Age 50 was a turning point for Dr. Fazal Manejwala, an OB-GYN with Memphis Obstetrics and Gynecological Association. While he played tennis and was fairly active as a young man, exercise took a back seat once he started medical school. Approaching middle age, he knew it was important to get in better shape. “When I was younger, exercise was for myself in terms of looks, but as you get older and have kids, you realize that you really have to live for them, too.”

His family has a history high cholesterol, which can lead to a heart attack in those around his age group. “I have realized what happens to more men and dads in their 50s, but we have so much to live for.” Fazal started cycling aggressively, logging around 50 miles a week. However, the busy doctor and father of four says, “I could be gone for hours on a long bike ride, and that didn’t always work with my career and family.”

Fazal joined Germantown Athletic Club, where he does a combination of speed bags, jump rope, Jacob’s ladder, weight training, and cardio. He tries to start his morning with a workout and does it four to five times a week. “I’m definitely a morning person. My day is long, and the end of it is sometimes unpredictable,” says Fazal. Since starting a more rigorous workout routine, Fazal has gained muscle and lost inches. He also has more energy to get him through 80-hour work weeks.

“I have diabetes and take medication, but that has also improved as well as my cholesterol level.” Fazal and his family are also conscious of what they eat. Originally from India, he likes to cook and believes in a diet of lots of vegetables, lean meats, and less processed foods. He recommends meal prepping for the week in order to make healthier food choices. “Planning is important in order to stay on track. You want to have healthy options available to grab on the go.”

Fazal’s son, Zabi, is autistic and used to be very overweight. He and his wife, Gina, got him into the gym and changed his diet so Zabi lost 70 pounds, which he’s managed to keep off. “I also want to focus on people with disabilities and how important it is to give them an opportunity to be physically fit. A lot of our disabled folks don’t have that opportunity,” says Fazal.

Fazal believes in taking small steps towards regaining health. “I recommend to my patients changing their eating habits and incorporating exercise into their routine.” As an obstetrician, he strongly believes that he can impact an individual’s life in utero. He emphasizes the benefit of eating healthy during pregnancy and feeding children well as they grow.

By Christin Yates