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Exercise Trainers or fitness coach

Exercise Trainers or fitness coach

Posted by EFD on Sep 9, 2019 10:07 pm

Hi, I am wondering if any of you who live in the Toronto/York Region area in Ontario know of certified exercise trainers who have worked with cancer patients who can help me start an exercise program?  I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, had surgery last month but need another surgery in October (didn't remove all the cancer).  I want to get stronger and specifically work on strengthening my core muscles and do some cardio.  I've joined gyms in the past, go for 2 weeks, get sick (a cold, bronchitis etc.) then never go back.  I want to do something in addition to walking.
Besides Wellspring, any suggestions of a good trainer that you recommend?

Re: Exercise Trainers or fitness coach

Posted by Kims1961 on Sep 9, 2019 11:57 pm

Hello EFD‍ 

I checked on the cancer websiter....www.cancer.ca and used the Community Service Locator and found a program at Mount Sinai


Not sure it is what you're looking for but they may also have some suggestions.  Good for you about looking into strengthening and core exercises - it's not only good for our bodies, recovery but also our mental health.

Let me know how you make out!  Kim

Re: Exercise Trainers or fitness coach

Posted by ACH2015 on Sep 10, 2019 6:47 am


I saw your post.

Contact your local YMCA. They have programs specifically for cancer survivors, and they are generally free.

I am currently enrolled in a rural cancer survivors program / study, and they gear a personal program based on your abilities and needs. These programs generally run for 12 weeks, and give you the tools needed to start getting back into the swing.

Also, check in with the social workers at your cancer center/hospital, they may have specific programs within, or know where services are near to you.

FYI, some programs need a doctors note / form signed off indicating you are well enough to participate, so get all the details from the program.


Re: Exercise Trainers or fitness coach

Posted by ChristineH on Sep 10, 2019 9:23 am

Another place to check out is the Wellspring Centers at www.welspring.ca. 
“Never a horse, always a zebra”

Re: Exercise Trainers or fitness coach

Posted by Notdeadyet on Sep 10, 2019 12:55 pm

So what I know as a Fitness professional and personal trainer is that you will need to be cleared to exercise by your medical team. Either your personal physician or oncologist. I have trained breast cancer survivors myself but only after medical permission and the client was finished with all treatments and surgeries. You will need to start slow mainly cardio to build up endurance and lower body muscle strength. I am just had a mastectomy after lumpectomy and am in a similar situation as you. I do however have the expander in my chest awaiting the time when I can have the breast reconstruction surgery. After radiation I suspect. So best advice talk to your team about excersise and when you can begin. But you definitely need exercise because of the deconditioning your body is experiencing and lose of muscle mass and strength. I really feel it after 22 years and 5 fitness classes a day! But baby steps baby steps. Your trainer should know this and needs to have experience with adaptive training. Any questions just ask. I'm starting my fitness goals tomorrow. Today I'm getting my drain removed!  PS walking is your first training no med permission needed.

Re: Exercise Trainers or fitness coach

Posted by Notdeadyet on Sep 10, 2019 1:19 pm

Just so you know I am a certified Fitness instructor for water and land, Osteoporosis and Cardiac Rehabilitation, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, Cycle fit , HIIT, weight training, Fall Prevention, Baby boomer and senior trainer and programmer and have taken invitation only workshops in exercise and cancer. What I don't know I can find out. 

Re: Exercise Trainers or fitness coach

Posted by Essjay on Sep 11, 2019 7:53 am

Read about this program yesterday...


and I think I’m living proof! I was fit before diagnosis, built up my strength before and after surgery, and exercised as much as I could through chemo. I got back to my gym routine during rads, started running for the first time in 35 years after finishing them and 3 months later I’m stronger than before diagnosis, running 5k+ and just completed a backpacking trip in the Rockies with my husband.

i have found exercise to be like a savings account. I invest energy into exercise, and get energy plus interest back which I can use for other things.

As for how fast to get back into things - we are all different. I went to one class for post cancer patients and found it way to soft and easy. I have had to modify a few exercises in the gym for my neuropathy and cording issues, but as these improve I do more. They haven’t affected me strength wise. I do a lot of balance stuff for my neuropathy to retrain my proprioreceptors, and running is part of this.

Good luck with the exercise, it’s an amazing thing you are doing for yourself. 🙌

Re: Exercise Trainers or fitness coach

Posted by Elsie13 on Sep 12, 2019 5:50 pm

Hello,   EFD‍ 
Welcome to cancerconnection. You mention that you join gyms, and then get sick.  It occurs to me that although you may clean the mat, it seems that the hand weights and elastics, etc. etc. never get cleaned. So I suppose we all have to use the hand sanitizer a few times during our workouts. 
Thanks for the BBC article, Essjay‍ 
    I was a student at York University in Toronto and I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance, (1978). Six months before my ovarian cancer diagnosis I was going to the gym 4 times a week. I was 59 years old, at the beginning of 2016. So after surgery, chemo and radiation, I gradually got back to the gym. I do zumba, body sculpt and I walk to the gym and carry groceries home. During treatments, I just did a bit of walking and stretching. 
  I feel as if all the cancer treatments made me older.  I'm 63 and I feel as if I'm 66.  Except, well what does 66 feel like? I'm sure it's different for each person. I have lymphedema in my legs, well especially my right leg, and so maybe that makes me feel uncoordinated?   Still, if I wasn't doing the zumba classes and so on, my energy would be a lot lower!

Re: Exercise Trainers or fitness coach

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Sep 12, 2019 9:05 pm

You guys are such good role models!

EFD‍ , I have tried unsuccessfully to embrace “gym culture” and every time I work up the courage to sign up for a gym, I back out - it’s not that I get ill, I just don’t like change rooms, and wiping down all the equipment, and, if there’s a pool involved, going outside in the winter with wet hair. And all those mirrors...

I have had more success with yoga and Zumba classes, but manage to excuse away that time, too. If it weren’t for my gardens (including grass cutting and snow clearing) and the odd walk, I would be in even worse shape.

It’s really hard, because my activity of choice is needle arts, which require very little physical effort.

Notdeadyet‍  - I NEED YOU! Not only for your walking philosophy, which is sound, but I’m a baby boomer who has found that I tend to do better when I have a “buddy” who can help get and keep me motivated. (Sargeant-majoring does not work, I’ve learned)

I know caregivers need exercise, too, but it can still be difficult to include it in our self-care regime.

Re: Exercise Trainers or fitness coach

Posted by EFD on Sep 14, 2019 8:05 pm

Thanks everyone for all your suggestions!  Elsie13, I'll bring hand sanitizer now with me, never would have thought of that!  And ACH, thanks for the suggestion about the local YMCA.  I checked but our YMCA in Markham doesn't have anything for Cancer patients/survivors.  But that did lead me to check out our Markham Fitness Centre which I really liked (very open, bright, lots of outside light) and clean appearing.  I joined a month by month membership and had my assessment today.  I have a lot of work to do!  I go back on Monday to get my customized workout program, so I'll give it a go.  Thanks so much to all of you for your feedback, it has been very helpful!