot of hours in the hospital, but there's an ebb and flow. There is some downtime, but you have to then use the downtime to maximize that downtime to make sure you are on the right path. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury, especially when I'm on call, and my call is mostly, physically in the hospital because we have to respond within a few minutes of a trauma victim’s arrival.
We may have to change track, then operate on somebody who may need an operation. With that said, there are a lot of in-house calls. When you are at work, your sleep schedule and stress levels are all over the place. It's very easy to fall off track with your eating. When you are stressed and tired, it's easy to make poor choices when it comes to what you are consuming.
All the chemicals that go through our brain tell us to eat more when we are tired and stressed, so you have that on overload. What changes do you feel like you had to make to be able to fit MetPro in your schedule to make it work?
The concept of prepping is probably the most important thing. I initially resisted the concept of prepping because I felt like I could still make the same food choices with what was available to me and I don't have time for it. Sadly, it was wrong because, during the first few months of doing MetPro, I try to do it the way I would do it within the frames of what was expected by my coach, which happened to be Angelo. It wasn't until a light switch went on that it's like, “I need to be mindful of my prepping to be able to achieve those goals.”
What do you think created that light switch moment for you to say, “I have got to do it this way?”
I did get the response that I was looking for. I'm not a fan of looking for a drastic response, but I wasn't going in the direction that I wanted to. I felt it was slow and a lot of it had to do with prepping.
When you find yourself prepping, everybody has a slightly different focus that they use. If you were to say the typical person at MetPro, we focus on your lunches and your snacks. With your schedule, do you focus on those items for prepping? Is it everything or is it something completely different?
The easiest meal of the day to keep controlled and stay within the confines of what your coach recommends is breakfast. That's an easy one and then snacks would be the next easiest thing to do. Making sure that you are prepped for those things would take care of most things. In my particular workflow, if I'm on call at the hospital which normally means I'm physically in the hospital.
Somewhere around 30 to 36 hours before I come home, I have to rely on some food from our cafeteria, and we do have a good cafeteria. There are some healthy options. I will control the variable easiest with breakfast, especially if I’m at home on the way out. I will take my snacks and dinner. All the prepping starts for me.
I’m not the guy that preps on a Sunday for the entire week, and when it comes to prepping, that’s my personal opinion, you figure out what works for you, just to make sure you are prepping. If you are the guy that says, “I need to have a box seven of all my meals, pre-packaged ready to go. I got to do it on a Sunday for the entire week,” then go for it.
If you are the guy that takes two protein sources and makes big portions of those, two carb and vegetable sources, and likes to scoop them up, measure them, and put them into containers and take them daily then do that. For me, it starts with the night before. I have always been like that. The night before I’m thinking of what I’m doing the next day. Not only from a workflow and workout perspective, I was always been doing that.
I incorporated the food concept into it. I’m already thinking about what I’m taking with me, and I start putting things out in the bag that I’m going to take with me. The snacks are the easy things that at least would keep me fueled, and that way I can try to keep fueled. I have done other things in the hospital because I’m very interested in well-being, where we are working with our food sources in the cafeteria to have good, healthy food options and our physician’s dining room and lounge.
We do have an assortment of mixed nuts. There are fruits and good yogurts sources. I’m not talking about the stuff with the fake sugar. I’m talking about great yogurt and the right brand. They have given me some creative freedom on that. We created the physician’s lounge that we opened up in December 2021 that is focusing on physician well-being. Making sure that we have the right types of food sources. There’s still junk food. I had to concede to some of that, but that’s for somebody who wants to grab something on the fly, but at least if they want it to happen healthy option, there is stuff for grab and go if you don’t have much time.
I would think that the thought process that you need to put into surgery is so incredible that you need to be able to be focused and make those split-second decisions that being well-fueled is very important. Do you feel that you have noticed any difference in your ability to concentrate when you’ve been on hours of on-call since you’ve started MetPro? Has that shifted at all?
