First Year Med Students Call in the Marine Corps

School of Medicine

The second-year medical students aren’t the only ones putting in work — and getting worked over — at Kezar Stadium, where first-year UCSF medical student Onur Yenigun leads a tri-weekly workout aimed at strengthening his fellow classmates both physically and mentally.

The former Marine Corps squad leader has brought a taste of boot camp to campus, and first years, whether fit or a little flabby, have responded in kind. His Facebook group, the aptly named “Tachycardio,” now boasts more than 50 members.

 “When I was in the Marine Corps, I noticed how going through tough workouts and tough situations together builds camaraderie and teamwork,” said Yenigun. “I thought that by doing this, it could bring us all closer together.” 

At a recent session, Yenigun welcomed about 15 students to a session he dubbed “Lunge Hell” (future punishments include “Upper Body Blast” and “Full Body Torment”). Some were assigned laps; others leapt up from a squat over and over; and the rest crawled up a grassy knoll on all fours.

 Under Yenigun’s command, no area of the stadium was spared. Groups ran the bleachers, sprinted down the track and, of course, struggled through sets of lunges — all with little time to rest. Later, sweaty pairs first squatted against each other’s backs until the point of collapse, then carried each other on their backs.

Participants were honorably discharged after an hour of the circuit, and most anticipated at least one more tour of duty. Tachycardio’s bulkier version of Richard Simmons has no plans for stopping, either.

“If I’m feeling the burn, I’m sure everyone else is,” Yenigun said.