It’s hard to say. I did feel better. I weigh 162 pounds. I’m 5’10’’. Probably around 8% body fat. I try to move whenever I can. I’m probably exercising somewhere between 5 to 7 days a week. Back in the day, I used to pound my body with all kinds of crazy, catabolic exercises but I try to listen to my body with longer runs, swimming, yoga, and functional work to get parts of my body moving and restore the anatomy so that you don’t get into chronic pain problems and inflammation.
How do you fit workouts in as far as all of your schedule? I see you have a Peloton and a whole gym. Does it help to have your ability to work out at home?
That’s a great question. I’m fortunate enough to have the space, which is a garage that we converted into the gym. This is before the pandemic. I had a treadmill and I added the roller. Then I added the Peloton and I started adding some dumbbells. As the pandemic hit, back when I was a member of Equinox. I was going on since 2008 when they first started before they were a different company. I never thought of myself working out at home. I use this more as a supplement on days that I couldn’t get to the gym to be able to work out the way I did. This was before MetPro. When the pandemic hit and I got a way to work out at home.
After many years, I quit and canceled my gym membership. Not that I’m not going back to it. I’m saying that I was able to add more equipment and pretty much I can get most of the things I need to get done here in the gym. It’s a little bit more efficient. My wife also uses it. From my standpoint, even before this gym, I was going to the gym early before my workday. I will do it on the day that I’m on call. I will start the day out. My ideal ritual now is if I can get up early enough, I will meditate, work out, and then go to work.
Whenever I have downtown at work in the evening, if there’s a little bit of downtime, I’d have a yoga mat and a foam roller, and I will do some functional work to restore limb length and go from there. I was on for 30 some hours I came home. The first thing I will do, especially when the weather starts to warm up is I will jump into the pool and I will swim for twenty minutes. That’s huge stress relief. It’s not cold therapy, but it is therapeutic and I will try to take a quick cat nap, and then I will go about my day. In the afternoon, I will work out. The times are variable, but I do fit it in and I have to work based on my schedule.
There are times that I will skip workouts because it was too much stuff going on and if an emergency came up, I had to leave but I’m still able to get at least 5 to 6 days a weekend. There are enough hours in the week. Clearly, you don’t want to cut from your sleep. It’s all about planning and mindset the day before. That’s what helps me the most and one of the reasons I have been able to get the results that I have wanted is from that consistency.
How do you get in that mindset? Is it meditation? It sounds like you were already in that mindset before you added that. Is there a trick or is there advice you can give people to help with the discipline mindset that you have?
It wasn’t anything to do with meditation. I have been doing Peloton meditation for a little bit, but it worked fine, but it wasn’t until probably December 2021 that I started meditating twice a day. I use transcendental meditation, which I highly recommend to everybody. If anybody is going to read this show and it’s been a benefit from my words, these are my opinions, I’m not an expert by any means.
The one thing I will tell you is that we all have stress. Within the fields of medicine, I can speak from an expert perspective. I’m a trauma surgeon who deals with life and death and has crazy work hours. The stories that you see are real. The stress is through the roof, but I can tell you a psychiatrist and dermatologist even have stress. Everybody has stress.
It’s not until you take 10 days to 2 weeks off completely detached from what you are doing is when you realize how stressed you are. We all experience stress in one way or another. It could be through work, relationships, or anything of that sort. Meditation to me is the only time where you get or try to turn off that brain and let the brain breathe. There were times that one may be stretched so thin that you may overreact to a certain circumstance that you could have treated differently. Had you not been in that mindset, the thing that would have gotten you upset probably wouldn’t get you as upset. There is a lot of science and benefit to meditation that I do think helps with your well-being, which is huge.
It helps you with your sleep and your overall health. I’m a good person, but it has made me a better person. Overall, the benefits are just I wish I had known about this sooner, or at least I had appreciated it sooner. It wasn’t until a friend of mine who was very deeply involved in meditation and knows me well, and said, “Try TN.” It's scientific. It's totally you. It's not spiritual and religious.
I'm not saying I'm not spiritually religious, but he said it makes intuitive sense. It's simple to do. It's not something you build experience with. If there's one thing I would tell you outside of what MetPro has done for me, transcendental meditation is a huge tool to add to my armamentarium. As I have said, I have gotten an experience of 4 or 5 months of doing this meditation. I have been with MetPro since 2018.
How do you handle moments when you might be pulled into surgery and you haven't had a chance to eat? Do you get to it when you get to it? Does it throw off your whole day? What do you do?
Sometimes, unexpected things happen, but I try to anticipate them. If I'm in the middle of rounding or doing something and I know like, “This next thing is going to pull me away for the next hour and a half.” If something is going to come up, I will eat something quickly or have snacks available. You are going to grab the right snacks.
As you gain experience with food choices, if you are left where you don't have access to snacks, you have to go into the cafeteria. Whatever decision you are going to make, it's going to be better than what it was probably before for me, for sure. I wasn't eating unhealthy food or junk food. I wasn't just eating the right types of food.
I will say that one of the things that I liked about MetPro is not about what diet are you on. How many calories you are getting? The calories are important but what I'm saying is that it's all about eating whole foods and trying to get your nutrition through macronutrients. You may supplement depending on what your needs are, but the goal is always to try to eat whole foods.
Eating whole foods in the right portions is probably the best way to engage your metabolism to function optimally as opposed to trying to break it down to refine things and be a little too granular to try to get the benefits. I supplement with protein powder here and there, but I'm not eating protein powder every day. I'm eating whole foods.
I'm not dieting. I'm not on a low-fat, high-carb, or keto diet. I’m on a metabolic plan that works for my body that’s been dialed in and working with my coach. We are able to access parts of my metabolism that I never had access to. We are assessing it with trial and error and no person is the same. When I hear these concepts of, “You need to eat this.” What if I ate something and you didn’t agree with me?
Isn’t that what your body tells you anyway? When something doesn’t agree with you, maybe it’s not the thing for you. I do think that MetPro from that standpoint has worked for me and I have been able to keep the weight off in pretty good shape. I haven’t had any speed bumps. Angelo has been very helpful. We are still focusing on my diet and making sure that we get the optimal amount of nutrition and crank up that metabolism without having the wheels come off.
Do you have goals that you continue to work on that keep you with MetPro?
Those times that we are working on conditioning and muscle building, we will target certain areas depending on what the needs and goals are. As a ritual, pretty much I'm weighing myself when I'm at home, so on the days that I'm on call, I'm not. In the early phases, I was because I would have a portable scale with me.
We are in a stable place, even though we are making changes. With MetPro’s artificial intelligence, the AI that's built into the meal plans, it's been a good way of being able to log in the food and monitor your progress to try to crank up the metabolism. I'm consuming more calories and carbohydrates than I used to and that's been a result of Angelo and the AI that's built into the app.
That's allowing us to slowly creep up on those carbs, which then gives me more fuel to build more muscle and recover easier. Very counter-intuitive to somebody else as to how much you can consume, but it's the way that you bring it into the picture that allows you to be able to get your body getting used to it and not turn it into stores, but rather burning it. There's a science and a trial and error that's built into it.
I couldn't have said it better myself. That is my absolute favorite thing about MetPro. As you said, every person and each person's journey is so unique. That's why that trial and error is there. It's fabulous. Do you feel like there's anything else you would like to make sure that people know about your journey?
The things that I would emphasize are that if anybody's looking to make lifestyle changes, whether it's for health reasons, physique, weight loss, or for feeling better. MetPro is a good place to go because I do think it's a one-stop solution because it does incorporate, your food intake. It incorporates exercise and those things have to work together.
Most trainers will have an understanding of nutrition, but most of the nutrition is cookie cutter. You are going to do this in this phase. If you are bulking, if you are shredding, I don't think that's as scientific. I think that MetPro has helped me be mindful of prepping, being mindful of portion size. Honestly, I still eat a fair amount of things.
It's given me a good framework to build on. I generally will tell anyone that is looking at MetPro that if you are going to come into MetPro, hopefully, you learn some good healthy habits. You built your armamentarium of knowledge on food and nutrition, which, unfortunately, we all lack and would benefit from.
The reality is it's whoever's going to put more advertising dollars is going to be able to manipulate you into thinking what's right. It's all about moderation and the moderation has to be something that makes sense and that's different for different people, and you have to figure out that part of the journey. For anybody who wants to jump onto MetPro, my suggestion is to work closely with your coach. Go in there with zero expectations that you are going to bring something to the equation and short of falling where your coach says.
If you go in there with some premonition of, “This is how I'm going to do it, and then this is how I'm going to work. I'm too busy and I'm going to not prep. I'm going to try to figure this thing out,” you might get somewhat of a result. If you are looking for a long-lasting result, it is something that's life-changing because, for me, my body changed.
Even though I was exercising daily, we changed the shape of my body. I was hovering. When I was a professional athlete, I was in the 165 to 167 range. That was my weight. I still decided to creep up and hovered in the high 170s, and then it started to go into the 180 to 185. I was like, “This is not good,” even though I was exercising. I had tried different things with nutrition, supplements, not dieting stuff, but still nutrition supplements, talking to a nutritionist, and so forth. This is a different level.
I think that MetPro is a great company. The concept of exercise and how you exercise is probably the most important thing. Knowing when catabolic versus anabolic, and when to back off and rest, and still know that you could do things without having to sweat and still get a benefit. To me, swimming, running, rolling, hit training, endurance training, hill running, or weights, give me something, I will do it.
That's the way that you are going to stay healthy. You are going to have injuries along the way, but that's part of the journey. It's all about your overall health. I do think that mental well-being is also another thing. I don't have any mental issues, but I do think that the well-being issues of getting the mind and body in sync will help add to that.
I agree and everything you said is absolutely accurate. I would say that it goes back to when I was asking you earlier about how do you get so disciplined? They build on top of each other. Clearly, you have a disciplined personality. You start there, but when you start layering, all these things on top of it, they all work together in concert, and it's the workouts. It's the rest and all of the things. One of the things that MetPro coaches do is help you tie together those pieces because it may be difficult as an individual to be an expert in enough of those areas to see how you can pull them all together.
There are additional benefits at MetPro. For me, I also cover a trauma center in Northern California where I go up there for three days. During the pandemic, I was basically working out of the apartment. We are able to cater to that. My weekly discussion with Angelo, and this is at a point where we are in a stable place.
We talk as often as needed, but we generally talk at least once a week to plan the following week. He needs to know, “Are you going to be out of town? Are you on vacation? Are you traveling?” Even when we travel or I have traveled and I have done several or a couple of vacations, at least, Angelo has been great. We have been able to target the workouts. I have been able to be a little bit more liberal with my diet, but still being mindful, watchful, and making the right decision.
The word is you can indulge at that point when you are in the right place. We do understand that you are going to jump right back on. I could be on vacation for five days and I come back and maybe I'm a pound heavier. In two days that something has gone as if nothing happened. During that process of being on vacation, it's not like letting loose and doing whatever you want.
You are still making healthy choices, but if you are going to indulge more than what you typically would do. You can do that. There's nothing wrong with that, but if your body is used to managing it, it won't hold on to it. Oftentimes, I see friends that eat clean five days a week and then want to cheat the weekend. Over the weekend, they gained 5 pounds. Back on again, Monday to Friday, they are eating clean. It could be dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, or whatever it is, then they will have these huge shifts in their weights over a period of 1 or 2 days. That's not healthy and normal. You can retain water, but 5 pounds, that's too much.
I appreciate all of your time. This has been incredibly helpful. Thank you very much. Readers, that is all. You can find all of the MetPro method episodes anywhere you get podcasts, or you can find them at MetPro.co/Podcasts. Please be sure to follow the show, rate, and review that lets other people who are new and know what they can expect. You can also learn more about MetPro at MetPro.co. I will be back in the next episode. Until then, remember, consistency is key.
Category: The MetPro Method